According to the teachings of the Bible, government should both document and protect the ownership of private property in a nation.
The Bible regularly assumes and reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or to society as a whole.
We see this implied in the Ten Commandments, for example, because the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), assumes that human beings will own property that belongs to them individually and not to other people. I should not steal my neighbor’s ox or donkey because it belongs to my neighbor, not to me and not to anyone else.
The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).
The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation.
This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:
The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.
One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice. The entire nation becomes one huge prison. For this reason, it seems to me that communism is the most dehumanizing economic system ever invented by man.
Other passages of Scripture also support the idea that property should belong to individuals, not to “society” or to the government (except for certain property required for proper government purposes, such as government offices, military bases, and streets and highways). The Bible contains many laws concerning punishments for stealing and appropriate restitution for damage of another person’s farm animals or agricultural fields (for example, see Exod. 21:28-36; 22:1-15; Deut. 22:1-4; 23:24-25). Another commandment guaranteed that property boundaries would be protected: “You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14). To move the landmark was to move the boundaries of the land and thus to steal land that belonged to one’s neighbor (compare Prov. 22:28; 23:10).
Another guarantee of the ownership of private property was the fact that, even if property was sold to someone else, in the Year of Jubilee it had to return to the family that originally owned it:
It shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan (Lev. 25:10).
This is why the land could not be sold forever: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).
This last verse emphasizes the fact that private property is never viewed in the Bible as an absolute right, because all that people have is ultimately given to them by God, and people are viewed as God’s “stewards” to manage what he has entrusted to their care.
Yet the fact remains that, under the overall sovereign lordship of God himself, property is regularly said to belong to individuals, not to the government and not to “society” or the nation as a whole.
When Samuel warned the people about the evils that would be imposed upon them by a king, he emphasized the fact that the monarch, with so much government power, would “take” and “take” and “take” from the people and confiscate things for his own use:
So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam. 8:10-18).
This prediction was tragically fulfilled in the story of the theft of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by Ahab the wicked king and Jezebel, his even more wicked queen (see 1 Kings 21:1-29). The regular tendency of human governments is to seek to take control of more and more of the property of a nation that God intends to be owned and controlled by private individuals.
SOCIALISM likewise is the taking over of private property, industry, and the capital of a man’s labor. Here is a good working definition of socialism followed by Professor Richards describing it as well:
In order to have a “favorable” view of socialism one must have either forgotten what the entire world learned about socialism from the late nineteenth century on, or have never learned anything about it in the first place. The latter is obviously true of much of the younger generation.
Socialism started out being defined as “government ownership of the means of production,” which is why the government of the Soviet Union confiscated all businesses, factories, and farms, murdering millions of dissenters and resisters in the process. It is also why socialist political parties in Europe, once in power, nationalized as many of the major industries (steel, automobiles, coal mines, electricity, telephone services) as they could. The Labour Party in post-World War II Great Britain would be an example of this. All of this was done, ostensibly, in the name of pursuing material “equality.”
In the foreword to the 1976 edition of his famous book, The Road to Serfdom, Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that the definition of “socialism” evolved in the twentieth century to mean income redistribution in pursuit of “equality,” not through government ownership of the means of production but through the institutions of the welfare state and the “progressive” income tax. The means may have changed, but the ostensible end—equality—remained the same.
Hayek’s mentor, fellow Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, explained in his classic treatise Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, that the welfare state, the “progressive” income tax, and especially pervasive government regulation of business were all tools of “destructionism” in the eyes of the socialists of his day. That is, he observed that the proponents of socialism always employed a two-pronged approach: (1) the government takeover of as many industries and as much land as possible, and (2) attempts to destroy existing capitalist societies with onerous taxes, regulations, the welfare state, inflation, or whatever they thought could get the job done.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 4-5.
Thanks to a new study, evolutionists and their disciples are having to reexamine some of their most revered dogma. Particularly, evolutionists are now having to make sense of conclusions stating that almost all animal species, as well as humans, showed up on the stage of human history at the same time.
One of the constants of science is that science is constantly revising as it is challenged by new data, new theories, and new ways of observing and measuring data, not to mention the changes in scientific ideology molded by larger worldview shifts. Thomas Kuhn’s landmark book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions provides a compelling argument for how scientific paradigms evolve, shift, and even jump to completely different tracks. However, within the many disciplines of science, evolution and evolutionists have remained dogmatic about the necessity of remaining committed to certain a priori assumptions. Well, as it turns out, some of evolution’s most revered a priori assumptions are now crumbling in the face of new research.
