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Faithful God: An Exposition of the Book of Ruth Paperback – September 1, 2005
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About the Author
Sinclair B. Ferguson is Senior Minister of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia. He is also Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He was formerly minister of St. George's-Tron church in Glasgow. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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His analysis of Ruth 1 was eye opening. I always pictured Naomi coming back as a picture of defeat and Ruth's profession of loyalty as primarily a statement of her love for her mother-in-law. Ferguson demonstrates that this is far short of the richness of the text. The keyword for the chapter is "shub" >> "return" which is a key OT term for repentance. Naomi returning to the promised land is like the prodigal son returning to his Father. Naomi is returning to God and returning to God's people. Similarly, Ruth's statement is far more than a statement of her love for Naomi - it is a clear profession of faith in YHWH. Ruth tells Naomi to stop trying to send her home because she is now a believer.
Ferguson has a very high view of God's sovereignty ... high enough that some will be offended by it. Part of the reason Naomi's family suffered so greatly is that God was planning to save Ruth? Your reaction to that question will go a long way in determining whether you will appreciate this commentary or not.
Ferguson does misstep in his discussion of chapter 2, saying that this chapter is about "hesed" (covenant faithfulness) when the actual Hebrew term in the chapter is "hen" (grace). But overall, I think that was the only error I found in the commentary. There were questions I had that the book didn't explore, but for interpreting the central meaning of Ruth I found Ferguson to have many insights which caused me to pause and really think through the text more deeply. That makes for a great commentary.
Overall, in my teaching series I had a stack of commentaries on Ruth but toward the end Ferguson, Currid, and Block's ZECOT commentary had clearly separated themselves from the pack.