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Ruth

26th February 2010, mgh

 

2) “Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God” (Ruth 1: 16)

These two women, Naomi and Ruth, came together to the land of the Abrahamic covenant. In type, or pattern, they made up the true Israel, comprising faithful Jews and Gentiles. The Hebrew word ‘shawb’, which is translated ‘returned’, ‘turn back’ or ‘go back’ occurs twelve times in chapter one of the book of Ruth. This stresses the importance of the concepts that are being developed in the book. Naomi and Ruth were returning to the land at the time of the barley harvest, the early spring, which is about the time of the Passover.


Naomi had a close relation whose name was Boaz. In order to provide for Naomi and herself, Ruth went to glean grain in Boaz's field. It is interesting to note here that the mother of Boaz was Rahab, who had escaped from Jericho because she had assisted the spies of Israel to escape capture in Jericho. Rahab had believed in the power of the God of the Israelites and her faith in asking that she and her family be saved from the destruction of Jericho had resulted in her joining the nation of Israel and marrying Salmon. It is here we have two faithful women from Gentile nations being absorbed into the Jewish nation and both in the line that would produce Israel's Messiah, Jesus ( Yeshua)

And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; (Matthew 1: 5-6)

Under Jewish law when a man died before producing an heir, it was the duty of the near kinsman to take the responsibility of the near kinsman to take the widow as a wife and produce an heir to the dead man so that his inheritance would not be taken by another.

And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, sells a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
Then said Boaz, "In the day you buy the field of the hand of Naomi, you must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance."
And the kinsman said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: you redeem my right to yourself; for I cannot redeem it." (Ruth 4:3-6)

Boaz as a near relation of Naomi's husband accepted the role of the near kinsman. Ruth was to be the great-grandmother of King David. The faith of David could be largely attributed to the role of these two women, Rahab and Ruth, and the influence that they had on their families. Boaz's words to Ruth reflect a trust and faith in the God of Israel.

And Boaz answered and said unto her, "It has fully been showed me, all that you have done unto your mother in law since the death of your husband: and how you have left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and are come unto a people which you knew not heretofore. The LORD recompense your work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust." (Ruth 2: 11-12)


We can see here the trust of Boaz in the God of Israel (for more see here). He has also recognised Ruth's faith when he states that she also has come under the “wings” and protection of the God of Israel. It is here that we see the reasons why Ruth left her own country and people. She definitely would have had a respect and love for Naomi, but the reports of the power of the God of Israel and the great deeds and miracles that he had performed in the care and guidance of the nation, she would have known about. The gods of her own nation she would have seen as powerless and mere idols. Her association with Israel brought into the protection of the living and merciful Creator. Boaz recognises that Ruth is God-fearing and will be faithful. Boaz says to Ruth,

And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to you all that thou require: for all the city of my people do know that you are a virtuous woman. (Ruth 3: 11)


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