Proper 27, Year B, Old Testament
Scripture: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
This week we continue the journey with Naomi and Ruth. The two women have arrived back in Naomi’s homeland; but the future for these two poor widows is still uncertain. Ruth’s heritage as a Moabite woman works against her, but Naomi’s claim of Ruth as her “daughter” acts as a talisman against the public perception. The passage for today is all about claiming our familial identity. Today’s passage is a story in two parts: In the first part, Naomi worries that they need help to provide for Ruth’s needs in the patriarchal society in Bethlehem. Naomi devises a plan to secure a husband for Ruth. In the second part, which takes place after we learn of all of the ways that Boaz was a kind and generous man, the reader discovers that Ruth married the exact right person for the continuation of the chosen line from Abraham. Ruth and Boaz’s son, Obed, became the father of Jesse – whose youngest son David was anointed by Samuel and became the greatest King of Israel. David is important in Christian lineage because the Messiah is prophesized to come from the line of David. Thus, Ruth, the Moabite woman who refused to leave the side of her mother-in-law, is named in Jesus’ genealogy at the beginning of the Gospels.