We need to start by reviewing a little Hebrew history.
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert. He wasn’t a king. His sons did not assume his position on his death. But he acted as a judge — deciding disputes — and he was famously a great lawgiver, even though the laws he made came from the mouth of God. He was the only government Israel had — speaking in human terms.
Joshua succeeded Moses and led the Israelites in a series of military campaigns to occupy a portion of Canaan.
After Joshua, Israel divided the land among the tribes and allocated plots of farmland to each household. Israel settled into an agrarian lifestyle. They farmed or raised sheep. But they were surrounded by unfriendly nations, had no national government, and so had no national military.
The borders were far from secure and there were large portions of the land that had not yet been conquered — especially the fertile coastal plain, where the Philistines lived. Continue reading
Is Jesus a kinsman-redeemer?
Countless commentaries and Internet articles see the ultimate significance of Ruth in the comparison of Boaz, as kinsman-redeemer, to Jesus, as our redeemer.
As we examine the role of Boaz as the goel, or kinsman-redeemer, we can easily see how he, in some ways, pre-figures our own kinsman-redeemer, Jesus Christ. Through his act of redemption, Boaz returns Naomi (Israel) to her land, and also takes Ruth (a Gentile) as his bride. This suggests a parallel with the Church as the Gentile bride of Christ.
I don’t buy the argument that Boaz and Ruth are prototypes of Jesus and the church as groom and bride. That’s not the point of the text, except in the sense that every marriage helps to demonstrate the meaning of Jesus’ marriage to the church. Continue reading
I’ve not been able to learn much about this gifted singer and arranger except that he lives in London.
I have no idea what his religious background is, but he sure seems to like the hymns that were popular when I was growing up in the Churches of Christ.
And here’s the same song interpreted very differently –
Pretty cool …
The house of Perez
(Rut 4:11-12 ESV) Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.”
What’s the significance of Perez to Ruth and Boaz?
Judah was seduced into having twin sons by Tamar, his daughter-in-law, after her husband died and his brother refused his duties as Levirate husband. Continue reading
Chapter 3 is the turning point of the story –
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? 2 Is not Boaz our relative, with whose young women you were? See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3 Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” 5 And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”
This is surely a strange custom! The goal was not to seduce Boaz but to encourage him to become her redeemer and marry her. This appears to be a Bronze Age marriage proposal.
I mean, why would Naomi insist that Ruth to wash and anoint herself (kind of the ancient equivalent of a bath plus perfume) except to appear as attractive as possible? Continue reading
And if you enjoyed that one — Continue reading
The book of Ruth is a fascinating, beautiful story. Ruth’s story is placed after Joshua and Judges and before 1 Samuel because the story occurred during the period of the Judges — after the initial conquest of Palestine by the Israelites and before Israel had a king.
While Judges ends very depressingly with the horrible rape of a woman and the beginning of idolatry within Israel, Ruth is a positive, encouraging story. Matt Dabbs has recently argued that Ruth is the happy ending that Judges lacks.
Ruth is placed firmly in the context of the time of the Judges and concludes with a tiny glimmer of hope in the downward spiral that is the period of the Judges. Ruth has redemption. Ruth has love. Ruth has loyalty. Ruth points to king David and ultimately the Messiah. Judges on its own is pretty much a “hope-free zone”. But Judges/Ruth gives a fuller picture of what God is up to.
Part of the charm of Ruth is that the story gives a picture of life under the ancient customs of the Hebrew Bronze Age. Continue reading
So what is the true meaning of 1 Timothy 2:11-14? My interpretation is a slight variation on an argument I first learned from Carroll Osburn, who suggests that the passage be read as a chiasm.
Thomas B. Clark explains –
A chiasm (or chiasmus if you rather) is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and emphasis. Chiasm is pronounced ky′-az-um. Often called the chiastic (ky′-az-tic) approach or the chiastic structure, this repetition form appears throughout the Bible yet it is not well known. … Continue reading
Let’s take a look at Paul’s most direct statement on the authority of women –
(1Ti 2:11-14 ESV) 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
Let’s start with a few observations that are often ignored –
* Paul plainly reasons from Genesis 2. He is not saying that he has received a new law from God just for the church. He is saying that his conclusions follow from what is written in Genesis 2.
Therefore, whatever he says was surely true in 1200 BC (when Deborah was a judge) and remains true today — except to the extent Paul is applying a universal rule to a temporary circumstance that no longer applies and also didn’t apply at the time of Deborah. Continue reading
Deborah is a vitally important character in the Old Testament. She is often overlooked, even ignored, because she doesn’t quite fit our preconceptions of what godly women should be like. But her story is among the most ancient in scripture.
After the Israelites invaded Canaan, defeated some of the pagans who lived there, and settled into the hill country, much of Canaan remained unconquered, especially the fertile coastal plains.
During this time after Joshua and before Saul and David, the Israelites were led by a series of “judges.” There was no king and no nationwide civil government. Continue reading