The Book of Ruth
Notes from Robby Dean’s series
Ruth Introduction Ruth Lesson #001 2001
Prayer is for unity and for the new war on terror.
We’ve been studying for the past year and a half the book of Judges; and that is the backdrop for the book of Ruth.
The horrendous actions of the people during the Judges, and there is a civil war which almost destroys the tribe of Benjamin. No matter how awful the general world may seem, God has not forgotten His people or those who put their trust in Him. Ruth is a book about grace and how God transforms suffering into blessing.
Ruth is located after the book of Judges in the English Bible; but we need to know how the Hebrews viewed this book. Daniel was not put in with the prophets. Ruth is placed with the wisdom books. Torah, the first 5 books, the prophets (the former prophets and the latter prophets, which included Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings; then Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. The book of the writings, there are the wisdom books and that is where Ruth is found.
The writer of this book is extremely artistic. This is the only short story in the entire canon of Scripture. We do not know for sure that Samuel wrote this book; some credit him with the writing of it.
We learn how God transforms suffering into blessing.
There are 3 main characters in this book: :Ruth, a Moabite, a descendant of Lot. His daughters get Lot drunk and they have incestuous relations with him and one son is Moab.
Lefty killed fatty in the outhouse, which is one of the stories from Judges.
Ruth probably occurred within two generations of the death of Joshua. Naomi is Ruth’s mother-in-law. Boaz becomes Ruth’s 2nd husband. This is the only book in the entire canon of Scripture named for a Gentile (what about Luke?). 5 times she is called Ruth the Moabite, so that we know for certain that she is outside the Jewish race.
Ruth is not really the main character. There is a crisis and the loss is to Naomi, she lost her husband and two sons, and is bitter about it. There is a blessing which completely ignores Ruth.
55 out of 85 verses are dialogue. 1294 words, 52.4% of them are dialogue. Ruth speaks the least in this book and her speeches are the shortest. Only 120 words in 10 speeches. Ruth speaks 225 word in 12 speeches; and Boaz speaks even more in 14 speeches. The LXX placed Ruth in with Judges, and viewed it as an appendix to Judges. Judges 19–21 and the book of Ruth have a lot of similarities.
Naomi is self-absorbed at first, but Ruth and Boaz function from the doctrine in their souls. Both of these events take place in a superficially Biblical culture. The actions are based superficially on the culture of that time.
Those in the book of Judges, instead of going through a holy war against the city of Gibea, they go against the tribe of Benjamin. There is an attempt to fulfill the letter of the law but not the spirit. Too often today, in modern Christianity, there is only a superficial understanding and application of Bible doctrine. We find the same thing occurring in our nation as a whole. A nation cannot be Christian or non-Christian; but our nation does have primarily a Judeo-Christian heritage. We have a superficial religion here; a civil religion; a quasi-secular religion which is ecumenical. Our history has always been a hodgepodge of everything which is in our country. When the national government has some sort of religious service, but they give each group the freedom to worship and teach as they choose. We should not be critical as this gives us the ability to study the Word of God when we choose. We can accept or reject Christianity, but it is not a matter of the state needing to push this on us.
Constantly taking the norms of the day and applying them to the Bible; like saying, “I know lots of wonderful women and the Bible is horrible.” We may even move to the point where a woman cannot pastor a church to be seen as a hate crime. Some are suggesting that profiling should be considered a hate crime.
Spirituality in the Bible means one thing; it means something else in the world.
When you take a concept and divorce it completely from Scripture; load it with your own concepts, and then they place it over Scripture, and then say, “God does not fit my idea of love here; therefore, He cannot be loving and allow this or that to happen.”
When we take a Biblical concept apart from the Bible, then we distort it.
We have taken profiling to be an evil; and multi-culturalism will come back and attack patriotism. Profiling has been made an autonomous category. The tragedy of the past few weeks is, if we let our guard down, it is likely that 1000's more will die. At the core of all liberalism is that man is basically good and that man can reform and fix society. Liberals did not like 9/11 because it does not fit their world view. Some news organizations would not allow their reporters to wear American flags on their clothes so that they would not be seen as objective.
Multiculturalism: no culture is no better than any other culture. The most pagan culture is no better than any other. When you are proud of the US, you are saying that your culture is better, which flies in the face of liberal thinking. We are one nation, not a group of nations. This multi-culturalism will start to show itself in all of these little details, like no wearing an American flag at the office, etc. 15–20 cases all over the country where the American flag could not be displayed. This is dangerous and it borders on being traitorous.
Autonomous human viewpoint can coexist with divine viewpoint and it will wrap itself sometimes in the mantle of divine vocabulary.
We’ll see how God works in times of suffering. This is Naomi’s complaint.
Where does Ruth fit with the flow of history? In the time when the judges governed is what v. tells us, but this is 350–400 years. So we will try to pinpoint this a bit more. The key events in the history of Israel are parallel to the key events of the salvation experience.
Parallels between Israel and Our Salvation
Abraham is called
We are called.
Israel in slavery
We are in slavery to sin.
Redemption at the Exodus event
Jesus redeems us.
Baptism of Moses
We are baptized into Christ.
After Israel had been saved, they were given the Law. It does not have anything to do with salvation; it is given post-salvation.
We have the mandates and prohibitions of the New Testament after the gospels.
We live in a fallen world. Some people want a rational explanation for evil; sin and evil are not rational. There is no rational explanation for such evil.
How could the most brilliant and beautiful creature to come from the hand of God, and think that he can be like God?
People like to live in denial of evil.
In the Old Testament, the analogy was holy war, which occurs in Joshua and Judges. However, holy war has ended, which ended around Judges 1–2. There were be rare instances later when a city became paganized and needed to be destroyed.
Since then, we deal with just wars, which are based upon self-defense. A just war is limited. It is legitimate to take a life to protect oneself or friends and family; and it can be done to protect one’s own nation as well.
Pacifism in the Bible is not legitimate. We don’t just think things will simply resolve themselves. Being involved in warfare is not anti-Christian. Pacifism is the feminism of the male. One kid interviewed after 9/11, and said, “Well I can’t go and fight, but I’m still a patriot.” No you’re not! That changes the definition of patriot. A patriot is willing to go when his nation calls him to go. Freedom is not free and sometimes, people must die to preserve freedom. Those who will not do it are cowards and they should be removed. But our society has feminized the male and education is corrupted by radical feminism. It is a battle to keep human viewpoint from corrupting the soul.
Judges 2:20–23: And the anger of Jehovah glowed against Israel. And He said, Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, I also from now on will not dispossess any from before them of the nations that Joshua left when he died; so that by them I may test Israel, whether they are keeping the way of Jehovah, to go in it, as their fathers kept it, or not. And Jehovah left those nations without dispossessing them quickly. And He did not deliver them into the hand of Joshua. This is why God allows some misery in the world. Furthermore, there are creatures with sin natures ini this world, and we cannot stop sinning without destroying all life.
Some words are found only in Judges 19–21 which are also found only in Ruth, suggesting that they took place around the same time period. Judges 19:6 when the Levite goes to pick up his concubine. They are going to eat and relax and possible get a little drunk. We find the same phrase about Boaz (Ruth 3:7). Judges 20:44, 46 18,000 men of Benjamin fell, and all were valiant warriors. This is a high word of praise and they had tremendous courage and integrity. The Holy Spirit praises them here. This same terminology used in Ruth 2 applied to Boaz. Ruth 3:11, this word is applied to Ruth as well. There are more parallels than this.
The background of a covenant. The people broke God’s covenant and He must discipline them. God’s faithful, loyal love. Chesed. This is a concept which is completely devoid of emotion and it focuses on action. Jesus tells his disciples, if you love me, you will keep My commandments. This is also described as covenant loyalty. God entered in to a covenant with Israel which is the Mosaic covenant. Ex. 20. This is based on the ancient model of A suzerine-vassal treaty. A great king or a great lord and a vassal is his servant. There is a preamble which identifies the king. Ex. 20:2a identifies the great King Who initiates the covenant. Then there is an historical prologue, where there is a reminder of what the great king has done for the vassal in order to secure their allegiance. This is a reminder as to how the king has acted in the past. Ex. 20:2b. Then there are the stipulations: 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law. We tend to abstract things because of our western heritage. We think of law as an impersonal absolute hanging out in the universe somewhere, but the mandates of the law are based upon God’s relationship with Israel. There is no abstract idea out there that it is wrong to kill, but that we are made in His image.
Copies of this treaty are placed on deposit somewhere where this could be read. Both copies are placed in the Ark of the Covenant, for the vassal and for the suzerine. There were 10 commandments on each tablet; not 5 on each tablet. Then there are witnesses. There is a witness to the contract. Ex. 24 all the tribes and the altar are witnesses. There are cursings and blessings. If we do not obey the stipulations, the suzerine will judge us in certain ways. There will be benefits if we obey. Ex. 23:20–23 Lev. 26 Deut. 28.
The theme of Ruth: God will be faithful to His people and to Ruth and to Naomi, even into the midst of what we see as undeserved suffering.
Ruth 1 Ruth Lesson #002 2001
God brings order out of chaos. It is found in the wisdom writings as opposed to being found with the prophets, which includes Joshua and Judges as a part of the former prophets. Ruth is one of those books that must be read carefully in the Hebrew and his writing is extremely nuanced. It is an artistic book in the Hebrew with several themes emphasized throughout.
The major theme is spiritual life. The early part of Israel is analogous to the believer. Call of Abraham, redemption of the Jews; Israel going through the Red Sea (Baptism); and everything after this is the post salvation life of the believer. The failure in Judges is compromising with their enemies. Judges pictures the believer in failure. However, God never leaves us or forsakes us, even in the midst of all their apostasy and rebellion; God is still working in their lives. This is a major theme. The focus in Ruth is not on Ruth.
Naomi, Ruth and Boaz, and this book is principally about Naomi. Ruth is the least of the 3 characters. Naomi is bitter about her life and she goes from cursing to blessing. God’s grace continues to work even in the midst of tremendous apostasy. The Mosaic covenant is based on the ancient suzerine-vassel treaty. The king makes a covenant, and God says, if you obey Me in these ways, then I will bless you; and if you disobey Me, then I will curse you.
Dean likes to look at the overall structure of a book first and understand the author’s intent and purpose at first. This allows us a framework within which to properly interpret the Word of God. Otherwise, we are too likely to reach in and take a few verses out of context.
