Study Guide – Life Change Series
Ruth and Esther, NavPress, 1987
The Overview starts on page 9 with a map of Israel under the Judges. The general focus of the map is land occupied by the tribes of Israel, but it also shows the area of Moab in the south east corner. North of Moab is Ammon the home of the Ammonites. To understand the story of Ruth and the relationship between the people of Moab and Israel, first go back to the time of Lot and to the time of Moses. The references and information on both countries are found in the section Ruth the Moabitess on page 12 of the Text and clarified in the scriptural references of Genesis 19:30-38 and Deuteronomy 23:3-4.
In the center of the map is the water system which runs north to south. The larger body of water to the south-east of the tribe of Naphtali and just east of the Tribe of Zebulon is commonly known as the sea of Galilee in the New Testament, but in the time period of the Judges it was known as the Sea of Chinnereth, named for the city of Chinnereth on the North West side of the Sea. From the Sea of Galilee the Jordan River runs south to the Dead Sea.
When the people of Israel entered their land, they traveled on the east (Left) side of the Dead Sea and Jordan River, traveling north through Moab, into Ammon and turning west (left), just north of the Dead Sea and crossing the Jordan River toward the City of Jericho. As they invaded the land of Ammon and Moab it is easy to see why there was hostility between God’s people and the two nations.