THE BOOK OF RUTH
This Bible Study is written by Roger
Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location is
provided by http://www.theseason.org
There are only two books in the Bible named after women, Esther and Ruth. "Ruth" in the Hebrew tongue means "Beauty". In the case of Esther, the story line goes that this Jewess woman married a Gentile; while Ruth, a Gentile married a Hebrew husband. Ruth was a Moabitish woman, and because Ruth will be found in the genealogy of Christ, it is good to know who these Moabites were. Of course they are of the same family as Abraham, as Moab was the son of Lot, Abraham's nephew. The word "Moab" means, "of his own father". So Moab was born after Lot had escaped the destruction of Sodom, the residence of Lot. So Ruth was of the eighth day creation, and not the sixth day creation. This was all in the plan of God, in keeping the bloodline of our Lord Jesus Christ pure. It is important to us today, for this is the key to knowing who the true Messiah is. In the true Messiah, all can come to our heavenly Father.
This book of Ruth had its place in the Hebrew Canon, and it is the second of the five Megalith, or Scrolls to be read at the Feast of Pentecost. The order determined by the order of the feasts. Written for the purpose of linking David and Christ; as we read in Matthew 1:5-16, placing Christ, the son of David. Many even today think it is impossible for a Moabitess to be in the genealogy of Christ, because of what was written in Deuteronomy 23:3; "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:" Why?
Deuteronomy 23:4 "Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee."
So here we have Ruth in the seedline of Christ; How can that be? The banishment was not directed to women, only to the Moabite men. There is no contradiction in the Word concerning Ruth and the seedline of Jesus Christ. However there is one word that is necessary to understand complete, and that word is "kinsman redeemer". The "kinsman", in the Hebrew is "Goel", meaning next of kin, the one "who had the right of redemption". In that Ruth was the great grandmother to David, the man through which the Messiah Jesus Christ would come, then this book that was read on Pentecost day is telling of the Kinsman Redeemer of all Redeemers, for Christ would become our Kinsman Redeemer for once and all times. You are His kin if you have faith and love Him, and He is in you. Jesus paid an awesome price to fulfill that position to redeem your soul and give you life eternal.
Ruth 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 Bethleham-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons."
So this sets the time that this story took place, for it was in the days of the Judges. That period started when the Israelites came out of the wilderness, crossed the Jordan; took control of the promised land, and set up Judges to rule over them. The time of the Judges started about 1453 B.C., and this story of Ruth took place some hundred and thirty years later. We read of this period in Judges 3:31, that time after Ehud, when Shamgar slew six hundred Philistines with an ox goad, and [Judges 4] Deborah the prophetess became the Judge of Israel.
Notice that there was a famine in the land and Elimelech took his wife and two sons and left the land to escape the famine.
Ruth 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 Bethlehem-judah. And they came to the country of Moab, and continued there."
"Elimelech" in the Hebrew tongue means, "my God [El] is King". "Naomi" means "My pleasant one", and she was a very loving person. "Mahlon" means "sick"; while 'Chilion" means "pining" or "sickly" also. This pretty much tells the story of their health, as both would die in the land of the Moabites. They went to the land of Moab because there was food, and their desire to restore health. This famine in the land occurred many times before as we are reminded from Genesis 12:10, when Abraham left for Egypt when the famine came, and Jacob went to Egypt two hundred years later, for the protection of famine when Joseph was ruler in Egypt. Of the thirteen famines in the land, this famine is the third recorded in the Scriptures.
Ruth 1:3 "And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons."
There in Moab, as a widow in a foreign land, she was left with her two sickly sons. Things would be hard on her as she tries to survive.
Ruth 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."
The two sons of Naomi married two ladies of Moab, Orpah and Ruth, and they lived in Moab about ten years after their marriage. The name Orpah means "fawn" like a deer, while "Ruth" in the Hebrew tongue means "Beauty". So ten years have passed since Elimelech died.
Ruth 1:5 "And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband."
Naomi is left with her two daughters in law, having lost first her husband, and then her two sons. Naomi is going through real hard times, first the famine, and now being left a widow.
Ruth 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."
Naomi has had enough of Moab and she wants to go home to her family. She heard that God had blessed the people back home, and the famine was over.
Ruth 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."
Remember that when they first left the land of Israel, they came from Bethlehem-judah, of the tribe of Judah. The land of Behtlehem-judah is where her family lives and she wants to go home to live with them. She was a foreigner in the land of Moab.