Vv. 1–6 give us a background and how Naomi is outside of the land and in a difficult situation. Then Dean goes to the end. There is a leverite marriage here where a woman whose husband has died, marries a relative of his, and the husband’s name and property
The theme is the grace transformation from cursing into blessings. Here, we face all the heartache and misery that life brings us at various times. Struggling with problems with parents, children, employment. Job said, “Man is born with trouble as the sparks fly upward.” In addition, we make our own mistakes as well, making bad decisions.
How can a loving God allow these horrible things to happen? The attack on the World Trade Center mentioned.
These are not the elite; these are average people. It is through everyday believers that God will transform cursing into blessing. When the believer fails to execute the spiritual life, when the believer fails to put doctrine as #1 in their life.
Through you, I will bless the nations. Those who bless you, I will bless; those who curse you, I will curse. God’s relationship to the believer and God’s plan and program for Israel. God removed nations from the scene who are hostile to Israel. Like the Assyrians; no such thing as a pure Assyrian any more; or even an identifiable Assyrian. The best thing that we can do in our nation is to grow spiritually. We need to make doctrine #1, apply it in our lives, and grow spiritually. When the believer is apostate, distracted by the cares of life, and is focused on the details of life, there will be judgment on that nation. That is what is taking place in the book of Ruth. The nation is undergoing judgment and this family is a microcosm of the entire nation. There is a famine in the land, which does not come about by chance. It is more than a meteorological phenomenon.
The Judges were like the rest of the people and they did everything that was right in their own eyes as well.
The famine in the land does not occur just by chance. This is a judgment of God on the nation and He promised this in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28. If God’s people went after other gods and followed other nations, God would cut off the rains and send famine (3rd and 4th cycles of discipline). Lev. 26:18–20: And if after these things you will not listen to Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sin; and I will break the pride of your strength, and will make your heavens as iron, and your earth as bronze [no rain and nothing will grow]; and your strength shall be consumed in vain, and your land shall not give her produce, and the tree of the land shall not give its fruit [no matter what you do, there will be nothing which grows]. Moab is just across the river, and the famine comes to the land and they simply cross the river and there is no famine. This is localized to Israel. Deut. 28:27 or so repeats the same curse.
The people in this book are not a part of the solution but they are part of the problem as well.
The writer already introduces a city of great significance to us: Bethlehem, Judah. There is something going on beneath the text here. Gibeah is a place of judgment (Saul’s hometown) and Bethlehem will be presented as a place of blessing. Bethlehem means the house of bread; even though there is a famine in the land. These people will leave the house of bread in order to solve their problems on their own terms.
Let’s look at Gen. 12 and the call of Abram. He is called out of his father’s house and he goes to the land of Israel. He goes down and lives in the Negev. There is a famine in the land and Abram goes down to Egypt because of the famine in the land. God tells Abram to go to Canaan; God did not tell him to go to Egypt. He is out of fellowship. There is a divine viewpoint solution here, which Abram does not attempt to discern. He tries to solve his problem on his own terms. He will compound his problems and he will lie about his wife and say she is his sister. Whenever we get into suffering and discipline, we often attempt to solve our own problems on our own terms.
Most of us have a security blanket. We watch the stock market drop and if we have money in the bank, we simply say, “We can sit back and trust God.” However, if you are in dire straights, then that is a different thing. Under these circumstances, we have a more difficult time trusting in God. Sometimes we attempt to depend upon our own safety net.
The land for Abram was the place of obedience and the place of blessing.
Ruth 1:1 And it happened in the days when the judge judged, there was a famine in the land. And a man from Bethlehem-judah went to live in the fields of Moab, he and his wife, and his two sons.
Elimelech is attempting to solve problems through his own methods. They will survive for awhile. The two sons marry foreign women, which indicates that there are additional problems with these sons.
Ruth is a positive believer, and she will demonstrate this positive volition after the death of her husband. She will return to the land and become a Jew by conversion. We think we have a way to solve our problems and make them work in adversity. God is not about the process of simple survival. We need to face adversity with joy. We know doctrine and we know the testing of our faith produces endurance. The issue in testing is not figuring out how to get out of it. We need to be able to handle it; to endure it. We stay in the land and we trust God and God will provide the resources and God will provide. We can then grow to spiritual maturity. They have failed, just as the nation failed.
The family of Etimelech is a microcosm of Israel.
5 reasons why Israel and Moab are antagonistic toward each other. The picture is, this family is looking where it ought not to look to solve their problems. They are doing this apart from exclusive obedience to God. There is a measure of happiness. However, man by man’s efforts cannot solve man’s problems. The human solution is not solution.
V. 2 names these. There is a word repeated 3 times in this verse: name. This means these names have significance. Elimelech is a compound name: My God [is] King. This means the parents here knew about what was going on. Even in the time of the judges, when there was no king in the land. Naomi = pleasant, sweet, kind, gentle. When we come to v. 13 or 14, she says, “Don’t call me Naomi, call me Mara, because I have become bitter.” The two sons: Mahlon = sick, weak, infirm. An odd name for a child. They are living during a time of famine and their emphasis is woe is me, our son is sick. Chilion = failing, pining.
These people are living in hard times and we have a picture of what is taking place in the land. There was a time when they looked to God as their King and their authority, and now they are miserable. They have made bad decisions in their lives; and God wants us to focus on Him, and He puts on additional pressure.
Ruth 1:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech; and the name of his wife Naomi. And the name of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites from Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the fields of Moab, and remained there.
As a widow, she was dependent upon her husband; and now she is dependent upon her sons. However, with these names, she has no strength to depend upon.
Ruth 1:3 And Naomi's husband Elimelech died; And she was left, and her two sons.
There is some joy; her sons get married. However, these sons marry Moabite women. There is nothing spiritually positive in their lives. They marry whomever they want. They marry Orpah and Ruth. They probably lived in Moab for a bout 10 years (although this may indicate that they had been married for about 10 years).
Orpah = neck; which could indicate turning one’s neck or back toward the mother-in-law. The name Ruth is obscure.
Ruth 1:4 And they took wives to themselves, women of Moab. The name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the second, Ruth. And they lived there about ten years.
In Jewish society, a large family indicates great blessing, and this woman is left bereft of her future. No social security. Nothing to fall back on.
The Doctrine of Suffering to come soon?
Naomi will react toward this suffering and she will become bitter; she views this suffering as being unjust. People don’t like unjust suffering or evil. This is an objection that people often raise. How can a loving God let bad things happen to good people? How can an all-powerful God allow evil in the world.
Evil is always presented in terms of human experience and it is never glossed over in the Scriptures. Psalm 94: O Jehovah, God of vengeance; O God of vengeance, shine forth! Lift up Yourself, O Judge of the earth; give a just recompence on the proud. Until when shall the wicked, O Jehovah, until when shall the wicked exult? They gush, they speak impudent things; all the workers of evil speak proudly. O Jehovah, they crush Your people and afflict Your inheritance. They kill the widow and the stranger, and murder the orphan. The psalmist asks, how long will a good God allow good things happen to evil men? How long will they get away with their attacks on others? The psalmist lists all of the crimes. They reject God as being actively involved and able to punish them for their sins.
Ruth 1:5 And they also died, both of them, Mahlon and Chilion. And the woman was bereaved of her two children and of her husband.
Ruth 1 Evil and Suffering Ruth Lesson #003 2001
It is easy to quickly go through this book and miss the meat which is in it. It is important to take our time with this book.
Naomi is introduced to us in the first 4 verses. The author uses the word shafat to indicate that this belongs in the place of the Judges, approximately in 1200–11 b.c. The famine in the land is the first sign of suffering in this book, giving us a backdrop to this book. Deut. 28 and Lev. 26 tell us that God has entered into to a peace treaty between God and man. This word is used in the sense to rule, to govern rather than simply to judge.
Liberals try to set up parallels between the laws of Hamarabi and the Law of Moses, but this is a suzerine/vassel treaty. 1700–1200 b.c. was the period of the suzerine/vassel treaties. Had these books been written when liberals say they were, they would have been unaware fo these types of treaties and they would have been written in accordance with treaties after that time period.
During the time of the Judges, they went through various cycles as given in Lev. 26. Whenever we go through a crisis, we have the opportunity to trust God or to try to solve things on our own. When Alimelech went to Moab during the famine, this indicates that he was out of fellowship. His name means my God is King. He is pessimistic when he had children, and they have bad names. Fertility worship of Baal is first introduced by the Moabites.
Instead of having life and food in Moab, they find death and tragedy and a greater loss of their things. Naomi becomes bitter over this. However, her cursing will be turned to blessing. God allows suffering because He has greater purposes. Too often, our finite understanding does not allow us to understand why He does this or that to us, or allows these things to happen.
The issue of suffering, which is a timely topic, given the events of September 11.
This is a common question in the Bible. Psalm 94 raises the same question that people today raise—when we are treated harshly or treated unjustly, and we want to know what God allows this to happen to us. There is a difference between divine justice and the administration of justice and self-defense in war. People who think that war as a response to 9/11 is vengeance, but it should not be. The purpose of retaliation keeps these things from continuing. You take the violence to the enemy to keep them from attacking us again. We never adopt a defensive strategy. We could never develop enough security to be defensive in this regard. The only way to prevent it is to take it to the enemy. The offense is the only way to win you cannot protect yourself from a defensive posture only. The national government has the responsibility to wield the sword, in an external application and as a internal application. Capital punishment should not be used haphazardly, but consistently. It may not keep someone else from doing it; the Scripture approaches this from the standpoint of justice. When you take another life, you have forfeited your right to live. Anyone who reaches such a soul degredation, they need to be removed in order for the human body to maintain its integrity. God has delegated certain things to mankind. There are times when we cannot do anything, and that is when we rely upon God.
