In the story of Ruth an Israelite family moves to Moab during a time of famine and the two sons marry Moabite women. Naomi the Jewish wife and mother loses her husband and both sons and decides to return to Israel. Ruth, one of her Moabite daughters-in-law travels to Bethlehem with her. Ruth made the statement: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (1:16). Ruth went out to the field to glean grain to support the two women. Fortunately, she chose the field of Boaz who was Naomi’s close relative and who was impressed with Ruth’s dedication to her mother-in-law. Boaz ensured that there was lots of leftover grain for her to gather and ensured her safety. This was the period of the judges when people did as they saw fit so she was fortunate to have found such a caring landowner. In turn Naomi cared for Ruth and instructed her in how to pursue Boaz as her husband. Ruth carried out the instructions and Boaz agreed to be her kinsman redeemer if the nearer relative gave up his right. He was successful and married Ruth and they had a son named Obed. He was to become the grandfather of King David. This story provides both a heritage for David and stands as a contrast to the wicked actions recorded in the book of Judges. It is interesting that Tamar is also mentioned in this passage. Both women went about providing offspring for their deceased husbands in unconventional ways and became ancestors of Jesus the Messiah.
May 17, 2009