So startling, in fact, that according to David Thaler, one of the lead authors of the study, “This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could.”
The study’s very own author was so disturbed by how the conclusions challenged current scientific dogma that he “fought against it as hard as [he] could.” His “fight” gives credence to the study’s conclusions. His eventual acceptance, not to mention publication, of the conclusions speaks well of Thaler’s commitment to being a scientist first and an ideologue second.
According to traditional evolutionary thinking, all living things on Earth share common ancestry, with species evolving through a slow process of random mutation, natural selection, and adaptation over roughly 3.8 billion years. The idea that humans and most animals suddenly appeared at the same time a mere 200,000 years ago or less does not fit with that model.
Speaking of the study, World provides a concise explanation:
In the past, researchers studied DNA in the nucleus of cells, which differs markedly from one species to another. But the new study analyzed a gene sequence found in mitochondrial DNA. (Mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, produce about 90 percent of a cell’s chemical energy.) Although mitochondrial DNA is similar across all humans and animals, it also contains tiny bits that are different enough to distinguish between species. This difference allows researchers to estimate the approximate age of a species.
The researchers analyzed these gene sequences in 100,000 species and concluded that the event—either the simultaneous appearance of humans and most animals, or a population crash—occurred about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. That proposal challenges the bedrock of evolutionary theory.
An aside, this is how my mind works. As I was trying to figure out the title for this post, I went with the above. But then this reminded me of a skit by the Jerky Boys which I uploaded an excerpt from a while back that I have to share:
This is really old news… but with new DNA evidence to support the issue. I will post a paper I wrote many years ago in a debate with a friend. But here are a few quotes to peak curiosity:
“…the fossil record doesn’t show gradual change, and every paleontologist has known that since Cuvier.” (Dr Gould, “Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?” Lecture at Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Feb 14, 1980.)
Anthropologist Edmund R. Leach told the 1981 Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science:
“Missing links in the sequence of fossil evidence were a worry to Darwin. He felt sure they would eventually turn up, but they are still missing and seem likely to remain so.”
David Raup, curator of geology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago:
“He [Darwin] was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn’t look the way he predicted it would and, as a result, he devoted a long section of his Origin of Species to an attempt to explain and rationalize the differences…. Darwin’s general solution to the incompatibility of fossil evidence and his theory was to say that the fossil record is a very incomplete one…. Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information [archaeopteryx as well].”
Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, probably evolution’s leading spokesperson today, has acknowledged:
“The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.”
George Gaylord Simpson, perhaps the twentieth century’s foremost paleontologist, said:
“This regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontologists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both vertebrate and invertebrate.”
David B. Kitts of the school of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma wrote:
“Despite the bright promise that paleontology provides a means of ‘seeing’ evolution, it has presented some nasty difficulties for evolutionists, the most notorious of which is the presence of ‘gaps’ in the fossil record. Evolution requires [key word, requires] intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
Dr. Steven Stanley of the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, John Hopkins University, says:
“The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic [structural] transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.”
BEFORE the main article excerpt… here is how the researchers explained away the issue (GULF NEWS):
…The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today including humans came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
“This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,” Thaler told AFP.
That reaction is understandable: How does one explain the fact that 90 per cent of animal life, genetically speaking, is roughly the same age?
Was there some catastrophic event 200,000 years ago that nearly wiped the slate clean?…
Here is TECH TIMES dealing with the issue:
Born Around The Same Time
In analyzing the COI of 100,000 species, Stoeckle and Thaler arrived at the conclusion that most animals appeared simultaneously. They found that the neutral mutation across species were not as varied as expected. Neutral mutation refers to the slight DNA changes that occur across generations. They can be compared to tree rings because they can tell how old a certain specie or individual is.
As to how that could have happened, it’s unclear. A likely possibility is the occurrence of a sudden event that caused large-scale environmental trauma and wiped out majority of the Earth’s species.
“Viruses, ice ages, successful new competitors, loss of prey — all these may cause periods when the population of an animal drops sharply,” explains Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment.
Such times give rise to sweeping genetic changes across the planet, causing new species to appear. However, the last time such an occurrence took place was 65 million years ago, when an asteroid hit the Earth and killed off the dinosaurs and half of all other species on the planet.
The study is published in the journal Human Evolution.
An earth-shattering gene survey has confirmed that the best in science is perfectly consistent with the best in theology. This study, which should shake the theory of evolution to its roots, will probably get buried by the Talking Snake Media because it doesn’t fit their narrative. (Note, by the way, that evolution is a theory, not a fact. Don’t let them lie to you about this.)
