Friday, February 1, 2013

a longer term plan

Good afternoon friends,
I hope your week has been a good on. We've read how Ruth has been gleaning in Boaz's field to keep her and Naomi alive. Now Naomi looks for a way to give Ruth some longer term security, which in this case means a husband. Her unconventional match-making makes for a good read. When you read threshing floor, think fishing trip: some time when men get together to work and celebrate. The next-of-kin stuff is hard for us to understand, but the short version is that in biblical Israel the next of kin had the obligation to buy the land for family in need so the land stayed in the family. In a case like Ruth's where she is a widow without children, her husband's next of kin also has the obligation to marry her so she can be provided for and to provide an heir for her dead husband. That way his family line and land are preserved and the widow would be cared for.

Blessings on your weekend,

Ruth 3:1-14
Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. 2Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” 5She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”

6So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her. 7When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and he was in a contented mood, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came stealthily and uncovered his feet, and lay down. 8At midnight the man was startled, and turned over, and there, lying at his feet, was a woman! 9He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant; spread your cloak over your servant, for you are next-of-kin.”

10He said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter; this last instance of your loyalty is better than the first; you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11And now, my daughter, do not be afraid, I will do for you all that you ask, for all the assembly of my people know that you are a worthy woman. 12But now, though it is true that I am a near kinsman, there is another kinsman more closely related than I. 13Remain this night, and in the morning, if he will act as next-of-kin for you, good; let him do it. If he is not willing to act as next-of-kin for you, then, as the Lord lives, I will act as next-of-kin for you. Lie down until the morning.” 14So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before one person could recognize another; for he said, “It must not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.”

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