Study Guide

The Book of Ruth Gender

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Man or woman? That is the question. In the world of the Book of Ruth, your gender pretty much determined every detail of your life and where it was headed. A man could earn a living, own land, wage war, head a household, and take multiple wives. Ladies could get pregnant with the man's child… and that's about it. This gives rise to a society where women need men for security and men are sometimes legally obligated to give it. So much for romance.

Questions About Gender

  1. Why tell a story about women struggling to live in a man's world? Can you think of any other books or movies with a theme like this?
  2. Are there any other stories like this in the Bible?
  3. How are gender roles today different from how they were in Ruth's day? How are they the same?
  4. Do Ruth and Naomi ever toss aside gender norms to get what they want? How so?

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