Reading through the Bible together

Friday, December 7, 2012

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Naomi’s opening speech sparkles with cunning delight.  The secret that Naomi and Ruth play on Boaz is brimful of God-ordained love.  It was tradition for a Jewish bride to sleep her first night as a married woman at her husband’s feet, covered by the “wings” or skirts of his robe.  By assuming that position stealthily, Ruth is proposing marriage to Boaz, but done in a secret way so it will not embarrass him should he decline.  Boaz treats her offer as a gift to him, however.  He, like Naomi, has despaired of ever having the happiness of a full family.  Now his future, Ruth’s future, and Naomi’s future will be lifted into a mutual miracle which none of them could have predicted.  The clear message is that God’s providence for one person includes blessings for others.  This chapter also ends with an abundant harvest. “Six measures” of barley may have weighed about 60 pounds or more!  Like the overload of fishes in Peter’s boat (John 21:6), this passage reminds us that God yearns to pour out as much good as we can accept.  Naomi’s final words are wise, counseling Ruth to wait for the moving of divine power which knows no haste and no delay.

Jan Haluska

Southern Adventist University