The book of Judges ended on a low note, and the book of Ruth does not open optimistically either. Yet, what we find throughout the book is a tale of redemption in Jesus Christ; although this is the first book where it seems that God is silent, it is in fact entirely underpinned by the gospel story of redemption from famine. It is fittingly quiet on the LORD’s direct communion with Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, yet it is drenched with symbolism, places, names and types which explains to the reader God’s dedication of the recapitulation of the body of Christ through the ordained salvation method of through His Anointed Son.
It is a book which many mistake to have been included purely to chronicle the events of the following books which speak of the kingship of Saul and David; yet if we were to simply look at Ruth as a story of a ‘humble and meek’ woman who was used by God to display the glory of Christ coming through humility, coming through a despised Moabite, then the message will be sorely saturated and much of what the Spirit wishes to communicate to the Spirit-filled reader will be lost. Both Antiochene and Alexandrian interpretations of this book are still subject to Christ’s words in John 5:39, that all Scripture testifies to him in several layers beyond that of mere prophecy or chronology.
Ruth 1: Israel in Slavery
Ruth thus begins with a famine during the time of the judges, and this pattern of fullness-famine-fullness is explored several times throughout the previous books: the leadership of Joseph and the blessings given to Israel in Egypt, leading to the widespread enslavement of the Israelites, culminating in the great Exodus to Canaan; the giving of Abraham’s wife to a king in both Genesis 12 and 20, a type of captivity over Abraham’s wife, the bride and the church, only for the wife to be returned to her lord, her husband, with greater blessings than what they have begun with; and the grander scheme of Eden, where Adam and Eve were but spiritual infants in the garden of Eden:
“Thus the enkrateia tradition could hold the state of Adam before the formation of Eve, or the supposed virginal condition of the protoplasts, to be the ideal after which to aspire, even seeing its perfection as entirely derivative of a pre-sexuality or a-sexuality. Here is the danger in misinterpreting Irenaeus as a restorationst, for Irenaeus saw the innocence of Eden as a state of immaturity, the growth from which would necessarily include marriage, the basis of the blessing of increase [referencing Against All Heresies Book III and Genesis 1:27-8]” – Michael Reeves in his unpublished doctorate thesis “The Glory of God – The Christological Anthropology of Irenaeus of Lyons and Karl Barth”
This theology of maturation, not to be confused with a type of Darwinist theology, takes us to realise that Naomi has to experience her death, her own baptism in Christ, so that she can also experience the resurrection – restoration to Eden – and ascension, going beyond Eden, so that we mature beyond the template of Eden which is only a shadow and type of New Creation. So this should teach us of the handing over of power to Satan in the fall but only for him to be crushed by Christ who takes the maturing church, including Adam and Eve, to the greater New Jerusalem.
Famine to Glory
This is reflected in the geographical movement of Elimelech and his family, including his wife Naomi, his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, and their respective Moabite wives (Elimelech’s daughters-in-law) Orpah and Ruth. V.1-5 begins with Elimelech leaving Bethlehem with his Israelite family because of a famine, and his sons finding Moabite wives in Moab, a direct correlation to the period of the latter chapters of Genesis where Jacob and his eleven sons found themselves in foreign land – Egypt, because of a great famine. Yet, upon receiving news that the LORD had “visited his people and given them food” they return to Judah where there is the house of bread, Bethlehem.
Note how the centrality of Old Testament evangelism is honed in on Israel as light to the nations; Israel is his people, by default implying at this time that Moab is not. Thus, the movement of Elimelech’s family from Bethlehem to Moab and back to Judah is meant to be a parallel to Abraham’s movement from Canaan to Egypt and back to Canaan (Genesis 12-13). So also Naomi’s name is changed similarly, from Sweetness to Bitterness, from having two sons and a husband taken from her (v.5) to the Almighty dealing bitterly with her (v.20), though three chapters later she will receive even greater blessings than when she had as Naomi, a glory greater than Eden. “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (v.21) These are the words of a half gospel; of Christ who died and did not resurrect, of Israel in slavery and there being no exodus – but Christ is indeed alive, and Israel is indeed saved.