God can fairly execute justice because He knows everything. He can render an accurate verdict; He knows all truth and He is all truth. Psalm 94:1–8: O Jehovah, Mighty God, to whom vengeance belongs; O Mighty God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Be exalted, O Judge of the earth; restore recompense to the proud. Jehovah, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph? They belch forth, and speak arrogant things; all the workers of iniquity boast in themselves. They crush Your people, O Jehovah, and afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, YAH does not see, nor does the God of Jacob perceive it. Understand, you stupid ones among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise? The fool says in his heart there is no God, which means there is a God. You cannot use an absolute in order to deny an absolute. They are presupposing what they are trying to prove. Inherently illogical and contradictory. Psalm 94:9–: He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? He who chastens the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge? Jehovah knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom You correct, O YAH, and teach out of Your Law, that You may give him rest from the evil days, until the pit is dug for the wicked. For Jehovah will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. But justice shall return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless Jehovah had been my help, my soul would shortly have dwelt in silence. If I had said, My foot slips, Your mercy, O Jehovah, holds me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity, which fashions trouble by decree, have fellowship with You? They gather together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But Jehovah has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge. He brings upon them their own iniquity, and will cut them off in their own evil; Jehovah our God shall cut them off. This probably took place during a very dark time in Israel’s history, the attack of Nebuchadnezzar or someone like that. Suffering is not just random or purposeless chaos. In terms of our understanding the doctrine of suffering, we focus on the questions we usually hear. How can a good God allow these thing to happen to me? How can God allow the holocaust to occur? How can God allow any sort of tragic event to occur. Also as important, how can a good God allow good things to happen to bad people. The fact that people ask this question hints at the solution. The fact that we react to a world where there is sin, suffering, disease, death in this world. We have this almost intuitive recognition that life should not be this way. People know that there should be some standard of goodness, of rightness, of justice; on some level, we think that we ought to have a better world.
Some may ask how can a loving God let something happen like this? Their human concept of God and love is shallow. Why is their evil in the world? Why does God make this happen to me or to a loved one? God is somehow responsible for it. Why does God let these things happen to good people? A poorly phrased question pre-determines the cast of the answers. It can give a false view. E.g., when did you quit beating your wife? For some of these questions, perhaps we should not answer them so quickly. Do not answer a fool according to his folly. We should not always answer and assume the world view that the questioner has. Their entire question sometimes just is a setup to prove to themselves that God does not exist. We need to think strategically. Are they seriously seeking an answer? Or, is this simply a rhetorical question? We ought to be sensitive to the tone of the question. By asking them a strategic question to someone in an emotion place, we keep them from emoting and to start thinking. There may be no sophisticated thought underlying the question. Perhaps they are not asking the question in an interested way, and they are really challenging God.
Someone asks, why did God allow this happen to me or to those in the tower? Maybe we should answer, why shouldn’t God allow that? How do you think God should have prevented this? Why do you think He should act? This means that God would have to intercede into human history and take away our free will. Teachers can talk about anything that they want to except for something positive about Christianity. The Bible is taken out of the schools. Moslems can pray on campus and fast. We have removed God from the public arena and from the arena of public discourse. Then when bad things happen, we complain. God is out of the picture. We did not want Him to be involved. Man does not want God to be here; and when the natural results of our own decisions come to pass, then we blame God. What should God have done? How could God let something happen to so and so; he was so good? Then, why do you think so and so was so good that God should have kept him alive? Rather than answering the question right away, think strategically and put the other person on the defensive. The anti-war stuff in California which Robby saw, and resolutions passed to condemn the newspaper and asking fines to be imposed, because the terrorists are shown to die and end up in hell. No resolutions to condemn the terrorists; but they judge the cartoon. When they operate on these assumptions, they are out of it. The unbeliever rationale ultimately ends up and is wiped out by internal inconsistencies. Only the believer can be consistent. We must think and ask questions to focus on the issues.
These questions all have underlying assumptions. When they ask how can a good God let this happen to a good person? we need to ask, where do you get your standards of right and wrong? In the greater plan of God, could there not be a greater good. Just because we cannot conceive in our finite minds of a greater good, does not mean that such a thing does not exist. Further, we do not think of good as an absolute, but as a relative concept.
What should I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus says, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God.” Jesus focuses on the absolutes. Rom. 3:12: All have turned aside; there is none who does good; there is not even one. From God’s perspective, all have sinned and fall short of His glory. It is God’s grace which keeps us alive. God’s grace restains evil but it does not remove evil. God moves history toward its final resolution. All things work together for good, to those who love God and to those who are called for His purpose. God is working good in all circumstances. The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. And, there is no one who does good, not even one. Our works of righteousness are as filthy rags.
Salvation is based upon Who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross.
There can’t be a God because evil happens? According to the Biblical viewpoint, there was a point in time when there was no evil. One angel, Lucifer, instead of exercising positive volition, went negative toward God. The wrong exercise of free will, evil was created. Evil is finite, and it has a finite beginning. God creates mankind and renovates the earth. That evil will be restricted. Evil will coexist with good in human history and He allows this for a time to accomplish certain purposes. A final and ultimate resolution to evil. In all other world views and philosophical system, evil and good are ultimately not eternal and there is no final resolution of either one. C. S. Lewis observed that ultimately Christianity on the one hand and Hinduism were the two extremes, and everything could be logically moved into one or the other. The yin yang diagram; the black and white half circles; and they have dualism, the existence of eternal good and evil. These coexist for all time and they unbeliever is trapped in logical trap. What do you mean by good and what do you mean by evil. Man in his independence seeks to define good on his own terms. Man is finite and because he does not know all of the facts, he cannot determine the answers to all of these questions.
Man wants to impose on God his own ideas about justice, which presupposes that man knows what justice is. Far be it from God to treat the righteous and the evil the same.
The origin of evil, which will be the topic of next time.
Ruth 1:1–5 Ruth Lesson #004 2001
There was a famine in the land, which means that God was disciplining the nation. It is clear that they were under discipline on several occasions. Famine means a time of drought. They did not obey the Mosaic Law. All of these things form a backdrop which helps us to understand this book.
When a Jew leaves the promised land, that indicates that they are out of fellowship, attempting to solve their problems via human methods. They seek success and they are impoverished, they seek life, and instead, they find death. Naomi, Ruth and Orpa are 3 widows. Opharah Winfrey was named after Orpa. Just screwed up on the letters.
Naomi will be self-focused and self-absorbed and she does not focus on doctrine. She will be bitter and bitterness will corrode her soul. So often when people encounter suffering, we tend to wrap our lives around our loved ones, and they blame God.
Self-pity and they begin to blame God, and they ask questions which are associated with basic false assumptions. Do not answer a fool according to his folly. We become too easily entrapped by the kinds of questions which unbelievers pose. Strategically, we should be good chess players, and we should not necessarily answer immediately. To get them to think instead of emote. How could God allow this? Ask back, why do you think God should stop this? His solution does not have a God who controls evil. Only in Christianity is evil controlled by a good God and only in Christianity is there some kind of control over evil. Evil is finite in Christianity, which is not true in any other religion. It has a beginning and an end. Evil and suffering are contained and controlled in Christianity.
Everyone enters into a state of God consciousness. They know that God exists, no matter how much they protest. They fight against this truth and create layers of defense which they build up over years. Questions focus their thinking on their own God consciousness.
All of these questions have some underlying assumptions. How can God allow these things to happen to good people? The assumption is, some people are good, which does not square with the Bible.
If God is all-powerful, then God must create evil. This throws off all human accountability. He watched Mariane Williamson on tv, one of his former classmates and Larry King asks, “How can God let these things happen?” “God didn’t do this. God created men with free will, and this is what they did out of their free will.” Even a stopped watch is right 2 times a day.
When someone runs right into difficult circumstances, they he calls upon God so that he can blame God. Evil exists because God created creatures with free will and it is our wrong use and bad use with results in evil. God is able to use evil for His purposes.
How can God let something like this happen? We should ask, how much evil is too much evil in order for God to remain good? How many people ought to die in order for God to still be good? They have no consistency of thought. Only extreme circumstances bring on these illogical statements?
There is a proper way to interact which such an unbeliever in order to get them to think. Jesus with the rich young man asked him questions in order to make him think.
God is +R and in His integrity, He cannot create anything which is not perfect. Adam was created with a positive righteousness; it was untested, but it was righteous. Adam also has volition and self-direction.
When Lucifer fell, he was created perfect. More beauty, more skill, more wisdom; and with all of this still resulted in arrogance and negative volition. Evil is the result of creatures who make bad decisions and reject God. Only in Christianity is there control of evil. Evil never runs rampant.
In some sense, Ruth has elements of a theoddeysy. Job definitely has that. We see that God has a purpose for suffering in Job which brings about a greater good. As finite creatures, Some cannot conceive of a good so great as to allow evil, that they reject God. We do not see the whole picture and we don’t realize how God can achieve great good by allowing evil. “Who are you the creature to question Me the Creator? You do not have the knowledge which I have.“
In the first 5 verses, we look at Alimelech’s problem solving device, which is Moab. It was a place of paganism and reversionism. From Bethlehem, they head east, cross the Jordan, and then go south to Moab. In the northern portion of Moab, there is an area of fertility and enjoyed a level of prosperity. Probably more narrow than the state of Connecticut. It is like going from Connecticut to Rhode Island. It is a short distance.
Naomi feels some responsibility to her daughters-in-law. She heard that God had visited His people and had given them food. This is an anthropomorphic term rooted in the concept of the covenant. Just as a king of a great nation would set up an agreement with nations which they conquered or were about to conquer, so God sets up a treaty with them. It is the great king coming to His vassal. God does not need to temporarily come to check things out; He is omnipresent. God does not need to come down from heaven to check things out. We know that God visited His people by giving them food. This is a metonymy of substitution of effect for the cause. The cause was actually the rain which brought the crops which provide them with food, which is the effect. Naomi understands enough to know that God is no longer cursing the nation but He is blessing them instead.
Little does she know that less than 3 feet from her is Ruth, who will be one of the greatest blessings to all of Israel. She is focusing on her terrible circumstances. In our finite knowledge, we need to trust God. Ruth demonstrates her faithfulness to Naomi and her faithfulness to God, that God is already answering Naomi’s prayer, even though Naomi is not fully aware of it.
Ruth 1:6 And she rose up, she and her daughters-in-law, and turned back from the fields of Moab. For she had heard in the fields of Moab that Jehovah had visited His people, to give food to them.
Ruth 1 Ruth Lesson #005 2001
Anthrax attacks mentioned in opening prayer.
The prophets brought judgment from God upon Israel. The writings were books which illustrated why God’s Law was designed for this life. Daniel was designed to give comfort and encouragement to Israel and it lets them know that God has a plan for Israel even under the greatest chaos. Ruth is a part of this wisdom literature. You might miss a lot of Ruth if you read it only in the English. The author has a lot here.
God has the land under judgment and Naomi and her family try to escape from this, but they cannot. Now they have a crisis.
