RUTH’S LOYALTY

In the Bible in Ruth 1:16–18, the woman Ruth is an outstanding and a distinguished widow whose deep sorrow turned to radiant joy and hope. Her emptiness gave way to fulfilment to impress all who read her testimony. She was devoted to her mother in law although this is not the popular view so quite unheard of in some families. She lost her husband so was free to leave and start afresh anywhere. Yet refused to abandon her bereaved in law without any family of her own where they lived. Ruth chose to follow Naomi her mother in law back to country of origin to start afresh. Ruth vowed to God as to accept the God of the Israelites as her God and the Israelite people as her own.In Ruth 1:16 and 17 Ruth vowed to God and told Naomi, her Israelite mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth’s genuine love of her mother in law and her people brought great blessings to Jesus Christ descendant of Ruth’s ancestry. The book is held in esteem by Jews who fall under the category of Jews by choice with the happy ending of marriage to Boaz Naomi’s relative.

During time of famine, an Israelite family Elimelech and his wife Naomi from Bethlehem and their sons Mahlon and Chilion migrated to the nearby country of Moab. Elimelech died, and the sons married two Moabite women, Mahlon married Ruth and Chilion married Orpah. The two sons of Naomi died  so 10 years later in Ruth 1:4, in Moab, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. She told her daughters-in-law to return to their own mothers, and remarry. Ruth endeared herself unlike Orpah who left back to her own family after bereavement. Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Miraculously Ruth the widow’s freewill loyalty to her mother in law turned into a greater blessing unforseen by Ruth. So instead of feeling sorry for herself, sad, miserable always in pain from her loss, grieving, bewildered, overwhelmed too much in shock to consider helping others she still showed love, kindness to her. Despite her own grief or sorrow, Ruth stayed behind with her mother in law to help her. Being more fit, stronger chose to support mother-in-law and herself working outside. Ruth went to the fields to glean barley and wheat picked after harvesters collected bounty. The field belonged to Boaz who was kind to her because he heard of her loyalty to Naomi her mother-in-law. Ruth told Naomi of Boaz’s kindness as she gleaned in his field of barley and wheat during the harvest. Boaz was close relative of Naomi’s husband’s family. Impressed by Ruth’s actions Boaz obliged the Levirate law to marry Mahlon’s widow, Ruth to carry on family inheritance.

Naomi advised Ruth to sleep at his feet on the threshing floor at night where Boaz slept to uncover his feet, so he will tell Ruth what to do in Ruth 3:4. Ruth humbled herself and did so knowing Boaz safe and of good reputation to entrust Ruth to. At midnight, Boaz turned and saw Ruth lay at his feet. When asked who she was, she replied: “I am Ruth your servant handmaid cover me with your cloak as a sign of approval to marry me as required by the kinsman in 3:9. Boaz blessed her so agreed to do the right thing to marry her so that, “all the city of my people will know Ruth is a virtuous woman according to Ruth 3:11.

boaz married ruth

 

Acknowledged by Boaz’s entitlement to marry her he realised that another closer relative had first precedence. So Boaz deferred spreading his cloak over her. Ruth remained in submission at his feet then returned to city in the morning. Boaz discussed the issue with that other male relative, Ploni Almoni  in a meeting with the town elders. This relative did not want to jeopardize inheritance of his own estate by marrying Ruth. So relinquished right of redemption to grant permission to let Boaz to marry Ruth. Transferred the property and redeemed it taking off his shoe and handing it over to Boaz in Ruth 4:7–18. Boaz and Ruth married in Ruth 4:13-15. Boaz took Ruth and she was his wife. And when he went in unto her so the LORD gave her conception and she bore a son named Obed, father of Jesse father of David in Ruth 4:13–17.

The grandson of Boaz and Ruth was Jesse father of David as recorded in Matthew 1:5-6 as Salmon is father of Boaz then, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon. This Godly history of Ruth and Naomi shows the importance of the women working together as a team to support each other. Their covenant relationship reiterated true living history in genealogy of Jesus Christ. By working with each other in the Book of Ruth, this reflects need to stay closely in touch in marriage. Boaz, acquired the property redeemed to save land in the family so helped Naomi and Ruth. So the 2 widows secured a protected future. Above all, Obed was looked after and nursed by Naomi who shared joy of the child in the family. Ruth’s sorrow turns to joy as God gave her a second chance in marriage to wealthy Boaz. Often widows are vilified and blamed for their husband’s death. Some mothers in law are treated appallingly as the witch responsible for  their son’s death.

a-helping-hand.jpgxlMediumThis results in conflict and animosity between the feuding families over assets, property and belongings of the deceased. During grief, it seems the world ended for the bereaved. However, Ruth recognised her true source of joy was the living God Almighty. In spite of season of weeping and crying, still trusted God to sustain and provide for her. Ruth and Naomi did not accuse or blame God for the famine, lack, sickness or death of their husbands. Instead they drew near to God by faith. God healed their dark emotions and gave them a miracle. Ruth’s covenant vow to the living God pleased and God as she did the right thing, God honoured her faith and faithfulness and turned a sad situation around from adversity to happiness again.

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