RUTH:Complimentary book to Judges High Drama And Divine Intervention
Title of the Book • Both the Hebrew, the Greek and the English title of this book are the same • It is named after the key character of the book • The name "Ruth" is not a Jewish name • Various meanings have been suggested as to the meaning of the name, but none are certain.
Placement of Ruth in the Canon • Hebrew Bible is divided into three parts • Torah-Law • The Prophets • The Holy Writings • In the Hebrew Bible the book of Ruth does not appear after Judges • It is found in the Writings • It is one of the five Megiloth ("Scrolls") • Each scroll was read at one of the feasts of the nation of Israel.
Megiloth Scrolls • Song of Solomon • Ruth • Lamentations • Ecclesiastes • Esther • Passover • Pentecost-Feast of Weeks • 9th of Ab • Feat of Tabernacles • Purim
The Septuagint and Vulgate • In the Septuagint as well as in the Latin Vulgate and the Talmud, the book of Ruth follows Judges • There is a reason for this. • Ruth seems to be closely associated with the last several chapters of the book of Judges • In Josephus’ accounting of the books of the Hebrew Scriptures, Ruth is deemed as a part of the book of Judges
Ruth and Judges Judges 17-21 Ruth • Says four times that “there was no king in Israel” • Bethlehem • Levite from Bethlehem • Concubine from Bethlehem • A Spiritual desert • Depicts the need of a king • Begins with the words “When the judges governed the land” • Naomi and her family were from Bethlehem • An Oasis amidst a desert • Presents the Lineage of the King
If Judges is a book of DEFEAT then Ruth is a book of QUIET VICTORY.
Book of Ruth • This book compliments Judges • 1:1 states that this took place during the time of the Judges • During a time of great famine • Probably during the days of the Midianite oppression • Middle of the twelfth century BC • It probably starts during the period when Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia controls Israel and ends early in the judgeship of Othniel • The time of the occurrence of the story of Ruth is clear, first, because the mother of Boaz was Rahab the Harlot[ who defected to Israel in the time of Joshua.
Date of Writing • There seems to have been a significant passage of time between the events which the book of Ruth describes and the recording of those events • The story is said to take place "in the days when the judges governed" Ruth 1:1 • This indicates that it is written in a time when the judges were no longer governing • Ruth 4:7 speaks of a custom "in former times in Israel" which was evidently no longer in practice at the time of writing • The fact that David is mentioned at the end of Ruth indicates that it was written after he had become King in Israel • The fact that Solomon is not mentioned indicates that Solomon had not yet come to the throne • Approximate date for the writing is 1000 BC
Authorship of Ruth • Author is unknown • Jewish Talmud attribute writing to Samuel
Key Words • Kinsman • Redeemer • Key Characters • Ruth • Naomi • Boaz
Outline of Ruth • The story of Ruth is presented in a chiastic format. It begins "when the judges governed“ • Naomi’s Bitterness (1:1-22) • Ruth discovers a potential Kinsman Redeemer (2:1-23) • Boaz agrees to be a Kinsman Redeemer (3:1-18) • Boaz acquires right to be a Kinsman Redeemer (4:1-12) • Naomi’s Blessing (4:13-21) • It ends with the genealogy of the reigning King
Purpose of the Book • It is supplemental to the book of Judges • Ruth shows another side to the period of the Judges • A positive, brighter, godly side to life in Israel • The book of Ruth also shows part of the family line of Israel’s greatest king, David • The book also has something to say regarding the missionary ministry which Israel was to have to the world • Ruth, a Moabite, became the recipient of special blessings as she came to believe in the God of Naomi • This book teaches us that God is no respecter of persons • The book elevates the role of godly women in the overall redemptive plan of God
Comparison of Ruth and Esther Ruth Esther • A Gentile who married an Israelite • Build the house of Israel • Her descendant was David, King of Israel • Rural setting • An Israelite girl who married a Gentile • Saved the people of Israel • Married to King of Persia • A royal palace
Purpose of the Book • This book also highlights the genealogy of King David and shows the reversal of the curse which had been laid on the people of Moab • "No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 23:3). • There was a ten-generation curse placed upon the people of Moab and Ammon during the days of Moses because of their inhospitality toward Israel • There is no record of a Moabite or an Ammonite being accepted into the assembly of God’s people for the next 10 generations • But this changes with Ruth • She not only enters the assembly of God’s people, but she is also included in the royal line of David • She is mentioned in the Messianic line of Matthew 1
Key Background Scripture If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. Leviticus 25:25
Key Background Scripture Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself. Leviticus 25:47-49
Key Background Scripture When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. Deuteronomy 25:5-6
Key Verses in Ruth Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Ruth 1:15-16
Key Verses in Ruth Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.” Ruth 4:10
Setting for the Story of Ruth • Ruth 1:1 • A famine in the land • Famine was likely caused by the heavy tribute demanded by the controlling kings • Bethlehem • Two words meaning "House of Bread“ • The small town is located on the spur of an east-west ridge 4 miles to the south of Jerusalem • It is surrounded on three sides by lush, fertile farmlands • Land of Moab • Moab was located to the east of the Dead Sea, its northern boarder being the Arnon River and its southern boarder being the Zeredwadi • Moab rises up from the Dead Sea, 1200 feet below sea level, the land rises up to a large plateau.
