Apparently Edgar Stubbersfield is an expert in timber structures, which seems an unusual qualification to write an Old Testament commentary. Then again, Ben Chifley was an engine driver, and became the Prime Minister of Australia. A person can have two gifts! Stubberfield himself says that his commentary is ‘somewhat different’. For a starter, he gives Boaz’s unnamed rival in Ruth 4 the nickname ‘Joe Blow’ – a rather Australian touch. Nevertheless, the commentary captures the message of Ruth in a most readable way.
Stubbersfield is not afraid of dealing with issues – did Ruth work or stand in the field in Ruth 2:7? Does Ruth 2:20 imply resurrection with God’s hesed (loving kindness) to the dead? Was Boaz about 80 years’ old when he married Ruth? The sandal episode in Ruth 4:7-8 is not tightly linked to Deuteronomy 25:9. He dithers in discussing the dating of Ruth, taking seriously the contention that it could be as late as the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
Reading Ruth with such a companion is a beneficial exercise, and to be recommended.
– Peter Barnes
Peter Barnes is the editor of AP and pastor at Revesby Presbyterian Church NSW.