The book of Ruth is placed by the modern Jewish canon among the Hagiographa, the unrelated body of holy writings which form the third section of the Bible. But the-earliest Christian Bibles placed the book in its present position among the historical records; and the learned Josephus, who lived in the same century as Christ, tells us that this was customary among the Jews in his day.
The book has sometimes been regarded as a mere appendix to Judges or even as an actual part of that book, a detached story similar to that of the migration of Dan or the war against Benjamin.
The story of Ruth is represented as happening during the period of the judges, and has a direct historical bearing in that it tells of the ancestors of King David. The authorship is wholly unknown. Probably the work was composed in the days after the Exile as a protest against the exclusiveness of the anti-foreign party.
From a literary standpoint the book is highly valued. It is a pastoral idyl, almost a poem, depicting the life of the Israelites in their days of peace.
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The Harvester by Adolphe Bouguereau
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For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
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