I’m just barely getting this post in on a Wednesday. I meant to write it last night, but I crashed early – it’s been an eventful couple of weeks. I’ve had ideas for this post in my head for a while, but I wanted to reflect on it some more before writing it out. As always, I’d love to hear feedback, questions, comments, and concerns! – Beth
King David was a man after God’s own heart, and Christ was a descendant of David (Acts 13:22-23) (Matthew 1). There are many lessons to be learned from David’s life, but this post is not about David. It is about David’s great grandmother, a woman named Ruth.
Because of a famine in Judah, a man named Elimelech took his wife Naomi and his two sons to live in Moab. Elimelech’s two sons both married women from Moab – Orpah and Ruth. Sadly, Elimelech and his sons both died, leaving Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth as widows (Ruth 1:1-5).
After the death of her sons, Naomi decided to return to Judah. Both of her daughters-in-law went with her at first. Naomi told them to go back to their own families because she could not offer them husbands. Orpah eventually went back to her people, but Ruth pleaded,
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” Ruth 1:16-17
I noticed something that I had never noticed before when studying for this post. When I think of Ruth, I often think of someone who loved her mother-in-law and chose to stay with her even after her husband had died. This is the case, but I now realize she was also choosing the path of the Lord. She took Naomi’s faith and family heritage as her own while Orpah went “back to her people and to her gods” (Ruth 1:15).
Once the women returned to Judah, Ruth meets Boaz. Boaz had heard of Ruth’s good reputation.
“It has been fully reported to me all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” Ruth 2:11-12
“for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman” Ruth 3:11
Ruth honored Naomi her mother-in-law. She stuck with her when Naomi was alone and had lost her family. She took care of Naomi and earned a reputation for being virtuous. Eventually, she marries Boaz and has a son, who was named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse who was the father of King David. Therefore, Ruth was David’s great grandmother and an ancestress of Christ Jesus. (Ruth 4:21-22).
How would things have turned out if Ruth had gone back to her own family in Moab? This is of course just speculation. Would Naomi have had anyone to take care of her? Would she have served idols instead of going to a country that knew and served the Lord? Would Ruth have met and married Boaz? Would King David, the man after God’s own heart, have been born?
This virtuous woman, Ruth, played an important role in the genealogy and history of God’s people.