Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 30


Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
Lesson 30
Watching Now

I. Introduction

II. Background Issues

A. Genre

B. Moabites

C. Kinsman redeemer

D. Gleaning

III. The Plot of the Story

A. Chapter 1

B. Chapter 2

C. Chapter 3

C. Chapter 4

  • Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
  • Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

  • What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament.  The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.

  • Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.

  • The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.

  • The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.  

  • The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.

  • The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.

  • Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.

  • Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.

  • Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.

  • Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.

  • This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.

  • Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.

  • The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.

  • This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.

  • Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.

  • Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.

  • Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.

  • The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.

  • The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.  

  • The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.

  • Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.

  • Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.

  • One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.

  • In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.

  • These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.

  • Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.

  • Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.

  • Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.

  • Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.

  • Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.   

  • The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.

  • Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.

  • Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.

  • Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.

  • The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.

  • The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books. 

For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible. 

What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.

What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.


Recommended Books

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...

Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study

Dr. Miles Van Pelt

Survey of the Old Testament



I. Introduction

All right, gang. We are now into our fourth book in the writings. We're still in the first section, Life In the Land, and we've come to the book of Ruth. As you can see here, Ruth follows the book of Proverbs and that's an important clue for us. This is the Hebrew Bible order, not the English Bible order. I told a story earlier that this is what got me started on the path of trying to figure out the arrangement of the Old Testament. I had had my first year of Hebrew, I wanted to read a book in Hebrew. I thought Ruth is a great story and it's really short.

So I opened up my Hebrew Bible and it was Joshua. I was going, the Pentateuch then Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Ruth wasn't there. Samuel started and I thought I had a defective Bible. I took it back to the bookstore and said, "You left Ruth out. It's a pretty important book." But then I looked in the table of context, it was way in the back. And that was the beginning of it.  I have fond memories about Ruth here in my education. It's funny how you come upon things by accident and it steers the whole direction of your life in a different way.

But one of the things here, you can see is it's marked in red. There are four of these books and that's under the rubric of exposition and illustration. These books here are Life In the Covenant or Covenant Life books. These are talking about not only exposition, the what and the how, but also illustrations of that. So Job is the consummate sufferer, from the book of Psalms and the lamenter. Ruth is the paradigm of the wife of virtuous character, or the wife of noble character, wife of strength.

The Proverbs 31 poem at the end, says a esheth chayil, who can find? A woman of strength or power, who can find? There are a lot of different ways to translate that. Ready? The NIV says, a woman of noble character. The NASB, a woman of excellence. RSV, a woman of worth. King James, a virtuous woman. And the ESV, a worthy woman. The word there in Hebrew, chayil, can mean power, strength, army, wealth and maybe more than some of that which is communicated here. The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation, says gunei dunameo esou, "You are a woman of power, capacity."  Even though this is not exactly the right way to say it, it's the word we get dynamite from. So you're a dynamite woman. All right. Maybe that communicates, a dynamite wife who can find?  That speaks both to qualities and characteristics as a person, but also capacity to do things and get things done, which of course, Proverbs 31 is.

And so Proverbs 31 is a poem that opens with a question, a dynamite woman who can find. And then in the very next book, they find one. Ruth is the only woman in the whole Hebrew Bible to be called that. No one else. It only appears three times in scripture, this designation. In Proverbs 12:4, the esheth chayil is the crown of her husband. In Proverbs 31:10, the dynamite wife who can find. She's worth far more than rubies. And then in Ruth 3:11, all of the rulers of my people know that you are a dynamite woman. Note that this is not an Israelite woman, but rather a Moabite. She's the only woman described this way in the Hebrew Bible. That's an amazing thing. Okay?

II. Background Issues (03:36)

Let's talk a little bit about background introductory issues and background issues for discussing the book of Ruth.  Then the basic contents of the book of Ruth. The book of Ruth, in some sense, is a lot like Job. With Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law , it starts out doing well. There's a bit of a problem, famine. She loses her husband, her children, and the belongings. She gets connected with Ruth. They come back and she's restored.  Ruth is like seven sons to her. The same amount of sons that Job had at the end. It's the same story, different characters, slightly different plot. That's pretty cool, I think, as well.

So Some background issues, number one, the author is unknown.  As Victor Hamilton says, “it is an exercise in futility to try to determine the author, whoever he or she may have been”.  That's exactly why scholars try and do it because we are the pros at exercising futility. All right? We'll talk about that when we get to Ecclesiastes, when we talk about futility and vanity. The Talmud, of course, attributes this book to, none other than, Samuel. Here's how it works in the medieval Jewish world. If you don't know who wrote it, Samuel did because he can come back. Remember Saul called him back?  He can finish the book later and just bring it to us. So Samuel.

