Handbook of Ruth
Great Grandmother of David
Beginning of Messianic Family
This lovely story of a lovely woman, following, like calm after a storm, the turbulent scenes of Judges, is a delightful and charming picture of domestic life in a time of anarchy and trouble.
A thousand years earlier, Abraham had been called of God to found a Nation for the purpose of one day bringing a Saviour to mankind. In this book of Ruth we have the founding of the Family within that Nation in which the Saviour would come. Ruth was the
great grandmother of king David. From here on Old Testament interest centers mainly around the Family of David.
A Bethlehem family, Elimelech and Naomi and two sons, on account of famine, went to sojourn in Moab. Moabites were descendants of Lot (Genesis 19:37); thus distantly related to the Jews. But they were Idolaters. Their god, Chemosh, was worshiped by Child Sacrifice. The two Bethlehem boys married two Moabite girls. After ten years the father and both boys had died. Ruth, widow of one of the boys, with a burst of devotion of superb beauty (1:16, 17), returned with Naomi to Bethlehem.
Boaz was son of Rahab, the Jericho Canaanitish harlot (Joshua 2:1; Matthew 1:5; see on Joshua 2). Thus David's great grandmother was Moabite, and his great grandfather half Canaanite: outside blood to from the Chosen Family within the Chosen Nation: foregleam of a Messiah for All nations.
About a mile east of Bethlehem is a field, called "Field of Booz," where, tradition says, Ruth gleaned. Adjoining is " Shepherds' Field," where, tradition says, the angels announced the birth of Jesus. According to these traditions, the scene of Ruth's romance with Boaz, which led to the formation of the Family that was to produce Christ, was chosen of God, 1100 years later, as the place for the Heavenly Announcement of Christ's Arrival.
Under the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem, there is a room in which, it is said, Jesus was born. An old tradition says that this same room was part of the ancestral home of David, and before David, of Boaz and Ruth. Thus, according to this tradition, Boaz took Ruth to be his bride, and started the Family that was to bring Christ into the world, in the Vary Same Room in which, 1100 years later, Christ himself was born.
The Genealogy (4:17-22), showing Ruth's son to be Obed, Obed's son to be Jesse, and Jesse's son to be David, is the thing for which the Book of Ruth was written. Thenceforth Old Testament thought centers around the Coming King, to be born in David's line.