A Little About Ruth
The Story of Ruth is an interesting and valuable lesson for all of us in a general example, however if we dig deep into the ‘woman’ it’s a treasure trove!
First and foremost, background. This woman named Ruth was a Moabite woman who lived during the era of Israel’s judges. At that time, the Israelites and the Moabites were enemies in the land. Even though the two nations were at odds, Ruth and her family lived in the land of Moab. Her husband, a Jewish man named Mahlon, had moved to Moab from Bethlehem during the famine. Many years later, the men in the family died – her husband, her father-in-law and her brother-in-law, thus leaving the women in the family alone and in desperate straits.
These three women had some major decisions to make and their decisions would trickle down through the centuries and have an eternal effect on everyone worldwide. Naomi, the matriarch of the family and Ruth’s mother-in-law decided to return to her native land, Israel. She decided to encourage her daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab and remarry. She probably really thought that would be the wisest and simplest of solutions, since they had lived in the land for years.
While it is said that Orpah stayed in Moab, she was reluctant to do so, but in the end she did. We have no record of her after that decision. However, with Ruth, she was adamant that she would return to Bethlehem with Naomi. It is said in scripture that she responded:
Wow! What a woman! What a Warrior!
You have to remember that these were widows and their decisions were made under great duress. Naomi new that the Jewish custom would be to establish help for them, so she would be an invaluable aid to help instruct Ruth in the ways of Israel.
In Israel, it was the custom for farmers to allow the poor to collect food from the edges of their fields (Levitiucs 23:22). Naomi instructed Ruth to go out to the fields and collect food for them. As she did as she was told, it just SO HAPPENED that the landowner, Boaz, noticed her and was smitten with her. Coincidence? I think not. Boaz had heard much about these two women who crossed the lands to return to Bethlehem and I’m sure he followed their progress. And that’s where it really gets interesting! Stay tuned!