The theological interpretation of the Old Testament necessitates that attention be given to the actual form of the biblical canon bequeathed by earlier generations of believers, including the order of the books in the Hebrew and Greek canonical traditions. The compilers of these canons placed the biblical books in what they deemed suitable settings as a guide to later users. This article seeks to tease out some of the theological implications of the canonical orders settled upon by different communities of faith, with the book of Ruth used as a test case. Ruth is placed after Judges in the Greek tradition, after Proverbs in the Hebrew Masoretic tradition, and before the Psalter in the Talmudic tradition. The different positions assigned to the book suggest alternative ways of viewing its content and alert readers that more than one significant theological theme is at play in this rich narrative about God’s dealings with an Israelite family in distress.

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