A. Genre (04:53)


What type of literature is Ruth? Herman Gunkel, who is  a famous form critic which I talked about him earlier with Psalms, talks about this as a novella, which is a fancy word for a little novel. It's a well-constructed story with a carefully developed plot and characters, extensive use of dialogue, which moves to a climax and annulment put together by one author.

Campbell suggests a Hebrew historical short story, which is just the same as a novella. But he says it possesses a distinctive literary style and manifests an interest in ordinary people.  It carries a combination of purposes and is meant to entertain. Entertainment literature. That is where he gets it wrong. Some guy named Van Pelt suggests that is a well crafted Hebrew narrative in the tradition of so many other Hebrew narratives that precede it, like the patriarchal narratives, the Joseph story, the judge narratives, or the kings of Israel, especially Saul, David and Solomon. This is the same kind of narrative you see all over the place. In this case, however, the book of Ruth appears in the writings in section one, between two poetic wisdom compositions, Proverbs 31, and Song of Songs. As such, the book of Ruth is best understood as a wisdom narrative in the tradition of the Joseph narratives and the Daniel narratives. It's not too hard. You don't have to have a PhD to know that wisdom narrative.

So it is a narrative, but it's in this wisdom corpus right here.  Look at it, these are poems and songs. These are dialogues, these are little pithy sayings. This is a big, long song and this is a narrative. This is a poetic diatribe.  You can employ all kinds of genres in your wisdom instruction.  Wisdom can be carried out in more than one way. Sometimes, use the wisdom hammer. Sometimes, use the wisdom level, sometimes use the wisdom screwdriver. And there's slightly different things, but they're all under that category of wisdom, Life In the Land. And what's really cool about this book is that it begins and ends in the land. But in the middle part, they're in exile. So it begins in and ends in land, middle part, beginning of exile.

So, It's a wisdom narrative in Life In the Land section. So how do we think and live in light of the covenant? How do we make wise decisions? What do we need to know to successfully read this narrative? Because it's an old Hebrew narrative and so there are things in there we might not know about. Like, why is it emphasized that Ruth is a Moabite and what is she doing by going to some other guys' field and getting grain from there? And what does it mean that she's got to marry a family member or kinsman redeemer to be righteous about it?  Those are the things.

B. Moabites (07:36)


So First, Ruth is a Moabite. Ruth is a Moabite. So this should be a little bit shocking, a little bit shocking to us. The Moabites come from Lot's older daughter and Lot. Remember, after the Sodom and Gomorrah decimation, Lot and his daughters escape. The wife almost makes it, but she does exactly what the angel tells her not to do. She looks back and she's turned into a pillar of salt. We've all seen it in Monte Python. Okay?

Then they flee to the hills there and the daughters say, "Hey, there are no more men around here. Let's have dad drink until he passes out and then we'll make him get us pregnant." All right, it's not a great scene. So they do, and they have kids.  One becomes the father of the Moabites and one becomes the father of the Ammonites. You can see, they are thorns in Israel's flesh for a long time. In Deuteronomy 23:2-6, when they talk about worship and entering the temple or the Tabernacle, the Moabites and the Ammonites are specifically mentioned as not being able to participate for 10 generations because of how that started and how they treated Israel.

So it says, "No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord," Deuteronomy 23, "even to the 10th generation. None of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord, even to the 10th generation. None of them may enter the assembly of the Lord, forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way when you came out of Egypt. And because they hired against you Balaam, son of Beor, from Pethor of Mesopotamia to curse you, and you shall not seek peace or the prosperity all the days of your life forever.  This is going to become now, next, David's grandmother.  That's going to be a striking thing.

So The Moabites were conceived as offensive people. Just like, for example, Rahab would've been conceived as an offensive person because she was a Canaanite. The next thing you need to know is that there's this word, to redeem, or kinsman redeemer that appears all over the place. The title is go'el. You may have heard of that. Talking about the go’el, the kinsman redeemer, it occurs 104 times in the Hebrew Bible, this particular word. 22 times in Leviticus, for the redemption of the land, 23 times in Isaiah, for redemption and the redeemer. And 22 times in the teeny, tiny book of Ruth. It's got the highest concentration of this particular verbal root in the whole Hebrew Bible, by far. So, that's one of the main keywords in this book. If you want to talk about light motifs or key themes. In the whole book of Psalms, it only occurs 11 times and there's a lot of redeeming going on there. But here it's really important.

