Sermon: Ruth

Sermon: Ruth 1, 4

Ruth 1:1-17; 4:13-17 NAS

1    Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4 They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.

6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in bgiving them food. 7 So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 May the LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, but we will surely return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that athey may be your husbands? 12 Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for athe hand of the LORD has gone forth against me.” 14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

———

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel. 15 May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. 17 The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

 

Advertisements

Ruth and God’s Lovingkindness

A couple weeks ago in the Narrative Lectionary we had the Old Testament reading, Ruth 1:1-17 and I added 4:13-17. Here is the audio from that sermon.

Ruth and God’s Lovingkindess

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Judges and Ruth

Chisholm, Robert B., Jr. A Commentary on Judges and Ruth (Kregel Exegetical Library). Kregel Academic, 2013.9780825425561

If you are looking for a detailed, exegetical, linguistic, and homiletical commentary on Judges and Ruth, then this is a commentary at the top of the list.

In the Introduction (pp. 1-105) Chisholm covers Chronology, Narrative Structures, Proclamation, Preaching, and other introductory matters. Interestingly he provides three possible chronologies of Judges, two for the early 15th century and another for 13th century. He examines the arguments for and against each view. I thought it a little odd that he does not come down definitely on one of the three. Nevertheless, his presentation of the data is very good, helping the reader follow the arguments, and to come to his/her own conclusions.

He asks two questions that are of more recent interest. Does Judges have a political agenda? (pp. 62-67) and What role do the female characters play? (pp. 69-81) In both cases he deals with the answers based on the text itself. His careful study offers insights in both cases, especially the role of female characters. This whole section well serves the careful reader/student.

Chisholm accepts the canonical form of Judges and consequent literary structure, which is another positive of this commentary. “I believe that the book, when examined in its canonical form, is a unified work…[which] is not as susceptible to the kind of speculative fancy that litters the history of biblical higher criticism” (p. 15) This approach also informs and guide his literary analysis, and the proclamation.

His approach to literary and narrative structure is detailed, yet very concise, and so it takes time to sort through the data (pp. 81-8). But the survey is well worth the time for the reader. Helpfully, he uses these insights in each section of his translation throughout the book. This provides a convenient way to check translation and structure at the same time. Given many other commentaries that separate and then seldom refer to it, Chisholm’s work is consistent and helpful. Well done.

Another significant value of this commentary is the emphasis on linking the exegetical, linguistic, literary study with the move to proclamation, not limited to a nod in that direction, but thorough presentation for each section of Judges (and Ruth). Each major section of text includes the following subsections: Translation & Narrative Structure, Outline, Literary Structure, Exposition, Message & Application (including homiletical trajectories). The breadth and depth of each is helpful for understanding the text, and moving into a preaching/teaching situation.

The commentary on Ruth is equally informative and usable. His discussion of the role of Naomi as a major character along with Ruth and Boaz provides a different perspective for each subsection. The note about the role of public vs. private discourse is enlightening. “Public events tend to focus on Naomi’s dilemma and its resolution, while private conversations highlight the commitment of the characters to the well-being of others” (p. 558). Interestingly, the author notes that both Boaz and Ruth seem to function as a type of Christ—worth further investigation and thought.

This book will prove to be a valuable resource for anyone preaching or teaching on the Old testament. It helps to know your Hebrew when you use it, although you can still benefit from it without Hebrew. There might be areas of disagreement on Chisholm’s points, but he provides the necessary detail to explore further and come to your own conclusions. One area I expected a little more development (than just Boaz and Ruth) was the Christological significance of both Judges and Ruth.

Overall, this is one of the best books that Kregel Academic has produced. Well laid out, logical, and thorough. This is an excellent commentary, worth reading and referring to often if you teach or preach on either book.

Thanks to Kregel Academic for the copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.