Royal Wives

Four women appear in Matthew’s genealogy, all of them connected with some scandal - Tamar, who fathered twins by her father-in-law, Judah; Rahab, retired prostitute; Ruth, a forward Moabitess; and Bath-sheba, whom David seized from Uriah. Though unnamed, three of the same women are implied in . . . . Continue Reading »

Noah Redux

Naomi aims to provide “rest” for her daughter-in-law Ruth (Ruth 3:1), and the Hebrew word is manoach , built from the root nuach , which is the name of Noah, the one who gives rest to the earth. On a small scale, Boaz proves to be Noah redux, guiding Ruth and Naomi through the flood of . . . . Continue Reading »

Mighty Farmer

When he is first introduced in the narrative of Ruth, Boaz is called a ‘ish g ibbor chayil , a “mighty man of strength.” “Mighty men” are usually violent warriors - the Nephilim who dominated the earth before the flood (Genesis 6:4), Nimrod (Genesis 10:9), . . . . Continue Reading »

David in Ruth and Psalms

Ruth is the only book of the Tanakh that ends with a genealogy, notes Stephen Dempster ( Dominion and Dynasty: A Biblical Theology of the Hebrew Bible , 193). The “ten-member genealogy powerfully echoes two other ten-member genealogies in the narrative books that had soteriological . . . . Continue Reading »

Ruth & Boaz

A thought or two on Ruth arising from student papers. The book begins with “a certain man ” (1:1) and introduces a couple of other men (1:2). In a few verses, the men are all dead, and the next time a man appears in the story it is Boaz (2:1). He is identified as a kinsman of Elimelech, . . . . Continue Reading »

Better than Seven Sons

Naomi’s daughter-in-law, Ruth, is better than seven sons to Naomi (4:15). To underscore this, the book calls Ruth “daughter-in-law” seven times (1:6, 7, 8, 22; 2:20, 22; 4:15). She is the sevenfold daughter, the daughter who brings new life and new creation to Naomi, a new life . . . . Continue Reading »

Naomi’s Son

A couple of reflections on Ruth, after reading some student papers. First, it’s fairly common to note the reverse inclusio around the book - Naomi loses sons at the beginning, and gains a son at the end. But in 4:15b, the women of the city claim that Ruth is better to Naomi than seven sons. . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

2 Chronicles 3:1: Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. Naomi gives Ruth specific instructions for her approach to Boaz: . . . . Continue Reading »