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WHAT IS THE CONTEXT OF RUTH 1:1-18?

JUN 2

Judges 17:6
Memorise Judges 17:6
“…every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

As we have learned earlier, context is key to a full and proper understanding of a text. “A text without context is a pretext” – if we do not properly examine the context of a particular passage, we run the risk of misusing or misapplying the text to support something that it doesn’t actually support. Hence, when interpreting biblical narratives, it is always important to first consider its context.

Ruth 1:1 tells us that the entire story took place “in the days when the judges ruled”. This phrase was included not merely to indicate the time when the events happened, but more as an indication of the spiritual condition during that time. The book of Judges sheds some light on the state of affairs. Judges 17:6 tells us something rather alarming – the days of the judges was a period when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. This was one of the lowest points in Israel’s history. Without a king to govern the affairs of the nation, the people lived in a state of lawlessness and anarchy. God’s law was forgotten, and the people turned instead to false gods and indulged in immorality.

What relation does this have to the book of Ruth? First of all, we see God’s justice at work. The famine which sparked off the whole chain of events in the book happened not by chance, but was a result of God’s divine working. God had already warned the Israelites that if they turned away from Him and broke His commandments, their “land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (Lev 26:14-15, 20). What God has said, He will surely bring to pass, so let us never take what God says lightly. Secondly, the events in Ruth bear a sharp contrast to what was going on in the nation of Israel. While the whole nation of Israel had forsaken the Lord, one sole Gentile girl found faith in the Lord and forsook all to follow Him. And even though Israel was unfaithful to God, yet God in His great mercy continued to be faithful to them, by preserving the line through Ruth and Boaz that would eventually give rise to the Promised Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Dear teen, isn’t it amazing how we see God working, even in every little detail of history? Nothing happens by chance, for we worship a God who is sovereign and in control over all the affairs of man.

Thought: Knowing more about the context helps me understand so much more about a passage!
Prayer: Lord, help me to be diligent in searching Your Word more thoroughly.