As we wrap up the book of Ruth, you might think there isn’t much to discuss, but even in the genealogy of Perez through Obed to David we can learn a few things.
Ruth 4:18 (NET) These are the descendants of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 19 Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminadab, 20 Amminadab was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmah, 21 Salmon was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed, 22 Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.
Today we reach the point we’ve all been waiting for: Ruth and Boaz marry! This isn’t without some oddities though and a powerful blessing!
Ruth 4:13(NET) So Boaz married Ruth and had sexual relations with her. The Lord enabled her to conceive and she gave birth to a son. 14 The village women said to Naomi, “May the Lord be praised because he has not left you without a guardian today! May he become famous in Israel! 15 He will encourage you and provide for you when you are old, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, has given him birth. She is better to you than seven sons!” 16 Naomi took the child and placed him on her lap; she became his caregiver. 17 The neighbor women named him, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. Now he became the father of Jesse – Davidʼs father!
Boaz has staked his claim on Naomi’s land and has shared his intention to marry Ruth, now he solidifies this by obtaining the elders’ consensus as witnesses and their blessing.
Ruth 4:11 (NET) All the people who were at the gate and the elders replied, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel! May you prosper in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem. 12 May your family become like the family of Perez – whom Tamar bore to Judah – through the descendants the Lord gives you by this young woman.”
Boaz has obtained the right to redeem Naomi’s property and to take Ruth as a wife, formally sealing the deal with an interesting sign and in front of the elders of the city.
Ruth 4:7 (NET) (Now this used to be the customary way to finalize a transaction involving redemption in Israel: A man would remove his sandal and give it to the other party. This was a legally binding act in Israel.) 8 So the guardian said to Boaz, “You may acquire it,” and he removed his sandal. 9 Then Boaz said to the leaders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, as my wife to raise up a descendant who will inherit his property so the name of the deceased might not disappear from among his relatives and from his village. You are witnesses today.”
Deuteronomy 25:8 (NET) I donʼt want to marry her,” 9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brotherʼs family line!” 10 His family name will be referred to in Israel as “the family of the one whose sandal was removed.”
Boaz approached a closer relative about being a redeemer and he accepted, but he didn’t know what all that entailed! Today we see Boaz tactfully handle this as he solidifies his future with Ruth.
Ruth 4:5 (NET) Then Boaz said, “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the wife of our deceased relative, in order to preserve his family name by raising up a descendant who will inherit his property.” 6 The guardian said, “Then I am unable to redeem it, for I would ruin my own inheritance in that case. You may exercise my redemption option, for I am unable to redeem it.”
Ruth’s proposal to Boaz in last week’s episode seemed promising, but in today’s episode we find her back at Naomi’s place with a heavy haul of barley, another gift from Boaz, as the waiting begins.
Ruth 3:14 (NET) So she slept beside him until morning. She woke up while it was still dark. Boaz thought, “No one must know that a woman visited the threshing floor.” 15 Then he said, “Hold out the shawl you are wearing and grip it tightly.” As she held it tightly, he measured out about sixty pounds of barley into the shawl and put it on her shoulders. Then he went into town, 16 and she returned to her mother-in-law.
When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did things turn out for you, my daughter?” Ruth told her about all the man had done for her. 17 She said, “He gave me these sixty pounds of barley, for he said to me, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18 Then Naomi said, “Stay put, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out. For the man will not rest until he has taken care of the matter today.”
In today’s episode we get a bit of a jolt to the “love story” of Ruth and Boaz, and Naomi suggests something that might startle us. Ruth’s actions might be viewed with some skepticism too.
WARNING: While I think most will be fine listening to this episode with their children, you may wish to preview this one first.
This episode will be challenging our modern view of marriage and of women’s independence, but I also think it demonstrates just how strong of a woman Ruth was, especially in light of all that she has been through.
Ruth 3:1 (NET) At that time, Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you so you will be secure. 2 Now Boaz, with whose female servants you worked, is our close relative. Look, tonight he is winnowing barley at the threshing floor. 3 So bathe yourself, rub on some perfumed oil, and get dressed up. Then go down to the threshing floor. But donʼt let the man know youʼre there until he finishes his meal. 4 When he gets ready to go to sleep, take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs, and lie down beside him. He will tell you what you should do.” 5 Ruth replied to Naomi, “I will do everything you have told me to do.”
Ruth continues in the same respectful way as we’ve seen thus far, and she takes it upon herself to go into the fields to harvest some of the leftover Barley. This is where she meets Boaz for the first time.
Ruth 2:1 (NET) Now Naomi had a relative on her husbandʼs side of the family named Boaz. He was a wealthy, prominent man from the clan of Elimelech. 2 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields so I can gather grain behind whoever permits me to do so.” Naomi replied, “You may go, my daughter.” 3 So Ruth went and gathered grain in the fields behind the harvesters. Now she just happened to end up in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Leviticus 19:9 (NET) ʻWhen you gather in the harvest of your land, you must not completely harvest the corner of your field, and you must not gather up the gleanings of your harvest.”
Deuteronomy 24:19 where it is stated, “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”
Deuteronomy 23:3 (NET) An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you.
In this episode we look at Naomi’s and Ruth’s arrival into Bethlehem, joy in the eyes of some, but bitterness in the eyes of Naomi, who even asks to be called by a different name!
Ruth 1:18 (NET) When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. 19 So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.
When they entered Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival. The women of the village said, “Can this be Naomi?” 20 But she replied to them, “Donʼt call me ʻNaomiʼ! Call me ʻMaraʼ because the Sovereign One has treated me very harshly. 21 I left here full, but the Lord has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ʻNaomi,ʼ seeing that the Lord has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?” 22 So Naomi returned, accompanied by her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who came back with her from the region of Moab. (Now they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.)
In this episode we explore a difference in Orpah and Ruth, learning a key point that may have inspired Ruth to accompany Naomi at all costs.
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Ruth 1:7 (NET) Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your motherʼs home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me.For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”
Ruth 1:14 Again they wept loudly. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. 15 So Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!” 16 But Ruth replied, “Stop urging me to abandon you! For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I do not keep my promise! Only death will be able to separate me from you!”