But both of these things, redemption of the land and a kinsman redeemer play a big part here because the land and the person go together. Does that make sense?  Ruth and Naomi are connected to this land, and if they're going to sell it, someone's got to redeem it. All right? So Leviticus 25, tells us this in 23-28, "The land must not be sold permanently because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." So this is a great thing. Palestine, or Canaan, doesn't belong to Israel. He's renting it to them. They're on a long term lease. Okay? "Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land. If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative, his redeemer, is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. If however, a man has no one to redeem it for him, but he himself prosperous and acquires sufficient means to redeem it, he is to determine the value for the years since he sold it and refund it”.

So, you can't get rid of your land. You can only sell it for a while and you should try to buy it back as soon as you can. And if you have to, you've got to sell it to like your brother or your nearest relative. So, that's the redemption of the land. And that's going to take place in the book of Ruth.

C. Kinsman Redeemer (11:27)


Then there's the whole kinsman redeemer thing. And that's called a Levirate marriage, a Levirate marriage. I'm very thankful that this principal's not at work in today's economy. I would protect my brother's life at all costs. So this is in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. "If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall take her and marry her. And he shall fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. However, if a man does not want to marry his brother's wife, she shall go to the elders of the town in the gate and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to carry on his brother's name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.' Then the elders of the town shall summon him and talk to him. If you persist in saying, 'I do not want to marry her,' his brother's widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals and spit in his face and say, 'This is what is done for the man who will not build up his brother's family.'"

That man's line shall be known as the family of the unsandled, the unshoed one.  This is going to happen in our next narrative. You could think about with Judah and Tamar.  Judah marrying off Tamar to his sons and each one of them, she was like the black widow. Death after death, after death. So finally he withholds his youngest son and then she tricks him into sleeping with him and having that seed there. So, if you just understand, Deuteronomy provides the background for so much of what's going on in these legal laws and codes.

D. Gleaning (12:58):


Then the other thing you need to know about, besides redemption of the land and Levirate marriage, is you need to know about gleaning, before we get into the basic content. What is gleaning? This is when Ruth goes into the fields that don't belong to her and tries to get some food for her and Naomi. It's a part of the law in Deuteronomy 24:19 and 21, where you provide for the poor, the widows, the aliens, the orphans, the sojourns. It was built on the fact that Yahweh was so great and he was going to make you so prosperous that you didn't need to be a hoarder. That you could harvest with generosity remaining. You didn't have to go through and cut down every stock and put it in there. You were just going to have too much.

So here's how it goes. "When you are harvesting in your field, Deuteronomy 24:19, and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow so that the Lord, your God, may bless you and all the work of your hands. When you beat olives from your trees, do not go over the branches the second time, leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyards, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for," guess who, "the alien, the fatherless and the widow." Why? "Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and that is why I command you to do this." It's a great thing that God's people are to treat people with generosity because of where they came from. And God's treating them with generosity. Redeeming the land, redeeming the family, providing for the family. Those are the three categories there.

III. Basic Plot (14:19)


Basic plot, four chapters, 85 verses, you know exactly what happens. Naomi is this woman, she's married, she's got two sons. There's famine in the land. All right, what do they do? Cry out to the Lord. No, they move. They move to not their inheritance. They move to the land of Moab. They're not to do this, by the way, and when they get there, their two sons marry two Moabite women. Meaning, they more than likely thought they were never going back. They were going to become permanently Moabite.

A. Chapter One (14:49)


So chapter one goes from Bethlehem of Judah to Moab and back again, all in one chapter. It's the Hobbit story all in one chapter. So in verses one through five there's famine in the land, they depart, three people die and there's destitution.  This happens in the days of the judges, when there was a famine in the land.  A man from Bethlehem of Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live in the country of Moab. Where have we heard this theme before about a famine in the land and people leaving? Yeah, in Genesis. In Genesis 12, Abraham goes to Egypt. In Genesis 26, Isaac goes to the Philistines and in Genesis 41, Joseph, Jacob, and all of Israel go down to Egypt. What's interesting is none of them should have done it, but the Lord always rescues them out of it. And when they come back, they're more prosperous than when they went down. The catastrophe ends up being a U-catastrophe. The Lord changes it and spins it on its heels.