These DNA barcodes have been taken from about 100,000 animal species by researchers all over the world. The findings were published last week by Mark Stoeckle of the Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler of the University of Basel in Switzerland. These findings are “sure to jostle, if not overturn, more than one settled idea about how evolution unfolds.” That’s the understatement of the year.
These findings are more like an atomic bomb going off under the hoax of Darwinian evolution. This study, interestingly enough, was prompted by a handheld genetic test which is used to bust sushi bars trying to pass off tilapia for tuna.
The first nuclear bombshell is – get ready for this – that virtually all living things came into being at about the same time.
“The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
‘This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,’ Thaler told AFP.
That reaction is understandable: How does one explain the fact that 90 percent of animal life, genetically speaking, is roughly the same age?” (Emphasis mine throughout.)
“Surprising” indeed. More like volcanically explosive. And the question is absolutely penetrating: how can evolution possibly be true when the scientific evidence, based on the best in genetic research, reveals that all living things came into existence at about the same time?
Here is the pull quote of seismic proportions: “In analysing the barcodes across 100,000 species, the researchers found a telltale sign showing that almost all the animals emerged about the same time as humans.”
How indeed do we explain the fact that all animal life is the same age? Well, creation scientists and students of the Bible have a perfectly coherent explanation. The reason that all living things, including human beings, are the same age is that the Creator created them all at the same time, just as Genesis 1 tells us.
The study reveals another jolting discovery, which likewise is fatal for the theory of evolution. While Darwinian evolution requires an untold number of transitional forms, forms that are somewhere between one life form and another, the fossil record has no transitional fossils for which a credible case can be made, not one.
Darwin himself recognized the problem of missing links in his own day, and optimistically believed that time would solve the problem – he figured as more and more fossils were discovered, missing links would finally be found. Alas for Darwin, we actually have fewermissing links today than in his day, as advances in science have revealed that forms once considered transitional aren’t transitional forms at all.
As Stephen Jay Gould, one of the preeminent paleontologists in the world, said, “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”
That sets the stage for the second utterly revolutionary pull quote from the article. “And yet—another unexpected finding from the study—species have very clear genetic boundaries, and there’s nothing much in between.” In other words, the reason that no transitional forms have ever been found is quite simple: there aren’t any.
The Bible seems to be bloodier than an R-rated horror movie. Why is there such an emphasis on blood? Michael Brown explores the Bible and bloodshed with New Yorkers and tourists in and around Washington Square Park.
What do people following the primary religions of the world do to receive a clean slate with God following wrongful behavior? Find out when Dr. Michael Brown takes to the streets and even the river to obtain an answer.
Dr. Michael Brown discusses the question “was Jesus a false prophet” in this episode of Think it Thru.
Here is an example of “eisegesis” and not “exegesis.” I will emphasize the text from this Evangelical Universalist book:
What I want to suggest is that we ought to ask how the language of eschatological punishment, which was adopted from Second Temple Judaism, should be understood when situated within the theological environment of the New Testament. There was no single concept of hell in Second Temple Judaism but a cluster of images and concepts that held in common the claim that God would bring the wicked to account and punish them. Jesus and his followers took and made use of some of the language and images employed in the discourse of the time without endorsing every aspect of Second Temple Jewish beliefs about this fate. In particular, I shall argue that Jesus never explicitly endorsed the claim made by some Jews that the wicked would be tormented forever nor the claim of others that they would be annihilated. My claim is that although Jesus only once mitigated his claims about hell so as to suggest that it was a temporary fate (Mark 9:47-49), there are good rhetorical reasons why he would not have done so normally. I shall argue further that when the language of hell is located within the framework of New Testament theology A REINTERPRETATION OF IT THAT ALLOWS FOR BELIEF IN REDEMPTION FROM HELL IS LEGITIMATED. This is simply a canonical expansion of my strategy for interpreting the hell passages in Revelation…. Clearly my interpretation is underdetermined by the texts, so I cannot claim that it is obviously the only way to interpret the matter. I AM NOT SO MUCH EXEGETING THE TEXTS AS TRYING TO DRAW OUT THE LOGIC OF NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY AS I UNDERSTAND IT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THOSE TEXTS. IN THE PROCESS I MAY BE OFFERING WAYS OF READING THE TEXTS THAT GO BEYOND WHAT THEIR AUTHORS HAD IN MIND.
Gregory MacDonald, The Evangelical Universalist: The Biblical Hope That God’s Love Will Save Us All (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012), 140.