The Family of Naomi • Ruth 1:2 • Departure from the Land • Ruth 1:2-4 • Elimelech means "My God is King" and stands in contrast to the kingly name Abimelech "My father is King" • And yet, when things got tough, this man had departed from the inherited land of his king and went to find a home in Moab. • After Elimelech had died, his two sons found for themselves wives among the Moabites, something that was forbidden in the Law (Deuteronomy 7:1-3; 23:3). • The book of Ruth neither commends nor condemns the actions of Elimelech and his sons • Marriage to a Moabite was not strictly forbidden nut sever restrictions were placed upon the children of such unions • The point is not whether they sinned. • The point is what God brought about in the midst of tragedy
Death of Naomi’s Sons • Ruth 1:5 • Cause of death is unknown • Naomi yearned to return home to Bethlehem • Naomi wanted to return home because she heard there was food there 1:6 • Ruth and Orpah decided to go with her • Ruth encouraged them both to return to Moab 1:11-13 • Ruth stays with her and Orpah returns to Moab 1:14
Ruth Stays with Naomi • 1:16-17 • This is a solemn oath. It is a commitment of loyalty • Not only to Naomi, but to the Lord
Ruth’s Faithfulness to Naomi • Ruth volunteered to take care of the needs of Naomi • Under the Law the poor could enter fields, orchards and vineyards and pick up leftover fruit and grain in order to meet their needs Leviticus 19:9-10 • It was humbling to be a gleaner but it brought forth great blessing to Ruth • Ruth did not know who’s field she was gleaning from • God providence is evident here • Naomi recognizes this in 2:20
Ruth’s Faithfulness to Naomi • Boaz was the owner of the field that Ruth was gleaning • Boaz notices Ruth and asks about her 2:5 • The foreman of the field told Boaz who she was • She was a Moabite who returned with Naomi 2:6 • She was a hard worker 2:7 • Boaz knows all about Ruth and how she has been kind and loyal to Naomi 2:11-12
Ruth’s Faithfulness to Naomi • Boaz showed her kindness • Boaz may have heard of Naomi’s return • Boaz told Ruth to remain in his fields and his servants would not bother her 2:8-9 • He allowed her to drink of the water for the workers and eat their bread 2:14 • He allowed her to glean among the sheaves 2:15-17
Ruth’s Faithfulness to Naomi • Boaz’s kindness resulted in Ruth gleaning man days worth of grain in one day • Naomi notices this and ask Ruth where she had gleaned • Ruth tells her about Boaz • Naomi tells Ruth he is a kinsman • The phrase “he is one of our next kin” literally reads “he is our redeemer clan” 2:20
Naomi instructs Ruth • Naomi instructs Ruth as to her preparations; she is to look her best 3:1-4 • Her best clothes would be none too fancy • It appears they were able to afford a little perfume, as the word "anoint" indicates • Naomi gives Ruth some very practical and down-to-earth advice • Wash yourself. • Put on your best clothes. • Anoint yourself (use perfume). • Wait until the work is done and he has finished eating and drinking.
The Threshing Floor • After the sheaves of grain were collected, they would be placed in a large pile and then beaten with stones and spikes to separate the husks of grain from the straw on which it grew • Then a winnowing fork would be used to throw the grain into the air • The wind would carry away the lighter chaff while the heavier grain would fall to the ground • Threshing was often down in late afternoon and evening, when a wind might arise to separate chaff from grain • The threshing floors of Palestine were found in an open, level, outdoor area which had been stamped down to make the ground hard
Ruth Claims Boaz as Kinsman • At harvest time people would camp out • As the owner of the land, Boaz would have had a place to himself, with his servants sleeping at other places in the vicinity • The word "softly" means "quietly” 3:7 • It was used of David when he stole in and cut a piece from Saul's robe (1 Samuel 24:4) • Ruth waits until Boaz is sound asleep and then she comes to him.
