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The study of Joshua

Well, that was a bit of a tease wasn’t it?

I really did a Bible study of Joshua with a group of women, I just didn’t post it here. Most of the women in the group were not the online type. So, summer has arrived. The group has disbanded, for at least the summer. Shall I post some notes here? Or move on to something else? I was going to pick something else. I forgot completely about Joshua here. I don’t know if I kept my notes. I’ll have to check. We did Joshua and then moved on to I Peter. I know I have those notes. Or some of them anyway.

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Joshua

We read about Joshua in the book of Joshua of course, but he first appears in the book of Numbers. He served under Moses. If you aren’t familiar with Joshua, read Numbers 13-14, 27:18-23, and Deuteronomy 34.

Before we study the book of Joshua, it’s good to quickly review what has happened before the book starts.

What do you remember of these people and events?

Genesis

Creation – The Fall – The Flood – The Tower of Babel – Abram/Abraham – Sarah/Sarai – Lot – Esau and Jacob – Joseph

Exodus

Baby Moses – The Burning Bush – Aaron – Pharoah – The 10 Plagues – Passover – The Red Sea – Mont Sinai – The 10 Commandments – The Golden Calf – The Tabernacle

Leviticus

The Offerings – Holy Days – Priests – Cleanliness – Holiness – Laws

Numbers

Wandering in the Desert – Rebellions – Miriam and Aaron – Twelve Spies – Kadesh – Caleb – Joshua – Korah – Balaam

Deuteronomy

Moses’ Farewell

Moving on…

… or backing up.

Our next Bible study will focus on the book of Joshua.

Ruth

What can we say about Ruth? What do we know of Ruth’s character?  

  • She’s loyal. She stuck with Naomi.
  • She has good values.
  • She’s hard working.
  • She followed God.
  • She listened to advice.
  • She was humble.
  • She was respected. Boaz had heard favorable things about her before he met her.
  • She was unwavering. When she made up her mind to go with Naomi, she didn’t let Naomi persuade her otherwise.
  • She was courageous. Choosing to go with Naomi, rather than return to her parents.
  • She chose to follow God.
  • She was blessed by God.
  • She was accepted by the Jews.

What can we conclude?

I don’t think God always blesses his loyal, hardworking followers in tangible ways. Certainly we read in the Bible of devout Christians being killed. However, Ruth chose not only to follow Naomi to Bethlehem, but to follow her God. I believe that had to make a difference. God must have encouraged her and given her strength for the difficulites she had to face.

Ruth didn’t know how her story was going to turn out, but she followed God and did what is right anyway.

She doesn’t seem to have taken anything for granted. Although Hebrew law provided her with the right to glean in the fields, we read that she asked for permission anyway. (Ruth 2:7)  She’s not greedy. She’s not brash. She’s humble, respectful, and hardworking, and because of these qualities, and perhaps a few others, she is respected by the towns people even though she is from a foreign land with foreign gods.

She sets a good example for us to follow.

Ruth’s Story

Before moving on to study another book of the Bible, I’d like to pause and look again at the main characters in this story – Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. Are they good examples to follow? They certainly are.

However, today I’m just going to give you a link to another website. It contains a fictional account of the story of Ruth as if you met Ruth in heaven and she were telling her story to you. It portrays the story of Ruth as both a true story and an allegory showing relationships between Israel, the Church, and the Messiah.

Here’s the link: GracethruFaith: Ruth’s Story

Ruth 4:13-22

A Blessed Marriage

Observations

  • Although Jewish law and tradition (Ruth 4:5) states that Obed would be credited to Mahlon as Mahlon’s heir and maintaining the line of Elimelech, when Matthew and  Luke give the geneology of Jesus (Matthew 1:5, Luke 3:23) both of them list Boaz, not Mahlon as Obed’s father.
  • Obed will become the grandfather of King David. Obed is the father of Jesse and the grandfather of King David
  • Jesus is born of the family of David.
  • Boaz himself has a Canaanite mother – Rahab (Matthew 1:5)
  • Jesus has both Canaanite and Moabite heritage.
  • Obed was well accepted by the community. (Ruth 4:14-15)
  • Obviously, since the Lord chose David to be king, the rule that no Moabite should enter the assembly of the Lord for 10 generations does not apply here.

Questions

  • Why do you think that the women were so ready and quick with their praise of Obed?
  • Why do you think that both Luke and Matthew list Boaz in the geneology and not Mahlon?
  • Why do you think God blessed this marriage so richly?

Ruth 4: 1-12

Boaz marries Ruth!

There are many reasons not to do so.

  • There’s a large age difference.
  • She’s a Moabite.
  • A son born from this union would be considered Elimelech’s and not his own.
  • It appears that he is not obligated to do so. He’s a relative, but not the closest relative – and definitely not Mahlon’s brother.

However, he is a relative. He seems to care for Ruth. He definitely thinks highly of her. He is flattered that she would ask him.

I think it’s easy to understand why the other man did not want to marry Ruth. It’s no slight to Ruth, but he probably already had a wife and children. He was thinking about them. It’s a little harder to understand Boaz marrying Ruth. Was it simply that he fell in love with her? It could be. He didn’t wait long to go talk to the other relative. Naomi knew that he wouldn’t let the sun set without speaking to him. What were the signals that she picked up, I wonder.

Did a sense of duty enter into it? He was a kinsman-redeemer, after all.

Observations

  • Boaz had a relative who was born as a result of the kinsman-redeemer law. His name was Perez. The story is in Genesis 38.
  • His mother was Rahab – a Canaanite of Jericho who helped the Hebrew spies.

No wonder he had a tender heart for the foreigner! He must have understood something of the sacrifices that Ruth made in leaving her country for that of Naomi. He knew that where one’s heart is, is more important than the country of one’s birth.