A stark warning from many a year ago:
“Beware of manufacturing a god of your own: a god who is all mercy but not just, a god who is all love but not holy, a god who has a heaven for everybody but a hell for none, a god who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a god is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all. Beware of making selections from your Bible to suit your taste. Dare not to say, ‘I believe this verse, for I like it. I refuse that, for I cannot reconcile it with my views.’ Nay! But O man, who art thou that repliest against God? By what right do you talk in this way? Surely it were better to say over EVERY chapter in the word, ‘Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.’ Ah! If men would do this, they would never deny the unquenchable fire.”
— J.C. Ryle (1878)
ex·e·ge·sis – From the Greek meaning “interpretation,” from ex, “out,” and hegeisthai, “to guide.” Exegesis is a method of attempting to understand a Bible passage. The reader of Scripture studies the word meanings and grammar of the text to discern what… was communicated, drawing the meaning out of the text rather than reading what he wants into the text (isegesis). The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words, 1988
ex·e·ge·sis – (Gk., explanation) Critical exposition or explanation of the meaning of a scriptural passage in the context of the whole Bible. Nelson’e New Christian Dictionary 2001
Just wanted to share this comment on Scripture from a 1987 book I am reading. Front and back cover follow the quote, click to enlarge.
2. Light and Salt
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Christ reminded the disciples of their twofold obligation: they were to be salt and light. The illustration of salt implies both the concept of a covenant people and a moral conscience in the culture at large. In the Old Testament salt was symbolic of a covenant (Num. 18:19). in ancient Greek and Arab societies, legal agreements were confirmed by eating bread dipped in salt. Jesus is suggesting that we who are his disciples are the salt of the earth—we are his covenant people. Salt was also utilized in ancient cultures for preserving and flavoring meat. Jesus seems to be implying that we are also a moral preservative and ethical conscience to ‘the society in which we live. As representatives of his righteous standards, we should be involved in preserving Judeo-Christian values as foundational for the health of the society in which we live.
Jesus also refers to us as the light of the world. Most commentators interpret this to mean that we have an evangelistic obligation to society. We are to shed the light of the gospel on the dark world around us. While this is certainly true, Jesus is also speaking of the light of our “good deeds” (v. 16). We are to be a moral conscience (salt), but at the same time we are to demonstrate that moral standard through our good deeds (light). In other words, we have no right to call for justice unless we are ourselves just in dealing with others….
Richard John Neuhaus, Gen. Ed., The Bible, Politics, and Democracy (Grand Rapids, MI: William J. Eerdmans Publishing, 1987), 10-11; from chpt 1, “The Bible, Politics, and Democracy,” by Edward Dobson.
I just pre-ordered via Amanon, “THE RATIONAL BIBLE: EXODUS,” by Dennis Prager (due out April 2, 2018). This is the first in a commentary series by Prager on the first five books of the Bible, the Torah.As a Bible student and bibliophile, I am excited for this new series.
I clipped the above section to compliment some other uploads I have by Prager:
From BIBLE STUDY TOOLS, a quick “5 Essential Lessons You Need to Know from the Book of Ruth”
…1) God is concerned about all people regardless of race, nationality, or status.
Ruth was not a Jew. She was a Moabite. Even though many discriminated against her, God loved her just the same. God does not discriminate, and He loves all people just the same.
2) Men and women are both equally important to God.
God cares about men and women all the same. We are all one in His eyes. While most false religions that have been constructed over the centuries often elevate men and dishonor women, Christianity is the one religion that consistently honors men and women at the same level. There is no difference in His eyes.
3) There is no such thing as an unimportant person in God’s eyes.
At a surface level, few saw Ruth as an important person. She was from Moab, which was a nation that originated from an incestuous encounter between Lot and one of his daughters (see >Genesis 19:30–36). She was a poor widow. She was living in a foreign land away from her birth family.
But God saw her as important and His plan for her life culminated in her becoming a part of the lineage of Jesus (as the grandmother to King David). God’s plan typically involves using people who are considered to be underdogs or unimportant or unimpressive from man’s perspective. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
4) God uses “little” things to accomplish great plans.
What an amazing plan God had for a series of “little” things that all added up to important pieces in God’s big plan. God intended for Ruth to be a part of the story of the lineage of Jesus. So, He pulled together events such as the famine, Naomi’s relocation to Moab, their return to Bethlehem, Boaz’ bloodline, and many other events just to ensure that Ruth could be a part of His plan. And God does that same thing in our lives today!
5) God has a Redeemer in place who can rescue us from the devastation of our own sin.
