Blessing on Ruth, Boaz, and Their Descendants
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of September 21, 2014
Ruth 4:11-12; Psalm 128:1-6
Most of today’s young adults seem committed to limiting the number of children born in each family. The culture and economy of the ancient Near East made large families desirable, for many children meant a larger work force in earning the family livelihood. Thus marriage, family, and children were highly significant in biblical narratives.
When Boaz accepted the legal responsibility to marry Ruth and provide an heir to Elimelech’s estate, the elders and people who witnessed the transaction offered a spontaneous blessing on Ruth, Boaz, and their descendants.
The blessing on Ruth was that she would be fertile like Rachel and Leah, the wives of Jacob who, with their maidservants, were the founding mothers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Marriage to Boaz was the final step in granting to Ruth full membership in the covenant community of Israel.
The blessing on Boaz was that he might “have standing in Ephratah [another name for Bethlehem] and be famous in Bethlehem” (Ruth 4:11). Such prosperity was, no doubt, related to Ruth’s fertility, for many children produced greater family wealth and respect.
The blessing transcended Boaz’s immediate children to his “family” (v. 12), his line of descendants who were envisioned as being like those of “Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah” (v. 12). The family of Perez was the clan from which Boaz and most of the people of Bethlehem descended. The comparison of Ruth to Tamar is striking, for both were foreigners whose family line was threatened with extinction. And both are included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:3-5).
Ponder: Though our culture may favor some limitation on the size of our families, the general decadence of moral values makes it all the more important for us to place high biblical priorities on marriage, children, and family life.