Naomi’s problems deal with, how can a good God allow this kind of suffering.
The first part of v. 6 is the independent clause. Naomi hears that God is blessing Israel, but her mind is still in a state of grief. She is not relating this to her own life. The emphasis is on Naomi. Naomi is on stage right now and the daughters-in-law are in the background. The emphasis of this passage is upon Naomi still. She hopes to get a few blessings which God has given to Israel. She has some optimistic expectation that something might happen, and so she goes back to the land.
Ruth 1:6 And she rose up, she and her daughters-in-law, and turned back from the fields of Moab. For she had heard in the fields of Moab that Jehovah had visited His people, to give food to them.
What is coming up is levarite marriage, so we need to take a moment and review that. Lever means a brother-in-law in the Latin. This is God’s graciousness in order to preserve the family inheritance. Divine institutions are established by God to preserve a society. Human responsibility, marriage between a man and a woman, family, and human government, and the establishment of independent nations. God requires a variety of nations. God will destroy the international alliance at the battle of Armageddon.
Deut. 25 lays out the law for this: the woman is loses her husband is not to marry outside the family and a brother-in-law is to impregnate her to raise up a son to his brother. It is a perpetual inheritance. The family was never to lose their land; this and the year of Jubilee maintained ownership of the land.
Deut. 25:5–10: If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a strange man outside the family; her husband's brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not desire to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. If after the elders of his city have summoned him and spoken to him, he has stood firm and said, I do not desire to take her, then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, So shall it be done to the man who will not build up the house of his brother. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him who had his sandal removed.
Refusing to do this by the brother-in-law was a slight on the brother who has died and it indicates that there is little thought given to God’s gift to Israel.
Ruth 1:7 And she went out from the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law with her. And they went in the way to return to the land of Judah.
Naomi is beginning to thinkn about what is going on. She is bringing these two Moabites into Judah, and there is this antagonistic relationship between Israel and the Moabites. Moab had also tried to seduce Israel through its women. So, she decides to discourage their presence. There is not much of a mention of God in this book. He is clearly there and involved, but He is clearly behind the scenes. He is directing the events behind the scenes.
Naomi uses some terminology here which gives us an insight into Naomi’s attitude. “May the Lord deal kindly with you...” She uses the word ד∵ש∵ח = chesed. This emphasizes God’s covenant relationship with His people. This emphasizes God’s relationship to His people. God always acts the same way and does the same thing, despite the rebelliousness of His people.
The Mosaic Law provided for those who could not take care of themselves. The brother-in-law taking care of his bereaved sister-in-law. “May God be faithful as you have been faithful to my sons and to me.” There is a hidden indictment here of God. They are not asked to be faithful in their actions to God because of His faithfulness, but God is being asked to be faithful to them.
These young women are honorable and they have been gracious to Naomi. Why are these girls chesed girls? They understand some amount of doctrine and they have become saved probably. Believers in the Old Testament were saved in the same way we are. They looked forward to God redeeming them; and we look back. Their understanding became clearer and clearer, but they knew that God had promised in His faithfulness that He would provide for their guilt. These girls have some capacity for real love. This is the proper word to express real love. The other word deals with attraction. As soon as age sets in, or weight comes on, or the person does somethin horrific; then love goes out the window. Love in the Bible is based upon decisions and integrity, and not upon emotion. This is how God remains faithful to His covenant to Israel despite their unfaithfulness. He even has to remove them from the land, but He will restore His promises to them.
Every person has some natural capacity or potential for love. Only a regenerated believer can have some idea what love is. Believers and unbelievers are not to intermarry, because there is nothing in common. The unbeliever cannot have the same capacity for love.
What Jesus did on the cross reveals the entire concept of love; He took the great abuse and hatred when He could have destroyed everyone on earth and thrown them all into hell in an instant. This is the kind of love we are supposed to give.
It is a problem to marry someone who is not interested in doctrine. A limited capacity for love. Lev. 18:19 John 13:34–35. Increased capacity in the New Testament. This was a new commandment from Jesus, “You are to love one another as I have loved you.” This is the standard and a high standard which cannot be accomplished in the energy of the flesh.
Chesed in the Old Testament is important to understand. Ex. 14:15: You have guided Your people to Your holy habitation. Ex. 20:6: God shows lovingkindness to thousands. Ex. 34:6: the Lord God is compassionate and gracious. Chesed is the foundation of God’s love. Ex. 34:7: who forgive iniquity, but He will not leave the iniquity unpunished. Parental love not only provides good things but discipline as well. Love is not a shallow, restricted idea presented in our society. Deut. 7:9 God keeps His Lovingkindness to the 1000th generation.
Ruth and Orpa have an exceptional character and they did apply some doctrine.
Ruth 1:8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, each return to the house of her mother. May Jehovah deal kindly with you, as you have done with the dead, and with me.
This is a very difficult time for these women. They have all lost their husbands. They have survived together, and now they are being separated. Naomi realizes that it may not be right to bring them into Israel.
Naomi allows them to go back and remarry.
Ruth 1:9 May Jehovah grant to you that you find rest, each in the house of her husband. And she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice and wept.
Naomi’s second plea: “Do I yet have sons in my womb for you?”
Ruth 1:10 And they said to her, NeveRuth eless, we will go back with you to your people.
There is going to be no sons born of Naomi to perform the leverit marriage responsibilities. She recognizes this leverit marriage, and says that she cannot have children for them.
It is clear that Naomi is bitter because of what has occurred. We should not become bitter for what life does to us. There is even a subtext here of self-pity.
Ruth 1:11 And Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Are there yet sons to me in my belly that they should be husbands for you?
Ruth 1:12 Turn back, my daughters, go. For I am too old to belong to a husband. Though I should say, There is hope for me, and I should be tonight with a husband, and also I should bear sons;
Ruth 1:13 will you wait for them, that they might grow up? Will you shut yourselves up for them, not to belong to a husband? No, my daughters, for it is much more bitter for me than for you, for the hand of Jehovah has gone out against me.
Opah is gone; she has left. She is off the stage.
Ruth 1:14 And they lifted up their voice and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother in law, but Ruth clung to her.
Notice ,your sister has gone back to her people and her gods. Every culture at its core is religious. There is a value system and it is based on an ultimate view of reality. Theistic, atheistic, pantheistic. That ultimate view says something about God, gods or no God. There is some sort of a believe system, which affects the values, ethics and laws of a culture. As you live on the basis of the mores and standards of that land, you are living on the religion of the land.
What happens in the womb is not just a mass of cells; it is destined to be a human being in the image of God. Row versus Wade is a shift to treat the fetus as just a mass of cells, like a tumor. It is potential human life. Believing that life occurs at birth does not mean that abortion is okay.
Row V. Wade was a radical change of the view of life. Historically, the nation always allowed the presence of God in the classroom. There is a secular viewpoint to get God out of culture.
Now that we are in a disaster, prayer seems to be okay in our culture for awhile. Orpah is going back to her culture.
Ruth 1:15 And she said, See, your sister-in-law has turned back to her people, and to her gods. You turn back after your sister-in-law.
What follows is a chiasm, and it puts the emphasis on the center. They all speak of location and the centerpiece is You people my people, your God my God. Ruth is very positive toward God and she wants the place of greatest blessing, which, then, was Israel. Now, the best place ot be is in Christ. By being in fellowship and learning doctrine, we can determine where we ought to be.
Ruth 1:15 And she said, See, your sister-in-law has turned back to her people, and to her gods. You turn back after your sister-in-law.
Ruth 1:16 And Ruth said, Do not entreat me to leave you, to turn back from following you. For where you go, I will go. And where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Ruth 1:17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Jehovah do to me, and more so, if anything but death part you and me.
Ruth 1:18 And she saw that she had made herself strong to go with her; and she ceased to speak to her.
Most of these final verses of Ruth 1 not covered in any detail.
Ruth 1:19 And they went, both of them, until they came into Bethlehem. And it happened as they came into Bethlehem, all the city was moved at them. And they said, Is this Naomi?
Ruth 1:20 And she said to them, Do not call me Naomi. Call me Bitterness, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.
Ruth 1:21 I went out full, and Jehovah has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Jehovah has set His eye against me, and the Almighty has done evil to me?
Ruth 2 Ruth Lesson #006 2001
Our Lord becomes our Kinsman-Redeemer. This book focuses on why a good God allows suffering in the world. This is a story of cursing being turned to blessing; it does not happen overnight. The resolutioni to sin and judgment will take a long time, even though God already has all of that worked out.
Chiasm: the suffering in the lives of Naomi and Ruth. They are in a land of no blessing; there is no children and no life and there must be a transformation. We have located this during the period of the judges.
God is a righteous God and He did not create evil in the universe, but He did allow His creatures free will, and the free will of His creatures brought evil into the world. God had a plan from eternity past to handle this. Only Christianity has a true solution to sin and evil. All of the others deny its reality or say you cannot really distinguish between evil and good.
Adam, when he sinned, plunged the world in to sin. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by dying spiritually on the cross.
There is now pain and suffering, thorns and thistles, and good and evil. The solution for evil takes place at the cross and is further worked out in history.
This is not just some nice story about some young girl who is impoverished and some guy comes along and saves her, but it is a picture as to how God is working behind the scenes to transform our cursing into blessings.
You go to see a play. You see all the actors on the stage and the cause and effects; but you do not see the stage hands, you do not see the director. The author reveals this all to us, but without seeing God off stage. When we mix God’s promises with faith, we do not know how God will function behind the scenes.
Ruth will step out and trust God, even though she does not know what God will do. The 2nd chapter focuses on Ruth’s response and upon what God is doing and what God does behind the scenes.
We, as the reader, know what is going to happen, and the writer knows this too, as he clues us into this too. We know what the players on the stage will go through and how it will be resolved.
V. 1: God has provided the solution in Boaz; however, in the narrative, Ruth and Naomi do not know this yet.
The election of Israel is like the election of believers; the redemption of Israel at the Red Sea is a picture of us being redeemed by the cross. The initiation into a new life by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and this is Israel crossing the Red Sea.
God’s standards for lilfe come after salvation. So the Law was given after Israel had been adopted by God. All of this is a picture of the believer in the Church Age.
Ruth is a picture of what takes place in the sanctification of spiritual growth. Ruth will do what the law says to do. Secondly, chesed tells us what occurs off camera. Mercy, compassion, love is all wrapped up in God’s chesed love. This is a love not based on attraction or upon goodness but upon God’s character. God’s blessing for Israel is grounded on His chesed love.