God has a Redeemer for our lives, too, and His name is Jesus. Boaz was a type (prophetic symbol) of Christ and His redemptive work in our lives today. You see, we are all desolate as a result of our sinful natures. We are empty, just as Naomi was empty and devastated after she had lost everything and returned to Judah. Our sin has rendered us empty and desolate spiritually.
But Jesus is willing to redeem us. He wants to rescue us from the penalty of our sin. And all we have to do to be rescued is to call on Him in faith and ask Him to save us (Romans 10:13). My hope is that you are one of His redeemed. If you are not, my hope is that you will call on Him right now and ask Him to save you once and for all from the consequences of your sins!…
EVERY WOMAN IN THE BIBLE
RUTH AND NAOMI’S ROLE IN SCRIPTURE
Ruth was a Moabitess who married an Israelite. Her husband’s family had left Judah during a famine and migrated to Moab. There all the men of the family died, leaving three women alone and helpless: Naomi, the mother-in-law, and Ruth and Orpah, her daughters-in-law. The women were helpless for a simple reason. Property was owned by men, not by women. With no men left in the family, the women lacked any means of support.
Only one course of action seemed open to Naomi. She would return to Judah and seek aid from her relatives. Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return to their fathers’ households, where they would be supported until they could remarry. Orpah followed Naomi’s advice, but Ruth insisted on staying with her mother-in-law. The loyalty and support she offered Naomi proved to be the turning point in her own life.
EXPLORING RUTH’S RELATIONSHIPS
The Book of Ruth is a rich source of insights into healthy interpersonal relationships. It reminds us that even during the dark days of the judges, godly men and women could and did live blessed and happy lives.
Naomi and Ruth’s relationship with God (Ruth 1:9–17). Ruth’s relationship with God began the way that most relationships with Him do. Ruth came to know and value someone who knew Him well. For Ruth, that person was Naomi.
Naomi spoke easily about God because He was real to her. We see this in the blessing she gave her two daughters-in-law after Naomi had decided to return to Judah: “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:9). Naomi clearly loved her daughters-in-law and loved God. In loving she became the bridge over which Ruth passed to faith.
When Naomi urged the two young women to go home and find new husbands, Orpah turned back. However, Ruth refused to return home. She truly loved her mother-in-law and would not desert her.
The biblical text clearly shows that Ruth realized that this decision called for a faith-commitment to Naomi’s God. When Naomi continued to urge Ruth to return home, Ruth expressed her commitment in unmistakable terms.
“For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
The order in which Ruth expressed her commitment is significant. In Old Testament times Israel alone had a covenant relationship with God. Ruth, aware of this relationship, pledged that “your people shall be my people,” fully aware that in committing herself to God’s covenant community she was also committing herself to Israel’s God.
Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi was also her commitment to God. Ruth had chosen “the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Ruth 2:12).
Ruth’s relationship with Naomi. The first chapter of Ruth makes it clear that Ruth deeply loved and appreciated her mother-in-law. That love was expressed in a loyalty that surpassed all other ties. Rather than return to her father’s home, and stay in her own country, Ruth chose to accompany Namoi into an uncertain future in a strange land.
To see how Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law continued to work itself out is fascinating. For Ruth, Judah was a strange land, with unfamiliar customs. But in Naomi Ruth had a mentor, and she wisely followed her advice. The two women had returned at harvest time. Old Testament Law provided that the poor and landless could gather food in fields owned by others. That law said, “When you reap the harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands” (Deut. 24:19). Naomi sent Ruth out to gather grain that the harvesters missed, a process called gleaning.
Gleaning was hard work, but for the poor each kernel of grain was precious. And Ruth “continued from morning” until late in the day gathering food for Naomi and herself.
Later, after Ruth’s modesty and virtue had won the admiration of one of Naomi’s relatives, Naomi explained to Ruth the law of the redeeming relative. When a man died childless a near relative could marry his widow. The first son produced by the couple would be given the name of the dead husband and inherit his estate. Hearing of the admiration of such a relative for Ruth, Naomi urged Ruth to approach the man and ask him to take on the redeeming relative’s responsibility.
Ruth allowed herself to be guided by her mother-in-law in the selection of a potential husband. Although Naomi’s choice was neither young nor especially handsome, Ruth realized that he was a man of quality, and she followed her mother-in-law’s advice.
In every way Ruth showed herself to be loyal, hard-working, sensible, and responsive to Naomi’s advice. Clearly Ruth had a deep respect for Naomi, as well as a real love for her mother-in-law.