The Offspring in Bethlehem
Throughout this entire episode, we should not assume that Elimelech is a sinner; contrarily, we receive only a neutral narrative which explains that he, alongside his two Israelite sons, had died in foreign land. It is in this context that we can see the similarities between Elimelech, Jacob and Israel in the wilderness. All three parties have died prior to entering Canaan; all three knew that the Israelites were the chosen people, that restoration would come firstly to Israel and bless the nations surrounding her. And yet, what is so important about the story of Elimelech, who is named “my God is king”, is that he is like those Israelites of the previous generations who called Yahweh his king. Any one of the Israelites could be the direct forefather of Jesus Christ, the one offspring in Galatians 3:16-19, and yet it would seem that Elimelech’s line is finished in v.5. Naomi is thus only left with her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Naomi.
What is important to realise is that Elimelech’s line is of course restored through Boaz and Ruth’s marriage; this effectively gives the inheritance back into the line of Mahlon, Elimelech’s son, the sick one – whose name is revived only through Israel, God’s chosen people especially in Bethlehem.
If read independently, this is also an allusion to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, for The Offspring was born not in Moab, not in Egypt, not in the wilderness, but in the House of Bread for He is our Bread of life (John 6:48). However, if read in context of the book of Ruth being sandwiched between Judges and 1 Samuel, we can see how the message becomes more poignant; the continual refrain of rest and slavery in Judges with the book ending on slavery means that the immediate rest should come not in Saul, nor David, nor Solomon, but in the offspring of Elimelech who died outside of Israel like Jacob, whose name perpetuated not in Moab but in Israel, though he was buried in Moab (c.f. Genesis 49:29-30; 50:5).
Therefore, where we see Orpah leave upon Naomi’s pleading in v.11-14, we can also see how Elimelech’s line is essentially stopped there. Scripture does not mention again what happens to Orpah or Elimelech’s line through Orpah, but it appears that she heeded Naomi’s advice to find a new husband in Moab (v.8). Orpah went to find a husband, witnessing the LORD allegedly abandoning Naomi, and even if she were to find a husband, no longer would her line of descendants proclaim like Elimelech that “God is King”. This is the importance of seeing the difference Orpah’s progeny and Ruth’s; the former submitted to silence as if it is not important anymore, but Ruth’s being the highlight for the progeny extended through Israel and not in Moab.
Orpah shall find her husband by the blessing of her gods (v.15) who haven’t abandoned her like Yahweh has allegedly done with Naomi; Orpah shall be connected to the other husbands, to the other Baalim. Yet, Ruth will go where Naomi will go, lodge where Naomi will lodge, Naomi’s people being Ruth’s people – the first picture of the Gentiles taking shelter under the Israelite wings, of Japheth joining the tent of Shem (v.15-18, Genesis 9:27). This therefore appropriately occurs during the barley harvest (v.22), a time akin to the Pentecost the festival of harvest when the Spirit was given to the Gentiles, the church of Israel becoming once again a world-wide church which the church prior to Moses typified, and here prophesied as through the joining of Ruth to Naomi, of Ruth to Boaz, of Elimelech’s line restored and glorified with the addition of this Gentile – of Israel’s glory shared with the Gentiles together.
Ruth 2: Incarnation
Boaz the Redeemer
The story does not beat around the bush, and immediately takes us from the desolation and wilderness of chapter 1 to fulfilling the true meaning of this barley harvest in chapter 2. This is found in Boaz, incidentally a name used for one of Solomon’s brazen pillars in the temple porch (2 Chronicles 3:15). He is indeed a pillar of faith, a cornerstone of Christian history, a type of Christ-the-Redeemer and the Israelite husband to his soon-to-be wife, a Gentile, Ruth.
Yet, whilst the focus of the chapter is on Boaz, we first see the eagerness of the Gentile, of the despised Moabite which may still be fresh in the minds of the Israelites since the conflict of Ehud and Eglon in Judges 3-4. V.2-3 of chapter 2 in particular points us to the same principle of the Gentile who approached Christ (Matthew 15:27) as we see Ruth gleaning the Israelite field, the field which belongs to Boaz the type of Christ. In this field bought by Christ (Matthew 13:44-46), the field being the world, the great pearl is the church and Ruth is this great pearl in Boaz’ eyes which he would have to sacrifice his own estate for (c.f. chapter 4v.6).
