An Unlikely Story in the Book of Ruth
A Teaching of the Types in Ruth and the Story of Naomi
There are types all over the Word of God that are there for the student of the Bible who is willing to dig them out. This strengthens one's faith in the Bible and his own destiny.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
It is the Christmas Season - Read this Fascinating Take on the Story of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is a timeless story of celebration, courtship, and love with much forward pointing types. To be clear - a type is a representation of one thing of another. Adam was a type of Christ for example, (Romans 5.14) and so was Isaac (a type of Christ), (Heb. 11:19). The Passover was a type of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7). There are many types in the Bible and most of them are too extensive and too deep to be listed. (see Bible.org for a more complete listing)
For those who did not know, we celebrate Christmas at the wrong time of the year and for many, it is done for the wrong reasons. Originally it was moved to late December by retailers whose sales were extremely poor during the deep of winter. You can thank Dr. Luke for being so meticulous for helping us out with the actual time of the year of his birth. He straightens out the mystery of when by saying:
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock "by night." (Luke 2.8)
This little detail, “by night”, leads me to believe that Christ birth could not have been in the dead of winter because there are no shepherds in the field at night for the mere fact it is too cold for animals and humans in the November to March period in the mountainous section of Israel.
The same goes for the very large contingent of soldiers, support personnel, wives, and supplies of the three wise men of Babylon. They would have never considered traveling in the winter because of the cold and snow in the mountains between Babylon and Israel.
However, today let us turn our attention to another story in the book of Ruth, perhaps one you have not heard, and one you can pass on to the children in your life.
In Israel, it is tradition to read the little Book of Ruth in the season of harvest during the Festival of Weeks, or Shavuot. The festival of Shavuot (or Shavuos, in Ashkenazi usage; Shabhuʿoth in Classical and Mizrahi Hebrew Hebrew: שבועות, lit. "Weeks") is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June).
Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire Israelite nation assembled at Mount Sinai, although the association between the giving of the Torah (Matan Torah) and Shavuot is not explicit in the Biblical text.
The holiday is one of the Shalosh Regalim, the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals. It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer. Shavuot begins at sundown on Sat, 28 May, and ends 30 May, 2020 this coming year.
If you are a student of the Bible, you know that the Book of Ruth is just 4 short chapters. As is true with many Scriptures pointing to other Scriptures, you will have a tough time understanding Revelation Chapter 5 without understanding the Book of Ruth. One of the truism you will learn this Christmas season (write it down somewhere), is "An arrogant person is akin to an idol worshiper." (Sotah 4b)
Why study the Book of Ruth? The book even has implications for the Christmas season each year. Are you ready to learn?
The Elimelech, Naomi's husband, had already passed and the family was in the midst of a local famine. Naomi, on her own, after her husband passed on to God, did not know what to do about food.
So she takes them from Bethlehem to Moab where they had heard that food was more abundant. Naomi had two sons who married local girls from Moab straight away, and the boys sadly too soon pass away. What this does is leave Naomi and the two daughters-in-laws rather destitute.
Naomi hears from the local Moabites that things are now better back in Bethlehem. So she decides to go back alone to her native home. After all, the daughters-in-laws are local to Moab.
Knowing the trip would be hard, she urges the girls to stay in their homeland. However, Ruth refuses and stubbornly insists on going with Naomi. (Ruth 1.16-17) We have just begun our journey, read on.
The Law of Gleaning
The Law of Gleaning
First, we have “The Law of Gleaning.”
I am a student of and the late Dr. Chuck Missler. I thank both for reviving in me my passion for the wondrous Word of God. The Book of Ruth has several principles that highlight the laws of ancient Israel. One of them was the: Koinonia Institute
“The Law of Gleaming”
As landowners, the farmers were allowed to reap the field by taking only one pass. What the owner left behind helped the destitute allowing widows to pick up the remainder. (Leviticus 19.9-10; 23.22) Just imagine if farmers today followed this law. The widows and destitute would certainly have food for their families.
We find Naomi in a desperate situation. To help Naomi, Ruth volunteers to collect grain after the reapers, where she winds up in the field of Boaz, a wealthy landowner and subsequently the hero of our study.
Boaz sees that Ruth is beautiful. He tells his workers to drop generous handfuls of grain for her to gather. Hearing of this, Naomi is delighted because Boaz is a kinsman of the family, which leads to an opportunity that is at the epicenter of our lesson.
