Would You Rather: Ruth vs. Esther

Would you rather have dinner with Ruth or Esther?
Would you rather is a fun game to play, particularly when getting to know someone. A person is asked to choose betwen two things of equal desiring—making it hard to decide and opening dialouge as to why the person chooses the option they choose. Recently I stumbled accross several versions of "Would You Rather?: Bible Edition" and found the questions quite intriguing. I've decided to answer one every Sabbath. Let me know your answer to today's "Would You Rather?" in the comment section.

Would you rather have dinner with Ruth or Esther?

Answer: Ruth



Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family that was living in Moab. After her husband died, she left her home country, her family, her culture, and everything she knew to support her mother-in-law. Ruth is most known for her marriage to Boaz, but her journey of conversion and loyalty is about so much more than the husband she gained at the end of the journey. One of two women to have a book in the Biblical cannon named after her, and one of four women to be named in the lineage of Christ, Ruth had a pround effect on the history of both Israel and Christianity.[2]


Esther was an Israelite living in Persia during the captivity. When the king decided to look for a bride, she was chosen. This may have felt like a fairytale (or it may have been a nightmare, considering approaching the king without permission was punishable by death even for the queen), but after the king's right hand man issue a decree for the death of the Israelites, Esther was placed in a horrible position. She became the only one who could save the lives of all her people—no pressure. We don't know how old Esther is when this takes place, but given the time period and the fact that until recently women were expected to be married by their late teens, she was probably about 16. If it weren't for Esther, there would have been no Israelites to return to Israel to usher in the Messiah!! [1]


This is a hard one because there is so much to talk about with both of these women! They both have relatable experiences, which would make for excellent conversation. Ruth stepped out of her comfort zone and went on a whole adventure in the name of family—even though "family" was not blood. Esther experienced a Cinderella story and saved her people with a mastery of persuasion. Both women displayed courage, experienced life as a minority, were leaders, and fundamentally shaped the nation of Israel.

1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 KJV
As a black woman, I easily relate to Esther being an Israelite in captivity in Persia. The concept of Esther "passing" for a Persian is very much like the concept of "passing" for white. I don't know what kind of cultural stigma was associated with abandonning he Jewish heritage or what she had to give up to not draw attention to her background, but I imagine that was a difficult path to navigate.

We never see Esther's choice in the matter—whether she desired to be married to the king or this was forced upon her by the king and her uncle (akin to the plight of Sally Hemmings). Esther was thrust into a bad situation and the lives of all her people became dependent upon her. She didn't ask for that kind of responsibility, and yet she rose to the challenge. Esther showed us the importance of spiritual fasting. From Esther we could learn about diplomacy, courage, and faith.
But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house. Judges 16:21 KJV
Ruth, on the other was fully in control of her situation. She left the home she knew to maintain the bond of family with her mother-in-law, including converting to Judaism. I relate to her in the sense that I've made major changes in my relationship with God to bring them in line with His Word—changes that the rest of my family have not made—and live 11 hours away from them.

Like Esther, Ruth is also a despised minority (Moabite) in a foreign land (Israel). She was courageous and had faith that following Naomi would work out for the best. Allow we know that the goal was to get Boaz to become her husband, Ruth proved to be a hardworker. From Ruth we could learn about adaptation to change, taking the first step toward a dream or adventure, and how to treat strangers as family.

I don't think there would be a single con of going back in time and meeting either one of these ladies (or meeting them after all is said and done). Ultimately, I like the go-getter-ness of Ruth. I feel like she more proactive in her situation, which leads me to jump to the conclusion that she would have the most advice and be more engaging in conversation. Who would you choose?

References and Footnotes

  1. The Book of Esther
  2. The Book of Ruth
  3. I found many versions of "Whould You Rather?: Scripture Edition"; this question was found in a version made by Rebecca of Out Upon the Waters

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