The paragraph break occurs at Ruth 1:22:
shûwb which means to return, to turn back, used of Israel turning to idols and turning back to God. 1:6, 7 , 8, 12, 15, 21, 22 is how often this word is used. Ruth is said to return to Israel, but she has never been to Israel. This should get our attention.
In the next few verses, a shift will take place; the focus will go from Naimi to the kinsman-redeemer.
We should not try to push God toward our timetable. Ruth has heard a report that God is visiting His people again and blessing has been returned to the land. There would be plenty of food and no longer a famine in the land. God’s timing is always the best.
During the barley harvest, they return. Naomi first uses this word when she affixes chesed to the treatment of her by her daughters-in-law.
It was to the brother of Abimelech to whom this leveret marriage would apply. Judges 6 word used of Gideon and in Prov. 31:10 describes a man of some standing in the community, a man of integrity. Being a man of great wealth is not the best choice here; the emphasis is on him being a man of integrity and nobility.
He is a kinsman, from the clan of Alimelech, he is honorable and his name is Boaz. His emphasis in Scripture is not on prestige or financial status; the emphasis is on his soul. We will expect something from Boaz. He is also from Bethlehem, and he is therefore a type of Christ. Jesus Christ is our kinsman redeemer and there will be certain elements which portray this relationship between Jesus Christ and the church.
Ruth 1:22 And Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the fields of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Ruth 2:1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a mighty man of the family of Elimelech. And his name was Boaz.
Ruth makes a cohortative of request. There is a 1st and 3rd person imperative in the Hebrew. She has accepted responsibility for Naomi and says, “Let me go out to the field” and this is to take responsibility for her mother-in-law. She does not do this independently. She understands something about the background of the Word of God.
She is looking for God’s grace to solve the problem. Lev. 19:9 Deut. 24:19 tell about how to leave some of the field open for others to harvest—those who are poor. Don’t try to keep every $ that you think that you deserve. This could be applied to our daily life and work.
God took care of the poor and the stranger. When someone moved to Israel, they had no inheritance in the land. God has a welfare system established.
The faith rest drill has two dimensions to it. You don’t just trust God and do nothing; many times, there is a responsibility to be acted upon as well. The key is relying upon God to provide the food. Like your lawn—you don’t sit inside your house and pray and pray for God to take care of it.
Ruth 2:2 And Ruth of Moab said to Naomi, Let me now go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said to her, Go, my daughter.
Ruth goes to the field after the reapers and she comes to Boaz’s field. The writer uses tongue in cheek here. She just happened to come across this field of Boaz. There is no chance in the Bible. This indicates that God is working behind the scenes and bringing her to Boaz’s field. Ruth does not know who these relatives are; she doesn’t know who he is or anything like that. She just happens to end up in his field. God is always engaged to solve the problem.
Boaz gives her permission. He treats his people in grace and inculcates grace into his workers. This is important for Christian employees.
Ruth 2:3 And she went. And she came and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened by circumstance on the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of Elimelech's family.
They just happen to come to Israel during a harvest; Ruth just happens to come across the field of Boaz; and Boaz just happens to come along when Ruth is out there in his field.
The Christian employer should be concerned about his employees and he should pray on their behalf. There is more to it than an economic relationship.
Ruth 2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, Jehovah be with you. And they answered him, Jehovah bless you.
There is an overseer that Boaz comes out to. Boaz sees Ruth. There is some sort of a lean-to or a shelter, and there is Ruth.
Ruth 2:5 And Boaz said to his young man who had been set over the reapers, Whose is this young woman?
Ruth is known. She has a reputation of sorts. Everyone knows about this new girl in town, although Boaz doesn’t know about her.
Ruth 2:6 And the young man who had been set over the reapers replied and said, She is a young woman of Moab who came with Naomi from the fields of Moab.
The reapers go through and bundle up the sheaves and some drop out, and she wants to pick those up. She has been there since early morning and she is just now taking a break. She has a work ethic. The emphasis is upon her faithfulness. She is going to in turn rely upon God to take care of the situation.
She is sweaty and hot and dirty; and she is not dressed in the latest fashion. However, Boaz will treat her in grace. Ruth probably has figured out who Boaz is, in terms of owning this field.
Ruth 2:7 And she said, Please let me glean, and I shall gather among the sheaves after the reapers. And she came and has remained since morning, even until now. She sat in the house a little while.
Boaz says, stay here, and I will take care of you.
Ruth 2:8 And Boaz said to Ruth, Do you not hear, my daughter? Do not go to glean another field, and also do not pass through this. And you shall stay close to my young women.
Boaz wants to make certain that a lot is left behind. Boaz is impressed by her work ethic. He is impressed by her work ethic. At this point, she is not very attractive. He makes an anti-harassment statement. “No one is going to give you a hard time.” She can go and drink from the water jars of the workers.
Ruth 2:9 Your eyes shall be on the field which they shall reap, and you shall go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? When you are thirsty, then you shall go to the vessels and shall drink from that which the young men draw.
She bows down to him in gratitude. She found a grace orientated employer. If you are not grace oriented. She asks, “Why do you look after me, a foreigner?”
Ruth 2:10 And she fell on her face and bowed to the earth, and said to him, Why have I found grace in your eyes, that you should notice me, and I a foreigner?
Boaz answers her and ask for God to bless her.
Ruth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said to her, It has been fully revealed to me all that you have done with your mother-in-law after the death of your husband. And you left your father and your mother, and the land of your birth, and came to a people which you had not known before.
Boaz goes beyond the physical things and mentions the spiritual implications.
There is a metaphor here: a zooamorphism. Something which belongs to an animal is applied to God. The Mormons take passages about God’s eyes and nostrils and assert that God is just a superhuman with a body. So, take them to this passage.
In Deuteronomy, God is compared to an eagle. As an eagle flaps its wings around the babies, this teaches the baby eagles to fly. They imitate their mother. They don’t know their own strength and they don’t know all that they can do. A mother will fly down and catch a falling baby on the back of her wings. She is able to get under the falling baby. The mother eagle trains her children for maturity and this is the metaphor used many times in Scripture. I bore you on eagle’s wings... God is always there, always in the background, always there able to help us.
Ruth 2:12 Jehovah shall repay your work, and your reward shall be complete from Jehovah the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
Ruth 2 Ruth Lesson #007 2001
We need to look at Ruth almost like a drama or a play. Rather than finding blessing, they found cursing; rather than finding life, they found death; rather than finding prosperity, they found poverty. So they leave Moab and return to Bethlehem. In the same sense that God transferred cursing to blessing for Israel, so He was doing this for Ruth and Naomi. It is through the fullness of Naomi that God will provide the Savior. Ruth will become the great grandmother of King David.
Faith rest drill is being taught here. Prov. 3:5–6: Trust in the Lord and lean not to your own understanding. There is a passive and active sense to trust. We are to give thanks in all things. We may not understand why or grasp the suffering, but we do know that God is doing this for our benefit. Years later, we often see that God was directing our paths.
God clearly had a welfare system established but it is not a handout. You cannot use welfare in such a way to negate personal responsibility. God had a provision, but it was not just a free gift. The destitute person still worked. They had to go out in the fields and they had to work.
The hardest job is looking for a job and the bills are piling up. You have to trust God for the opening of the opportunity. Sometimes there is a tremendous test of faith. Ruth just happened to Boaz’s field (and there is no pure chance in God’s plan). It is possible that Ruth could not find a field where wheat was left behind.
God is not shown to reach down and push Ruth this way or that. Ruth does what she knows she needs to do: to go from one field to another to find food. And she happens to step into the field of a kinsman, someone whom she does not know is a kinsman. We know that it will turn out this way, as the first verse of this chapter tells us about Boaz. God’s grace transforms blessing into cursing. This pictures grace orientation in the lift of the believer, in contrast to Naomi who runs into great adversity to the point that she doubts the grace of God. She is questioning God’s plan for her life. God is gracious, even when going through dark times.
Chiasm is a structure where there are 3 or 4 principles which go in one direction. The emphasis is upon the center point where everything turns. The next episode takes place where Ruth goes out to glean. Boaz goes out and interviews the overseer.
The turning point in the chapter is where Ruth and Boaz meet. This is the key section. Boaz invites Ruth to join him. Two times when Ruth gleans; she leaves Naomi and then returns to Naomi. And all of this is centered around Ruth meeting Boaz.
“Listen carefully, my daughter,” Boaz says, to indicate care and adopting a protective stance toward her.
Justice is the execution of God’s standard; righteousness is His standard. When man has integrity, he is reflecting the integrity of God. Operating on grace toward people is not our natural inclination. It goes against everything in our sin nature. We want to do what is right with us and to heck with everyone else.
Boaz in impressed with Ruth’s character, but she probably looks a mess. And this is how things should be in any relationship. A good relationship is based on character; not upon wealth or external attractiveness. Without realizing this, anyone will find themselves in serious trouble.
Ruth 2:8–12 And Boaz said to Ruth, Do you not hear, my daughter? Do not go to glean another field, and also do not pass through this. And you shall stay close to my young women. Your eyes shall be on the field which they shall reap, and you shall go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? When you are thirsty, then you shall go to the vessels and shall drink from that which the young men draw. And she fell on her face and bowed to the earth, and said to him, Why have I found grace in your eyes, that you should notice me, and I a foreigner? And Boaz answered and said to her, It has been fully revealed to me all that you have done with your mother-in-law after the death of your husband. And you left your father and your mother, and the land of your birth, and came to a people which you had not known before. Jehovah shall repay your work, and your reward shall be complete from Jehovah the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge. Wings are used to teach about the character and plan of God. This reference goes back to Ex. 19:4: “I bore you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself.” Deut. 32:10–11 speaks about a mother eagle stirring up the next in order to get her young to imitate her. The mother eagle flies down and carries her children on her own wings, if they venture outside of the nest. This is how God provides for and protects His own children.
Psalm 17:7–8: God’s protection of the believer is related to His loving and loyal love. Psalm 91: taking refuge in God. Psalm 91:1–4: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the destructive pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. It begins with the faith rest drill. A supernatural way of life that can only be dealt with on a supernatural basis.
God is eternal and He is love and He is omniscient; so He can see all things at all times and He has made provision for us in eternity past. We are reminded that evil is under God’s control. Nothing happens outside of God’s control.
