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Ruth 4

1. Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down.

Boaz, meanwhile, goes up to the city gate and sits down there. This would be similar to going to the courthouse today, for business at that time was done in the city gate. This was really a very sensible place to do business, for at that time, most men were farmers. They would have homes in the city where they would sleep at night, for there was much more safety at night behind city walls. During the day, however, they would leave the city, and go out to their fields surrounding the city, where they would do their daily tasks. That was the way most men like Boaz lived at the time.

Since nearly every man in the city, or at least all the landowners and those who worked for them, would pass through the gates of the city every day, the city gates became a very good place to conduct business. If you were looking for a person to do business with him, all you had to do was to arrive at the gates plenty early, and you would be almost sure to catch him as he went out of the city to tend his lands. Therefore, all the men in the city who were involved with government would congregate at the city gates, so they could be there when anything important took place. Because that is where all the important business took place, all the city records would be stored at the gates as well. Any sort of trial or any judicial decision would also take place at the gates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ruth 3

1. Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?

Now Naomi speaks to Ruth. Ruth has been providing for both of them, but without either of them having a husband they are little more than beggars. Now Naomi wants to provide for Ruth. As we discussed earlier, a married woman was totally considered as part of her husband’s family, and Naomi as the last representative of that family feels the responsibility of providing a new home for her daughter-in-law. Yet also Ruth has been doing so much for her, and she wants to do something for Ruth in return. It is good when people give a lot to us to think of how we can give back to them.

There is no doubt about what Naomi meant by “security.” For a woman in that culture, that could mean nothing less than a new husband. Of course, that is what Naomi would have liked to have provided for Ruth all the way back in Ruth 1:11-13. She probably has been thinking about this and wondering how she could pull it off ever since their arrival back in Israel. So Naomi does not mean that she just decided this, for it has been on her mind. What she means is basically that she now has an idea how this could be brought about. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruth 2 Continued

14. Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back.

When the laborers break for mealtime, Boaz looks out for Ruth once again, inviting her to eat at his table. Moreover he feeds her well indeed, and gives her more food than she can eat at one meal, as hungry as she must have been after the hard labor she has been undertaking. So she is satisfied, and saves what was left over. She is not a wasteful woman, and wants to make good use of this extra food. Certainly in the situation she and Naomi are in, they cannot afford to pass by any good thing that comes their way.

Again, Boaz’s blessing on Ruth is an excellent picture of the way God treats us. He also provides His people with blessings in abundance, giving them more than they need, and all through His grace. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruth 2

1. There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz.

We take up the second chapter as the barley harvest in Bethlehem is beginning. Now we are introduced to a new character who will have an important role in the remainder of our story. This man is a relative of Naomi’s husband. It is Naomi’s husband’s family that has lost their inheritance and their family line by the misfortune of Elimelech in Moab, for in the Hebrew society as God had set it up, their family lines were reckoned through the male. Therefore, Boaz is part of the family that should be concerned about this loss, and whom God would expect to help recover it according to the law.

The man is described as a man of great wealth, which he was. He was rich in goods, as well as in other more important things, including character, as we will see. The man’s name is Boaz, which means “Fleetness.” This is an appropriate name for him in this story, for he is going to be the one to bring God’s swift blessings upon both Ruth and Naomi. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruth 1 Continued

6. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.

Naomi is left in a sad situation here, yet she does not just pine away in mourning. She hears a report out of the land of Israel. Yahweh has visited His people, and they now have bread! Her family died in Moab in the midst of famine while God’s people back in the land were enjoying His bounty. If only Elimelech and his family had waited on Him! Yet now, hearing this, Naomi determines what she must do. She will return to her own land with her daughters-in-law. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruth Introduction

The book of Ruth is a fascinating little book in the Old Testament. It provides us with a look at the life of the common person in Israel more than we often get in the historical books of the Old Testament. The record often revolves around kings, rulers, judges, and high priests. Yet this book is about just common, ordinary people living out their lives in the land of Israel in the time of the judges. This is a unique and interesting picture.

The book of Ruth immediately follows on Judges in our Bibles, as it takes place during the days of the judges. When the books of the Bible were printed on scrolls, Ruth was often included on the end of the book of Judges, being so small that a separate scroll to hold it seemed unnecessary. However, the book is categorized in the Hebrew Bible not with the book of Judges, but rather with the Megilloth, the books to be read on the feast days. Read the rest of this entry »