In the immediate context of the Old Testament, Judges forms a link between the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and the rise of the Jewish monarchy. The period reflected in Judges is crucial to the development of the Israelite psyche as God begins the lesson that the exiles to Assyria and Babylon later finish: blessing is connected to fidelity to God; suffering is the natural consequence of disobedience.
The stories in Judges are exciting, well-told tales of intrigue, suspense, seduction, violence, revenge, and triumph. Through them all, the hand of the God of Israel moves—sometimes obviously and sometimes furtively—to teach his people their need for him.
The charm, even mystique, of the book of Ruth rests in the ability of the narrative to suggest the work of God in the midst of ordinary life. Ruth is shown to be a personal example of faithfulness. She exceeds all the expectations of her society and perhaps even the letter of the law.
The message of the book of Ruth may be considered from at least two vantage points. Viewed in strictly human terms, it underlines the importance of persistent and faithful relationships in moments of crisis. Viewed from a faith perspective it communicates confidence in the ongoing work of God to fill the empty, to protect the vulnerable, and to bring joy into a grieving world. In a small way, Ruth’s story anticipates that which is only fully realized on this side of the cross.
- Title: College Press NIV Commentary: Judges and Ruth
- Authors: Rob Fleenor and Mark S. Ziese
- Publisher: College Press
- Publication Date: 2008
- Pages: 338
About the Authors
Rob Fleenor has taught Old Testament courses at Cincinnati Christian University and has served in rural ministry in Deerfield, Missouri, and in inner-city ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a B. Th. and B. B. L. from Ozark Christian College, and an M. A. from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently he is pursuing a Ph. D. in Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Shawnee, live in Kentucky.
Mark S. Ziese is Professor of Old Testament, Cincinnati Christian University. Dr. Ziese received his B. A. from Ozark Christian College; M. A. from Cincinnati Christian University; M. A. from Hebrew Union College; and his Ph. D. from Andrews University.