So this suggests that Israel was unfaithful and disobedient in the days of the judges, if you read between the lines here. Meaning this, in Leviticus 25:35, it says, "If one of your countryman becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident so he can continue to live among you." But we know that in the days of judges, there was no king in the land, everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. They were just becoming Canaanites during that time, the Canaanization of Israel. And so that's why it's helpful to have that. We know this was happening in a time where there was not righteousness reigning in the land and the fact that Elimelech gave his sons to Moabite daughters meant that he was probably going to stay there the whole time.

Now, some have argued that the key verses in chapter one are verses 16 and 17. These are the verses that you read at a wedding. But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or return from you for where you go, I will go. And where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God. Where you die, I will die and there I'll be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you from me." That's a great verse, by the way, because it's really talking about Ruth's conversion. She's going to forsake her land, she's going to forsake her gods and attach herself to the people of God, which is the opposite of what Elimelech did. He forsook his land, he forsook his God and attached himself to Moab. So she's the anti- Elimelech.


Here's really the key verse for understanding Ruth chapter one. This is Naomi, and it's a curse. She said, "I went away full and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has afflicted me and the almighty has brought calamity upon me or done evil to me?" That's that word again we were talking about, calamity or evil. So Naomi is despairing that the Lord has brought her back empty, but really He hasn't. That's the irony. He brought back Ruth with her and Ruth is the key to restoration. So this is a great thing. This is why it's kind of like the gospel promised beforehand. What we think is this young woman who has no power or authority, comes in and all of a sudden saves you.

B. Chapter Two (17:45)


Chapter two then is Ruth and Boaz in the fields. A love story. No, protection and provision. Protection and provision. So this is the gleaning and the law of Moses kind of thing in Deuteronomy.  It's the providential meeting of Boaz as a kinsman redeemer. As a kinsman redeemer, he's related to Elimelech, but he's not the kinsman redeemer. The key verse here is Ruth 2:12.  This is a blessing. So Naomi uttered a curse and Boaz is uttering a blessing.  Boaz says, "Ruth, may the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you richly be rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."

There are two times in here, there's the verb and the noun where it says to repay and to reward, that's from the verbal root that becomes Shalom. So to be whole or to come whole again.  Then watch this keyword, "the Lord, the God of Israel, whose wings you have come under to take refuge." Watch for that word wings. It's going to come up again. Now by the wings of the Lord, I want you to understand this, we often think of this as the Lord gathering his children under his wings, like a mother chicken does her chicks. But to me, comparing the Lord to a chicken is not really a great analogy. So what it is though, is when do you ever see the Lord with wings or around wings? In his throne room. If you think about Isaiah, there's the beings in there with two wings that cover their face, two wings that cover their feet, and two wings that fly. If you think of the arc of the covenant, it's those cherub with wings. The cherub and the Seraphs are the warrior protectors of God's throne room. So when you come under the protection of the wings of Yahweh, you're coming under the protection of his theophanic throne presence. Now, that's way better than a chicken. But remember that; wholeness, peace and wings.

C. Chapter Three (19:42)


Ruth chapter three,  is where Ruth and Boaz are at the threshing floor. The whole thing is marriage and redemption that they're going to be talking about there. More protection and more provision, more protection, more provision.  In Ruth 3:9, Naomi instructs Ruth to go to the threshing floor at night after he's had something to eat and drink and he's asleep. Then she's to go down and she's to uncover his feet and to lay down at his feet. Does that make sense?  It says here in Ruth 3:9, there's an expression to spread the corner of one's cloak or garment over a female. This expression only occurs two times in the Hebrew Bible, here and in Ezekiel 16:8. Where the Lord raises that abandoned child, that woman, and raises her to maturity. Then when she's ready for marriage, he covers his cloak over her and it's the wings of his cloak. It's the edge, that's the word wing. That's the exact same thing here.

The corner of the cloak in Hebrew, it's the wing of the cloak. It just gets translates corner. So it's a play- off of that word, "May the Lord protect... " It's right back here, now it's out of my mind. "Under whose wings you have come to take refuge." And so now she's come to take refuge under those wings, but it's through Boaz. Through Boaz. So, it's like a marriage proposal. When Yahweh spreads the corner of his cloak over the woman, it's a marriage proposal because clothing represents inheritance. And so he's including her in the inheritance. Does that make sense? And so that's why when she rolls it back, she's asking him to roll it back over and include her. In Ezekiel 16:8, Yahweh says to Israel, "I spread the corner of my garment over you and cover your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the sovereign Lord, and you became mine." So it's an expression of the covenant of marriage.

