By Richard Sison | 2016
Ruth is the seventh book in the Christian Bible but 31st in the Hebrew Tanakh. In as much as number seven is a biblical number and Ruth’s position as the seventh book is an interesting thing by itself, looking at it from the Hebrew perspective would give an even interesting insight. Let us consider the Hebraic significance of 31, to wit:
1. The Hebrew word for G-D is אל (El), composed of the Hebrew letters Lamed (representing 30) and Aleph (representing 1), which totals to the number 31.
2. Josiah, considered the best king of Judah after Israel split into two nations, began his reign at the age of eight and ruled for 31 years (640 to 609 B.C.).
3. One of the most commonly occurring names in the Bible is Moses, which appears in 31 books.
4. One of most frequently mentioned woman in Scripture is Rebekah (Isaac's wife), whose name appears 31 times. Rebekah is one of the very few individuals in the Bible who showed what a Hebrew word “chesed” really means.
5. The book of Luke contains materials from 31 Older covenant books, the second highest in the New Testament.
In the Jewish tradition, there are five Megillot (or scrolls) being read during certain times:Ruth is read on Shavuot or Pentecost as part of the program of study or in preparation for the feast.
There are several reasons for this custom:
1. Shavuot is the birthday and yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing) of King David, and the Book of Ruth records his ancestry. Ruth and her husband Boaz were King David’s greatgrandparents.
2. The scenes of harvesting described in the book of Ruth are appropriate to the Festival of Harvest in time of Shavuot.
3. Ruth was a sincere convert who embraced Judaism with all her heart. On Shavuot all Jews were converts—having accepted the Torah and all of its precepts.
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