Ruth: A Love Story (Part 8)
"And all the people who were at the gate, and the elders said, 'We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman who is coming to your house like Rachel and Leah, the two who built the house of Israel; and may you prosper in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring which the LORD will give you from this young woman'" (Ruth 4:11,12).

As Boaz followed through legally with redeeming the land and taking Ruth to be his wife, the townspeople pronounced a blessing on the couple (giving evidence to the accuracy of the assessment Boaz had made about Ruth at the end of 3:11). This was a great honor for the couple.

"So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.' Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, 'There is a son born to Naomi.' And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David'" (Ruth 4:13-17).

Jehovah blessed the marriage of Ruth and Boaz by allowing a son to be conceived. However, the congratulations went to Naomi in 4:14 since the redemption was ultimately for her and Elimelech (even though she chose not to marry and encouraged Boaz to take Ruth under his wing).

It is not surprising that Naomi helped to raise the son who would be called Obed (i.e., the serving one). Obed would serve Naomi by continuing the name and the family of her husband. Naomi's shame is now gone (cf. 1:20,21)!

The book of Ruth closes with some genealogical information. "Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron began Ram, and Ram began Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David" (Ruth 4:18-22).

This portion of the genealogy is the same as Matthew's although there are likely some omissions in both records. However, it is beyond the scope of this lesson to attempt to identify or explain such.

I have referred to the book of Ruth as a love story, and I believe this description to be accurate on several levels. Throughout the book, we see the love of Ruth toward her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth was willing to leave her family and homeland for Naomi. She was willing to labor in the fields and do what she could to provide for them both. Her love for Jehovah is also seen, though not as clearly. She left the gods of her family and embraced the only true and living God and His law. The third relationship where love is seen abundantly is between Ruth and Boaz. Their love begins blossoming toward each other in chapter 2.

Let us conclude our study of the text of this inspired book by noting three important lessons:

1. Jehovah accepts all who put their faith and trust in Him regardless of nationality. The fact that Ruth was a Moabite woman did not change the fact that God loved her and wanted her to love and serve Him. This was true even under the Old Covenant where the Hebrew people were God's chosen ones. The Lord accepts anyone today who fears Him and works righteousness (Acts 10:35).

2. A good reputation is the best kind of introduction. Ruth had earned herself a good reputation by her virtuous actions toward Naomi. Boaz was familiar with the help Ruth had given Naomi and, in turn, gladly helped Ruth greatly. The wonderful way in which their relationship began was due in part to Ruth's solid reputation. It is still true today that a good reputation is the best kind of introduction we can have.

3. Jesus Christ is the true near-kinsman (or close relative) for man. We will spend our time together tomorrow elaborating upon this fascinating theme.