Right­eous Gen­tiles in the Hebrew Bible: Ancient Role Mod­els for Sacred Relationships

  • Review
By – January 11, 2012

The Hebrew Bible, as part of its nar­ra­tive, fea­tures non-Jews who are cen­tral to sev­er­al key sto­ries and who are held forth as right­eous peo­ple by their actions and rela­tion­ships with sig­nif­i­cant Jew­ish characters. 

Rab­bi Salkin has select­ed fif­teen of these right­eous gen­tiles and gives us the bib­li­cal con­text of their sto­ries, adding addi­tion­al com­men­tary from sources such as the Tal­mud, Midrash Rab­bah, and mod­ern schol­ar­ship from var­i­ous streams of Judaism. Each chap­ter is devot­ed to one char­ac­ter; in addi­tion to well known fig­ures, such as Jethro and Ruth, are Yael and Hiram, from the books of Judges and Kings. 

This book is an excel­lent text for indi­vid­ual study and chap­ters can be read out of sequence as sup­ple­ments to Torah and Haftorah study. Inter­faith dis­cus­sions of bib­li­cal sto­ries can have new mean­ing added as the text pre­sent­ed by Rab­bi Salkin gives us new insights into how Jews lived with non- Jews in the bib­li­cal world. He demon­strates the lessons to be learned for our times with­in the tra­di­tions of the ancient stories.

Bar­bara Andrews holds a Mas­ters in Jew­ish Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, has been an adult Jew­ish edu­ca­tion instruc­tor, and works in the cor­po­rate world as a pro­fes­sion­al adult educator.

Discussion Questions