MS M.638, fol. 19r

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A Happy Ending, Journey to Shiloh

Old Testament Miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-Persian inscriptions

Paris, France
ca. 1244–1254
390 x 300 mm

Purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867–1943) in 1916

MS M.638, fol. 19r
Page description: 

A Happy Ending
Boaz has married Ruth, and she has given birth to a son. Here, Ruth sits up in bed and gestures to the doting Naomi, who holds her grandson to her cheek. At the right, women of Bethlehem praise the Lord for providing the family with a successor. Also, they give thanks for Ruth, who has loved Naomi better than seven sons. Obed, Ruth's son, will become the father of Jesse, who will become the father of David, slayer of Goliath. (Ruth 4:13–17)

Journey to Shiloh
The family of Elkanah has traveled to Shiloh to give thanks to the Lord. Elkanah kneels before the temple entrance with a lamb; the two sons of Eli, the high priest, accept the offering. Atop the draped altar is a golden reliquary chest, a Gothic painter's interpretation of the Ark of the Covenant. Elkanah is followed by his two wives: Peninnah, who has many children, and the sorrowful Hannah, who has none. (1 Kings 1:1–3)


Folio 19r (Latin)

Upper half: How, after the person who had the option of having Ruth first had refused and Boaz had taken her to be his wife, he begat Obed of her who was the grandfather of king David, of whom Naomi, the mother-in-law, was taking care as his nurse. Moreover, her women neighbors were congratulating her as if he was her son. (Ruth 4: 13–17)

Lower half: From the first book of Kings [I Samuel]. How Elkanah had two wives, of whom the first, Hanna, was barren while the second, Peninnah, had many children, and on certain days he used to go with them to the temple, bearing an offering to God in the presence of the priests. (I Samuel 1:1–3)

Folio 19r (Persian)

Upper left margin: At last, Boaz took Ruth to wife and she bore a son.

Lower right margin: There was a man [Elkanah] who had two wives and he had a son from one wife and none from the other. He went to the temple and offered a sacrifice.

Folio 19r (Judeo-Persian)

Upper left margin, furthest left: This is Ruth giving birth to Obed. Upper right margin: This is Naomi taking Obed, Ruth’s son, into her arms.

Lower right margin, furthest right: This is the tale of Elkanah arriving with a ram for sacrifice.


Content consultant: Richard Leson

Persian translated by Sussan Babaie

Judeo-Persian translated by Vera Basch Moreen

Latin translation by Eran Lupu

After the commentary volume accompanying the Fine Art Facsimile edition by Faksimile Verlag Luzern