Immediately, we are taken to Boaz’ proclamation – “the LORD be with you” (Yahweh imachem, LORD with you) – and indeed, Boaz is with Ruth, as Christ is with the Gentile and Israelite church in this field, the world. This man from Bethlehem is proclaiming and typifying the truth of Immanuel, God with us, and the narrative of v.8-18 taking us deep inside the mind of Christ as if He is directly speaking through Boaz. This is a breath-taking speech, a type of wedding proposal:
8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10Then(G) she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should(H) take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11But Boaz answered her,(I) “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12(J) The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13Then she said,(K) “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
14And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until(L) she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah[b] of barley. 18And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over(M) after being satisfied.
Christ is our LORD who takes notice of the foreigner (v.10; Acts 26:23; Romans 3:29, 11:11-25); who knows by the Spirit of the troubles of Ruth (v.11; c.f. Luke 10 parable of the Samaritan); who provides refuge under the banner of the “God of Israel” and not the Baalim of Moab as Orpah has run after; who eats with his bride (Exodus 24; Matthew 26:26) and has communion with her by the bread and the wine (v.14) – continually reminding His angels and His Church (v.15; c.f. Deuteronomy 4:26; 1 Samuel 12:5; Job 16:19; Hebrews 12:1) and Israelites to welcome her into the House of God.
Ruth in the Race of Faith
V.20 is thus a turning point for Naomi, a type of exodus for her as she begins to understand that she no longer has to call herself Mara as the LORD has not forsaken the living or the dead. It is interesting how in the same verse, Naomi does not mention the closest redeemer who Boaz knew about (according to the kinsman-redeemer mandate of Leviticus ??), but her consistent focus on Boaz tells us that his actions typify Christ more than that of the closest redeemer who does not even glorify Christ through his duty of redeemer. Yet, v.21-23 remains the current commandment concerning Ruth’s status in this field as she is protected from being assaulted by staying until the end of the harvest by the encouragement and upholding of her Israelite sisters; just as Hebrews 3 (?) taught us that we are to keep running in this race of faith by the Spirit and Christ the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), protected from the attack of Satan (1 Corinthians 10:13) as we stand inside the field of Boaz as Christ’s precious pearl (Matthew 13:46).
Ruth 3: From Death to Ascension
Many people tend to look at the third chapter of Ruth and frown upon Ruth taking initiative for her action like that of a prostitute. However, this is to read too much of an assumption into Ruth’s actions, for we need to remember that Boaz is the one who offered protection to Ruth; he is the first who extended compassion to this despised Moabite, like Christ who loved us before we loved him (Romans 5:10).
Upon this, Ruth is but hoping to prepare herself as a viable bride for Boaz to marry, and the entire preparation process is akin to the process of the Shulamite bride of the Song of Songs (Song of Songs 4) both analogies pointing to the washing and anointing of the church presented holy and blameless before her bridegroom on the great Wedding Day.
