Does God help those who help themselves? That may seem to be the message of the books of Esther and Ruth. Some think that Ruth’s attractiveness won over Naomi and Boaz, or that Esther’s bold faithfulness saved her people. But a closer reading shows an embittered Naomi to have abandoned the Promised Land and God’s people, and Esther to have become thoroughly assimilated to the culture and values of Persian society.
In Esther, God works in invisible ways to save his people. In Ruth, God’s grace comes to Naomi unexpectedly, and with it, a depiction of redemption for her people. In both books, a gracious and sovereign God works through flawed individuals—unable even to help themselves—to rescue his people and prepare for the coming of Christ.
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An amazing commentary! Rarely does an expositor demonstrate such virtuosity. But Iain Duguid brings it all together: a specialist’s knowledge of the Hebrew text and culture, a preacher’s eye for theme and structure, a pastor’s skill in nuanced application, a theologian’s grasp of Christ-centered theology (that would make Geerhard Vos smile), and a wordsmith’s attention to language and lingering metaphor. Duguid’s Esther and Ruth will elevate and inspire generations of readers and preachers.
—R. Kent Hughes, pastor, College Church, Wheaton, IL
This exposition of Esther and Ruth is a ‘honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’ The author gives us a good dose of healing theology in a most relevant manner. From now on I will require my students to read this engaging commentary for their edification and delight.
—Bruce K. Waltke, professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary