bNotes – Book of Ruth

bNotes – Book of Ruth

Author: possibly Samuel, though some evidence says it was written after he died.
Written sometime after the period of Judges from 1375 – 1050 B.C.
Ruth’s story occurred during the time of Judges, so her’s is a parallel telling of those dark times.
Naomi was from Bethlehem in Judah and was married to Elimelech. They had two sons named Mahlon and Lilion. During one of the bad seasons where the Israelite majority had turned away from God, famine struck the land. This forced the family to move to the land of Moab and settle there. At some point, Elimelech died and their two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. But, ten years or so later, both sons also died. News then came that the lands of Judah one once again blessed so Naomi and her two daughters-in-law set out for Judah. (See Ruth 1:1-7)
Naomi was called an Ephrathite which meant she was from Ephrath, an early name of Bethlehem.
Along the way back to Judah, Naomi urged Ruth and Orpah to go back to their families and start life anew. At first they both rejected the idea, but soon Orpah left, but Ruth did not. She clung to Naomi and said, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” (See Ruth 1:16-17)
When the two women arrive in Bethlehem, they were happy to see Naomi, who told them to instead call her “Mara” and said, “I went away full, but the Lord brought me home empty.” (See Ruth 1:20-21) Naomi means “pleasant” while Mara means “bitter.” She had left Judah before with her husband, sons and hopes of a better life, but returned years later without anything, and was pretty much bitter about it apparently.
Ruth went to work in Boaz’s barley field. Boaz was a relative of Elimelech, her father-in-law, and was very nice to her, allowing her to eat with him and the harvesters – not something most “gleaners” got to do. He also looked out for her and made sure his men treated her with respect.
Ruth told Naomi about Boaz’s niceness and she was informed that he was a family redeemer – meaning a relative who could give her children and allow her deceased husband’s name to carry on. Naomi told Ruth to speak to Boaz about this, which she did, and found out that he was probably already thinking along the same lines. There was a closer relative in town – which meant he got first shot at redemption – but he refused to marry Ruth because it may have interfered too much with his own estate. In that case, Boaz chose to marry Ruth and redeem her and her deceased husband’s family name by getting her pregnant with a child named Obed, who would be the father of Jesse and grandfather of King David. (See Ruth 3 and Ruth 4) The biggest story out of this line is that Jesus also descended from it.
/ bNotes

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