Ruth

slightly adapted from Symmetrical Design in the Book of Ruth,  Stephen Bertman, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 84, No. 2 (Jun., 1965), pp. 165-168

A. Family history (1:1-5)

B.
Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah travel toward Judah (1:6-7)
(1) Ties of kinship are at issue (1:8-18)
Naomi and Ruth travel and come to Bethlehem (1:19)
(2) The women of Bethlehem speak to Naomi; the afflictions received by Naomi from the Lord are spoken of; Naomi gives herself a name (1:19-21)
Naomi and Ruth travel and come to Bethlehem (1:22)
C.
(1) Ruth asks Naomi if she may go to the fields and tells her what she would do; Naomi bids her go (2:2)
(2) Ruth goes to the fields (2:3)
(3) Boaz asks the identity of Ruth and is told (2:4-7)
(4) Boaz asks Ruth to stay, declares her worthy of being blessed, and gives her food (2:8-14)
[Boaz instructs his men to let Ruth glean; she does so (2:15-17) Ruth returns to Naomi (2:18)]
(5) Ruth speaks with Naomi: Ruth tells her what has happened and Naomi gives her counsel (2: 18-23)

C’.
(1) Naomi bids Ruth go to the threshing-floor and tells her what she should do (3:1-5)
(2) Ruth goes to the threshing-floor (3:6)
(3) Boaz asks the identity of Ruth and is told (3:7-9)
(4) Boaz declares Ruth worthy of being blessed, asks her
to stay, and gives her food (3:10-15)
(5) Ruth speaks with Naomi: Ruth tells her what has happened and Naomi gives her counsel (3:16-18)

B’.
(1) Ties of kinship are at issue (4:1-12)
[Boaz and Ruth wed and have a son (4:13)]
 (2) The women of Bethlehem speak to Naomi; the blessings   received by Naomi from the Lord are told of; the women of Bethlehem give Naomi’s nursling a name (4:14-17)
A’. Family history (4:18-22)

 

“… Even as Ruth accepts allegiance to Naomi (1:8-18), so Boaz accepts allegiance to Ruth (4:1-12); and even as Orpah breaks her ties with Naomi (1:8-18), so the unnamed kinsman of Ruth’s husband declines to accept levirate responsibility (4:1-12). In each case ties of kinship are at issue; and in each case one individual accepts these ties out of love, while another declines to accept them. Thus Ruth and Boaz occupy positions which are in a sense analogous and stand over against each other in the structure of the book even as they are to be united in its drama. We may note also how Naomi’s afflictions (that she was bereaved of her two sons) are contrasted with her blessings (that she now has a near kinsman who will watch over her, a daughter-in-law who is better than seven sons, and a nursling whom the women call Naomi’s own son). With the exception of these contrasting elements, all the remaining parts of the two sections are analogous. Enclosing each of the elements in the first section are mentions of Naomi and her daughter(s)- in-law traveling (1:6-7, 19, and 22).”

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