Right after the book of Judges, the book of Ruth opens:
Now it came about in the days when
the judges governed....
Ruth's story is known as an ageless love story, in which a young girl, beautiful outside and in, finds love and protection, and incidentially a place in God's people and Jesus' royal lineage.
The Pilegesh's TaleHowever, just a few pages before, another young girl does not fare so well.
In Judges 19, a father, apparently too poor to provide his daughter with a full-status marriage, gives her to become a concubine, that is, a second-class wife. In itself, that may not have been such a bad thing, but life deteriorated from there, for her and the society around her. The entire chapter shows a heedlessness of the value of women, and the men as well in many cases.
The Pilegesh's fate becomes a harbinger of the fate of other young women as civil war ensues.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...After the violence of the end of the book of Judges, it's hard to believe that the peaceful book of Ruth takes place at roughly the same date & time.
However, here people are valued.
Ruth cares for her mother in law. Boaz not only cares for Ruth, the romance of the book, but shows us a model of labor/management relations:
Boaz arrived ... greeted the harvesters,
“The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
What a change from the adversarial attitude we often hear about in today's society. Reading on in the chapter, we see that Boaz put his money where his mouth was. He made his fields a safe place to work, and the reputation spread. His workers gladly returned his blessing.
I run the same path as Your commandments
because You give my heart insight. CEB