Deciding and Serving & Ruth and Boaz

I understand why You say we shouldn’t live by our own ideas and understandings, talk about chaos.

Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David and an ancestress of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:1-5-17).  Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

“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 sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 

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 Beth-lehem-Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there” (Ruth 1:1-2).

Elimelech died so Naomi and her sons were alone and poor.  Her sons married women of Moab, Orpah and Ruth, and they lived there for 10 years.  Her sons then died so Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth were alone. 

The land of Moab lay east and south-east of the Dead Sea, and chiefly south of the river Arnon.

At one period, however, it extended north as far as the Jabbok, and for a long time the region beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho retained the name of ” the plains of Moab.”

The Moabites were gross idolaters, worshiping Chemosh and Baal peor with obscene rites, and sometimes with human sacrifices.

On the approach of Israel from Egypt, the Moabites acted with great inhumanity, (Num. 22:24—Deut. 2:8, 9) ; and though God spared them from conquest, he excluded them and their seed even to the tenth generation from the peculiar privileges of His people.

The Moabites were descended from Moab, the son of Lot.

Naomi had heard that God was giving bread to the people in the country of Moab so the three headed out for the land of Judah.

Naomi told her daughter-in-laws to go back to her people and find another husband, and she 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?  Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband.  If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 

Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?  Would ye 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” (Ruth 1:12-13).

Orpha left as Naomi requested, but Ruth refused to do so. 

“And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. 

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” (Ruth 1:16-17).

When Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind she didn’t argue, so they returned home to Beth-lehem, and it was the beginning of barley harvest.  

“And they said, Is this Naomi?  And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:19-20).

“And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. 

And Ruth…said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace.  And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. 

Chemosh was the national deity of the Moabites whose name most likely meant “destroyer,” “subduer,” or “fish god.” While he is most readily associated with the Moabites, according to Judges 11:24 he seems to have been the national deity of the Ammonites as well. His presence in the Old Testament world was well known, as his cult was imported to Jerusalem by King Solomon (1 Kings 11:7). The Hebrew scorn for his worship was evident in a curse from the scriptures: “the abomination of Moab.” King Josiah destroyed the Israelite branch of the cult (2 Kings 23).
Evidence About Chemosh
Information on Chemosh is scarce, although archaeology and text can render a clearer picture of the deity. In 1868, an archaeological find at Dibon provided scholars with more clues to the nature of Chemosh. The find, known as the Moabite Stone or Mesha Stele, was a monument bearing an inscription commemorating the c. 860 B.C. endeavors of King Mesha to overthrow the Israelite dominion of Moab. The vassalage had existed since the reign of David (2 Samuel 8:2), but the Moabites revolted upon the death of Ahab. Consequently, the Moabite Stone contains the oldest existing inscription of a Semitic alphabet. Mesha, by way of textual example, attributes his victory over the Israelites and their god to Chemosh stating “And Chemosh drove him before my sight.” (2 Kings 3:5)

And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

And, behold, Boaz came from Beth-lehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you.  And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. 

Then said Boaz unto his servant…Whose damsel is this? 

And the servant…answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab. 

And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. 

Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee?  And when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, and thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore” (Ruth 2:1-11).

“Then she said, Let me find favor in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. 

And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. 

And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not” (Ruth 2:13-16).

When Ruth was done she brought all the barley home and Naomi asked who she had worked for, and she told her Boaz.

“…And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. 

And Ruth…said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. 

And Naomi said unto Ruth…It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. 

So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law” (Ruth 2:20-23).

Ruth and Boaz

Ruth and Boaz

During a famine, a man named Elimelech, and his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, moved from Bethlehem to Moab.  After the death of Elimelech, his sons married two Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth.  But their husbands later died and the two women were childless.

Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem and Ruth insisted on joining her, saying “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

In Bethlehem, Ruth met a man named Boaz, who was related to her late father-in-law.  Boaz and Ruth got married (Ruth 4:5).  Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed.  Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.  So Ruth was the great-grandmother of King David.

On the Plains of Bethlehem- Where Ruth Gleaned in the Fields of Boaz
Image Description from historic lecture booklet: “This picture brings to mind the beautiful Bible story of Ruth. This is very likely the same region where Boaz owned his field. The story abounds in allusions and customs, primitive and oriental, many of which are readily illustrated by the manner and of the present occupants of the land. In harvest season reapers may be seen with their crooked sickles and following them, men, women, and children, gleaning as the maidens of Boaz were doing when he came from Bethlehem to look after his reapers. The salutations and responses are the same today as in the time of Boaz.

Boaz was a very wealthy man who lived in Bethlehem.  When Naomi returned to Bethlehem with her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, Ruth went into the fields of Boaz to glean.  Boaz learned that Ruth’s deceased husband was a distant relative of his.

He acted kindly towards Ruth and instructed his farm workers to leave extra sheaves of barley for her to gather.  Ruth had another relative of her late husband who was closer than Boaz.

By law, the other relative was obligated to marry Ruth, as stated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.  Boaz confronted the other relative with this law, and after the relative refused to marry Ruth, Boaz agreed to marry Ruth, and to buy the estate of Ruth’s deceased husband.

Boaz means “strength. ” The story of Boaz is found in the Book of Ruth.