The Story of Ruth (1960)




Director: Henry Koster

Starring:  Elana Eden (Ruth), Stuart Whitman (Boaz), Tom Tryon (Mahlon), Peggy Wood (Naomi), Viveca Lindfors (Eleilat), Jeff Morrow (Tob)

This is the story of Ruth who renounces her gods for the God of Israel. 



Ruth (Elana Eden) is a religious priestess of the god of the Moabites, so we know that she is very conscious of religion in her life.  But then enters the jeweler Mahlon (Tom Tryon), a Jewish immigrant in Moab, who is almost immediately smitten by Ruth.  The couple work together to make sure that the crown for the young girl to be sacrificed by stabbing and immolation glitters brightly.  As they talk, Mahlon continuously questions her faith and slowly she begins to have doubts.  She especially begins to doubt the need to sacrifice young girls to her god.  At the same time, she falls in love with Mahlon.

When it comes time to sacrifice the young girl, Ruth cannot go through with the ceremony.  This, of course, makes her a dangerous heretic and her life is in danger.  Mahlon's brother and father are killed when Moab soldiers arrive in the jewelry shop in search of Ruth.  Mahlon and his mother Naomi (Peggy Wood), accompanied by Ruth, start on their escape to their home territory.  Mahlon is wounded by Moab soldiers and, near his death, he marries Ruth. 

When Mahlon dies, Ruth decides to continue on the journey with her now mother-in-law.  Back in Naomi's home village, Ruth meets Boaz (Stuart Whitman).  She takes a liking to Boaz, but will Ruth's possible happiness be spoiled by the conniving rival Tob (Jeff Morrow), the Moab agents sent to destroy her and/or the prejudice of the locals toward a Moabite idolatress?  


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.




Ruth was a Moabite.  The Moabites were said to be the descendants of the oldest son of Lot by his eldest daughter. Moab did not fight against Israel for more than 300 years. But in the Bible [Deut. 2:29] there is a complaint that Moab lacked hospitality and hired Balaam to curse Israel. They also sent their daughters to cultivate friendly relations with Israelite men in order to entice them into idolatry.

The Old Testament Book of Ruth is about the Moabite woman, Ruth, who went with her mother-in-law back to Judah, married Boaz and became the grandmother of the future king of Israel, David.

1002   --  Saul becomes first king of Israel and is defeated by Philistines.

1000 --  Accession of Saul's musician David as king of united kingdom of Judah and Israel.


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