2013-12-08 - Caring for Those in Need
Ruth ~ Part 14
The line between scripture and tradition is often the difference between history and fiction. While that may be blurred in todays world, it certainly isnt blurred in the scripture. But the gap between the two is virtually nonexistent in Jewish tradition. Consider what we are told of the history of Boaz, Ruth and Naomi.
"It should be mentioned that according to the Sages, Boazs wife died on the day Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem . Boaz, involved with the funeral and mourning, could not give them a proper welcome. When Ruth chanced upon his field, on the day he returned from mourning, he recognized her rare qualities. Seeing her glean, he assumed that she would not avail herself of charity, preferring to maintain herself with her own hands. Also, as a widower, he did not want to be suspected of ulterior motives regarding Ruth, so he refrained from overt acts of kindness toward her. 1
Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem. They created quite a stir. The reason may have been a result of the change in Naomi. She had left as a prosperous woman, along with her family, a husband and two sons. She came back destitute, with only a Moabite daughter-in-law.
The author of Ruth presents a picture of how Israel cared for its own. Israel, like the United States, had a welfare system. But Israels was one that required responsibility from its recipients and therefore did not destroy the dignity of those who needed it. The difference is that God established the tenets of the system and, as we will see, He used it to guide Ruths life in a very unique way.
But first, in the next lesson, I will expand a bit on the different names of God found in Chapter 1, verses 15-21.
To be continued.
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