More people were killed in September automobile accidents than on September 11th. Psalm 91:5–10: You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the retribution of the wicked. Because you have made Jehovah, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; God promises protection; He is our refuge.
Ruth declares that she has found grace in His sight. When you speak to a person’s heart, you are speaking to the core of a person’s being. This woman is responsible for her mother-in-law, but she does not know where the next meal is coming from. There is a difference between thinking about this and worry. There is a sense of uncertainty; and Boaz speaks to her soul concerns and Ruth sees that this man is God’s provision to take care of her and Naomi.
Naara means a young servant girl; amah, which means a maidservant, who is a higher social standing than the one used here in v. 13. The amah is sometimes elevated to a wife; but the word which Ruth uses is below this. She is showing gratitude. We have no claim to God’s favor and no claim to His grace; it has nothing to do with who we are. There is nothing in her which causes Boaz to treat her this way. She is lower than one of Boaz’s handmaids.
Gratitude always goes with grace orientation.
Ruth 2:13 And she said, Let me find grace in your eyes, my lord, because you have comforted me, and because you have spoken to the heart of your handmaid. And I surely am not as one of your handmaids.
By v. 14, we are in the noontime meal. There is nothing for her to glean and she is hoping to find something to eat. She might want to roast some of her grain on an open fire. The roasting of this grain is even done today in the fields of Israel. The not quite ripe grain is held out at the end of the stock, over the fire. She meets, again, an expression of grace. There are going to be times of hunger, of unemployment and poverty, even though God does provide for us. We do not have to give into such things emotionally. Paul can live under all things, which involves having abundance or in need, adversity or prosperity. He can handle any circumstance through Christ who strengthens him. God supplies our needs.
The vinegar below is a flavoring, possibly with a vinegar base, to soften and improve the taste of the bread. Ruth is going to get more. She does not eat what she picked, but what someone else has picked. She does not eat what she roasted, but what someone else roasts.
In the Bible, eating is a picture of fellowship as well. Boaz is going above and beyond the call of duty in being generous to her. Prov. 22:9: he who is generous will be blessed. In giving, some think erroneously of tithing. God allows us to give greatly and sometimes in excess of 10%. Deut. 15:14: You will give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you. There is mandatory giving and freewill giving. Deut. 16:10 says we will give just as God has blessed us.
Ruth 2:14 And Boaz said to her, At mealtime come here, and you shall eat of the bread and dip your morsel in the vinegar. And she sat at the side of the reapers, and he reached out roasted grain to her. And she ate and was satisfied, and had some left over.
Ruth 2:15 And she rose up to glean. And Boaz commanded his young men, saying, She shall glean even between the sheaves, and you shall not cause her to be ashamed.
Boaz tells them to leave more for her. He doesn’t just give it to her; but it is placed out there for her to take. He is just taking care of someone in poverty. He is making it possible for her to work for it. Giving it to her would violate the Mosaic Law.
Ruth 2:16 And pulling you shall also pull out for her of the bundles, and shall leave; and she shall glean, and you shall not restrain her.
An ephah of barley is 30–50 lbs of barley because Boaz has been generous with her.
Ruth 2:17 And she gleaned in the field until the evening, and beat out that which she had gleaned. And it was about an ephah of barley.
Naomi is in shock to see all of this barley. Naomi is not dumb. She knows something is going on behind the scenes.
Ruth 2:18 And she took it up and went to the city. And her mother-in-law saw that which she had gleaned. And she brought out and gave to her that which she had reserved after she was satisfied.
Naomi knows about Boaz and maybe she gets a little glimmer of grace, based upon what Ruth tells her.
Ruth 2:19 And her mother-in-law said to her, Where have you gleaned today? And where have you worked? May he who noticed you be blessed. And she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, The name of the man with whom I have worked today is Boaz.
Naomi sees God’s grace in this. She knows that God will provide a future for the family. She reveals this to Ruth.
Ruth 2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is he of Jehovah who has not forsaken his kindness with the living and with the dead. And Naomi said to her, The man is near of kin to us; he is of our redeemers.
Ruth 2 Kinsman-Redeemer Ruth Lesson #008 2001
Ruth has dealt faithfully with her husband, who is dead, and with her mother-in-law; and they are now at the bottom of the social ladder.
If people are just given things without working for them, it is destructive to the soul. When God set up a system to provide for the impoverished, it required that the poor also work. They had to harvest the grain from the field. Work and personal responsibility.
There is a trust that God will shed grace on her through people. God is not in the forefront of the stage here; He is the stage manager. He works behind the scenes in order to provide for the needs of the families.
Often the coldest darkness precedes the warmest light. Sometimes, people have things fairly easy and they are taught by God and during a time of great ease. But, when there is enough in the soul to test the faith, there is adversity in order to test the soul. We misrepresent the gospel that, trust Jesus and all of your troubles will be gone. Now, a believer who is mature, can have a very happy life with immeasurable blessing. Sometimes, we have to go through the darkness until the light comes.
Boaz told his people to even drop grain behind purposely for Ruth to be able to pick up.
Doctrine in the New Testament is often illustrated for us in the Old Testament. The doctrine we will study this morning will be redemption. Often in the Old Testament, God has revealed the most fundamental doctrines. This is good for kids, because it is concrete and easier to understand. When you see how this is played out in the lives of individuals, it makes sense. The exodus event helps us to understand redemption.
He of Jehovah is Boaz from v. 19.
A pronoun usually goes back to the nearest and generally previous antecedent. This should be understood the Jehovah has not withdrawn His kindness. When two things which are in opposition or mirrors of each other, that includes all that is in between. Day and night or heaven and earth. God has not withdrawn His kindness to anyone—the living and the dead.
Chesed is so loaded with meaning in the Hebrew. Naomi has been out of line, but now she seems to recognize that God is with them. She realizes that God has not forgotten about them.
Nothing that happens to us, no matter how harsh or how chaotic, is outside the plan of God. No creature can do anything outside of God’s permission. Qaddash means to be set apart and it is used for priests, temples furniture, and in this place, it refers to the uniqueness of God. He is unique in terms of His character. God is perfect and He can do nothing less than perfection. His justice represents the application of that standards. Ahab and chesed and they come together. Chesed is a non-emotional word. The psalmist speaks of righteousness and justice are related to Your thrown, and then love and truth. God is eternal, He is omniscient. All of these things are related. He has eternal knowledge. He is immutable; He never changes; He always responds the same way. The core of His being is righteousness and integrity. What the righteousness of God approves, the justice of God blesses. What the righteouenss of God rejects, His justice condemns. God is faithful, to Himself, and to His creatures, and He will give His creatures a chance for salvation. We have to go to God’s Word to find His plan of salvation for us.
Naomi says that God has not withdrawn His kindness, and she adds, “This man is our goel; he is our redeemer.” There will be some unusual and odds things which take place in Ruth 3. When Ruth hears this, it is loaded with all kinds of various meanings and all kinds of baggage. This man who has just happened into her field, and he is a goel to her. That word is often translated kinsman-redeemer. We will have to study what this term means and it is related to family law in the Mosaic Law and there are 5 areas of responsibility which are stressed. Some stress one or the other aspect. If you are related to someone, you are required to take care of them. We live in fragmented lives, and we look at people in terms of independent units. We lose sight of the whole idea of family taking care of family, especially in times of crisis. This is how God provided stability in society.
The Kinsman-redeemer has a responsibility toward the property of the family. We are related to our property. God gave an inheritance to each family and God set things up so that everyone in Israel’s family had protection of their property. The Word of God recognizes personal ownership of property. Socialism and Communism have no place in a society grounded in the Word of God. The Word of God recognizes the right of personal ownership of property. That brings with it, a certain amount of responsibility, to use it wisely and not selfishly. That gives no one the right to come in and take it away from you. The culturally elite think that they have a right to come in and tell someone how they should spend their money. God does prosper people. When a government comes in and wants to take 30-50%, that is evil. The kinsman redeemer is to protect the property and the liberty of the family. There is a connection between liberty and property. The original draft of the constitution of the declaration of the independence was life, liberty and property.
Modern American liberalism looks at slavery and says that it is just evil, no matter. God does not regulate evil. So, when God regulates slavery, that means that it is an okay institution, but it can involve evil ways of doing it.
For those who had bad luck or were irresponsible would, after 49 years, get their property back. If the kinsman redeemer had the resources, he could purchase back the property. Lev. 25:47ff. There is an extended family which could go out and redeem; and one who has prospered, can redeem himself. There was a price depending upon the time until Jubilee. The price of the slave was related to what any hired person could produce. A slave did not necessarily get paid less.
There were rules for the master. He could not be overly cruel. The sons of Israel are My servants, God says. The ultimate owner is the great king is who paceling this out to his vassels.
3rd principle: the redeemer is to be concerned about the lift of relatives. He is the blood avenger. He is to track down and execute murderers. If the courts did not execute justice, the goel had to do this. If they were outside the city of refuge, he could execute them.
People have all kinds of screwy ideas about the legal system. God expects man to use capital punishment. The blood avenger does not consider a distinction between 2nd and 1st degree murder.
The Goel was to make sure the family had a future for the family. He was to receive money as restitution for the crime and the crime victim. This provided financial restitution.
Num. 5:8: the goel was to make sure that justice was served in any legal matter involving a relative. Jer. 34 their redeemer is strong, the Lord of the Armies; He will vigorously plead their case. This involves presenting a case in the courtroom. He pleads their case in the supreme court of heaven. The corporate unity of the family is emphasized.
4 of the 5 divine institutions are related to the goel. They are involved in the stability of any nation.
Ruth 2:20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed is he of Jehovah Who has not forsaken His kindness with the living and with the dead. And Naomi said to her, The man is near of kin to us; he is of our redeemers.
Ruth 2 Kinsman-Redeemer Ruth Lesson #009 2001
Christmas party set up. A pastor ordination at Berachah and possibly the final one, as Bob is 84 years old. 3 or 4 candidates. An interrogation time on Saturday morning, ordination Sunday night. Berachah seats 1200. This is only a 33 minute lesson, for whatever reason (the bread and the cup?).
We came to the doctrine of Redemption at the end of the previous lesson. One of the key words in Ruth is kinsman-redeemer, which is a picture of Jesus Christ, Who is our kinsman. He is able to pay the ransom price for our sins. He is related to us, being a person; and He is able to pay for our redemption.
