Commentaries on Ruth

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Bible Commentaries

Judges  ⇐ ⇒  1 Samuel

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For more great commentaries on Ruth, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament
& Whole Bible Commentaries

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Order of Contents 

The Best Commentaries  7
Commentaries  17
The Early Church  1
The Medieval Church  1
Ruth for the Young  1
Bible Character: Ruth

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The Best Commentaries on Ruth

Devotional and Practical, Conetmporary

Ferguson, Sinclair – Faithful God: an Exposition of the Book of Ruth  Buy  2005  157

Piper, John

A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God in the Book of Ruth  Buy  2009  160 pp.  See Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ link, and reviews, for more about this work.

Ruth: Under the Wings of God  Buy  2010  96 pp.

“This cycle of poems by John Piper tells the story of God’s care for Naomi and the love affair between Ruth and Boaz through the eyes of their son, an aged Obed, as he narrates the account to his eight-year-old grandson David, the future king of Israel.” – From the blurb

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Intermediate

Puritan

Topsell, Edward – The Reward of Religion, delivered in sundry lectures upon the Book of Ruth  GB  1596  304 pp.

Topsell (1572-1625) was an Anglican.

*** “A very choice old work.  [William] Attersol in his rhyming preface says of it:

‘Go little Book, display thy golden title,
(And yet not little though thou little be);
Little for price and yet in price not little,
Thine was the pain, the gain is ours I see:
(Although our gain thou deem’st no pain to thee).
If then, O reader, little pain thou take,
Thou greatest gain with smallest pain shall make.'” -Spurgeon

1800’s

Lange’s Commentary – Ruth  by P. Cassel

***‘This is a standard work.  No minister’s library is furnished without the whole set.  Joshua however is inferior to Judges [Judges was also written by Cassel].’ – Spurgeon

Lawson, George – Lectures on the Whole Book of Ruth  1st ed. 1805, 1870  145 pp.

***‘By a man of great genius.  Simple, fresh and gracious.  Nothing critical or profound may be looked for, but wise and sound teaching may be gleaned in these pages.’ – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Morris, Leon – Ruth  Buy  in Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries  1968

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Advanced

Keil, Karl F. – Ruth

** – ‘Let our Biblical students not only master the facts and logic, but catch the spirit of these commentaries, and we can have no fear for the issue of that conflict with Rationalism and Popery united, by which Protestantism in this country seems to be threatened.’ – Wesleyan Mehodist Magazine, quoted by Surgeon

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Commentaries on Ruth

Intermediate

Puritans

Bernard, Richard – Ruth’s Recompense, or a Commentary upon the Book of Ruth  1628  120 pp.

Bernard (1568-1641) was a puritan minister in England, and the predecessor of Richard Alleine. 

** – ‘Mr. Grosart is enthusiastic in his praise of this work, and says ‘that it abounds with apophthegms [concise sayings or maxims] and compressed thoughts.’  We defer to so high an authority, but we are not much fascinated by the book.’ – Spurgeon

Fuller, Thomas – A Commentary on Ruth; and, Notes upon Jonah  1650, † 1661

Fuller was a reformed Anglican.

** – ‘Not one of Fuller’s best; but still quaint and pithy, and lit up with flashes of his irrepressible wit.  The above works of Bernard and Fuller have been reprinted in Nichol’s Series of Commentaries, in one volume.’

Lavater, Ludwig – The Book of Ruth, expounded in 28 Sermons  1586

Lavater was a Swiss reformed theologian.

* ‘Lavater was a reformer of high repute, son-in-law of Bullinger.  He wrote a curious work on spectres, and made a catalog of comets, thus showing himself to be both a philosopher and divine.  His book is seldom met with.’ – Spurgeon

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1700’s

MacGowan, John – Discourses on Ruth and other Important Subjects  Buy  1781

**  “MacGowen, the author of the Dialogue of Devils, is well known for originality and force.  In this case his sermons are full of Gospel truth, but the texts are too much accommodated and spiritualized.  The discourses are good reading.” – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Allen, John – A Spiritual Exposition of the Old Testament: from Joshua to the end of the Psalms  1816

‘Spiritual reflections after the high Calvinistic school.  Some preachers cannot see Christ where He is, but Allen finds Him where He is not.  There is in these reflections much godly savor, but very little exposition.’ – Spurgeon  

This Allen was not the one that translated Calvin’s Institutes.  James Darling said that Allen was an Antinomian (one who believes that Christians are not bound by moral injunctions).  Antinomians, not believing that moral injunctions should be derived from God’s Word, often replaced this large aspect of Scripture’s teaching with finding Christ everywhere in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. 

