[CF Devotionals] 2014-01-14 - Who’s That Woman?

Ruth ~ Part 19

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As we rejoin the story, it appears that the author understood irony. This can easily be seen in verse 3 in the New American Standard version:

“… And she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz …”

We have heard people say “it is a coincidence that ….” This is what the author says: “Just by chance Ruth ….” But of course, the whole thrust of the account is that nothing is coincidence. God is working in ways that we often don’t recognize until after the fact.

And so, by coincidence, Ruth just happens to end up in the field of Boaz. Keep in mind there is nothing in the text to demonstrate that Naomi told Ruth to glean where she did. It had to have been the work of the Holy Spirit, which put her in the right place at the right time.

And also “by chance,” Ruth arrives to glean at the same time that Boaz returns to his fields from the city. He was checking up on how the harvest was going. He greets his men by calling out “the Lord be with you,” which gives an example of his character. And the men return his greeting. I wonder if we can see this same recognition of God’s involvement in our lives?

But wait: Who’s that who catches his eye? Ruth must have stood out among the others who were gleaning, because when he sees her, he asks after her. Actually, if you examine the Hebrew, it appears he was asking after her ancestry. Huey notes:

“The question suggests that he was seeking information about her ancestry or clan (cf. Gen 32:17-18; 1 Sam 17:55-58; 30:13). It has also been understood as the storyteller’s device to move the story forward and, if so, could be paraphrased, “Where does this young woman fit in?””

Just as Huey pointed out in this instance, in the Old Testament there is a pattern of asking after ancestry.

He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you,’ then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us (Genesis 32:17-18).’”
As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, O king, I don’t know.” The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.” As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”” … “David asked him, “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago”” (1 Samuel 17:55-58, 13).

It is clear this understanding of Boaz’s question is correct. The foreman answered, somewhat apologetically that, Ruth is a Moabitess, and then she has come to Bethlehem with Naomi. Boaz now has two interesting pieces of information. First, and not exactly a pleasant revelation, Ruth is a Moabitess. Second, she’s family. Well I guess we all have some strange branches in our family tree. But anyway, along with the report of her antecedents, the foreman reports her courteous request to glean, and how hard she worked during the day.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

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CFD | January 2014 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Devotional Topics