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Book of Ruth

The Book of Ruth is a book of the Bible Old Testament and Jewish Tanakh.

The history it contains covers a period perhaps about one hundred and twenty-six years before the birth of David. It gives

  1. an account of Naomi's going to Moab with her husband, Elimelech, and of her subsequent return to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law
  2. the romance and marriage of Boaz and Ruth
  3. the birth of Obed, of whom David sprang.

There is some debate about when and why the book was written. According to many scholars, it was originally a part of the Book of Judges, but it was later separated from that book and made into an independent book. It is, in fact, the shortest book in the Jewish Tanach, the Minor Prophets being considered a single book. Furthermore, the language and description seem to make the authorship contemporary with that of Judges. On the other hand, the message of the book, which shows acceptance of marriages with Gentiles, has been used to suggest that the book was written during the early days of the Persian period. At that time, Ezra condemned intermarriages and, according to his eponymous book, forced the Israelites to abandon their Gentile wives. According to this theory, the book was written in response to Ezra's reform and in defense of these marriages.

Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897 -- Please update as needed