Christ and the Church
This is especially interesting given that Ruth is led by her mother-in-law (v.1-6), a Christian and an Israelite, giving godly advice to Ruth. This is by no means a whoring of Ruth; contrarily, it is a deep theology of man and wife, of Christ and the Church. It is in the sleeping of Adam that the church, Eve, was born – which is but a typifying of Christ who had to sleep in the earth and rise again for the global Church to be truly born:
“…Adam was put to sleep. We remember that it is said of believers that
they fall asleep, rather than that they die. Why? Because whenever
death is mentioned sin is there in the background. In Genesis 3 sin
entered into the world and death through sin, but Adam’s sleep
preceded that. So the type of the Lord Jesus here is not like other
types in the Old Testament. In relation to sin and atonement there is
a lamb or a bullock slain ; but here Adam was not slain, but only put
to sleep to awake again. Thus he prefigures a death that is not on
account of sin, but that has in view increase in resurrection. Then
too we must note that Eve was not created as a separate entity by a
separate creation, parallel to that of Adam. Adam slept, and Eve was
created out of Adam. That is God’s method with the Church. God’s
‘second Man’ has awakened from His’sleep’and His Church is created in
Him and of Him, to draw her life from Him and to display that
God has a Son who is known to be the only begotten, and God is seeking
that the only begotten Son should have brethren. From the position of
only begotten He will become the first begotten, and instead of the
Son alone God will have many sons. One grain of wheat has died and
many grains will spring up. The first grain was once the only grain ;
now it is changed to be the first grain of many. The Lord Jesus laid
down His life, and that life emerged in many lives. These are the
Biblical figures we have used hitherto in our study to express this
truth. Now, in the figure just considered, the singular takes the
place of the plural. The outcome of the Cross is a single person: a
Bride for the Son. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for
it…” – Watchman Nee, “The Normal Christian Life” Chapter 11
Ruth thus approached Boaz deep in the night and uncovering and laying by his feet as a sign of submission to Boaz her potential Head (Genesis 49:10; Exodus 3:5 – the taking off of the sandals as a sign of submission; Exodus 4:25; Joshua 3:13; Psalm 8:6, 58:10; Hebrews 2:8), with Ruth in particular seeing Boaz as akin to how Moses saw Christ (Exodus 19:4; Psalm 36:7) by her language – “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings [corners of a garment in the ESV footnote] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” This call for salvation is typical of the church yearning for God (c.f. Job 19:25; Psalm 57:1, 61:4). The ESV footnote which looks at wings as alternatively the “corners of a garment” only calls me back to Isaiah 61 where Christ clothes us with the garment of righteousness, and Ruth understands that the decision of salvation and redemption comes through Boaz alone and not by her own efforts. V.10 is as if Christ himself is blessing Ruth and condemning Orpah, that Ruth would go for a godly man rather than a husband of other gods; that Ruth would cling onto Christ as the end of chapter 2 intimated through her perseverance in the harvest, rather than be distracted by the lust of her eyes.
V.13 thus is a beckoning for the Church to remain, and that in the morning Christ would redeem us. We are thus still in the night, wandering in the wilderness already saved from Moab, from Egypt, from slavery – and moving towards Canaan, towards Bethlehem of Judah, towards New Creation . Yet, it is still spiritual night, and though Christ arrived as light had entered darkness (John 1), Christ’s return is the great Resurrection Day as Boaz proclaims that the Redeemer will redeem Ruth in the morning. Yet, it is not the treacherous false kinsman-redeemer (chapter 4v.6) which Satan masquerades as, but Christ who is the only one entitled to be one with the Church as Adam and Eve and Boaz and Ruth.
However, these things are yet to be given, and just as God gave us the Holy Spirit as a deposit of this truth to come, so also Boaz grants Ruth this deposit through the symbolism of barley during this period of harvest (v.15) typical of the Pentecost. The mother-in-law may ask Ruth to learn how the matter turns out, but we know that with the barley harvest in our heart, with the Spirit testifying to Christ and He the Father, the morning will come with the arrival of the true Kinsman-Redeemer. Christ and His Father are working to this day (v.18, John 5:17), and will not have the long Sabbath Rest until the matter is settled once and for all (2 Peter 3:9).
Ruth 4: His return on the Wedding Day
So twelve men gather before the gate of the city, and one of them the closest kinsman-redeemer; yet, instead of redeeming his kinsman, he looked only to the property of Naomi. He would rather have her parcel of land (v.3) without responsibility, literally a free gift. With this kinsman-redeemer, he has no intention of perpetuating the name of Elimelech and like Satan who is equally condemned to the pit, he has no power in perpetuating the name of Elimelech let alone the desire to help anyone perpetuate their name. Yet, it is under Boaz the type of Christ that we all have new names which will perpetuate in New Creation (c.f. Revelation 2:17), rather than under the false pretence of this unnamed kinsman-redeemer who has failed to understand the spirit of the Levitical (?) law.
Cloud of Witnesses
This is where we see the self-sacrificial and costly nature of salvation – that Christ would endanger his own inheritance and his estate by conjoining Himself to the Church, so that Christ and Church would have such a union so that we are essentially standing with Him in the communion of the Holy Trinity:
“Being born of the Spirit describes a work of the Spirit in the Christian, which Goodwin sees as analogous to the conception of the human nature of Christ. This new birth is not the ‘begetting’ of a nature that is the very same as the nature of the Spirit Himself, that is, it is not a communication of the Godhead to us making us “God of God”. Just as the two natures of Christ are not confused or mixed, so the Spirit does not become the new nature. Neither is this new nature a spark of the divine life put within, because we are only creatures and can only ever be creatures”. – Paul Blackham in his unpublished doctoral thesis “The Pneumatology of Thomas Goodwin”
It is Christ who took on our flesh, and was emptied so that we are made full (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21); that He would be Mara so that we can be restored beyond Naomi.