Braden, William – The Beautiful Gleaner: a Hebrew Pastoral Story, being Familiar Expositions of the Book of Ruth  1874  137 pp.

**  “Mr. Braden is an able preacher.  His sermons upon Ruth are popular and practical, though not very remarkable.” – Spurgeon

Bush, George – Scripture Questions Designed Principally for Adult Bible Classes: Deut.-Esther

Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.

Cox, Samuel – The Book of Ruth, a Popular Exposition  Buy  1876  rep. Klock & Klock

Cox was (1826–1893) an English non-conformist, baptist and a universalist (not recommended) who was an editor of the magazine The Expositor.

‘The devotional nature of this commentary does not detract from its expository value.  While popular in style, it exhibits a remarkable understanding of human nature, and provides its readers with a work of real merit.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Groser, W.H. – Joshua and his Successors: an Introduction to Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1 Samuel, with Notes Critical and Illustrative, vol. 2 (Judges-Ruth-1 Samuel 1-12)  1874

Moorehouse, Henry – Ruth, the Moabitess: Gleanings from the Book of Ruth  Buy  1881  66 pp.

‘A helpful and edifying exposition.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Price, Aubrey – Six Lectures on the Book of Ruth  1869

**  “Sermons of remarkable power, both of doctrine and diction.  Not so expository as practical.  Mr. Price is an earnest and large-hearted clergyman of thoroughly evangelical school.” – Spurgeon

Taylor, William – Ruth the Gleaner and Esther the Queen  1891  The part on Ruth is 93 pp.

Taylor (1829–1895) was a Scottish Presbyterian who later ministered in America at Broadway Tabernacle Congregationalist Church in New York.

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1900’s

Mauro, Philip – Ruth: the Satisfied Stranger  Buy  1920

Mauro (1859-1952) was a lawyer and author.

‘A detailed study with helpful discussions on such topics as ‘kinsman’, Ruth happening to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz, and ‘the name of the dead.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Davis, John

Conquest and Crisis: Studies in Joshua, Judges and Ruth  Buy  1969

‘A systematic consideration of the central themes of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, incorporating into its material the latest archaeological findings in the Near East…  Deals with the difficult problems…  A commendable volume.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Israel from Conquest to Exile: a Commentary on Joshua to 2 Kings  Buy  1994

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Advanced

Kennedy, A.R.S. – The Book of Ruth, the Hebrew Text with Grammatical Notes and Vocabulary  Buy  1928

‘This work contains helpful comments on the Hebrew text.’  – Cyril J. Barber

Myers, Jacob Martin – The Linguistic and Literary Form of the Book of Ruth  1955  Brill

‘A critical study.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Wright, C.H.H. – The Book of Ruth in Hebrew… with a Grammatical and Critical Commentary  1864

**  “For Hebraists only.  The author has selected the book of Ruth as a study for beginners in the Hebrew tongue, because of the simplicity of the language [of the book of Ruth].” – Spurgeon

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The Early Church on Ruth

Compilation

ed. Franke, John – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel  Buy

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The Medieval Church on Ruth

Smith, Lesley – Medieval Exegesis in Translation: Commentaries on the Book of Ruth  Buy

“This book brings together and translates from the medieval Latin a series of commentaries on the biblical book of Ruth, with the intention of introducing readers to medieval exegesis or biblical interpretation…” – From the blurb

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Ruth for the Young

Tyng, Stephen – The Rich Kinsman; or the History of Ruth the Moabitess  1856

*  “Written for young people, and suitable for their reading, though none to lively.” – Spurgeon

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Bible Character:  Ruth

Whyte, Alexander – Ruth  in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 

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