Suddenly cut off at 33 minutes....
Ruth 2:21 And Ruth of Moab said, And he surely said to me, You shall stay close, near to the young men whom I have, until they have completed the whole harvest which I have.
Ruth 2:22 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, Good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, and that men may not attack you in another field.
Ruth 2:23 And she stayed close to the young women of Boaz to glean, until the end of the barley harvest, and of the wheat harvest. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Ruth 2 Kinsman-Redeemer Ruth Lesson #010 2001
Stress busters or two problem solving devices which Dean recommends in counseling situations. Many don’t understand how to implement. The love triplex: personal love for God and impersonal love for all man and occupation with Christ. These run counter to everything which is a natural response. An underlying subtheme in the whole book of Ruth. Naomi has lost her husband and her two sons and she is blaming God for all of her problems. Suffering is either deserved or undeserved. What we thought would be blessing turns to emptiness, and we turn that anger toward God and it becomes bitterness, revenge, etc. When we come under the pressure in our souls to mental attitude sins, by responding with anger, etc., we make ourselves miserable. This happens in marriages, in employment situations, etc. There is some sort of breakdown in whatever like your job, and they made promises, but they don’t keep them, etc. Grace orientation and personal love for God deal with these problems.
Some suffering is going to simply involve being involved with a sinner, in marriage or on the job or whatever. We need to employ impersonal love when dealing with these people. Everything is grace, which is the key concept in the book of Ruth. Chesed = loyal love, steadfast love, love based on integrity. A pregnant word in the Hebrew; it defies a one-word rendering. It is not an emotional term. As soon as we get hit with some level of underserved suffering, we begin to react with emotion, which is something which we need to stop immediately. It is like getting a tough punch to the solar plexis. Some sort of mental attitude sin is immediately engaged which can snowball and pick up other mental attitude sins. Soon, we are functioning from a position of anger, revenge, etc. By failing to us impersonal love toward all mankind, then we begin to make bad decisions, which long term consequences may not be clear for a decade or so. Our immediate response is to react to this kind of thing, and we are standing in a pool of blood and we cannot believe that it is going to work out; but, after 4 or 10 years, things are suddenly worked out and those difficulties are a part of it. These are tests. It is not a test, if we see it coming or if it is deserved suffering. You think that someone is treating you unfairly or wrongly. However, if you retreat, you will have to go through the test again. These tests hit us in these areas of weakness. We need to trust Him and allow Him to speak to us in these areas. If we don’t deal with it at that particular time, we will have to go through it again and again. And each time, it may become more and more difficult to handle.
The love complex will help Ruth and Naomi face the world. No one to provide protection or security for the family; Ruth has to go out and work like a field hand. In Ruth 2 there is a glimmer of hope: Boaz is a kinsman-redeemer. There was no one in Ruth 1 to give them hope. Ruth declares her loyalty to this angry, resentful old woman. She will try to find a field outside of Bethlehem when there corners of the field are left unharvested. She relies upon the grace of God. She gets up in the morning, trusting in God. She goes from field to field.
There is no such thing as chance; God is working here. When Ruth comes back and tells Naomi, and she knows who Boaz is. Boaz does not violate the law by just giving her this food; but he does make it easier for her. Our welfare system is messed up because we simply give money and destroy their ability to work. She comes home that first day with 30–40 lbs of grain. Now Naomi sees there is some hope. She had forgotten about Boaz; he is a distance relative, as is our Lord. His function within society is to come in as a family member, marrying the widow of a deceased relative and raise children in the relative’s name. This gives protection and sustenance for the widow.
Time goes by. At the end of chapter 2, we are left in suspense. When we come to chapter 3, about 3 months have gone by. We have gone from early April to mid-June. Boaz has left Ruth alone and has made no steps toward her. She is probably still in widow’s clothing. Boaz understands grace and impersonal love and he is not going to do or say anything which involves her going...
How do we face problems and develop a plan.
3 months later, Naomi speaks to Ruth about this thing, which she has been thinking about for some time. She wants to move things along, which is within the steps set out in the Law.
Now it is Naomi who tries to set things up for Ruth. She is no longer bitter. “Should I not find a place of rest for you?” A place of financial and domestic security, and in Hebrew society, this could only be found with a husband, who protected and provided for her.
Ruth 1:8–9 we have this word used again: But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!" Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. Also picks up some imagery from protection, as God spreads His wings to protect us. A man’s function is to protect his family. Naomi is indicating all of this and there is forshadowing in Ruth 1:9 and 2:12.
They are destitute, on welfare, and they have no security, no future.
Ruth 3:1 And her mother-in-law Naomi said to her, My daughter, do I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?
She will begin to reherse the situation (?). Often the Word of God does not give us precise answers to our problems. Most people do not really want to know God’s will. Or, we know it, but want someone to give us another approach. We are to take God’s parameters and to create something beautiful and something skillful.
We are to create within theh boundaries God has given us. Adam had to generate from his own soul the names of the animals. Chesed is willing to take a gamble on the Word of God. How did Naomi approach it? Lev. 19:9–10: do not glean your entire field. Leave it for the needy and the stranger. The poor and the needy still need to get out and do something to provide for their own support. Deut. 25:5–10 covers Leverite marriage: "If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. And if the man does not wish to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.' Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he persists, saying, 'I do not wish to take her,' then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. And she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' And the name of his house shall be called in Israel, 'The house of him who had his sandal pulled off.' All the city fathers are this gate.
Family loyalty and family responsibility and when we are slighted or we feel that someone close to us has made a bad decision, we see it as undeserved suffering and we have a hard time loving this person. A couple can get married and 6 months later something happens and it may be a debilitating disease or a job loss. Often a situation for young marrieds. What they anticipated before may not come to pass; and some might want to toss the marriage partner over. Once you operate on principle and integrity, the emotions will swing back in line with the integrity. God cannot force love and responsibility, but these things will bring love and responsibility into the relationships. So, do we follow divine viewpoint concepts of loyalty to principles or the human nonsnese of romantic love going along with great constant successes. Boaz is a distance cousin, to the Levarite marriage is primarily applied to a brother. Lev. 25:10–13 gives us the law of redemption of property: And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field. "In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property. The year of Jubilee allowed you to sell of personal property in order ot make ends meet, but it would come back to the family in 49 years. Our constitutionalists recognized that property is a part of freedom. Socialism destroys freedom because it removes personal property. Part of this passage is on the Liberty Bell?
Naomi is motivated to solve the problem. She asks “Isn’t Boaz our relative?” At harvest time, the field workers stayed out there at night on a hilltop in a flat rocky spot to separate the grain and to winnow the grain on the threshing floor. The wind would blow away the chaff and the owners and workers would stay up there away from the families to protect their produce. Prostitutes would go up there and offer their services, as these men were away from their families. This sounds like Naomi may suggest some very weird stuff.
Boaz may be a little vulnerable if he has drunk a little that night. So there is a sexual tension building up.
Ruth 3:2 And now, is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose young women you have been? Behold, he is winnowing the threshing floor of barley tonight.
The word for bathing is used in Ezekiel for preparation for sex. It is June and it is hot in Israel, so there were perfumed oils to mask the body odors. She is told to put on an outer garment used by the poor to use also as a blanket.
Ruth 3:3 And you shall bathe, and anoint yourself, and put your garments on you, and go down to the threshing floor. Do not let yourself be known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
Ruth is told to go to Boaz when he is done working and where he lies down.
David and the loss of his baby by Bathsheba. Once the baby dies, David cleans up and puts on new clothes. Naomi is telling Ruth to get rid of all these widow clothes and to put on nice clothes and now is the time to indicate that she is ready to be married. This is not to seduce Boaz but to indicate that she is available.
This terminology in v. 4 has some sexual overtones; and uncovering one’s feet can be used to uncover the genitals. This is not an immoral situation. The cool night air will wake him up and he will find that this young woman is laying at her feet.
Ruth is certain anxious and she is getting ready and she has no idea how Boaz is going to respond. His drinking is not necessarily drunkenness and her actions are not immoral.
Ruth 3:4 And it shall be, when he lies down, you shall know the place where he lies down. And you shall go in and uncover his feet, and lie down. And he will tell you that which you are to do.
Ruth 3:5 And she said to her, All that you say, I will do.
Ruth 3:6 And she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law commanded her.
Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart is merry. This indicates that he has worked a long, hard day, and he is relaxed for the evening. Now, Boaz, after working all day, fell right to sleep.
Ruth 3:7 And Boaz ate and drank, and his heart felt good. And he went to lie down at the end of the heap. And she came secretly and uncovered his feet, and lay down.
Now, it was typical for a prostitute to come up and offer their services. However, Boaz is a man with integrity of his soul and he responds with integrity.
Ruth 3:8 And it happened in the middle of the night, that the man trembled and turned himself. And, behold, a woman was lying at his feet!
Ruth offers a different word for maid here. It is amah, which is a higher order of a domestic servant where the maid marries the master. She asks him to spread his wings over her, which is a reference to protection. She is proposing marriage to him, saying, “You are my kinsman redeemer.” She calls him to this level of responsibility. Ruth is not thinking about herself, but the goel provides protection for her entire family and it will raise up a family line to her previous husband.
Ruth 3:9 And he said, Who are you? And she said, I am your handmaid Ruth, and you shall spread your skirt over your handmaid, for you are a kinsman redeemer.
Boaz recognizes the integrity of her soul. He knows that she is focused on the ultimate things in life, which is not finding some young man which is easy to fall for.
Ruth 3:10 And he said, Blessed be you of Jehovah, my daughter. You have dealt more kindly at the latter end than at the beginning, not to go after the young men, either poor or rich.
All the people of my village know you are a woman of integrity.
Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. All that you say I will do to you, for all the gate of my people know that you are a woman of virtue.
There is another person who is a closer relative, and he needs to be brought to the city gate to see if he can do anything for her.
Boaz has thought this over, and he did not make a move because of this closer relative.
Ruth 3:12 And now, surely it is true that I am a kinsman redeemer. But there also is a redeemer nearer than I.
Boaz likes this idea, and he says they will take care of it first thing in the morning.
Ruth 3:13 Stay tonight, and it shall be in the morning, if he will redeem you, well; he will redeem. And if he does not delight to redeem you, as Jehovah lives, then I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.
Boaz tells others not to let it be known that she came to him in the middle of the night. He wants to maintain her reputation.
