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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Literary Structure.

Of all the OT books Ruth has the highest ratio of dialogue to narrative, hence the immediacy of its appeal. Best described as a short story (novella), it is a skilfully structured interweaving of darkness and light. It begins with death and ends with birth, the transforming of emptiness into fullness. The central chapters 2 and 3 are parallel in structure; beginning and ending with scenes in which only Ruth and Naomi participate, their main focus is on Ruth's encounters with Boaz which bring for her blessings both material and spiritual. Their settings, however, are strongly contrasted; the former takes place in public in the countryside by daylight, the latter in the intimate privacy of a threshing floor by night.

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Oxford University Press

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