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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.

Author Bio

Dr. Duguid is Professor of Religion at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. A native of Great Britain, he taught at Westminster Seminary California from 1996 through 2005. He has also served as a missionary in Liberia, taught at Reformed Seminary in Mississippi, and planted churches in Fallbrook, California, and Oxford, England. He takes every opportunity to share his love for the Scriptures around the world: he has taught in Latvia, the Ukraine, Canada, and South Africa. In his seminary classes, Dr. Duguid is eager to help students learn how to preach Christ from ancient Hebrew texts in ways that minister to the hearts of contemporary congregations. Dr. Duguid’s Ph.D. thesis, Ezekiel and the Leaders of Israel, was published by E.J. Brill. He has also written a commentary on Ezekiel in the NIV Application series, on Daniel (Reformed Expository Commentary), and on Numbers in the Preach the Word series, along with books on Abraham (Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality), Isaac and Jacob (Living in the Grip of Relentless Grace), and the Beatitudes (Hero of Heroes). He is Old Testament editor for the Reformed Expository Commentary and has authored the volumes on Esther & Ruth and Daniel. He has contributed articles and reviews in the Westminster Theological Journal, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Themelios and Tabletalk. He was a translator for the Holman Christian Standard Version of the Bible and a contributor to the New Living Translation Study Bible, the ESV Study Bible and the HCSV Study Bible.