The physical emblem of this is stored in the explanation behind “the custom in former times” (v.7) which concerns redeeming and exchanging, much like the great exchange of our sins with His righteousness in Luther’s terms:
“In this is displayed the delightful sight, not only of communion, but of a prosperous warfare, of victory, salvation, and redemption. For, since Christ is God and man, and is such a Person as neither has sinned, nor dies, nor is condemned, nay, cannot sin, die, or be condemned, and since His righteousness, life, and salvation are invincible, eternal, and almighty,–when I say, such a Person, by the wedding-ring of faith, takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of His wife, nay, makes them His own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were His, and as if He Himself had sinned; and when He suffers, dies, and descends to hell, that He may overcome all things, and since sin, death, and hell cannot swallow Him up, they must needs be swallowed up by Him in stupendous conflict. For His righteousness rises above the sins of all men; His life is more powerful than all death; His salvation is more unconquerable than all hell.
Thus the believing soul, by the pledge of its faith in Christ, becomes free from all sin, fearless of death, safe from hell, and endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of its Husband Christ. Thus He presents to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word; that is, by faith in the word of life, righteousness, and salvation. Thus He betrothes her unto Himself “in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies” (Hosea ii. 19, 20).
Who then can value highly enough these royal nuptials? Who can comprehend the riches of the glory of this grace? Christ, that rich and pious Husband, takes as a wife a needy and impious harlot, redeeming her from all her evils and supplying her with all His good things. It is impossible now that her sins should destroy her, since they have been laid upon Christ and swallowed up in Him, and since she has in her Husband Christ a righteousness which she may claim as her own, and which she can set up with confidence against all her sins, against death and hell, saying, “If I have sinned, my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned; all mine is His, and all His is mine,” as it is written, “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (Cant. ii. 16). This is what Paul says: “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” victory over sin and death, as he says, “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. xv. 56, 57).” – Martin Luther’s “The Freedom of the Christian”
Thus the sandal of the redeemer is given to Boaz (v.9-11), so that all may be placed under the footstool of Christ (Luke 20:43):
9Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to(H) Chilion and to Mahlon. 10Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife,(I) to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”
Such is the nature of Christ’s proclamation of His marriage to us; He announces it to the clouds of witnesses, be they angels, the Spirit, the creatures, the groaning earth or even those being held in the pit (1 Peter 3:19) – these are the witnesses awaiting the revelation of the glory of the sons of God (Deuteronomy 4:26; 1 Samuel 12:5; Job 16:19; Romans 8:19-23; Hebrews 12:1) that the line of Spiritual Israel has perpetuated into New Jerusalem, that the name of the dead – be that Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon or even you – will be preserved eternally in the New Kingdom, so that none of our inheritance is cut off as long as we are grafted into Christ and allow us to stand righteous at the gate of the new heaven and earth (Revelation 22:14).
Thus, just as Justin Martyr saw Leah and Rachel as respectively the Old Church of Israel and the New Global Church with Japheth in the tents of Shem (Genesis 9:27), so also the elders saw Ruth as akin to Rachel and Leah in the typifying of the building up the house of Israel (v.11-12) into an international Church, for it is indeed through Ruth’s story that we see a restoration of God’s people not to the idyllic template of Eden, but to the real glory of Christ Who is greater than Eden, and transcends the barriers of the nations.
