Order of Contents
The Best Commentaries on Ruth
Devotional & Practical, Contemporary
A Sweet & Bitter Providence: Sex, Race & the Sovereignty of God in the Book of Ruth Buy (2009) 160 pp.
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
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
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 (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
Morris, Leon – Ruth Buy in Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (1968)
Poole (1624–1679) was a puritan, presbyterian minister and Bible commentator.
This is different and much larger than Poole’s Annotations on Scripture. Here Poole gives something of a history of interpretation (from Jewish writers until Christian interpreters of Poole’s own day) on every verse of the Bible.
‘…you will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvelous collection of all the wisdom and folly of the critics. It is a large cyclopedia worthy of the days when theologians could be cyclopean, and had not shrunk from folios to octavos. Query—a query for which I will not demand an answer—has one of you beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves? Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice—ten years, let me add, spent in Amsterdam in exile for the truth’s sake from his native land. His work is based on an earlier compilation entitled Critici Sacri, containing the concentrated light of a constellation of learned men who have never been excelled in any age or country.’ – Spurgeon
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 Methodist Magazine, quoted by Surgeon
Commentaries on Ruth
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 & Notes upon Jonah (1650)
Fuller (†1661) 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
MacGowan, John – Discourses on Ruth & Other Important Subjects, wherein the Wonders of Providence, the Riches of Grace, the Privileges of Believers & the Condition of Sinners are Judiciously & Faithfully Exemplified & Improved Buy (London, 1781) 389 pp. no ToC This is a series of sermons
** “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
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 was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.
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.
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
‘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)
De Graaf, S.G. – ch. 6. ‘The Redeemer’ in Promise & Deliverance, vol. 2: The Failure of Israel’s Theocracy (Ontario: Paideia Press, 1978), pp. 57-67
Wright, C.H.H. – The Book of Ruth in Hebrew… with a Grammatical & 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
Kennedy, A.R.S. – The Book of Ruth, the Hebrew Text with Grammatical Notes & Vocabulary Buy (1928; London: SPCK, 1951) 80 pp. no ToC
‘This work contains helpful comments on the Hebrew text.’ – Cyril J. Barber
Myers, Jacob Martin – The Linguistic & Literary Form of the Book of Ruth (Brill, 1955) 85 pp. ToC
‘A critical study.’ – Cyril J. Barber
The Early Church on Ruth
ed. Franke, John – Ruth in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel (InterVarsity Press, 2005), pp. 181-93
Theodoret of Cyrus
The Questions on the Octateuch, vol. 2: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in Library of Early Christianity Ref (Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 431 pp.
Theodoret (c. AD 393 – c. 458/466)
Questions & Answers on Ruth at Patristic Bible Commentary
The Medieval Church on Ruth
Smith, Lesley – Medieval Exegesis in Translation: Commentaries on the Book of Ruth (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, 1996) 90 pp. ToC
This volume provides texts on Ruth from: Jerome, Isidore, Ordinary Gloss, Comestor, Hugh of St. Cher & Nicholas of Lyra.
Special Introduction to Ruth
Heidegger, Johann H. – Bible Handbook: Ruth (d. 1698) The commentary below Heidegger’s posts is by Matthew Poole.
Heidegger (1633–1698) was a Swiss reformed theologian.
Josephus – On Ruth at Patristic Bible Commentary
Rashi – On Ruth at Patristic Bible Commentary
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 too lively.” – Spurgeon
On Bible Characters in Ruth
Guthrie, Thomas – Ruth the Virtuous in Studies of Character from the Old Testament (1872)
Guthrie was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.
Whyte, Alexander – Ruth in Bible Characters, vol. 1 d. 1921
Guthrie, Thomas – Boaz the Farmer in Studies of Character from the Old Testament (1872)
Guthrie was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.