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ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

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The Story of
Ruth

Introductory Notes and Comments

Author: Unknown
Theme: The Kinsman-Redeemer
Date of Writing: ca 1100 BCE

The events reported in the Book of Ruth are contemporary with the first half of the Book of Judges. In the midst of all the wars, violence, and bloodshed of  these times, life proceeds rather normally for many Israelites. Like all people, the Israelites are primarily concened with family relations and the eking out of a daily living.

In sharp contrast to the national breach of faith in HaShem on the part of the Israelites comes an account of personal faithfulness on the part of a woman toward her widowed mother-in-law. Of great interest is the fact that the woman is a Gentile; in fact she is one of the hated Moabites. When her own husband dies, Ruth chooses to be with her mother-in-law Naomi, and with the Israelites and their God.

Her choice brings her the blessings of  both a new husband and a son, through whom Ruth becomes the great-grandmother of David, who will be king of all Israel, and through whom HaShem will send His Messiah Yeshua.

The book of Ruth reveals that in spite of the corporate apostasy of HaShem’s people, He is still sovereignly working in the lives of individual people who will commit their lives to Him. It is far more than a beautiful view of pastoral life, for behind the story of Ruth’s fidelity there are clear implications of Messiah’s redeeming work. Bo'az, the kinsman-redeemer, clearly points to Messiah; Ruth portrays those Gentiles who, through faith in the Ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer, become naturalized citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel and enter into a new life as co-heirs to the Covenants HaShem made with Israel.

It is significant that both Bo'az and Ruth are named in the Messianic genealogy (Matt 1:5).

The Book of Ruth is read publically in synagogues as part of the celebration of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, a spring festival fifty days after Pesach (Passover). In Jewish tradition is marks the Festial of Firstfruits, the spring harvest in Israel.

The Kinsman-Redeemer

The Kinsman-Redeemer, Hebrew גָּאַל (go'el) was the closest male relative who had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.

In the ancient Near East, the family heir (normally, but not always, the eldest son; but always called “firstborn” whether the eldest or not) received a “double portion” of the father’s inheritance, and upon the father’s death he became the family’s patriarch and “Kinsman Redeemer” (Go'el). His life-long responsibility was to ensure that the family was kept together and that they were always provided for.

If a family member ever got into trouble or fell upon hard times, it was the duty of the go'el to bail out that family member, and get them back on their feet spiritually and financially. If a family member was taken or sold into bondage or servitude, it was the responsibility of the go'el to do whatever was necessary to pay their debts and restore them to the family. If a family member for some reason lost their family estate, it became the responsibility of the go'el to ensure that estate was restored. If a family member was wrongfully slain, it became the responsibility of the go'el to avenge that death; thus the go'el was also called the Kinsman-Avenger.

If his brother died without a male heir to carry on the family name and inherit the family estate (women could not own property), it became the go'el’s responsibility to marry his brother’s widow and produce an heir in his brother’s name. (Num 27:8-11; Deut 25:5-10) In the event the firstborn was unable or unwilling to perform the function, the responsibility fell to the nearest living male relative of the person in jeopardy.

The story beautifully depicts one aspect of our redemption. Bo'az is a picture of Messiah Yeshua; Ruth is a picture of the Messianic Believer. On Messiah’s part (Heb 2:1-15), He paid the price with His own blood, as He was both willing and able to redeem.

In this book we see the majestic fulfillment of HaShem’s purpose. Even in the dark days of the judges, He was watching over the line from which Messiah would come into the world. The genealogy of Obed (Ruth 4:18-22) discloses that Ruth, a Moabitess, was rewarded for her devotion and loyalt by becoming the great-grandmother of David. The birth of her son was probably not less than 40 nor more than 100 years before the birth of David.

Chapter 1

Outline

I. Ruth’s Decision (Chapter 1)

A. Famine in Judah (1:1-2)

B. Naomi Loses Her Family (1:3-5)

C. The Return to Judah (1:6-22)

1. Farewell to Daughters-In-Law (1:6-10)

2. Ruth’s Loyal Decision (1:11-18)

3. Back to Bethlehem (1:19-22)

II. Ruth’s Service (Chapter 2)

A. Boaz Sees Ruth (2:1-7)

B. Boaz Gracious to Ruth (2:8-16)

C. Ruth Tells Naomi (2:17-32)

III. Ruth’s Rest (Chapter 3)

A. Naomi Plans an Encounter (3:1-5)

B. Boaz Agrees to His Duty (3:6-13)

C. Naomi and Ruth Wait (6:14-18)

IV. Ruth’s Reward (Chapter 4)

A. Kinsman Declines Duty (4:1-6)

B. The Transaction Made Legal (4:7-12)

C. Boaz Marries Ruth (4:13)

D. Son Named Obed (4:14-17)

E. Genealogy of Obed (4:18-22)

Chapter 1

Originally posted Friday, 28 August 2020

Page last updated on Monday, 18 January 2021 12:15 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!