This study of Ruth will overlap other studies I have done, please click on the highlighted links to see them. I am writing this during the time period called the Counting of the Omer – the days between Passover and Pentecost. For the Jew these are two Feast that the Lord God gave them to celebrate and remember Him in the celebration. On the historical side of this thought, it is the time Israel took to go to meet the Lord on Mt. Sinai. Ruth is set in this period of time as she and Naomi return to the Promised Land during the barley harvest. (Bethlehem means the house of bread.) Because of this connection the study of Ruth in this time period is frequently part of the Counting of the Omer.
It is called the Book of Ruth, but it is also the story of Naomi. The first chapter is her story and the verses of 4:16 +17 give her a happy ending. Naomi’s actions are central to the story of Ruth and my musings took me all over the place, which is the reason for this post.
Family 1 – Naomi shows a “family love” here that is a little foreign to my paradigm. She inspired a bond with her “daughters” by marriage. Ruth and Orpah were so attached to Naomi that both of them started out to a strange land without any recorded argument. Orpah turned back only at Naomi’s urging. Naomi coached Ruth, as a daughter, in 2:22 and 3:1-4,18.
Ruth’s bond and love for her “mother” have always been a highlight of this story. “She lived with her mother-in-law” (2:23) is an interesting phrase and that it made it into scripture is equally intriguing.
Family 2 – The ancient Hebrews/Middle East peoples and some ideas about marriage and family duties that are not accepted or legal today. The concept, however, is still solid but not carried out with the intensity as it should be – family takes care of the family. Especially, in times of death to the breadwinner of the family.
Naomi, in Ruth 1:12+13, makes a case to her daughters-in-law for returning to their father’s home. Naomi is referring to the custom/Law of Moses of a brother marrying his brother’s widow. Before the Law of Moses this custom is mentioned in Genesis 38:8, Tamar’s husband dies and Judah requires Onan to fulfill the responsibility of a brother. Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the inclusion of this in the Law of Moses and the story in Ruth is the practical application of it in real life. The second half of this custom/law is in Boaz’s act of redemption, found in Ruth 4:5. He reminds the other kinsman that he will get Ruth and be required to maintain the family name/property.
I believe that this whole thought/custom/law came from Genesis 2:23+24 where Adam gives a prophecy concerning the relationship of a husband and wife. The child would belong to the dead husband because he and the wife are ONE. In noting that thought, right or wrong, Ruth 4:16-22 does list Boaz as David’s descendent in the line of Perez.
Moab – Ruth’s family tree started with the sordid events of Genesis19:30-38. Lot’s daughters conceive children with him and the older daughter’s child was named Moab. Moab means “from father”.
During the Exodus God did not want the Israelites fighting with the Moabites because they were Lot’s family (Deuteronomy 2:9). They, however, joined into the plan in Numbers 25 to seduce Israel so they would lose God’s favor and protection. So, in Deuteronomy 23:3 Lot’s descendants are forbidden from entering the Temple of the Lord.
If that sounds off to your thinking, you are not alone. Solomon and David could not enter the Temple because of Ruth! Okay we know that did not happen. I do not remember the justification but it is smoothed out in Jewish traditions. Some translations put the burden on the “father” in Deuteronomy 23:3 which would work because of Boaz being Hebrew.
The Women in the Root – In Matthew there are five women listed in the root of Jess/David/Jesus. They are an interesting group. (I have written about many of these ideas in the post below.) This post I will look at “DNA” additions into Judah/Israel.
- Sarah, Rachel, and Leah are all family from Terah (Genesis 11:27).
- Tamar – Genesis 38:27-30 possibly Canaanite
- Rahab – Canaanite from Jericho
- Ruth – Family from Terah by Lot
- Bathsheba – Hebrew
- Rehoboam’s mother was Ammonite (see Deuteronomy 23:3) she is a descendant of Lot
These are other post about David’s Family
- Moabites and Ammonites: Family and Foe
- Jesus’ Generations in Matthew
- The Root, The Branch, The Fruit
- The Book of Ruth
- Samuel and the Anointing of David
- Cut Jesse Some Slack
These are the names and their meanings from the Strong’s Concordance/Vines Dictionary.
- Elimelech – #458 – God of the king
- Mahlon – #4248 – sick
- Kilion -Chilion – #3630 – pining (suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart), destruction
- Orpah – #6204 – mane, nape or back of the neck, the back, stiff neck
- Ruth – #7327 – friend – female associate or neighbor
- Naomi – pleasant
- Boaz – #1162 – uncertain meaning – the name of one of the pillars on the Temple
- Obed – #5744 – serving
- Ephrathites – #673 – fruitless; from the root #6509 to bear fruit or bear fruitful
- Bethlehem – #1035 – house of bread
- Kinsman (KJV) Num. 5:8 -#1350 gaal redeemer, to redeem, 27:11 – #7607 flesh, kin by blood; Ruth 2:1 – #3045 yada, to know/kinsman gaal Lev.25:25 redeemer in Deu.19:6/Num.35:19 it is revenger; in Isaiah 41-36 it is God as Redeemer The pic is from http://www.freebibleimages.org