Mathew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.
Mathew 1:2 Abraham begat Isaac; Isaac begat Jacob;
Matthew 1:5 Salmon begat Boaz of Rachab; Boaz begat Obed of Ruth;
Ruth the third, ‘Lady of Faith’ mentioned in the blood line of Jesus. Let’s take a look and see how she managed to ‘Get in Line.’
The history of Ruth takes place during the time of Judges. This is the second generation after the Hebrews have crossed over the river Jordan. But Ruth is not Hebrew she is a Moabite, a descendant of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Jewish tradition states that she was the daughter of Eglon King of Moab.
First, we have to start with how this came into being.
Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion – Ephratihites of Bethlehem, Judah, and they went to the country of Moab and dwelt there.
I have to condense, Mahlon married Ruth & Chilion married Orpah. Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion all die in Moab. No account is given as to why, but possibly because they were sickly from childhood. Mahlon meant ‘sickness,’ Chilion meant ‘failing’.
Now, Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth are widows. Tradition would have Ruth and Orpah marry the next of kin, but Naomi has no more children. Naomi at this point has lost all confidence in God and she really is believing that she is cursed and for good reason.
Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth have a very emotional and dire situation. Out of love, Naomi asks Orpah and Ruth to leave and go back to their own families so that they can live. But Ruth cleaves to Naomi and decides she will go to whatever the fate of Naomi will be. Remember tradition states that Ruth was the daughter of a king.
Now Ruth out of deep love makes this confession of faith:
Ruth 1: 16
Wherever you go I will go,
and wherever you lodge I will lodge,
Your people shall be my people,
And your God my God.
Ruth has already accepted the God of the Hebrews as her God. She had a lifestyle worth going back to, but she chose to go with God. At this point she has only heard about His reputation, how He parted the Red Sea and fed the Hebrews in the desert for forty years, conquered Jericho, and how Salmon married Rahab.
But now she is going to encounter God on a personal level, going from a God of Possibility to a God of Provision.
The amazing thing about this whole story is how God just seems to be silent. You’ve lost everything, and now you have to walk through the dry land back to the beginning, a place from where you started and for Ruth a place she had only been told about. Bethlehem – Judah.
When they arrive it’s obvious that Naomi is too old to work, so Ruth decides to be a provider for her mother-in-law. Ruth goes looking for work as a gleaner. By God’s law when the harvesters worked the fields, if they dropped the grain it was to be left for the poor to pick up. They did not go back and harvest the second crop, this was left for the poor to gather.
Ruth ends up in Boaz’s field, and she works non-stop all day not even to take a break. Boaz arrives and he notices her working. He asks his employees who’s this young lady. The men all knew who Ruth was at this point. He is deeply impressed with this hard working lady, willing to take care of her family at all costs. Sounds just like his mother, Rahab. Apparently, she was very beautiful and hard working. Boaz new Naomi was related to him, and he took the responsibility in a wise way, by providing a way of provision.
Back to Elimelech if you look at the Mathew 1:5 listed above, Elimelech was also a son of Salmon, and Naomi was his niece. This would have made Boaz their near kinsmen.
Boaz is very rich but what strikes me most about this man is his character, his integrity. Notice the symbolism here. He speaks with Ruth and asks her to work with his men for her own safety. Tells her to drink from his water and gives her to eat from his table. Then tells his men to leave grain behind for Ruth to gather, and to leave her alone, don’t touch her.
Ruth goes home that day with a whole sack of grain and dinner left over for her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi gets her first glimmer of hope in a very long time. You can imagine the joy coming back to her face when she exclaims, “Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His Kindness, to the living and the dead!” Realizing that God has not forgotten them and the memory of their husbands who had died.
Now Naomi realizes that Boaz is near kinsmen. Just like the two spies that landed at Rahab’s door in Jericho, and she hid them under stalks of flax. Ruth ends up in the only field that can save her. It’s like mercy follows this family. Silently God has positioned them in the same field of harvest. But unknown to them God has placed them in the family line of the great harvest.
Ruth follows the instructions of custom’s given to her by Naomi on how to approach Boaz, Boaz in his integrity falls in love with Ruth’s integrity. He realized that she followed God by her actions. He stated that she did not go after young men rich or poor. But he saw that she was fulfilling the law of God by seeking him to be her husband. Boaz gets excited he has finally found his P31 wife! (Except the book of Proverbs hasn’t been written yet.) And she’s a lot like mom! Double win.
Now Boaz goes to the elders as the redeemer-kinsmen and redeems Ruth, all of Elimelech’s former properties and promises to raise an inheritance to Mahlon.
Now in covenant together because they honored and trusted God above all else God honored them. Ruth gives birth to Obed. Naomi is the best grandmother this child could have gotten, she loved and cared for this child so much that the people of the town jokingly said: “There is a son born to Naomi.”
Ruth gave Naomi something to live for. To me this story of Ruth is about Hardship, Love, Family, Character, Redemption and a silent Father who just guides our steps.
What set’s Ruth apart is her character, we don’t know when in her heart, that she decided that God was her God. But I believe it was long before this trip. Maybe one day as a single young lady, in foreign land walking in a field she said a prayer asking God, “Who are you?” And Mahlon shows up. Selah.
He is: “Jehovah Jireh”
“God my Provider”
References: 100 Names of God
The New Mathew Henry Commentary
Blackaby Study Bible