Skip to content


December 28, 2015

In the uncouth, untamed days of Israel famine struck the land. Elimelech left Bethlehem and moved to the land of Moab. He resettled on the east side of the Dead Sea with his wife and two sons. Sadly, Elimelech died a short time later. His wife and sons settled down and soon the two boys found two Moabite girls and were married. Things went along smoothly enough for close to ten years when the boys both died and left their mother alone in a foreign land. Word had reached the destitute widow that the famine in Israel was ended. She packed her things and began the journey back to her family home. Her daughters-in-law followed her down the road, but she stopped them and sent them back to their own families. After much weeping and to-do one daughter in law returned to her parents house and one insisted on following back into Israel. The two bereaved widows journeyed together to the town of Bethlehem and thus begins one of the most moving, and significant, stories in the Old Testament.

In Bethlehem, Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, went about the business of settling in and surviving. Into this story enters a very wealthy relative of Elimelech’s, Boaz. As a childless widow just returned from Moab Naomi was impoverished. She had no wealth and no means of support. All that had been her husband’s was lost. She was utterly bereft and emotionally distraught. She is prostrated with grief and bitterness. To Ruth falls the responsibility of providing for their living. This is a problem. Ruth is a Moabite. Moab was cursed by God and forbidden to have any part in the nation of Israel. Deuteronomy 23:6 says of the Moabites, “Though shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever.” The prospects for help available to Ruth in Israel were almost none. She was an outcast in the society and had no legitimate hope of ever being anything but an outcast.

Naomi returned to Israel at the time of the harvest. As a result, Ruth was able to go out into the fields and collect the grain dropped or missed by the harvesters. By happenstance, if there were such a thing as happenstance, Ruth ends up gleaning in the fields of Boaz. Boaz notices Ruth and shows her extra kindness. Ruth goes home and tells Naomi about it all, and Naomi instructs Ruth to go to Boaz at night and ask his favor. Boaz looks at this Moabitess, and declares his willingness to redeem her and the property of Elimelech. After some legal rigamarole, Boaz redeems the family of Elimelech, marries Ruth the Moabitess and raises up children to carry on the family name. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed. Obed into adulthood and fathered a son who he named Jesse. Jesse went on to have many sons, the youngest of which was named David. The greatest king of Israel was the great grandson of a woman of an accursed race that had been redeemed by the grace and kindness of Boaz.

In this brief history is found a glimpse of the one who would come from David’s seed. In Boaz one sees a kinsman redeemer who brings the unworthy, impoverished outcast into the family, makes her his bride and gives her a great inheritance. Is this not what Jesus did? Did He not pay the price to purchase to Himself a people who were accursed enemies? Did He not set aside Himself for the one He loved that she might be saved from shame and certain death? This story of Boaz and Ruth is much greater than a story of generous man and a beautiful woman. This story stirs the heart because it speaks so beautifully of the work of Jesus for salvation. We have one who became our kinsman to redeem us from the curse of sin and bring us into His own family with Him as a beloved and precious bride.


Comments are closed.