Naomi was bitter. She lost everything. She moved to a strange country with her husband, and now he and both her adult sons were dead. In a patriarchal world with no social security, where women trusted the men in their lives to provide, she had nothing. No husband, no sons. After a decade, she was on her way back. All she had was her also-widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth.
I don’t know how much or little Naomi felt that Ruth’s presense could have helped her: Ruth is from a different culture – where Naomi would still have some distant family in the new country, Ruth had nobody. On the other hand, young(ish) Ruth was a better candidate for a future marriage, and therefore a family that Naomi could be a part of. Naomi may have appreciated the company, but on the other hand, she may not.
But in the love of Ruth we find echoes of the love of a Christ, who set aside heaven to come to earth for us: Ruth chooses to go with her beloved mother-in-law, despite whatever hardship the future may bring.
A plan is set in motion whereby Ruth could save them: If Ruth could marry Boaz, in a man-as-provider culture, that would save them both.
Many theologians have noticed that Boaz is a type of Christ. If you are unfamiliar with the term, “a type of Christ” is not a sort of Jesus, but a prophetic symbol in the Old Testament, showing something of what Jesus will be. I wonder if it is possible that more characters in the book than just Boaz foreshadows Christ? That is where the title of this piece comes from. There are obviously not 3 Jesuses, but maybe 3 characters in the book of Ruth shows us something about Jesus.
|Ruth||Naomi was an Israelite||Rom 9:24-25||Church is the spiritual Israel|
|Ruth 1:1||Her country was a place of food rather than the famine in Naomi’s||Jhn 6:35||Those who come to Jesus will not hunger|
|Ruth 1:8b||Showed kindness||Titus 3:4||Showed kindness|
|Ruth 1:21/ 4:14||Changes Naomi from “God turned against me” to having reason to praise God.||Col. 1:21/ 3:16 c||Changes people from alienated enemies of God, to having reason to praise God.|
|Ruth 1:17||Not even death will separate Ruth from Naomi||Rom 8:38-39||Not even death will separate us from His love|
|Ruth 2:11||Left her country for the sake of Naomi||Phil 2:6-7||Left heaven for the sake of His people|
|Ruth 2:19||May the one who is interested in Ruth be blessed||Luke 7:23||The one who does not find Jesus a stumbling block will be blessed|
|Ruth 3:10||Faithful – did not run after young men||2Ti 2:13||Remains faithful|
(“chayil” usually translate as strong, sometimes wealthy/ good)
|Everybody knows you are a [good] woman||Mat. 19:16-17||Jesus/ God is good|
|Everybody knows you are a [strong] woman||Mat 28:18||Jesus has all power|
|Everybody knows you are a [wealthy] woman||2Co 8:9||Had heaven’s riches (became poor by coming to earth)|
|Ruth 4:5-6||Rejected||Luk 9:22a||Rejected|
|Ruth 4:9||Accepted||John 1:12||Accepted|
|Ruth 4:11, 4:15||Honour firstly to Ruth, then Boaz – Ruth (not Boaz) worth more than 7 sons||Rev 5:13||Honour to Him that sits on the throne|
There is no need to show the evidence of Boaz as a type of Christ – theologians have noticed and developed the idea for hundreds of years. As such, they came up with an impressive list of similarities from very clear (Boaz redeemed the ground) to pretty much a stretch (Ruth uncovering his feet is allegedly connected to the serpent bruising the heel of Jesus). Type “Boaz as a type of Christ” into a search engine to find it.
And still, after 2 characters which could remind us of Christ, this story is not finished: Ruth gave Naomi a son: She let Naomi adopt her firstborn, Obed. Obed was the son born for Naomi, that saved her from her earthly misery, the son that gave her a future.
|Ruth 4:17||A son is born for Naomi||Isa 9:6||A son is born for us|
|Ruth 4:14||God should be praised for giving him||Luk 2:14||God should be praised for giving Him|
|Ruth 4:14||Guardian-redeemer (NIV)||Isa 59:20||Redeemer|
|Ruth 4:15||Restorer of life||John 10:10||Came to give life|
|Ruth 4:15||Nourisher in her old age||Mat 15:32-38, Joh 6:35||Provider of food (nourisher) both spiritually and literally|
|Ruth 4:16-17||Adopted||John 1:12||Accepted|
Could we have missed this, because theologians are mostly men, and learned to see Jesus only in adult men like themselves? Should we see Jesus in a woman, a man and a baby in this book – all of them saving the Israelite woman Naomi?
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