The events in the Book of Ruth take place during the days of the judges, but what a difference we see! Instead of violence and lawlessness, it is filled with tenderness, love, and sacrifice. The book is placed between Judges and Samuel for a definite reason. Judges shows the decline of the Jewish nation; while Samuel shows the setting up of the Jewish kingdom. Ruth pictures Christ and His bride, for during this present age Christ is calling for His bride from among the Gentiles and the Jews.
Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion, a Bethlehem family, went to live in Moab because of famine in their land. The Moabites were descendants of Lot; thus distantly related to the Jews. However, the Moabites worshiped idols. The two sons married Moabite women (Ruth and Orpah) while living there, and after ten years the father and both sons had died. Ruth, with a burst of devotion of superb beauty, returned to Bethlehem with Naomi.
Boaz was the son of Rahab, the Jericho Canaanitish harlot (see our March 4 lesson). Thus David's great grandmother was a Moabite and his great grandfather half Canaanite--outside blood to form the chosen family within the chosen nation.
This book begins with a funeral and ends with a wedding! It opens with famine and closes with fullness. Ruth's love for her mother-in-law, and her willingness to obey the Word, brought her into joy and blessing. The decision she made in chapter 1 to return to Bethlehem with Naomi determined her future.
Certainly Boaz is a picture of Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer. Christ took upon Him our flesh (without sin, of course), that He might redeem us. He paid the price, and He did it because He loved us. Like Boaz, He is the Lord of the Harvest; He supplies our needs; He redeems the inheritance for us; He gives us rest.
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