So now again, we're going to talk about two more key verses. Ruth 3:10, a blessing, and Ruth 3:11, a status. In Ruth 3:10, we're going from curse to blessing, to blessing. So curse in one, blessing in two, blessing in three.  Boaz said, "May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness, hesed greater than the first and that in which you have not gone after younger men, whether rich or poor." So she's not going after the hot young dudes, she's going after the one according to Yahweh's word. And then the key verse here, he says, following this, that was 3:10, this is 3:11. "And now my daughter, do not fear. All of the people at my gate know that you are a woman of strength," or dynamite woman. So this is the declaration where he says that she is the woman of strength. And in the previous chapter, he is a man, he is a ish gibbor hayil,  a man, a warrior of strength. There are only two called by that title in the whole Hebrew Bible.

D. Chapter Four (22:31)


Then we get to chapter four, Ruth and Boaz are married in the context of blessing. Ruth is going to be like seven sons, remember the number return to Job at the end of the book. Note that they call Naomi no longer Mara, but Naomi. At the end of chapter one, in Ruth, Naomi changes her name to Mara. Naomi means pleasant, mara means bitter. Then she's Mara. In chapter four, they don't call her Mara anymore. They call her Naomi. So she's been restored.

Then we've got this whole Levirate marriage, purchasing back kind of thing, in chapter four. The near kinsman redeemer is called, Boaz goes to the gate. He says, "Look, wake up, go in secret. We'll do this the right way." So Boaz goes to the gate and then the nearest kinsman redeemer comes by. A The nearest kinsman redeemer, when he passes by, they call him poloni ʼalmoni, which is like, Mr. So and So. They don't even name him because it's so shamed. It's just one of those things ploni means something not known and almoni means a word for dumb. So Mr. Dumb Dumb, something like that, because he could have gotten Ruth. That'd be no small thing. The NIV translates it, "my friend." The NASB, ESV, say, "friend." The King James, "Ho, such a one." So the Septuagint translates it, "Oh, secret one," and so Victor Hamilton suggesting  Mr. So and So or John Doe, or something like that. Like, Mr. T, "Yo, fool." So it could be like that. That's how I would do it.


This is the only time this expression is applied to any person. It occurs two other times in the Hebrew Bible and one is to indicate an undisclosed or uncertain location in Second Kings 6:8. And in First Samuel 21:2 and Two Kings 6:8, like a secret or unknown place. So they're just leaving this guy's name, the family of the unsandled man, something like that. So it's the polar opposite of Boaz.


The key verse here is 4:11 through 10, where we get this. "Then all the people who were at the gate of the elders said... " Remember, the gate of the elders is like where the public thing is proclaimed, so that it's public and apparent to everyone. "We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house," this is the women blessing her. "We are your witnesses, may the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah who built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem and may your house be like that of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman."

All right. You've got curse, Naomi, and the Lord reverses it. Blessing, blessing, blessing, status. Esheth chayil. All right. "And then the woman said to Naomi, 'Blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a redeemer. And may his name be renowned in Israel forever.'" This is amazing. Blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a redeemer. You can hear the gospel in that right there. So we went away destitute, we come back and are re-inherited because we have a redeemer. "I know that my redeemer lives," Job says.

Then there's this 10 member genealogy located at the end, which climaxes in David..  In the New Testament, it makes reference to it. In a New Testament, Ruth and Tamar and Rahab are in it together. And if you think about that, Ruth a Moabite, Rahab the prostitute and the Canaanite. And then Tamar is the one who got her father in law to sleep with her. So, all pretty saucy situations, but the Lord has redeemed those things and Jesus is not ashamed to say, "That's my family. That's where I come from."

And so it's a great way to say, like in the same thing, this is my Christian family. I'm ashamed of a lot of my Christian family sometimes, but that's my family and I shouldn't be ashamed to be associated with them. But the fact that this is a 10 member genealogy is significant, when you count, because the genealogies in Genesis that are really significant are 10 member genealogies. And so what we're saying is that the search for the seed is still on. Who is that seed of the woman? It's still going on and it's coming through secret and unexpected places. The almoni poloni places. You would never expect it to be Ruth who was a Moabite and came back. You would never expect it to be through Naomi who went away full and has come back empty.

God is restoring and fulfilling in His way, miraculously, what we are losing by sin and stupidity. It could have gone a different way for Elimelech, but he chose to live unwisely. He chose not the way of life, but the way of death. And we could see that he and his sons got the way they were walking.

Okay. That's good, old Ruth in just under the time limit there. And so are there any questions about Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, almoni poloni? That's the next name of someone's dog. Come here, almoni poloni.