Ruth’s relationship with Boaz. It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of a woman’s reputation. Long before Boaz met Ruth or knew her by sight, he had heard good things about her.
In the small farming community it was impossible to keep secrets. Everyone knew that Naomi had come back from Moab and that she was accompanied by her daugher-in-law, Ruth. They knew of Ruth’s choice to commit herself to Naomi’s people and their God, and they had formed definite opinions about her character. When Boaz first met her he was able to say,
It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before (Ruth 2:11).
Well aware of her good qualities, Boaz treated her favorably. He invited her to eat with his harvesters, told her to glean with his own servants, and instructed the young men not to molest her. That this instruction was necessary reminds us of how dangerous life could be for a woman alone in the era of the judges. Boaz even instructed his harvesters to be sure to leave handfuls of grain for Ruth to collect.
When Naomi learned of what had happened and realized that Boaz was a near relative of hers, she felt that God was opening a door for Ruth. She instructed Ruth to continue to work in Boaz’s fields through the barley and wheat harvests. When the several weeks of the harvests had passed, Naomi took Ruth aside and explained her concern for Ruth’s future security.
As a near relative, Boaz was qualified not only to marry Ruth but also to reclaim the lands of Naomi’s husband. So Naomi told Ruth how to approach Boaz.
During the harvest season workers often slept outside in the fields. Naomi told Ruth to go at night to the place where Boaz was sleeping and lie down at his feet. Some have taken this as an attempted seduction. However, the position Ruth took was symbolic and a request that Boaz take her under his protection as a wife. Boaz clearly understood the symbolism and promised to do as she requested, “for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11).
Before Boaz could marry Ruth he had to obtain the permission of a man who was an even nearer relative of Naomi. When Boaz explained that to redeem the fields of Naomi’s dead husband the man would also have to marry Ruth, the man declined. He already had grown sons. If he should father more than one son with Ruth, he would have to provide for them from the estate he intended to reserve for his first family. With this claim disposed of, Boaz married Ruth.
The marriage was blessed with a son, and that son became the grandfather of King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
RUTH: A CLOSE-UP
Ruth is one of Scripture’s most attractive women. She was a woman with a marvelous capacity for love and loyalty. While Ruth was decisive and ready to risk an uncertain future out of loyalty to Naomi, she was far from headstrong. She was wise enough to follow Naomi’s advice, ready and willing to work to support the two of them. Ruth quickly established a good reputation in her adopted homeland and won the approval of all who knew her. Her reputation rather than her physical attributes first won the admiration of Boaz, who responded by treating her graciously. The relationship that grew between them was founded solidly on the mutual appreciation of each for the good and gracious qualities of the other.
While Ruth truly is a love story, it is far from those romantic novels that emphasize passion and physical attributes. Ruth’s and Boaz’s love grew out of their commitment to values far more significant than mere good looks.
NAOMI: A CLOSE-UP
Naomi’s name, “pleasantness,” is suggestive. She cared for her daughters-in-law and earned their love and loyalty. Even Orpah, who chose to remain in Moab, wept when she left Naomi to return home. We can sense in Naomi an especially generous spirit. Although alone, she urged her daughters-in-law to think of their own future rather than Naomi’s welfare. Back in Judah, Naomi felt a deep responsibility to Ruth and determined to “seek security” for her, “that it may be well with” you (Ruth 3:1).
We should hardly be surprised that Naomi was such a powerful influence in Ruth’s life. People who truly and selflessly love others have a tendency to draw those others to them and through them to the Lord.
RUTH AND NAOMI: EXAMPLES FOR TODAY
Naomi is a wonderful example of how to evangelize. She didn’t try to talk Ruth to faith. Instead she loved Ruth and lived a life that Ruth recognized was worth emulating. Ruth wanted the peace, character, and loving-kindness she saw displayed in her mother-in-law’s life.
Naomi shows us how to be a gracious in-law. We don’t know whether Naomi had counseled her sons against marrying out of their faith. We do know that she loved both her daughters-in-law enough to put their welfare above her own. Eventually she even loved Ruth to faith in God.
Many parents hesitate to offer advice to adult children. While we cannot force our will on them, we can share our thoughts and our wisdom with those willing to listen. When advice is given lovingly and with respect for our children’s independence, it will often be welcomed.
Naomi is a glorious reminder of how God can make one of the least likely to be remembered into someone who will never be forgotten. When we feel insignificant we can remember how God used a starving widow to win a woman to faith who became an ancestress of Jesus Christ.
Ruth reminds us that character does count. Good men are more concerned about finding a godly spouse than a sexy one!