Ruth 3:14 And she lay at his feet until the morning, and rose up before one could discern another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman has come to the grain floor.
Boaz goes beyond what she deserves and gives her 6 handfuls of barley.
There is a difference of manuscripts here, and he goes into the city rather than she. You take the more difficult reading. He has enthusiasm about handling this problem. He is showing initiative and he is not going to procrastinate.
Ruth 3:15 And he said, Give me the covering which is on you, and hold on to it. And she kept hold on it, and he measured six measures of barley, and lay it on her. And he went in to the city.
Ruth tells what had happened.
Ruth 3:16 And she came in to her mother-in-law. And she said, Who are you, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
Ruth shows her the 6 measures of barley, which is a sign that he will provide for her and fulfill his obligation.
Ruth 3:17 And she said, He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, You shall not go empty to your mother-in-law.
Ruth 3:18 And she said, Sit, my daughter, until you shall know how the matter falls, for the man shall not rest until he has finished the matter today.
Ruth 2 Kinsman-Redeemer Ruth Lesson #011 2001
Apparently Dean rune tapes when he is gone? He is going to teach in the Ukraine. Charlie Clough is going to be a special speaker there. Video presentation on Islam and Israel during a weeknight class.
This will conclude the study of Ruth as well as concluding the study of 1.5 years ago of the book of the Judges. This is a portrait of a nation during a time of apostasy. This is what happens when a nation is going down. It is easy to become discouraged when studying this book.
The book of Ruth tells us that even in the midst of apostasy, there can be blessing. God can transfer suffering into blessing.
Naomi is a bit self-centered, and she tells her friends to call her Mara instead of Naomi (Mara means bitterness). There is a personal transformation as Naomi’s emptiness becomes full. God will provide all of her needs and transform her heartaches into joy.
All suffering will be alleviated by David’s greater Son, and this introduces us the shadow of that.
The Hebrew word chesed (ד∵ס∵ח) [pronounced kheh-SEHD], and it can mean loyal, steadfast love; love related to integrity and not to emotion. The book of Ruth is like a play where God acts like a stage manager, acting behind the scenes. The writer portrays God as working all things together for good. These spiritual skills must be mastered along the route to spiritual maturity. Naomi is focused on her own bitterness. There is a transformation and it is likely that rebound occurred, although it is never spoken of.
Ruth goes out, trusting God, that there will be a field she can get grain from; and Boaz is also trusting God in this way, and providing such a field. This is the common ground which gets them together.
Ruth is willing to leave everything behind her to take care of Naomi, which shows humility and grace orientation. Boaz makes it easier for Ruth to get more grain; he is generous with his finances.
The leveret marriage was a part of their thinking as well. In the Bible belt, there is cultural Christianity, but not an interest in spiritual growth. It is more of a cultural holdover. Showing up now and again means there is no continuity. Unconditional love and impersonal love. Boaz is demonstrating a non-romantic impersonal love toward Ruth. It is awhile before he gets to know her.
They both seem to have a basic tranquility in their souls. Naomi is bouncing of the wall and having mental attitude sins; and Ruth seems to be pretty well adjusted.
The concept of redemption is also found in the book of Ruth. Goel is based on the verb gaal, which means to redeem, to purchase with a connotation of protection.
The Bible does not give us an exact roadmap when it comes to stock investment, buying a business, moving, staying, etc. We need to remain in the general will of God. There is a triangle that they remained in. Boaz was a distance cousin of the dead husbands. Lev. 19:9–10 the reaping law. Deut. 25:5–10 leveret marriage. The 3rd boundary is the protection of the property rights. Within this framework, there will be a creative solution worked out. The Word of God does not address the exact circumstances of their situation. This is how we problem solve and find out the will of God. The property given to a family is to stay with the family. However, it can be sold for a family in difficult situation.
The people from two different cultures and a difference in age. Ruth is in her late 20's. Naomi was in Moab for less than 10 years. Boaz is probably 20 years older. Mistake is not to marry another believer or to marry someone who is not positive toward doctrine. In a previous congregation, Dean was surprised how many people were married in his previous congregationi to those who were unbelievers or uninterested in doctrine. Usually a marriage goes on the rocks because one or the other will not apply Scripture. Husband not the spiritual leader or will not love his wife; or the wife would not submit. Assignments to married couples, they had to write examples of what it meant to love as found in Scripture. When they both gave 15 or 20 examples of love and leadership. Also, budgets. Ultimately, the problems are not financial. One or bother refuse to submit to the authority of God’s Word. If both are submitted to the Scripture, then there is no probem that they cannot overcome.
Boaz and Ruth do not know each other, but they do understand about one another’s integrity. That is the foundation of their marriage.
Ruth proposed marriage to Boaz, laying down at his feet. Asking him to spread his blanket over her, which meant to protect her. He was already aware that there was another closer relative. There was some sort of a pecking order of relatives to go through.
Boaz finds the guy and pulls him aside. Boaz going up refers to elevation. It just so happened that the close relative came along. Paloni almoni is the phrase found here. It is a rhyme and it is a word play called farrago. The words are combined to form an idiomatic phrase. The man will not step up to the plate, and he could go down in history in the Messianic line; but he does not do this, and so he is called so and so. This makes him irrelevant to history. This man put his own life and personal desires ahead of his responsibility.
Ruth 4:1 And Boaz went up to the gate and sat there. And, behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz had spoken was passing by. And he said, Such a one, turn aside, sit down. And he turned aside and sat down.
Boaz snags some elders as well. A swinging gate, with a series of rooms on each side. In Gezer, the middle passage way was 13 feet wide. Each of the side chambers were 14 feet deep from front to back, and 7 feet from side to side. Inside of each room, plastered benches along the walls, and these were the town courthouse was held. This idiom to go up to the gate meant to go to court.
Ruth 4:2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit down here. And they sat down.
The first two verses set the stage. Scene 2 is next, which the issue is made clear to the nearer Goel.
Ruth 4:3 And he said to the near kinsman, Naomi, who has returned from the fields of Moab, will sell a portion of the field which belonged to our brother, to Elimelech.
So and so is told that Naomi cannot sell her piece of land, as it is not hers to sell, as it is in the name of her husband. She cannot really sell it. It is used for God sold [gave] His people into the hand of their oppressors. She wants to place this piece of land into the hand of a goel. It is merely a process of applying the Mosaic law and keeping it in the hands of a family.
Boaz might lose out, as this other guy says he’ll buy the land.
Ruth 4:4 And I said I would uncover your ear, saying, Buy it before those sitting, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem, redeem. But if you will not redeem, tell me so that I may know. For there is no one besides you to redeem, and I after you. And he said, I will redeem it.
;When you buy the field, you will also acquire Ruth the Moabite this is not slavery but responsibility. Ruth goes with the land.
Ruth 4:5 And Boaz said, In the day you buy the field from Naomi's hand, even you have bought from Ruth of Moab, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of him who died over his inheritance.
There does not appear to be shame involved here. He is not the brother. He has responsibility, but it is not as specific, so no one spits in his face.
Ruth 4:6 And the near kinsman said, I am not able to redeem for myself, that I not mar my own inheritance. You redeem for yourself my right of redemption, for I am not able to redeem.
V. 7 is an aside and tells about a custom. Sandals were used as symbolic of something. When you get a piece of property, you walk the land, which indicates that you have taken possession of it. It is symbolic of taking possession. We had a New Testament passage where a disciple takes off his shoe and shakes off the dust, indicating that there is no claim being made on the land there (by God) due to the negative volition.
Ruth 4:7 And this formerly was done in Israel for redemption, and for changing, to lift up every matter. A man would draw off his sandal and gave to his neighbor. And this was the attestation in Israel.
Ruth 4:8 And the near kinsman said to Boaz, Buy for yourself, and drew off his sandal.
3rd scene: Boaz says, “You are witnesses that I have taken this land under my protection,” This includes Ruth the Moabite, so that the name of the child will not be cut off. Still it is Boaz’s name applied to this child instead of Alimelech.
Ruth 4:9 And Boaz said to the elders, and all the people, You are witnesses today that I have bought all that belonged to Elimelech, and all that was to Chilion and Mahlon, from the hand of Naomi.
Ruth 4:10 And also Ruth of Moab, the wife of Mahlon, I have bought for myself for a wife, to raise up the name of him who died over his inheritance. And the name of him who died shall not be cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses today.
Rachel and Leah were wives of Jacob, the daughters of Laban. Laban married off Leah to Jacob. She wore a veil and the marriage was consummated. He was stuck with Leah as his wife. He was willing to wait and work for 14 years to marry Rachel. Rachel and Leah are seen as the mothers of Israel, and they made Israel prosperous; and the hope was that Ruth would be a woman who would bring prosperity to Israel.
Ruth 4:11 And all the people who were in the gate and the elders, said, We are witnesses. May Jehovah make the woman who is coming into your house to be as Rachel and as Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel. And may you do worthily in Ephratah, and proclaim the Name in Bethlehem.
Pharez was a leveret marriage.
Ruth 4:12 And let your house be as the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, of the Seed which Jehovah shall give to you of this young woman.
Ruth 4:13 And Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and Jehovah gave her conception, and she bore a son.
The book emphasizes Naomi here, and it is God’s restoration of blessing to Naomi. Could this be restored blessing to Israel?
Ruth 4:14 And the women said to Naomi, Blessed be Jehovah, who has not left you this day without a redeemer; and may his name be called in Israel.
Ruth 4:15 And may he be to you a restorer of life, and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you has borne him, who is better to you than seven sons.
This is the custom of the day, to take this child in the lap like this, indicating that Naomi would be the child’s nanny.
Ruth 4:16 And Naomi took the child, and laid him in her bosom, and became nurse to him.
Obed is probably shortened of Obadiah or something like that.
Ruth 4:17 And the neighboring women gave him a name, saying, This is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
These genealogies all take us to the Savior; they all give a legal basis for Jesus Christ would have a legal claim to the throne of David.
Ruth 4:18 And these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez fathered Hezron;
Ruth 4:19 and Hezron fathered Ram; and Ram fathered Amminadab;
Ruth 4:20 and Amminadab fathered Nahshon; and Nahshon fathered Salmon;
Ruth 4:21 and Salmon fathered Boaz; and Boaz fathered Obed;
Ruth 4:22 and Obed fathered Jesse; and Jesse fathered David.
We end with a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ Who would come and fulfill all.