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This is an excerpt from week 8 of my weekly podcast.  You can listen to the complete episode here: Journey – Exploring the world of the Bible – God’s Story, or click the picture below.  This week, the Book of Ruth.

Journey Weekly Podcast

Why is the book of Ruth where it is in the Bible?

The deeper you get into the Book of Judges, the crazier things until it’s all summarized in the final verse of the Book: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Jdg 21:25).

The fertile plains of Moab

The fertile plains of Moab

How does the Book of Ruth begin?

“In the days when the judges ruled…” (Ruth 1:1 NIV)

In the midst of the chaos, the muck, and the mire we have a story of courage and faithfulness.

View of Rift Valley from Bethlehem

View of Rift Valley from Bethlehem

Where is the Book of Ruth located?

In the Christian Bible it comes after Judges and this order is based on chronology and it emphasizes the contrast between the chaos of Judges and the order or Ruth.

In the Hebrew Bible, Ruth follows the Book of Proverbs, answering the question posed in Proverbs 31: “A worthy woman—who can find?” (Prov 31:10).

A threshing floor near Bethlehem

A threshing floor near Bethlehem

Bethlehem was a rural, small village throughout the biblical period (cf. Mic 5:2).  Its name, Beth-lehem, literally means house of bread.  It was an agricultural community.

Bethlehem is on a seam between desert and fertile land. 3 or 4 years of marginal rainfall would be disastrous for the farmers of Bethlehem.  Also, in this time of chaos, raiders come up from the Rift Valley and steal all the grain as well.  That’s what was going on in the story of Gideon and the Midianites. There is a severe famine right now.  This is where the book of Ruth begins.

If you appreciate this post please listen to the full podcast by clicking this link: Journey – Exploring the world of the Bible – God’s Story.  A new podcast will be posted each week through May, 2015.