Sunday, August 12, 2018

Posted on Aug 08 2018

Ruth 3 = Making Things Happen!

Bible Background: The short story of Ruth takes a dramatic change as Naomi sends Ruth to meet Boaz at night on the threshing floor. The plot gets suggestive of a romantic seduction, and the ‘happy ending’ is just about to unfold!

Digging Deeper: 1. Naomi takes charge and instructs Ruth to dress up and go to threshing floor where a harvest celebration is happening. She tells Ruth how and when to get Boaz’ attention. Ruth goes! Boaz eats and drinks; falls asleep; Ruth lies down beside him!

2. When Boaz wakes up, he’s startled! (Wouldn’t you be?) Ruth proposes to Boaz! “Spread your cloak over your servant” is asking him to be her protector. Boaz accepts, and pronounces a 2nd blessing on Ruth…for favoring him, rather than a younger man! There is some business to take care of at the city gate, because there’s another relative with some right to marry Ruth (or Naomi!).

3. The choice of words in Ruth has extra meaning, and often a double-meaning:
+Again, the word go-el for redeemer shows up frequently. Boaz can be the one who ‘buys back’ Ruth (and Naomi’s) future and security. Note that Ruth may also feel like a redeemer to Boaz-who is older, who may or may not have children!

+The word for feet, is complicated! It can just mean ‘feet’. Or it can be an expression used in the Old Testament for private parts. Hmmm!

+The word translated worthy woman is just like the word used to describe Boaz as a ‘pillar of the community’ in chapter 2. Ruth may be from Moab; she may be a widow, she may be ‘forward’ with Boaz, but she is a good and faithful woman!

+The word hesed for faithfulness shines throughout the story. Ruth has been faithful to Naomi; and now to Boaz. Boaz will prove to be faithful by claiming Ruth.

4. A Jewish audience, hearing this ‘racy’ part of the story, would recall Lot’s daughters in Gen. 19 (who get their father drunk and sleep with him in order to have children.) Surprise! The oldest daughter gives birth to who? To Moab! Ruth is from Moab! And, they would recall the story of Tamar in Gen. 38. Tamar, a young, childless widow, cons her father-in-law, Judah, into sex. She gets pregnant and gives birth to Perez and Zerah. Surprise! Perez figures into the family tree of Boaz. And then both figure into the family tree of King David and of Jesus! Wow!