• Scott Fairbanks

Ruth and Esther

The books of Ruth and Esther are widely separated from each other in scripture. Each describes a young woman and events surrounding her being integrated into a foreign culture. But the stories unfold from opposite ends.

Ruth is a Moabite, and she is being integrated into a Hebrew village. The characters are from the house of Judah, ancestors in the line of King David. Esther is a Hebrew, in fact she is a descendant of Saul. She is integrating into the gentile court of Assyria, the world empire of the day.

The scenes in each story are similar and they are ordered the same: a lost spouse, the heroine joins a group of other females, the young woman violates a sacred space of the book's male authority figure, the office of two men are exchanged, the presentation of the fate of ten sons....

These details are peculiar. This introduction just skims over the surface of the deep correspondence between the two. To read more, follow this link to the essay.

These two similar stories are populated with a long sequence of images from opposite ends of many spectrums. They are a point along a trajectory of a developing theme that begins with the special creative act on day three. There, God created two types of plants, one whose seed is contained, in the other, the seed is scattered.

Esther is a scattered seed story, Ruth is a contained seed story. I'll develop this idea in another essay that I will finish soon.

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