Ruth – A Study in Loyalty
By Dennis Huebshman
At the beginning of the Book of Ruth, we’re told there was a famine in the Land of Judah. Elimelech was a resident of Bethlehem, and he took his family to the land of Moab. Normally, Israelites didn’t mingle with the Moabites because there was conflict between the peoples.
A little background, and some definitions first:
Moab (Genesis 19: 31-38) Son of Lot’s oldest daughter from an incestuous encounter.
Ammonite – BenAmmi son of youngest daughther also sired by lot the next night.
Both adversaries of Israel along with Edomites from Esau – all the way up to today.
All lived East of Jordan River – All arabs are descendants of the above
Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites believed in human sacrifice – mainly children.
Naomi – good, pleasant, lovely
Mara – bitter or suffering
Elimelech – “My God is King”
Sons: Malon (husband of Ruth (4:10) and Kilion (husband of Orpah).
Daughter in laws: Orpah and Ruth.
After death of Elimelech, Naomi and her sons stayed in Moab about 10 years and sons died leaving no off-spring. Both sons had married Moab women.
Naomi had heard the famine in Judah was over and decided to return to Bethlehem of Judah so she could be among her own people. she advised her daughter in laws to go home to their kinfolk. Orpah did.
Ruth refused and gave the famous saying in 1: 16-17. Her famous saying is actually still used in some marriage ceremonies today. She went to Bethlehem with Naomi who now wished to be called Mara because of all the suffering she had done.
Enter Boaz- (Strength is within Him) – son of Rahab of Jericho – Relative of Elemelech.
Boaz was called a “Guardian” for Naomi and Ruth, and he gave instructions to the other workers how to behave and treat Ruth, and to Allow her to gather extra grain. Boaz told Ruth not to go to any other field, but to work exclusively in his. Boaz was impressed that Ruth had left her country and people to take care of her mother-in-law. He was drawn to her by both her inner and outer beauty. When it came to mealtime, he invited her to eat with all the others, and he took part in feeding her. She worked his fields until the end of the Barley Harvest.
After the harvest, Naomi instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor, and that when Boaz would lie down to sleep, Ruth was to “uncover his legs” and lie down beside him. This would be a sign Ruth was available for marriage.
It should be noted, Boaz was the 2nd. in line “guardian” for Naomi and Ruth. More on that later.
After a night with Ruth sleeping beside him, He told her he would marry her if the other relative refused. Boaz was impressed Ruth didn’t go after the younger men. That night, they didn’t have relations, but Boaz asked her to leave before daybreak so there wouldn’t be any false gossip.
That next morning, Boaz met with the 1st. in line (no name is given) along with 10 witnesses at the meeting gate. Jewish history states there had to be at least 2-3 witnesses to confirm any deal. Boaz wasn’t taking any chances. Boaz offered 1st. relative the choice to buy Naomi’s land but advised if he took it he would also have to marry the moabitess Ruth. Other relative didn’t want to have her as one of his beneficiaries so He refused. She would have been eligible to inherit his wealth.
The first guardian removed a sandal, and gave it to Boaz to show the deal was confirmed, and right after this Boaz married Ruth.
According to Jewish tradition, Boaz was about 80 years old and Ruth mid to late 30’s. Jewish History states Boaz died the day after their wedding, however on the wedding night a child was conceived. (this is not in the Bible, but has been passed down through the ages in Jewish history.)
One son was conceived in that marriage – Obed.
Obed was the father of Jesse who was the Father of David.
Ruth – David’s great grandmother
Rahab – David’s great-great Grandmother.
Both “gentiles” in the line of Jesus! Matthew 1!
Three other women are mentioned in Matthew:
Tamar – bearing sons to Judah who was her father-in-law;
Bathsheba always shown as “wife of Uriah” who bore Solomon;
And of course Mary, mother of Jesus.
We can see the hand of God in everything that happened. God knew who was going to be in the Messiah’s blood line even before Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.
All was carefully orchestrated right up to the Cross. God assured that all prophecy pertaining to Jesus was fulfilled.
That is why we can be assured ALL prophecy from the cross to today and up the end of time will also be fulfilled. God had a plan that His creation – us – could be saved to an eternal life in heaven. He does put one stipulation on it which He has every right to do. He could’ve made it complicated and confusing like some “religions” today do, but He made it simple.
“Accept My Son, and I’ll accept you”, is what the whole Bible message says, and Ruth is a great book showing God in action. The hardest part for people to accept is knowing we can’t earn or buy this salvation. Our ticket was paid in full by the Son of the Living God.
Final question – why would anyone turn down this free offer? Too many have all their eggs in earth’s basket, and aren’t making ready for their eternal home. Don’t be one of them. Accept Jesus today if you haven’t already.