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The Story of Ruth And The Power Of Loyalty

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Ruth is a figure in the Bible who is known for her loyalty and devotion. She is featured in the book of Ruth, which is part of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Ruth who is also an ancestor of the Messiah Jesus according to the Gospel of Matthew and her inclusion in the genealogy of Jesus emphasizes that the lineage of Jesus and his mission is not limited to the Israelites but is for all people. Her story is seen as a foreshadowing of Jesus's message of selfless love and devotion to God and others Ruth was a Moabite woman a Moabite refers to a person from the ancient kingdom of Moab, which was located in the area that is now modern-day Jordan. They were closely related to the Israelites and the Edomites, known for their agricultural skills and for their production of a highly prized red dye, made from a species of snail called "dibis" or "dibesh" in Hebrew and also known as the "Purpura" snail. The dye process was labor-intensive and required the collection of large numbers of snails, which were then crushed and the dye extracted.

The Moabites were known for their skill in producing this dye, and it was a valuable export for them. The Bible mentions the Moabites as having a monopoly on the production of this dye in the area and it was highly valued by other cultures along with their polytheistic religion. They were conquered and ruled by various empires throughout history and the Moabite kingdom was eventually absorbed into the Nabatean kingdom.

Ruth along with her mother-in-law Naomi returned to Israel during a time of this famine. The cause of the famine is not specified, but it is stated that a severe famine occurred in the land of Israel, causing Elimelech and his family, including his sons Mahlon and Chilion, to emigrate to the land of Moab with his wife Naomi, and Ruth in search of food and sustenance. Famines in the ancient world were often caused by a variety of factors such as drought, crop failures, pestilence, war, or economic collapse.

Naomi's husband Elimelech had died during the time that the family was living in Moab. The cause of his death is not specified in the text, but it was a significant event in the lives of Naomi and her family as it left her as a widowed woman with two unmarried sons and also leads to the eventual marriage of Ruth to one of those sons, Mahlon who also died during the time that the family was living in Moab. The cause of his death is also not specified in the text, but it was also a significant event in the lives of both Ruth and Naomi.

Now Naomi had lost her husband and two sons, and urged Ruth and her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, to stay in Moab and find new husbands. But Ruth refused, saying "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16). Ruth's loyalty to Naomi was unwavering, and she accompanied her mother-in-law to Israel, where they settled in Bethlehem.

Ruth's loyalty was admirable as she was still a young woman who could have followed her mother-in-law's advice a re-marry another man. Instead she followed her not knowing the consequences of her relocation to a land she had never been and living amongst people who had a different culture from the one she was familiar with. Loyalty in today's generation is rare however we will later see that Ruth was rewarded for her sacrifice.

When you are loyal to someone or something, you are more likely to act with integrity, as you are committed to upholding your commitments and keeping your word.

Being loyal can also be challenging at times, it may require, compromise, and self-control. However, the benefits of being loyal can have a profound impact on your character, helping you to become a more trustworthy, dependable, and respected individual.

When they had gotten to Bethlehem in Israel Ruth continued her relentlessness by working hard in the field to provide for both Naomi and herself. She found a job gleaning in the fields of a wealthy landowner named Boaz. Litter did Ruth know that God was about to favour her as Boaz was impressed by Ruth's hard work and kindness and eventually married her. Ruth's loyalty to Naomi and her new family in Israel was not only evident in her actions, but also in her words.

She declared her loyalty to God and to the Israelite people, even though she was not born into the Israelite community. Her words, "Your people will be my people and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16) are often cited as a powerful statement of faith and commitment. Ruth's loyalty and devotion are admirable qualities that are celebrated in the Bible. Her story is a reminder of the importance of standing by our loved ones, even in difficult times, and of committing ourselves to the values and beliefs that are most important to us.Ruth's story also has a deeper meaning. Ruth was a non-Israelite and her inclusion in the lineage of Jesus, as described in Matthew 1:5, is seen as an example of God's willingness to include people from all nations into his family.

Ruth eventually meets Boaz a wealthy Israelite landowner, who is a close relative of her deceased husband Mahlon.Their marriage later took place through a process known as levirate marriage. Levirate marriage in those days was a custom in which a widow would marry a close relative of her deceased husband, a kinsman-redeemer in order to continue his family lineage and to provide for her financially.

In the story of Ruth, the custom is initiated by Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, who suggests that Ruth should go to the fields of Boaz, Naomi instructs Ruth to dress attractively, and to uncover Boaz's feet while he is sleeping in the field. This is a subtle way of signalling to Boaz that she is willing to enter into a levirate marriage with him. Boaz, impressed by Ruth's beauty, kindness, and loyalty to her mother-in-law, expresses his desire to marry her. However but there is a closer relative who has a prior claim to marry her, so he must follow the laws of levirate marriage by giving priority to the closest relative. However that relative refused to marry her, so Boaz was free to marry Ruth and proceeded.

Ruth's marriage to Boaz is significant in the Bible for several reasons. Firstly, it is an example of God's provision for the widows and the poor. Secondly, it is an example of God's faithfulness to His people, even in times of hardship and famine. Additionally, it is also a story of redemption, love, and loyalty, as Ruth, a Moabite woman, chooses to leave her own people and culture to follow God and the Israelite faith.

Furthermore, the marriage between Ruth and Boaz is also significant in the Bible as it leads to the birth of Obed, who is notable for being the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David, a significant figure in Jewish history, and an ancestor of Jesus Christ. This makes Obed an important figure in the lineage of Jesus.

The birth of Obed is also significant in the story of Ruth as it brings hope and joy to Naomi, who had lost her husband and two sons, and had been left with no descendants. Obed's birth brings a sense of completion to the story and serves as a reminder of God's faithfulness and provision in difficult circumstances.

In the book of Ruth, the marriage of Ruth to Boaz takes place in a unique way. According to the custom of the time, a widowed woman could marry her deceased husband's brother, known as the "levirate marriage" in order to preserve the family line and inheritance. However, in this case, Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law, informs Ruth that Mahlon's brother is not willing to take her as his wife.

Ruth then comes up with a plan to approach Boaz, a wealthy and respected Israelite landowner who is a close relative of Elimelech, Naomi's deceased husband. She goes to the fields where Boaz is working and asks him to show her kindness by allowing her to gather grain among his workers. Boaz is impressed by Ruth's hard work and integrity and agrees to her request.

Later, Boaz and Ruth meet again at the threshing floor, a place where the grain was separated from the chaff. Boaz expresses his admiration for Ruth and offers to marry her, but he explains that there is a closer relative who has the first option to marry her. However, this relative declines the offer and Boaz marries Ruth.

The marriage of Ruth and Boaz is significant in the Bible as it is an example of God's faithfulness and provision in difficult circumstances. Ruth, a Moabite, was not a part of the Israelite community and was considered an outsider. This shows that one's faithfulness and loyalty can open doors unimaginable as Ruth left her comfort zone to a location unknown to her and God honoured her loyalty financially, emotionally and spiritually. By her following to her mother-in-law, Naomi, without knowing what the outcome of her faith would lead and her willingness to follow the Israelite God, she found a loving husband in Boaz and became a part of the Israelite community.

Furthermore, Ruth's marriage to Boaz leads to her becoming the great-grandmother of King David, a significant figure in Jewish history and an ancestor of Jesus Christ

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