[CF Devotionals] 2008-11-23 - Ruth: Character

Installment 31 ~ Chapter 4, Part 2

I am going to follow the analysis used by MacArthur in comparing Ruth’s virtues with those of the wife discussed in Proverbs 31. But first let’s get a definition of virtuous (KJV) or noble (NIV). This is the same word used to describe Ruth in 3:11 and Proverbs 31:10.

“mighty, majestic, splendid; (n.) any powerful or awesome person.” 3
“All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.” … “A wife of noble character who can find?” (Ruth 3:11; Proverbs 31:10).

I like Dr. McGee’s opening thoughts in describing this wife in Proverbs 31.

“Virtuous” here means a woman of character, a woman of strength, a woman of real ability. She is not to be a shrinking violet. She is not to be like Whistler’s mother, always sitting in a rocking chair. (A whimsical story is told that Whistler painted another picture of his mother, because he came in one day and found her sitting on the floor and said to her, “Mother, you’re off your rocker.”) I don’t think you will find many mothers sitting in rocking chairs. They are busy. This is the picture of a busy mother” 4

There are eight areas of comparison between Ruth’s characteristics and those of the virtuous wife. MacArthur wrote the following regarding these shared qualities.

“With amazing parallel, they share at least eight character traits. One wonders (in concert with Jewish tradition of King Lemuel’s mother might not have been Bathsheba who orally passed the family heritage of Ruth’s spotless reputation along to David’s son Solomon. Lemuel, which means “devoted to God,” could have been a family name for Solomon (see Jedediah, 2 Samuel 12:25), who then could have penned Proverbs 31:10-31 with Ruth in mind” 5

  1. Goodrick, Edward W., John R. Kohlenberger III, and James A. Swanson, Hebrew/Aramaic to English Dictionary and Index to the NIV Old Testament, Zondervan I nteractive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1999
  2. MacArthur, John, Ruth & Esther, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2000, p. 102.
  3. MacArthur

Comments or Questions?

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Additional studies by Geoff
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