Sue Poorman Richards and Larry Richards, Every Woman in the Bible (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 105–107.
BAKER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BIBLE
Ruth (Person). Moabitess and the widow of Mahlon, the son of Naomi and Elimelech, who were Ephrathites from Bethlehem living in Moab because of a severe famine in Judah. Upon the death of Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, Naomi returned to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth during the time of the barley harvest (Ru 1:4–22). While gleaning in the barley fields of Boaz, Ruth found favor in his eyes (2:2–22). She later married Boaz, when he, serving as nearest kin to the childless Naomi, purchased Naomi’s estate to keep it within the family (4:5–13). Ruth is mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ as the mother of Obed and the great-grandmother of David (Mt 1:5).
RUTH, BOOK OF
Author and Data. The author of the book is unknown. The question of authorship has particular connection with the date of writing, and a few clues provide at least an “educated guess.” The book must have been written sometime after the beginning of David’s reign. The reference of 4:18–22, which pertains to the historical significance of Ruth as David’s great-grandmother, bears this out. Since foreign marriages were not approved in the Book of Ruth, it scarcely could have been written during the period in which Solomon began his policy of foreign marriages. Also, David’s close friendship with Moab might have prompted someone in his kingdom to write the book, thus presenting objective rationale for David’s actions (see 1 Sm 22:3–5). Consequently the author may have been someone close to David, possibly Samuel, Nathan, or Abiathar.
This view is not without its critics, however. Some scholars consider the opening statement, “in the days when the judges ruled,” to demonstrate the late composition of the book. However, such a phrase need not refer to an extensive period. In today’s world one might use a similar phrase in reference to conditions at the beginning of the 20th century. The dates of the judges probably comprise a period of about 300 years, beginning with the judgeship of Othniel and concluding with that of Samson, though Samuel also served as a judge. If the genealogical information is complete in 4:18–22, the events took place during the life of David’s great-grandfather and mark the birth of his grandfather. Allowing a 35-year generation span, the events would have taken place somewhere about the turn of the 11th century bc, or about 100 years before David’s birth.
Purpose. The book’s purpose is closely related to its date of composition. Assuming an early date, that is, one close to David’s lifetime, its principal thrust must be the authentication of the Davidic line. The book may be considered as a justification for including the godly Moabitess in the nation of Israel.
Introduction (1:1–5). Driven by famine, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, cross the Jordan to stay for a period of time in Moab where there was sufficient provision. The two sons, after marrying Moabite women, die, and their father dies as well. Naomi is left a widow with two foreign daughters-in-law.
Return to Bethlehem (1:6–22). Hearing reports from Bethlehem that the famine had ended, Naomi makes preparations to return. Both of her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, accompany her for at least a portion of the journey. Probably thinking of the problems which might be encountered by them as foreigners in Judah, Naomi strongly urges the girls to stay in their own land. Both of the young widows refuse, but Naomi presents the facts. First, she is not pregnant, so the chance of a younger brother fulfilling the levirate responsibility is not imminent. Second, she has no prospects of remarriage and consequently no prospect of further children. Then, she also notes that even if the first two conditions were met immediately, the possibility of their waiting was impossible. Orpah is persuaded and kisses her mother-in-law good-bye.
But Ruth “clung to her” (neb). The verb, having the connotation of being glued to something, is the same verb used of marriage (Gn 2:24). Ruth demonstrates her serious intentions by making five commitments. In essence, Ruth renounces her former life in order to gain a life which she considers of greater value. At this point, she is contrasted with Naomi, who had encouraged both of them to return to Moab and its gods (1:15). But Ruth decides to follow the God of Israel and his laws. Ruth’s appeal to the God of Israel was more than equal to Naomi’s pleas, and the two of them return together.
Their arrival in Bethlehem is traumatic for Naomi. Having left Bethlehem with a husband and two sons, she returns empty. She tells her friends to call her “Mara” (bitter). But she has returned at a propitious time, the beginning of the harvest season.
Reaping in the Fields of Boaz (2:1–23). The first verse of the chapter provides the setting for the narrative which follows, introducing Boaz, a wealthy relative of Elimelech.
Ruth volunteers to glean the fields, to follow the reapers and pick up the insignificant amounts left behind. Gleaners were also permitted to harvest the grain in the corners of the fields, a provision for the poor contained in Yahweh’s Law (Lv 19:9,10).