Ruth 1:8 "And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, "Go, return each to her mother's house: The Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me."
Naomi's two sons are dead, and Naomi is releasing the two daughters in law from their commitment to her. She asked the Lord to look over and protect these young women as they return to their families. Naomi is giving her blessings to these Orpah and Ruth, and telling them that they do not have to go back with her.
Ruth 1:9 "The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband." Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept."
Naomi is telling these young ladies that they are free to remarry and have a normal life. Then she kissed each of them, and they stood their on the road weeping in each others arms. This tells us the great affection that they had for their mother in law, Naomi. Notice as we go through this book how everyone that came in contact had great affection and love for Naomi.
Ruth 1:10 "And they said unto her, "Surely we will return with thee unto thy people."
Both Orpah and Ruth were loyal to Naomi.
Ruth 1:11 "And Naomi said, "Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?"
Naomi asked her daughters, why do you want to go with me, I have no more sons, nor am I able to have any more, she was well past child bearing age. Remember that the older son was the one to take the mother and give care, as the law was at this time, and she had no sons.
Ruth 1:12 "Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;"
This thought continues...
Ruth 1:13 "Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would you stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me."
If I were to have a husband and I were to bear sons this day, would you wait until they were fully grown, to marry them? Of course the answer is no. Though at this time it appears to Naomi that the hand of the Lord is against her, as we know from the rest of the Scripture, this is not true, for she will be well blessed by the Lord. The people were not the only ones that loved her, for God loved her also, and would provide for her. Naomi is being honest and using common sense, as she tells these two ladies that they deserve a life of their own with another man.
Ruth 1:14 "And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; But Ruth clave unto her."
Orpah kissed Naomi, and went back to her people and to another life, but Ruth would not leave her mother. Ruth was loyal to Naomi, and would stick by her completely.
Ruth 1:15 "And she said, "Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: Return thou after thy sister in law."
As Orpah left, Naomi called attention that she had gone back to her people and god. Remember that the Moabites did not worship the true God, but their gods. Naomi is making an effort to allow Ruth to go back, and not feel that binding commitment that she had.
Ruth 1:16 "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return thee, or to return from following after thee: for whether thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:"
Ruth in turn pleaded, don't make me go back and leave you. Then she makes this compete commitment to Naomi to face life together with her, in good and hard times.
Ruth 1:17 "Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."
Notice that there is a seven fold consecration from Ruth to Naomi. They are:
I will go; I will lodge; your people will be my people; your God will be my God; Where you die, I will die; I'll be buried where you're buried; The Lord do so unto me.
We know that Naomi was a wonderful woman, and we see the same sincerity and beauty in Ruth as is in her mother in law.
Ruth 1:18 "When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
When Naomi saw the commitment that Ruth had for her, she allow Ruth to come with her back to Bethlehem-judah.
Ruth 1:19 "So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, "Is this Naomi?"
"Bethlehem" means "the house of bread", and Jesus is the bread of life. This location will be the birthplace of Jesus, as it was also the birthplace of Benjamin, the son of Jacob, when Rachel died giving birth.
When Naomi and Ruth entered into the city, the entire city came out to meet them. They just couldn't believe that Naomi was back in town. Naomi's good name was so well known that they all knew who she was, even after ten years, and they wanted to see and meet her. Naomi brought joy to everyone that was around her.
Ruth 1:20 "And she said unto them, "Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me."
As Naomi spoke to the friends and family, she said; "Don't call me pleasant any more, but call me "bitter" [Mara] instead." We see that Naomi was very hard on herself, as she felt that God was dealing hardly with her.
Ruth 1:21 "I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?"
In Naomi's mind, God had taken all the blessings from her that she had when she left, but we will see that this will all change in time. God had a purpose for bringing Naomi and Ruth back to Bethlehem, for God will bring Ruth to a union that will fit into the lineage of His Son, Jesus the Christ. For a moment, lets review Matthew 1:5, 6; "And Salmon begat Boaz of Rachab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king;" This is a listing of the blood line of Jesus, as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God, and born to the Virgin Mary.
Ruth 1:22 "So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest."
Barley harvest is the first grain to ripen in the years. Barley is a poor man's bread, and at this time it was a rich man's bread. So Naomi and Ruth arrived during harvest season, and that was a good time to store up your food supply. They are now living in Bethlehem-judah and are going to live their lives there.
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