To fully apprehend what is to come in our study, one has to be familiar with several other laws in operation in the Torah.
The Law of Redemption
The Law of Redemption
Next, “The Law of Redemption.”
When you and I sell a home in our culture, the title passes in perpetuity to the one who buys the home in a solemn contract. However, in ancient Israel land became granted to the tribes to be retained within families in the larger tribe. This may make it easier for one to understand why genealogies are so important in the Word of God.
When one sold their property, to pay off debt or for whatever situation, that transaction was viewed as a lease instead of a final sale. In the days of Joshua, a title deed was in place providing for the land to go back to the original family at a later date. (see Leviticus 25.23-34; see Jeremiah 32.6-27; cf Revelation 5)
This brings us to another important law of Israel.
Forms of Old Testament Marriage
The Levirate Marriage and the Threshing Floor
“The Law of Levirate Marriage.”
Ancient Israel had a beautiful but unusual method to assure the extension of the family bloodline in the event of the death of a husband. When a widow had no son, the elder Father had the ability to ask the next single male kin to take the daughter-in-law in marriage and have children with her. This continued the bloodline of the family. (see Deuteronomy 25.5-10)
You will understand this when you study Ruth 3 in understanding why Naomi took the opportunity placed before her. Naomi knew Boaz was a kinsman; therefore, there was the chance to regain the family properties that were lost when Elimelech passed ten years earlier.
Naomi also knew this was also an opportunity for Ruth to have a much better life. So Naomi sits down with Ruth and gives her the instructions on how to proceed to accomplish the goals outlined.
Then there is the principle of the “Threshing Floor.”
Back in the day of Joshua, the harvest encompassed winnowing a process where wind or air is blown through grain in order to remove the chaff. The resulting wheat was tossed in the air and as it fell the chaff, being lighter, which would be carried off.
If one practiced the procedure you would produce two piles. The one downwind, the chaff, would be burned as trash. The other one with the pile of wheat was bagged and sold in the marketplace.
Next, during the harvest, a large celebration of the harvest often carried over to the evening. After all, it was appropriate to have the festivities celebrating the Lord's gift of grain giving them enough money to carry them over to the next season.
Following the festivities, the owner would sleep near the grain harvest to prevent anyone from taking the grain. So Naomi coaches Ruth to approach Boaz privately as he sleeps on the threshing floor.
Ruth approaches Boaz while he is sleeping. She awakens Boaz and asks him to spread his blanket over her because she is cold. Remember he is the kinsman in our teaching.
Here is not the proposition many assume it to be. Boaz’s shul, or skirt, was an indication of his rank, very much like stripes on a military uniform. You will recall that God instructed David to cut the hem of Saul's garment. (see 1 Samuel 24.1-22)
Also, you may recall the woman with the issue of blood touching the hem of our Lord Jesus Christ. (see Matthew 9.20-21; 14.36; Mark 5.31; 6.56; Luke 8.44) In effect, Ruth asked Boaz to put the authority of his house over her.
Ruth is invoking the Law of Levirate Marriage in effect asking Boaz to take her as his wife. Now honestly, Boaz was probably more than willing to accommodate Ruth, but there was one more obstacle for them to face.
Naomi and Boaz
Do you seek to Understand the Nearer Kinsman?
A Strange Thing - "The Goel Shoes"
For this Levirate marriage to occur there had to be a elder nearer kinsman who was willing to give his consent to step aside. In doing so Boaz would become the Nearer Kinsman.
Boaz, being proactive, confronts the elder nearer kinsman in front of what today would be the City Council, in effect - forcing the issue. For a widow, Naomi, when she requests the next of kin to perform the role of Kinsman Redeemer, he must not be forced.
There were three conditions that he had to meet.
1. He must be Qualified to be a Kinsman,
2. He then had to be able to perform as Kinsman,
3. Then he must be willing.
Two issues still remained. First, there was the land Naomi wanted as well as the taking of Ruth as a wife. It seems the nearer (and elder) kinsman was willing to give Naomi ownership of the land, but, for whatever reason, was not willing or able to take on the younger Ruth.
