We left off last week as the widows Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth returned to Bethlehem after having lost everything when their husbands died. Upon their return Ruth providentially encountered a man named Boaz who was a brother of Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband. According to Jewish law Boaz could redeem all that Naomi and Ruth had lost if he would willingly pay a price for the lost possessions. Boaz could likewise restore the family name by marrying one of the two widows, but he could also decline the redemption opportunity by doing neither.
“If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.” Leviticus 25:25
“…and if one (brother) dies and has no son…the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall…take her as his wife…and it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife…” Deuteronomy 25:5-6
Boaz announced his decision loud and clear.
“And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, ‘You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s and all that was Mahlon’s (Ruth’s deceased husband) from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth…I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren…’” Ruth 4:8-10
“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and…the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.” Ruth 4:13
The son that Ruth bore would be no other than the grandfather of King David.
“…And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” Ruth 4:17
The story of Ruth illustrates wonderfully the Jewish law of redemption where lost possessions may by bought back for a price by a male relative of the deceased. Such laws also provided for the restoration of a family name when that name was lost due to death. Ruth’s story serves perfectly as a metaphor for the dilemma that arose in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had likewise lost everything and were destined to die and leave their descendants without an inheritance. To restore that which was lost in the Garden of Eden, there must be a relative capable and willing to pay a redemptive price and restore the family name. And, indeed there was such a kinsman redeemer who will be revealed as history unfolds.
Well, the grandson born to Boaz and Ruth, i.e. David, ruled as king over Israel from 1010 BC to 970 BC. During the early part of his reign God made a promise to David. This promise added more detail to the earlier promise made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah.
“When your days are fulfilled…I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…and the throne of his kingdom forever…and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16
As history progressed God promised King David that his offspring would build a great house, both a dynasty and family name which would begin a kingdom that God would establish and would never end.
The Old Testament provides more details about the coming King as recorded by the prophet Isaiah around 700 BC.
“Hear now, O house of David…the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:13-14
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever…” Isaiah 9:6-7
About that same time the prophet Micah provided more detail as to where the future King would be born.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel…” Micah 5:12
Thus far it was told about the future king and redeemer that He would be:
1) born of the flesh, i.e. seed of the woman
2) seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, i.e. a Jew
3) seed of Jesse and family of King David
4) born in the village of Bethlehem Judah
And according to the New Testament historical records:
“…Joseph…do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20
The child was, therefore, the seed of the woman, and not the seed of the man.
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez…Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.” Matthew 1:1-6
The child was indeed the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah…Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David.
“Joseph also went up from Galilee…to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.” Luke 2:4
Well, we’re at Bethlehem, but we’ll only stay for a moment on our way to New Jerusalem.
To be concluded next week.