The Bible reveals that Satan confronted the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden and tempted them also to rebel against their creator’s authority. They succumbed to his misrepresentation of God’s instructions and disobeyed His clear command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The results of this sin were tremendous. Satan was cursed as well as the entire earth. Adam and Eve and their descendants had lost their innocence and their right standing with God. They were doomed to die and spend eternity without their creator. Adam and Eve were helpless to deliver themselves out of this dilemma. Their only hope was that God Himself would provide a means for the curse to be removed.
Inasmuch as God’s predominant attribute is His justness, the earth and Adam and Eve could only be restored if the curse was removed with a tangible payment for their disobedience, i.e. a redemptive price. And so it was, while God was pronouncing the required curse on Satan, He revealed a glimpse of hope with the following words that began the war of all ages.
“…and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise (crush) your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15
Notice particularly that the one to battle with Satan would be the “seed of the woman” and not the seed of the man.
God began to fulfill the Genesis 3:15 promise approximately 2,000 years after He made it. He called out a particular man named Abraham to partake in His redemptive plan for the earth and mankind. He made a more specific everlasting and unconditional promise to Abraham and his descendants which would affect all the families of the earth.
“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you…for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Genesis 17:5-7
Then Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. The promise was passed through Isaac. Isaac then had two sons, Jacob and Esau. The promise was passed through Jacob whose name was later changed to “Israel.” Jacob had twelve sons who became the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. The promise was passed through Jacob’s son Judah.
So the promise of the redeemer of the earth and mankind was given to a specific race of people, namely the Jews. Thus far it was known:
1) the redeemer would be a human, i.e. the seed of the woman
2) the redeemer would be come through the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah
The promise was passed on through Judah’s son Perez who was a twin resulting from an illicit relationship between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar.
The Old Testament continues through the Egyptian bondage, then the Exodus, the wandering in the wilderness, and taking possession of the Land of Canaan.
The first form of government for the Jews in their promised land was called a theocracy where God ruled His people through men and women called Judges.
It was during the time of the Judges that there was a severe famine in Judah. Many had to leave because of the famine and journey to other lands to survive. There was a certain family from Bethlehem, Judah that departed and dwelt in Moab for ten years. The family consisted of a husband, his wife, and two sons. The husband died and the two sons married women from Moab. Thereafter the two sons died leaving the wife and two daughters-in-law.
“Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi…Then Elimelech…died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth…” Ruth 1:1-4
Shortly thereafter the two sons also died leaving Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. The Bible goes on to state that the famine eased in Judah and Naomi wanted to return home. She encouraged her daughters-in-law to remain in their own country; however, Ruth insisted that she remain with her mother-in-law. So Naomi and Ruth journeyed to Bethlehem, Judah.
Naomi had lost everything since leaving Judah ten years earlier. She had lost her family name and inheritance when her husband and sons died. She had little to look forward to as she and her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Bethlehem and shared her plight with her old friends.
“Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. And… all the city was excited because of them…But she said to them… ‘The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty…’ So Naomi returned, and Ruth…her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”
Because they were very poor, young Ruth volunteered to glean grain for food.
“So Ruth…said to Naomi, ‘Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain…’ and Naomi said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’” Ruth 2:2
“Then she…happened to come to…the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.” Ruth 2:3
Inasmuch as Boaz was a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband Elimelech, he was legally qualified to redeem all that she had lost, i.e. her family name and inheritance, but would he be willing?
To be continued…