Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Plain Sense of Things

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The Book of Ruth, though short, plays a very significant role in the Bible. Ruth is

really the only women in the entire bible to have an entire chapter devoted to her,

however short that chapter may be. The Book of Ruth resembles the Book of Jonah, in

that they both have a moral lesson, but this lesson may not be why the Book of Ruth was

written. Because of the Book of Ruth, we know that during the time it was written it was

not a completely patriarchal society, that women played a, small but never-the-less, role.

Had the Book of Ruth never been written all both Christianity and Judaism would have

had very different views of the significance of women.

The Book of Ruth tells a story of a Hebrew woman named Naomi, who had two sons.

After Naomi’s husband died she left with her two sons to the land of the Moabites. There,

her two sons married two Moabite women. Those two sons died as well. After their

deaths Naomi tells the girls to stay with the Moabites, while she returns to her people.

Orpah, one of the girls, does, while Ruth shows her loyalty to Naomi, mother of her

husband, and says that she will not let her go back alone. This is shown by when Ruth

says, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my

people, and your God my God.” This proves that women were not just property of men,

that they were also able to make decisions of their own.

After traveling with Naomi for sometime, they reach Bethlehem. Here a wealthy

Hebrew and relative of Naomi takes Ruth, as his wife, despite the fact that she is a

Moabite, and keeps Ruth’s husband alive through him. Their son Obed was the

grandfather of King David. The moral of the story being good things will come to those

who are loyal. Ruth’s loyalty to her Mother in law, not only allowed Ruth to find another

husband and keep her first husband’s name alive, but also made his name royal.

Another very significant point of the book of Ruth is to prove that not all Moabites are

bad. In Deuteronomy it states, “No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted to the

assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none shall be admitted to the

assembly of the Lord, because they did not meet you with food and water on your

journey out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam son of Beor, from

Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. You shall never promote their welfare or their

prosperity as long as you live.” However this is not true with Ruth, a Moabite.

The Book of Ruth is significant because not only is Ruth a woman, but she is a

Moabite. The Book of Ruth shows that even woman of cursed generations can find favor

in the Lord. It shows how forgiving and merciful the Lord is. It is important also because

rather than tell you why the Lord is merciful and forgiving, it shows you which is

different than most passages.

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