The Story of Ruth (1960)

story of ruth in the bibleThe other “Babe” named Ruth wasn’t in the Bible. (And we really ought to find a better nickname for burly, tobacco-chewing baseball players if possible.)

 

And so, unlike Adam’s ill-conceived pogs wager in the third grade, his gamble with Netflix pays off.

(That opening line took a lot longer to write than I think it was probably worth.)

I quite liked this old movie from 20th Century Fox, and if I were to rank it among other Bible epics, I’d say it’s better than Samson and Delilah but not as good as The Robe or The Ten Commandments.

The Story of Ruth is from the same production team as A Man Called Peter and stars Elana Eden as Ruth. Eden was actually an Israeli of Russian and Polish descent who was unknown in Hollywood but an established actress back home (just like me—only I’m slightly more literal when I use the word “home”).

It also stars Stuart Whitman (Boaz) and Tom Tryon (Mahlon), who both had small parts in The Longest Day, though I hear Tryon’s performance in I Married a Monster from Outer Space may have been just as Oscar-worthy.

The biggest name in this film was probably Peggy Wood (Naomi), a wonderful actress who played Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music. (Wood was a good singer but she was no spring chicken when she made that movie, so she was dubbed for the “Climb Every Mountain” song. I guess some mountains are worth paying other people to climb.)

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Apparently there was a handful of men among the Israelites who shaved every morning and wore mini skirts. Lucky dogs.

bible movie ruth

The story of Ruth has always been a little confusing for me, but this film—even with the non-scriptural liberties it takes—really opened my eyes to the meaningful messages of this remarkable woman’s life.

Many people today like to whine about how “exclusionary” the gospel of Jesus Christ seems to be. They will shop around for churches or other so-called Christian organizations that water down God’s commandments or conveniently avoid the topic of repentance, so that all consequences of behavior are non-existent, and everyone is guaranteed entrance into God’s Kingdom regardless of their choices—because Heaven, as we all know, is a place where murderers, thieves, and rapists are welcome to enter and do as they please.

Ruth the Moabite understood what most of us don’t: Heavenly Father and his prophets do not exclude people. The only people left outside the Bridegroom’s wedding feast are those whose prideful sense of entitlement leads them to believe that the party is coming to them.

Presidents, senates, and supreme courts may take votes, but God doesn’t. He has marked our path to Bethlehem, and we either repent and follow it like Ruth, or we whine and criticize God’s messengers and feel excluded.

The peace and happiness of the gospel is not reserved for a special group of God’s “favorites.” It is reserved for people from any background who decide, like Ruth, to give up the ease of complacency for the reward of improvement.

When we make the changes in our lives that we know we need to make, and seek after God, the effects of our new life (some call it being born again) will impact our family here and now, and for generations to come. Ruth became the great-great-great…grandmother of the Messiah. What paths are you forging for your posterity?

“And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” — Ruth 1:16

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