Read 81.) Ruth 1:1 thru 4:22. This is the love story of Ruth. It’s 1200-1100 BC. Key to understanding the book is how often, and in some different ways and words, the concept of redemption occurs some 23 times in these 4 chapters. Of serious interest is how that we find some true faith and piety in Israel at this time, and how that we can see by faith the blessing of God upon those faithful children of His; and especially how that, in this specific case, a most amazing blessing of all will result! Chapter 1 sets-up the story very quickly. There is a famine. This was a warning by God upon all Israel for their unfaithfulness to Him. He had told them that He would do this if they broke faith with Him. Rather than take a lead in trying to call his people to repentance that it might rain, Elimelech took his family and left the Promised Land; a totally wrong response to their circumstances. He, like most of Israel, was not of faith. Neither were his sons, as they took foreign women as their wives. It appears that Naomi was of faith, but also had been in willing submission to her husband, and then her grown sons. This first chapter might be entitled, the emptying of Naomi. But, it is going to commence to immediately turn, right from this point.
Chapter 2, Boaz was a righteous man, and a true rarity in Israel at this time. Just read it and see his good heart, as well as Ruth’s proper humility. Both are in the possession of highly desirable, complimentary and attractive traits! From verse 17, note her industry. She gleaned all day to derive 3/5 of one bushel of grain! Think in terms of an amount that was a bit greater than one of our very common 5-gal plastic pails that so much comes in these days. It would have been quite heavy. From verse 19, Naomi can see that Ruth’s gleanings were no accident, but had been intended for her, hence her question to Ruth! This sets up Naomi’s ‘plan’ of which we read next, in chapter 3. O, the way of a woman, when she works her wiles!
Naomi is shrewd, she knows that Boaz has ‘taken an interest’ in Ruth, and because of his very special cultural/societal role in Israel in that day, she’s going to ‘work it’ for everyone’s benefit! Win-win-win. His, hers, and Ruth’s. By what we read, Ruth asks Boaz to take her in marriage for a number of reasons that existed then. By verse 3, we know, she sought to be as ‘persuasive,’ within propriety, as possible. And, it worked like a charm! The last verse says it all! Naomi is a good judge of what motivates a man. How right she was! See it next, in chapter 4.
Boaz wasted no time, and worked a plan of his own, to see that he got his desired end. It is a tremendously happy ending to a wonderful story. But, unbeknownst to any of them, is what resulted some 100 years later. Though God was referred to everywhere; He was actually working behind the scenes and out of sight. Ruth came into the line of King David, thru whom would one day come… Messiah! Remember, it’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell