Book Review: Ruth
Ruth: How an Outsider Gained God’s Favor
By Harry L. Brewer (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)
The front cover of the book, Ruth: How an Outsider Gained God’s Favor, asks the rhetorical question, “Ever feel like an outsider?” Ruth was definitely an outsider. She was a foreigner and not a member of God’s chosen people, yet she makes an unequivocal pledge to follow God, telling her mother-in-law, “Your people will be my people” and “your God will be my God.” As a result, God provides for Ruth and richly blesses her.
Author Harry Brewer smartly captures all this in his book Ruth. The format is simple and straightforward: He gives an overview on each section of the book of Ruth, provides the text, and then breaks it down verse-by-verse, introducing the passage, repeating the text, and providing a helpful commentary.
Brewer shares valuable background into the Mosaic Law and cultural practices behind of the beliefs and traditions that are mentioned in this brief biblical account. This unveils deeper insights into the character and propriety of the book’s principle players of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. Brewer also connects Ruth to other revealing passages in the Bible, such as to the family tree of Ruth, both preceding and following her. (Spoiler alert: Jesus is a direct descendant of Ruth.)
Additionally, Brewer makes reasoned and realistic assumptions into the motivations and emotions of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, adding depth and increasing understanding. What emerges is a powerful love story between Boaz and Ruth, as well as God’s abiding love for them and, by extension, all who follow and revere him.
Ruth: How an Outsider Gained God’s Favor is a concise and valuable study guide into the person and book of Ruth in the Bible.
[Ruth: How an Outsider Gained God’s Favor, by Harry L. Brewer. Published by WinePress Publishing, 2001, ISDN: 9-781579213275, 131 pages, $8.95.]
Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.