Ruth: Lesson 6: The Redemption becomes Real!

Naomi holds ObedBoaz has now cleared all the hurdles for him to redeem Ruth and Naomi, which will include marrying Ruth and bringing Naomi into his household as his mother.

 

The Witnesses Bless Boaz and Ruth

Read Ruth 4:11

The Old Testament is full of patriarchs—but also matriarchs!  The Israelites loved their mothers—immediate and ancestral.  So, we should not be surprised the witnesses (the ten elders and the people at the gate) bless Boaz and Ruth by mentioning women from two, earlier time periods.  They did not choose those matriarchs in their blessing at random but for specific reasons.

Background: Jacob, the son of Isaac, fled to the home of his mother, Rebekah, because his brother, Esau, wanted to kill him.  There, Jacob fell in love with his uncle’s daughter, Rachel.  But the uncle, Laban, required Jacob work seven years to marry her.  When it came time to get married, Laban switched in Rachel’s older sister, Leah, at the marriage ceremony (remember the bride covered herself during the ceremony).  Jacob married Leah—and had to work another seven years to marry Rachel!

Read Genesis 29:31-30:24

  • Who did the sons of Jacob become?

 

  • What part of Rachel and Leah’s life are they praising as a blessing to Boaz and Ruth?

 

To ask God to make Ruth like Rachel and Leah is asking that she and her offspring become as important to Israel as those who became the 12 tribes of Israel!

Read Ruth 4:12

Read Genesis 38:6-19, 24-29

  • Discuss: Why would such sinful scheming, a “skeleton in the closet,” be a blessing for Boaz and Ruth?

 

Leah and Rachel are part the people’s blessing because they were matriarchs of all Israel—the 12 tribes.  Tamar was the matriarch of Boaz’s tribe, Judah.  Their blessing was not to delight in sin but to celebrate what God did—even despite the sins of their ancestors.

  • Leah and Tamar are human ancestors of Jesus. What does this say about whom Jesus came to redeem with such a human ancestry as His?

 

Boaz Marries Ruth

Read Ruth 4:13a

  • Boaz now redeems Ruth, a foreigner. As an ancestor of the Messiah, how does he become a picture of what Jesus will do to redeem us?

 

Excursus: Betrothal and Marriage

In Israel, before a couple entered marriage, they entered something called a “betrothal.”  A groom declared to all within hearing that the bride and groom should be considered by all to be united in marriage (thus, another was not to try to woo the betrothed bride).

The usual period for a betrothal was a year.  For Boaz and Ruth, the story skips past this part, and their betrothal may have been shorter.  During betrothal, preparations for marriage were made.  The man sought housing.  Sometimes, the woman would cover her face with a veil during her betrothal as a sign that she was not available for marriage.

Unlike our engagements, betrothals could only be broken only by a legal transaction: divorce.  That’s why in the New Testament, after Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he decided to divorce her because that was the only way to break off the betrothal.  Further, one could only break off the betrothal in cases of adultery.

On the day of the marriage, the bride was dressed like a queen.  She wore special wedding clothes, and many precious stones adorned her hair.  At the end of the day, the married couple and their companions walked back to the bridegroom’s house.  At some point, the bride’s veil was taken off and laid on the groom’s shoulder, and the people would declare: “The government shall be upon his shoulder.”  Arriving at the groom’s house, the bride and groom sat under a canopy, and the feast began.

The feast could last as long as seven days, with much drinking, eating, dancing, and singing!  Guests often would return home to carry out their day’s work and then return to the celebration for the evening hours.

The book of Ruth compresses this entire process into less than one verse.

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  • Within the fold of Scripture, the story of Ruth is to point us to Christ. Of the greatest mother in Scripture and the birth she had, what do we know of her betrothal and wedding?

 

Read Ruth 4:13b

  • Instead of saying Ruth conceived, the text says, “The Lord gave her conception”? What does the storytelling craft within the book of Ruth now reveal?

 

  • If Ruth’s conception of Obed, an ancestor of Jesus, was only because of God’s working, how does this prepare the people of Israel for the birth of the Messiah to come?

 

The Women of Bethlehem Praise God

Read Ruth 4:14-15

  • Whom do the women see as behind what happened so Naomi would have a house and home?

 

  • Who is Naomi’s “restorer of life”?

 

Although Boaz redeemed Naomi, Boaz’s son is also Naomi’s redeemer because God restores Elimelech’s inheritance through Boaz.  His property will continue through the first son of Boaz, who is, for estate purposes, considered the son of Mahlon.

  • Theologically, what does “restorer of life” point forward to what God will do for us through our Redeemer?

 

  • Why do the women praise Ruth? (vs. 15)

 

  • If the women praise Ruth so much, what does this say about our praise for the mother of our Redeemer? (Luke 1:46-55)

 

“more to you than seven sons”: God created the world and everything in it and rested on the seventh day.  Seven sons meant one was extraordinarily blessed.

  • 1 Samuel 2:5: [Hannah praising God for her son, Samuel:] The barren woman gives birth to seven, but she who had many children languishes.
  • Job 1:2: Job had seven sons.

Read Ruth 4:16

“child”: Hebrew, yeled.  The story now pulls us back to Ruth 1:5: “The woman [Naomi] was left without her two sons [yeled].  Describing Naomi’s loss of her sons, yeled would have struck us as odd, for it was the usual Hebrew word for a young son, not a grown man.  The unusual use of yeled would have remained that way—until now.  The storytelling craft of Ruth now brings us to understand the earlier, weird use of yeled: God had made right what death had earlier taken away.

Read Ruth 4:17

  • If we didn’t get the point by yeled, how do the women describe Obed?

 

Read Ruth 4:18

Whenever we come across a genealogy, we should seek the purpose behind it (besides showing ancestry).  Biblical genealogies do not meet current-day standards of listing every generation, without skipping anyone.  They also served other purposes.

  • We know this genealogy skips some generations. How many names does this genealogy mention?

 

  • Within the book of Ruth, what do we find with the number ten? (Hint: in Moab ten years, ten elders at the gate)

 

  • If Naomi being in Moab for ten years and the ten elders at the gate all worked out to be God’s will, what then does this genealogy show us about the legitimacy of King David’s rule?