Truth, Understanding, Insight

Spies, Espionage and Faith

17th July 2005, hej


4) Rahab's Family and Boaz

Boaz is called a “worthy man” and his first words in the record are ones of acknowledgement of Yahweh: He says in greeting to the reapers in his field

"The LORD be with you!" And they answered, "The LORD bless you." (Ruth 2:4 ESV)

This may have been a standard greeting, however, as we are shown that Boaz used it there is an indication that this greeting was significant in that the workers understood that Boaz was righteous and worthy of blessing. Boaz then says to Ruth:

"All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!" (Ruth 2:11-12 ESV)

Two things that may be noted. Boaz was very sympathetic of Ruth's having left something familiar to come to link her fate with Israel. Knowing that Boaz's mother was originally a foreigner, this sympathy is easily understood. The second point is that Boaz understood that Ruth had made a choice regarding whom she worshipped. That in fact she had given up all to serve the Mighty One of Israel. For Boaz to believe that salvation was only by being of Israel is a strong indication that Rahab had rejected her Canaanite origins and fully identified herself with Israel. The text indicates Boaz was extremely interested in the maiden of whom he had heard had left all in Moab with no prospect of earthly benefit and who had said, "Your people shall be my people, and your God my God”. (Ruth 1:16 ESV). Boaz's interest is shown by how quickly he sought to redeem her and it is in strong contrast to the other more nearly related redeemer. Boaz's interest may be explained if he placed value on her action, due to his understanding of his mother's experience.

Initially Rahab is left 'out of the camp' as unclean, however, by the time the record of Joshua was compiled Rahab was considered to dwell in Israel.

And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab,.. and all that she had;..and left them without the camp of Israel...And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 6:23-25)

It is clear the recorder of events understands that Rahab of her free will saved the two spies, and that her reward was to dwell in Israel as a notable woman of courageous action. She was so well regarded she was taken as a wife by no less than the son of the prince of Judah, Salmon. Salmon was the son of Nashon. Nashon was identified as his tribe's leader in Numbers 1:7 and was the first to make an offering at the dedication of the Tabernacle (Numbers 7:12) and was the leader of the entire nation when they journeyed (Numbers 10:14).

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