The story takes up only four chapters.
The synopsis is:
Family (Mum–Naomi, Dad–Elimelek and two boys–Mahlon and Kilion) emigrates from Bethlehem, Israel to Moab, modern-day Central Jordan.
The boys fall in love and each marries a local girl, Orpah and Ruth.
Father and both sons die leaving their wives without any support. No social security back then.
Heart broken and disillusioned Naomi resolves to return to Judea with the girls. Despite the uncertainty of the outcome of their decision Naomi and her daughter-in-laws begin the journey back to Bethlehem.
During the journey Naomi changes her mind. The girls are urged to return to their parent’s homes where there is certainty, security and love.
They argue, but Naomi insists.
Orpah gives way to the pressure and head’s back to mum and dad’s, but Ruth stubbornly refuses. She and Naiomi continue on.
Destitute they arrive in Bethlehem. Maomi is so depressed that she changes her name to Mara,meaning bitter.
Ruth being a proactive girl goes looking for work. It’s harvest time so she goes foraging (gleaning) barley stalks missed by the reapers.
At this time she meets up with the landowner, Boaz.
Was it love at first sight? The Bible doesn’t say.
Was she good-looking? We don’t know that either.
What we know is that she had a beautiful spirit.
It turns out that he is a close relative of Naomi’s late husband and under Jewish law, Boaz was eligible to marry Ruth, resolve their financial situation and maintain the family line too.
Naomi orchestrates a plan for Ruth and Boaz to ‘get together’.
At the time poor Boaz had no idea of the conniving that was going on around him.
Watch out Boaz!
When Boaz recognises what lengths Naomi and Ruth are prepared to go to get his attention
‘fess up time!
Boaz goes along with Naomi’s plan, shows ‘true love’ towards both her and Ruth,
and they lived happily . . .
This is a love story, with a twist.
- Ruth and Boaz had a son, Obed.
- Obed had a son, Jesse.
- Jesse’s had eight sons. The youngest one was David.
You remember, the one who killed Goliath and wrote all those psalms.
- David is a direct ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1: 1-16).
‘Ruth’s seemingly inconsequential decision
resulted in an outcome that still affects us today.’
BUT. . .
if you turn to the last chapters of Judges (Judges 19:1-21:25) we come across one of the most horrendous and bloody stories in the Bible.
One man’s simple decision to delay the start of a journey resulted in:
- The rape and murder of his wife.
- A civil war.
- The death of over 90,000 soldiers.
- Except for 600 men, the total annihilation of the tribe of Benjamin.
What have I learned from these two stories?
‘Every choice matters. There is no such thing as a neutral choice, for good or bad even small choices can have major consequences.’
Now it’s your turn . . .
- Remember a time when a seemingly inconsequential decision you made had a major impact on your life.
- Was the outcome positive or negative?
Did this story engage and impact you today?
Either way I’d love to hear from you.