This, of course, clears the way for Boaz to perform the role of the Goel. There is a strange passage about a shoe that needs some explanation. If the nearer kinsman declined to assume the responsibility of taking on a wife, he would then have to give up a shoe and be humiliated by being spit upon. Strange as this sounds, this was the procedure at the time.
So in declining to take on Ruth, he did what he had been told to do by tradition in yielding his shoe to Boaz. So this footwear became a symbol of disgrace to the one, but to Boaz a marriage license to Ruth.
In review, Boaz, an extremely wealthy Jew, takes a Gentile wife. You may recall Boaz mother was Rehab, the harlot of Jericho. (see Joshua 6.25; Matthew 1.5) From Matthew, we see that both Rehab and Ruth are in Christs’ genealogy. (re. Matthew 1.5) Is not the Word of God interesting and fun to learn?
Let us take a more Definitive Inspection
Do you realize that this model love story of Boaz and Ruth is a classic in ancient literature, and contains precious insights into the life of ancient Israel? With that in mind, let us inspect this classic more carefully.
The Bible uses many symbols, models, and types. (re. Hosea 12.10) When we inspect the role of Boaz as the Kinsman Redeemer, we can clearly see how he is a type of our Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Through an act of redemption and submission, the Book of Ruth has Boaz whose actions return the destitute Naomi (Israel) to her land. Boaz then marries Ruth, a Gentile, as his bride.
I believe this suggests that this is a parallel with the Church as the Gentile bride of Jesus Christ. I have to tell you Boaz, Naomi, and Ruth with Jesus Christ, Israel, and the Church are easy for anyone to envision.
The Importance of the Unnamed Servant - the Holy Spirit
The Unnamed Servant As A Type
Let Us Look Closer At the Unnamed Servant
A careful examination reveals an Unnamed Servant which is a type of introducing Ruth to Boaz. (see Ruth 2.5) The "Unnamed Servant" is highly suggestive of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost in Scripture always seen as “the Unnamed Servant.”'
For example, He is the "Unnamed Servant" sent by Abraham to gather a bride for Isaac. Again, in Genesis 15.2 where the Hebrew for Eliezer is “Lord.” It can also mean "comforter" which is also used for the Holy Spirit.
Why does the Holy Spirit often appear as unnamed? The Apostle John seems to have recorded the explanation. See John 16.13 where Jesus said, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].”
The Holy Spirit will never testify of Himself. It was evident from the text in Ruth that Boaz found Ruth attractive and wanted her. He thought she was beautiful in the flesh.
However, as a gentleman, he did nothing until Ruth presented herself to Him. That is so much like Jesus Christ. He loves us and wants to save us. However, He waits until we submit our entire life to him as Lord, Savior, and Master.
Jesus Christ is our Kinsman-Redeemer if one turns their life over to Him. How about the nearer kinsman? An interesting analogy that most scholars view as the
Law of the Bible.
What the law could not do the Lord Jesus Christ did for us. Quite provocative is the possibility that the actual field owned by Ruth and Boaz long ago may be the very field where the shepherds tending their flocks pointing forward to the coming King.
This love story ends with Boaz purchasing his Gentile bride. (see Ruth 4.10) Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins long ago. It was through his blood spilled on a wooden cross He made some two thousand years ago He covers us with a blanket of love.
Isn't it fun to study the Scripture? If you get stuck on any point in Scripture, please contact me. Gary Hill
My Final Thoughts
Some Things To Ponder
It is His birth we celebrate each year at Christmas named after Him. The Bible is the most important Book ever written totally about Him. It was breathed into men whose hearts were His and saved for all humanity to learn of the roadmap of time. Jesus Christ is the firstborn from the dead and our hope to do the same and inherit eternal life. Remember Him as you celebrate Christmas this year.
He deserves our praise and adoration. Give it to Him as your gift to HIm this Christmas. By the way, you can find free Christian movies for the entire family here. Ray Comfort is an on-fire born-again Christian who is not afraid to take it to the streets. Watch his movies and learn.
I thank you for reading the short articles. Please feel free to give me your feedback in the Comments section below. I would love to hear from you. Take a moment and give me your thoughts on the article. God's blessings to you. In Jesus name. Professor Gary Hill
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A Comparison of Type from the Book of Ruth
Boaz - Purchased Gentile Bride
Naomi - Her land restored.
Ruth - The Gentile bride
Jesus Christ - Purchased us with his blood
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The Gentile Church - Called out to be His