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Sunday, December 18 2011
The Messianic Role Of Naomi, Ruth And Boaz
The era of the "Judges" lasted for approximately three centuries, beginning after the death of Joshua (see Joshua's Timnath). It was toward the latter part of that time that a famine occurred in the land of Israel, so a man from Bethlehem in Judah, Elimelech, took his wife, Naomi, and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, and moved beyond the Jordan (see also Beyond Jordan) into the land of Moab (where the LORD personally buried Moses i.e. "34:5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 34:6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day" Deuteronomy 34:5-6 KJV).
"1:1 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 Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 1:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there." (Ruth 1:1-2 KJV)
While in Moab, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi as a widow. Her two sons married Moabite women, but when the two sons also died, the family was left to consist of three widows.
"1:3 And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. 1:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. 1:5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband." (Ruth 1:3-5 KJV)
When Noami heard that the LORD had ended the famine in Judah, and/or provided them with food until they had crops again ("the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread"), Naomi decided to return there. Naomi was going home, but her two daughters in law were already in their own homeland, Moab, so Naomi urged them to remain there and move back with their parents (or their widowed mothers i.e. "Go, return each to her mother's house").
"1:6 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 how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. 1:7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah." (Ruth 1:6-7 KJV)
Orpah heeded Naomi's advice, but Ruth insisted that she go with Naomi. When Naomi realized the Ruth could not be dissuaded, she agreed to their return together to Bethlehem - Naomi's home town, but a place that Ruth had never been.
"1:14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
"The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel"
Although a widow, Naomi had family in Bethlehem - most particularly a man named Boaz who had by then recovered from the time of famine. According to Israelite Law, as commanded by the LORD (see the Fact Finder question below), Naomi had Ruth go and glean in the grain fields of Boaz.
"2:1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
The first meeting of Boaz and Ruth occurred in the grain fields. From his concern for, and response to, Ruth, it is very obvious that they were both righteous people - and why the LORD would have chosen them (although, as stated in the narrative, Naomi was the human "match-maker" for Ruth and Boaz, she did so according to the selective Will of the LORD).
"2:4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you.
After properly attending to all matters of Law and custom, Boaz and Ruth were married. The people who witnessed the marriage recognized that it was a special union i.e. "The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel."
"4:9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
As stated in the verses above, Naomi's sale of her estate to Boaz actually made the marriage of Ruth and Boaz possible. Naomi thereafter was no longer a widow all alone, but a matriarch of a family; "And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel."
"4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. 4:14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. 4:15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him.
The ancestry of the Messiah from Abraham (see Abraham The Christian; also Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates) was thereby directed through Boaz and Ruth; their son Obed became the grandfather of King David.
"4:18 Now these are the generations of Pharez:
Fact Finder: What Law of the LORD facilitated the meeting of Ruth and Boaz?
This Day In History, December 18
218 BC: The Battle of the Trebia during the Second Punic War; Hannibal's Carthaginian forces defeated those of the Roman Republic (see The Politics Of Rome and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire).
1118: Afonso the Battler, the King of Aragon, captured Saragossa from the Muslims who then held Spain (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1271: Kublai Khan renamed his empire "Yuan," thereby beginning the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China.
1398: Turkish warrior Timur Lenk (Tamurlane) conquered Delhi.
1642: Abel Tasman became the first (known) European to land in New Zealand (Tasmania is named after Tasman).
1737: Antonio Stradivari, the famous Italian violin-maker, died.
1813: Fort Niagara was captured by the British from the U.S. during the War of 1812 (1812-1814).
1863: Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria, was born. His assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 sparked the chain of events which ignited the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1865: The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was proclaimed.
1898: The first official automobile speed record was set: 39 miles / 63 kilometers per hour.
1912: Charles Dawson (not to be confused with Charles Darwin) discovered fossils which became known as the "Piltdown Man" in East Sussex, England, and claimed they were remains of primitive man. It was later discovered to be a hoax (listen also to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1914: A few months after the start of the First World War, Britain declared Egypt its protectorate for the time that it would be freed from Ottoman occupation. Egypt was declared independent in 1922.
1916: During the First World War, the Battle of Verdun ended after 10 months of fighting - France and Germany lost 330,000 killed and wounded.
1939: At the start of the Second World War, the first contingent of Canadian troops arrived in Britain to join with the British in the war against Hitler. The troops of the First Canadian Division had sailed from Halifax on December 10 in 5 ocean liners, accompanied by the Royal Canadian Navy battleship Resolution. When they reached the Clyde there was a great array of British sea power to welcome them. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of The Admiralty, broadcast the news of the Canadians' safe arrival with His famous "It has warmed the cockles of our hearts."
1940: Adolf Hitler issued the orders for the invasion of the Soviet Union - known as Operation Barbarossa (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1956: Japan was admitted to the United Nations.
1969: Britain abolished the death penalty.
2008: Mark Felt died at age 95. Felt, an FBI agent before and during the Nixon administration, was identified as the Watergate "Deep Throat" informant to Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post. The leads that Felt provided eventually brought about Nixon's resignation and the criminal conviction of numerous of Nixon's associates.