History & Literary - Ruth

During the time of the government of the Judges, there was a great famine in the land of Israel, which forced Elimelech, a native of Bethlehem to retire into the land of Moab, with his wife Naomi, and two children. Elimelech died there, as also his two sons, who had married two Moabitish women one of whom was named Ruth. Naomi, after the death of her husband and her children, returned to Bethlehem accompanied by Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who was there married to Boaz, Elimelech's near relation, and the heir to his estate. The book which contains this history, is called, The Book of Ruth. The beginning of it shows that it happened in the time of the Judges, but under which of them is not certainly known; some place it in the time of Shamgar, or of Deborah. As to the writer of this book, some think that the books of Judges and Ruth were both written by Samuel; others attribute them to Hezekiah, and others to Ezra. The Jews place the book of Ruth among the five books which they usually read on all the festivals in the year. These five books are, the Song of Songs, Ruth, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes, and the book of Esther. In the Hebrew bibles they are printed or written apart by themselves, and are bound up together.