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Ruth 1-4


A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                  
Thru the Bible in a Year
            This story takes place in the time of the judges.  Israel is at peace with its neighbors, particularly Moab, and the demands and challenges of private life are presented in considerable detail. 
             Everything centers around the Moabite daughter-in-law of an Israeli woman, Naomi, who had, because of famine, migrated to Moab with a husband who subsequently died leaving her a widow in a foreign place.  After living with her two sons and their Moabite wives for about ten years, both of her sons die and Ruth, one of her her daughters-in-law, decides to travel with her back to the family home near Bethlehem. 
             It is the unswerving devotion of Ruth to Naomi and her Israelite family that makes her a true daughter of Israel and a worthy ancestor of David.  The inclusion of this foreigner in the genealogical line of King David and therefore Jesus demonstrates God’s intention that His love and grace is for people of all backgrounds.
             In Bethlehem, both women are treated kindly by Boaz who turns out to be a relative of Naomi.  He supplies them with food from his harvest, and decides to make Ruth his wife.  This requires a discussion with the elders of the town who were to be found at the town gate. 
             Hebrew custom allowed the closest relative to purchase any land left at the death of another tribal member.  However, with the land came the responsibility of marrying the widow and providing her with a son who could carry on the family ownership of the property.  The first part, buying the land, was seen as an opportunity;
however, the second part, marrying and providing for the widow, was seen as a burden.           
             Boaz who is not the closest relative offers to buy the land and marry the widow
 if the one kinsman closer than he renounces his claim.  The manner in which such discussions were held and the symbols used to close the deal are also quite clear in this narrative.
            Boaz is successful in his quest and everyone lives happily ever after. The story ends with Ruth bearing a son who guarantees the continuation of the family line.
            How devoted are you to the members of your family?  Do they know it?  Do you ever directly, personally provide for those in need?  Today think of someone whose life you can bless and bless it.  Then thank God for including you in His family.
A. Eugene Pearson 2012