The scriptures on Ruth and Hannah are narratives of righteous women and also tell of God’s care for the poor and disenfranchised. For example, Mosaic law instructed gleaners to leave some grain in the field so the poor could gather it. Boaz acts as a representative of God and redeemer of Naomi and Ruth. The text describing Samuel’s birth and prophetic call is a carefully crafted narrative that foretells his important ministry.
“Ruth, Redemption, Covenant, and Christ,” Kerry Muhlestein, The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, Sperry Symposium 2009
The book of Ruth symbolically demonstrates God’s redeeming power; it teaches us of how we can access that power and exemplifies how we should emulate our Redeemer. Numerous elements of the story serve as a type of Christ. It is about hope in Israel.
“‘The Lord . . . Bringeth Low, and Lifteth Up’: Hannah, Eli, and the Temple,” Julie M. Smith, Ascending the Mountain of the Lord: Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament, Sperry Symposium 2013
Just as Hannah brought her sorrows to the temple in 1 Samuel chapter 1, she brings her joy to the temple in chapter 2. In fact, we can read the entirety of Hannah’s story as a chiastically structured commentary on temple vows:
- A Hannah takes her sorrow to the temple (1:10)
- B Hannah makes a covenant (1:11)
- C Hannah defuses a potentially contentious interaction with a high–status man (1:12–16)
- D Her desire is granted (1:17–20)
- C’ Hannah defuses a potentially contentious interaction with a high–status man (1:27–28)
- B’ Hannah keeps her covenant (1:27–28)
- A’ Hannah takes her joy to the temple (2:1–10)
Note that the centerpiece of this structure is the Lord granting Hannah’s desire for a child. The fulfillment of this desire is literally and metaphorically surrounded by the making (1:11) and keeping (1:27–28) of covenants.
“Birth and Calling of the Prophet Samuel: A Literary Reading of the Biblical Text,” Steven L. Olsen, BYU Studies Quarterly 56, no. 1
The narrative of 1 Samuel 1-3 is a carefully crafted text. This article focuses on several recurrent literary conventions that unite the biblical account of Samuel’s birth and divine calling and act as framework befitting the significance of the story. Recurrent literary conventions that form the interpretive fabric of this account include parallelism, characterization, key words, type scenes, patterns of customary behavior, and structuring devices.
“Ruth,” Video, John A. Widtsoe Foundation Come, Follow Me Interfaith Conversations
A conversation between Laura Redford and Ora Horn Prouser. Dr. Prouser discusses interpretations on Naomi and Ruth from Jewish perspectives. In this narrative, Ruth makes her own decisions. Why would God design that David and the Messiah would be born through the lineage of Ruth, a Moabite woman? One idea is that Ruth’s actions showed that she was a woman of honor. Ruth’s narrative reflects earlier relationships that were outside the norm. Boaz can be seen as a representative of God, doing God’s will and acting as a redeemer.
“Eli and His Sons: Some Lessons for Parents,” Frank F. Judd Jr., Religious Educator 2, no. 2 (2001): 47–51
The sons of Eli earned their bad reputation. They disobeyed the sacrificial rituals and were guilty of sexual immorality. Eli instructed his sons that they did not merely “sin against another” person but rather they did “sin against the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:25). Eli was guilty of neglecting his parental duties toward his sons because “he restrained them not” (1 Samuel 3:13).
We should not assume that parents are culpable for the poor conduct of their children. Many righteous parents earnestly strive to teach their children from their youth the principles of the gospel, yet their children still go astray. At the same time, however, we must not downplay the crucial responsibility of parents to instruct their children.
“1 Samuel 1–5,” Old Testament Student Manual, Genesis-2 Samuel
In these chapters, Hannah consecrates her own life and her son to the Lord. Eli fails to correct his wicked sons. The Ark of the Covenant is lost in battle and returned after it causes disaster among the victors. The Israelites desired a king, and Saul is chosen and anointed.
“Ruth,” by Francine R. Bennion, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
The heroine of the biblical book of Ruth has been both a formal and an informal model of ideal womanhood for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints: loyal, hard–working, converted, courageous, she makes the best of what is available.