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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Parallel Structures of Ruth 1 & 4

In our Wednesday evening Bible study group we just completed the Book of Ruth. As we were going to be finishing up ch. 4 the other night, I threw together this bare bones outline to show the parallel structures of Ruth 1 & 4. Ruth 2 & 3 also parallel one another, the result being that the book functions somewhat chiastically. In chapters 1 and 4, the Prologue in ch. 1 (I.) parallels the Epilogue in ch. 4 (III.). The Negotiation in ch. 1 (II.) parallels the Negotiation in ch. 4 (I.). And the Rest in ch. 1 (III.) parallels the Rest in ch. 4 (II.). The reader should also take note of the preponderance of "threes" in the outlines. This is something inherent to the text, not simply an arbitrary choice I made in outlining it. I would suggest also that this is a manifestation of the Trinitarian foundation of the Covenant, which plays a central role in the Book of Ruth, as in all of Scripture, and all of life, for that matter. But that is a discussion for another occasion. Lack of time has prevented me from doing either a basic outline of chs. 2 & 3, or an outline of the whole book. For now, at least, I thought I would post what I had.

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Ruth 1 - Structure


I. Prologue of the Book of Ruth - vs. 1-5


II. Naomi "arose" - Negotiating a relationship on the way back to Bethlehem

A. Naomi's First Speech - vs. 8-9a

A'. Ruth and Orpah's verbal and nonverbal response - vs. 9b-10

B. Naomi's Second Speech - vs. 11-13

B'. Ruth and Orpah's nonverbal responses - vs. 14

C. Naomi's Third Speech - vs. 15

C'. Ruth's verbal response - vs. 16-18


III. Rest in the Land

A. Naomi and Ruth arrive in the land - vs. 19a

B. Women address Naomi - vs. 19b

C. Naomi renames herself - vs. 20-21



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Ruth 4 - Structure


I. Boaz "had gone up"- Negotiating a relationship at the gate of Bethlehem

A. Boaz's First Speech - vs. 3-4a

A'. Redeemer's verbal response - vs. 4b

B. Boaz's Second Speech - vs. 5

B'. Redeemer's verbal and nonverbal responses - vs. 6-8

C. Boaz's Third Speech - vs. 9-10

C'. Elders' and People's verbal response - vs. 11-12


II. Rest in the Land

A. Boaz and Ruth "arrive" in the land - vs. 13

B. Women address Naomi - vs. 14-16

C. Women name Obed - vs. 17


III. Epilogue of the Book of Ruth - vs. 18-22

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