Ruth Claims Boaz as Kinsman • Boaz woke and asked who she was 3:9 • Ruth requested he spread his skirt over her • This is a symbolic pledge of marriage Ezekiel 16:8-14 • It is a well know custom in the near east and is still practiced today in some parts of the world
Boaz’s responsibility as Kinsman • He was charged with redeeming family property that had been lost or was about to be lost by sale • He was obligated to marry the widow of the deceased near relative so as to raise children in the name of the deceased • Naomi’s instructions to Ruth to seek out Boaz is in accordance with the social propriety in that the widow could initiate proceedings relative to the securing of the Kinsman
Ruth Claims Boaz as Kinsman • Boaz tells Ruth there is a nearer kinsman than him but if he will not perform the part of kinsman then he would 3:12-13 • Boaz give Ruth 6 measures of grain to bring to Naomi 3:15,17 • Naomi asks her “Who are you?” 3:16 • My daughter is not in the Hebrew • May be Ruth asking her if she is Boaz’s wife or still the widow of Mahlon
Boaz Redeems the Inheritance • Boaz went to the city gate to meet with the relative • The city gate was a place were judicial matters were resolved by elders and those who had earned the respect of the people • The name of the nearer kinsman is not given • Probably because it was shameful not to fulfill the role of kinsman redeemer • The kinsman was unworthy to be named
Boaz Redeems the Inheritance • Boaz calls ten elders to witness the legal brief he was about to set forth • Years later ten became the number of men required to constitute a synagogue • Boaz told the kinsman of Naomi wishing to sell the land • The kinsman wanted to buy the land • Boaz reminded him of Ruth and the need to marry her • The kinsmen then refused to redeem the land • He removed his shoe to show the relinquishing of his right to act as kinsman redeemer
Boaz Redeems the Inheritance • Boaz tells the elders and the witnesses that he had bought all that had belonged to Elimelech and his sons • He also acquired Ruth to become his wife
The generations of Boaz and Ruth • Boaz and Ruth Marry • Ruth bore a son named Obed • Obed would be reckoned as Mahlon’s son and all right and privileges were bestowed to him • The list of the 10 generation in 4:18-22 from Pharez to David seem to reflect the prohibition in Deuteronomy 23:2 • This seems to make legitimate the claim of David to the throne
Kinsman Redeemer • The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues or redeems property or person • Jehovah is Israel’s Redeemer, the one who promises to defend and vindicate them • He is both Father and Deliverer (Exodus 20:2) • There are numerous Old Testament appeals to God as rescuer of the weak and needy (Psalm 82:4; Daniel 6:27; Jeremiah 20:13)
Although the term "kinsman-redeemer" is used only seven times in the and "avenger of blood" is used twelve times, the Hebrew verb go’el, from which both of these terms are translated, is used over 100 times and rendered by such additional terms as "redeemer" or "near relative“ • The Hebrew term designates a male relative who • Delivers or rescues ( Gen 48:16; Exodus 6:6 ) • Redeems property ( Lev27:9-25 ) or person ( Lev 25:47-55 ) • Avenges the murder of a relative as a guiltless executioner ( Num 35:9-34 ) • Receives restitution for wrong done to a relative who has since died ( Num 5:8 ) • The unique emphasis of the redemption / salvation / vindication associated with the kinsman-redeemer is the fact that this action is carried out by a kinsman on behalf of a near relative in need • This idea is most clearly illustrated in the Book of Ruth
God is Israel's Redeemer, the one who will defend and vindicate them • The idea that God is a kinsman to Israel can be defended by those passages of Scripture that identify him as • Israel's Creator and Father ( Exodus 4:22-23 ; Deut 32:6 ) • Deliverer ( Exodus 20:2 ) • Owner of the land (Lev25:23 ) • The one who hears innocent blood crying out for vengeance ( Deut 19:10 ; 21:6-9 ) • The King who has made his covenant with the people ( Exodus 6:2-8 ) • David’s use of the term ( Psalm 19:14 ; 103:4 ), doubtless has in mind the actions of his great-grandfather Boaz (Ruth 4:9-10 )
Kinsman Redeemer • In the New Testament, Christ is often regarded as an example of a kinsman-redeemer because as our brother (Hebrews 2:11) • He also redeems us because of our great need, one that only He can fill • In Ruth 3:9, we see a beautiful and poignant picture of the needy supplicant, unable to rescue herself, requesting of the kinsman-redeemer that he cover her with his protection, redeem her, and make her his wife • In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ bought us for Himself, out of the curse, out of our destitution, made us His own beloved bride and blessed us for all generations • He is the true kinsman-redeemer of all who call on Him in faith