The spiritual insight of the House of Perez (v.12) in fact draws several parallels between Genesis 38 and the story of Ruth (taken from http://the48files.blogspot.com/2008/04/judah-and-tamar-retold.html and my commentary on Genesis 38):
Judah went down from his brothers and turned aside to a certain Adullamite
Elimelech moved away from his people to Moab
Judah and his son marry a Canaanite
Mahlon and Chilion marry Moabites
Judah’s two sons die
Elimelech and his two sons die
Judah and Onan act unfaithfully as kinsman-redeemer
Boaz acts faithfully as kinsman-redeemer, the un-named redeemer of Ruth 4 does not act faithfully
Tamar faithfully seeks to continue the line
Ruth faithfully seeks to continue the line
Tamar offers herself as a prostitute to Judah
Ruth seeks to seduce Boaz in a way which could almost be considered entrapment
Judah dishonourable and seduced by Tamar
Boaz is honourable in his conduct to Ruth
Tamar is included in the people of Israel and is an ancestor of Boaz, David and Jesus
Ruth is included in the people of Israel and is an ancestor of David and Jesus
Like Tamar, Ruth is an outsider who was brought within the House of Israel – and in fact they are huge contributors to the line of David down to Christ, fulfilling the prophecy of Japheth and Shem – a picture of the Gentiles and Israelites joining together against the spiritual Canaanites which include many of the physical church of Israel.
Restorer of Life in the House of Perez
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife, and Boaz did this upon his return in the morning, that on the first meeting he gave her the deposit of the barley, and that on his second return he is waiting to be married to her – so our Christ who gave us the Spirit in His incarnation would return to enable us the full intimacy of marital union.
Such is the new glory given to Naomi, that Obed the grandfather of David is greater to her than “seven sons” – exceeding the period of joy that she had with her family in Edenic times and she is restored beyond Mara, beyond Naomi. Like a model of Genesis 3, the Seed is to come, the Seed who is the redeemer whose name shall be renowned in Israel! The focus of this blessing and prophecy is thus on Obed – “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to HIM” [my emphasis, v.15]. The immediate comment that David is borne of Obed shows us that Christ, in the line of David, is actually the true meaning of this restorer and nourisher of life, the redeemer whose name shall be renowned in true Israel.
Naomi is one of the few remnants left of Israel in the wilderness, just like Joshua and Caleb, and their names are upheld through their progeny as those two leaders nursed Israel into the great chosen nation. Indeed, a son is born to Naomi, not Mara – and this is such a direct contrast to the bitterness by the end of the book of Judges, that it is so fitting for us to see the familial love entirely restored from Obed to Ruth, from Ruth to Naomi (v.15), from Ruth to Boaz, from Boaz to Ruth – this flow of love stemming from the fountain of the Trinity passing on to all who had experienced such pain of being once outcast and now restored to greater wonders. Ruth the Moabite is no longer distinguishable as a daughter-in-law, as she is considered truly the family of the Israelites (Ruth 2:2, 2:8, 2:22; 3:1, 3:10, 3:11, 3:16, 3:18), the inheritance of Israel given to her just as Christ has used Israel to give it to all of us today. The narrative’s focus is that she is indeed the daughter-in-law, but Ruth is according to Naomi’s choice of words truly her daughter, and Orpah truly standing outside of this Church of Christ.
The Book of Ruth therefore ends by taking us back to the house of Perez, reminding us of the glory given to Tamar of the offspring coming by her line down through Ruth (Galatians 3:16-19). Here we see this important house recorded: Perez who breached the family of Israel as being of mixed heritage, initially enclosed in Hezron but leading to exaltation through Ram, being one of the prince’s people through Amminadab, with Nahshon the enchanter being the brother-in-law of Aaron by his sister Elisheba (Exodus 6:23), and Salmon who – like Judah and Boaz – married women of non-Israelite blood (Rahab, c.f. Matthew 1:5), leading to the swiftness of Boaz to the salvation of Ruth resulting in the service of Obed, finally ascending to the wealth of Jesse the Bethlehemite (1 Samuel 16:1, 18; 17:58) which were cared for by David, the well-beloved Son of Man as one of the greatest types of Christ.
From this genealogy at the end of the book, we are given the context of the prophecy concerning the restorer of life in chapter 4:12, 4:15 – culminating in King David. Obed was merely the passage to this restorer, as was Perez; and as the next book tells of the story of the true king David toppling the faithless king Saul, it is in the narrative of 1 and 2 Samuel that we find one of the longest drawn out typologies of Christ in the Old Testament, He who became our close Kinsman in order to complete the work of the Redeemer.