She happens to come to the field of Boaz. As he visits this field, he notices Ruth, inquires about her, and learns her identity. His overseer reports that she has industriously worked the fields from early morning until that time. Boaz, attracted to her because of her loyalty and concern for Naomi, graciously makes additional provision for her. She is given a favored position in reaping, directly behind the main body of reapers. Further, she is to receive water which has been drawn for her by the young men—an unorthodox arrangement.
Ruth, falling before Boaz in a gesture of great humility and respect, asks why as a foreigner she should be accorded such favor. Boaz gives two reasons, her kindness to her mother-in-law, and her spiritual insight which led her to seek after Israel’s God, “under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (neb).
She is also given a place at the reapers’ table and, upon Boaz’s orders, returns to the fields—this time to reap from the unharvested grain. At the end of the day she returns home to Naomi and tells her of the day’s events. Naomi informs Ruth that Boaz has the right of redemption. Ruth returns to his fields until the end of the harvest season.
Relying upon the Kinsman (3:1–18). Naomi advises Ruth with regard to approaching Boaz as a goel, or kinsman-redeemer.
The plan suggested by Naomi seems peculiar, yet some thoughts may give a certain colouring to it. (1) Naomi seems to have believed that Boaz was the nearest kinsman, being ignorant of the yet nearer one (v 12). Consequently, according to Israelite law (Dt 25:5ff.), it would be the duty of Boaz to marry Ruth to raise up seed to the dead. (2) The general tone of Naomi’s character is clearly shown in this book to be that of a God-fearing woman, so that it is certain that, however curious in its external form, there can be nothing counselled here which really is repugnant to God’s law, or shocking to a virtuous man such as Boaz, otherwise Naomi would simply have been most completely frustrating her own purpose. (3) Her knowledge by long intimacy of Ruth’s character, and doubtless also of that of Boaz by report, would enable her to feel sure that no ill effects could accrue (Sinker, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Ruth, p 283).
His response to Ruth’s actions demonstrates his gentlemanly concerns for her. He explains the situation of not being the nearest kinsman, but promises that he will take care of the necessary procedures the next day. Protecting her reputation, Boaz sends her home before daylight. Naomi, wise in these matters, succinctly predicts of Boaz, “He will not rest until he has settled the matter today” (neb).
Redeeming the Inheritance (4:1–21). Boaz goes to the place of business, the city gate. The city gate area comprised the forum of the city where the public affairs of the city were discussed. Boaz indicates that he wishes to discuss a matter of business with the nearer kinsman. Ten of the city elders act as witnesses. Beginning with the property matter, Boaz inquires whether this nearer kinsman is willing to acquire the property for Naomi, including the traditional stipulation, “On the day when you acquire the field from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the dead man’s wife” (neb). The nearer kinsman is unwilling because to marry Ruth would inevitably cost him some financial loss, since he would have to divide his own property with any son of his born to Ruth. Thus he relinquishes his rights by the custom of taking off his shoe. Significantly the shoe was symbolic of the land rights which belonged to the inheritance. So Boaz takes the part of the kinsman-redeemer.
The marriage of Boaz and Ruth produces a son who, under Israel’s laws, is reckoned as Naomi’s child and heir.
Teaching. The Book of Ruth traces the lineage of David to the Messiah. The completion of that line is in Matthew 1 and finds its focus in Jesus.
A second teaching is the beauty of God’s grace. A foreigner, even a Moabitess, can be linked with Israel’s blessing.
Theologically, the concept of kinsman-redeemer as a type of Messiah is clearly evident. He must be a blood relative, have the ability to purchase, be willing to buy the inheritance, and be willing to marry the widow of the deceased kinsman.
And finally, the love which Ruth shows becomes a pattern of devotion, a woman of whom it was said to Naomi, “your daughter-in-law who loves you is better to you than seven sons.”
Bibliography. A.E. Cundall and L. Morris, Judges and Ruth; G. Gerleman, Ruth; R.M. Halo, The Theology of the Book of Ruth; A.R.S. Kennedy, The Book of Ruth; C. Lattey, The Book of Ruth.
Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Ruth (Person),” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1871–1873.
Just a little Judaeo history and information regarding the 7 Laws of Noah (like the colors in the rainbow). For a further break-down of these laws found in the Jewish understanding of the Noahic Covenant, see Judaism Online’s article, “The Seven Laws of Noah“… needless to say, Jesus came to fulfill the law in it’s entirety.
This is the first sermon in the summer session of 2017 at Faith Community. Over the summer Faith meets for only one service and has children as well as the parents sitting in the pews. This “kickoff” sermon discusses the issues of family and the roles of husband and wife, as well as the kids. A great connection is made to the roles of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).