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In die Skriflig

versión On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versión impresa ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.46 no.2 Pretoria nov. 2012




Handling a crisis via a combination of human initiative and godly direction: Insights from the Book of Ruth


Die hantering van 'n krisis deur 'n kombinasie van menslike inisiatief en goddelike bestuur: Insigte uit die boek Rut



Robin Gallaher Branch

Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa. Victory University, Memphis, Tennessee, USA





The biblical text introduces Ruth, a Moabite woman, at a time of personal crisis. She faces destitution. Life has handed her multiple blows, amongst them widowhood and childlessness. Her single asset? Naomi, a cranky, elderly but endearing mother-in-law. Naomi, an Israelite and also widowed, is now quite determined to go home to Bethlehem. Ruth joins Naomi's journey, but for Ruth it is a pilgrimage, for it is at this time that she switches allegiance from the gods of Moab to the God of Israel. As an immigrant facing change on every level - a new culture, a new religion, no friends and no job - Ruth nonetheless triumphs. Within only a couple of months, not only does she marry a prominent and prosperous bachelor, Boaz, but also wins the hearts of her mother-in-law's friends, the women of Bethlehem. This analysis of her successful pilgrimage offers contemporary guidelines for facing dramatic changes. Using a literary method, this article examines one of the Bible's accounts of how a personal crisis is resolved via a combination of God's providence and human initiative and courage.


Die bybelse teks stel die leser voor aan Rut, 'n Moabitiese vrou, tydens 'n persoonlike krisis in haar lewe. Sy is 'n weduwee, kinderloos en staar dus armoede in die gesig. Haar enigste pluspunt is Naomi, haar bejaarde, ietwat verbitterde dog innemende skoonmoeder. Naomi, 'n Israeliet en ook 'n weduwee, is vasbeslote om na haar huis in Betlehem terug te keer. Rut vergesel haar en dit word vir Rut 'n pelgrimstog na die God van Israel, weg van die afgode van Moab af. As immigrant wat 'n vreemde kultuur en godsdiens, 'n toekoms sonder vriende en werkloosheid moet verwerk, seëvier Rut uiteindelik. Sy trou binne 'n paar maande met Boas, 'n prominente en welvarende vrygesel en wen ook die harte van haar skoonmoeder se vriendinne, die vroue van Bethlehem. Die ontleding van Rut se suksesvolle pelgrimstog bied tydgenootlike riglyne aan diegene wat voor groot veranderinge in hulle lewens te staan kom. Met behulp van die literêre metode ondersoek hierdie artikel 'n bybelse mededeling wat aantoon hoedat 'n persoonlike krisis deur middel van God se voorsienigheid en menslike inisiatief en moed opgelos kan word.



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Robin Gallaher Branch
255 North Highland
Victory University
Memphis, Tennessee
USA, 901-320-9700 x 1091

Received: 19 Nov. 2010
Accepted: 02 Aug. 2011
Published: [to be released]



This article continues work I started in my book on biblical women and girls who exhibit great courage (see Branch 2009). Courageous children in the book include Miriam (Ex 2:1-10) and the Israelite slave girl (2 Ki 5:1-14). Courageous women in the book include Rizpah (2 Sam 21:1-14), the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah (2 Sam 20:14-22) and the Widow of Zarepath (1 Ki 17:1-24).

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