The Beauty of Salvation as Portrayed by a Moabite Woman Named Ruth in Bible
The Beauty of Salvation as Portrayed by a Moabite Woman Named Ruth in Bible
Chapter 1 – Introduction
The Bible presents Ruth as a Moabite woman whose story for the basis of the Book of Ruth. Her story as narrated by Boaz shows one of kindness, a quality that distinguishes her from the Moabites who were largely not kind and unfriendly to strangers. The study mentions various instances where the Moabites and the people of Amon show unkindness and act contrary to what Christian ideologies would require. Ruth gets a breakthrough to escape from the sinful ways when she leaves her community to become part of the Israelites. She becomes an Israelite after her marriage and it is after joining this new group that she gets an opportunity to witness the beauty of salvation. Her interaction with Christians and her commitment to embrace their ideologies transform Ruth into a truthful, helpful, loving, and kind person. The study illustrates the beauty of salvation through Ruth by showing how her successes, particularly after marrying could be attribute to her acceptance of God and his teachings, in what could be viewed as salvation. The successes she achieves in life, especially after leaving her mother-in-law whom she finds very difficult to leave behind despite having lost her husband several years back, affirms that turning away from sinful practices has numerous benefits. Thus, the study pays attention from the time Ruth is still part of her motherland (Moab) and gives valuable insight into the nature of the Moabites and how some of their practices clashed with that of the Israelites. The analysis is important because it allows one to compare and contrast the potential gains of accepting Christian ideologies, as shown in the Bible and depicted by Christian ideologies. The study acquires information from the Bible as the primary source, although other relevant sources also help acquire relevant data needed to achieve the research objectives. The primary argument in the paper is that through salvation a person increases their chances for blessing, but this is likely to occur is one takes appropriate measures towards regulating their interaction and behaviors towards others.
The report relies on secondary sources to collect relevant data due to several reasons. The analysis takes the form of a systematic literature review that identifies, chooses, and critically evaluates research with the goal of responding to a clearly formulated research question. Seeking information from secondary sources to form the basis of the analysis is preferable to other approaches because the researcher does not have to use a lot of money to acquire the sources, considering that the Internet makes it easier to access most of the relevant sources. Using secondary sources to acquire the needed information provides clarification of the research question. The study incorporates The Bible as the primary source because it provides firsthand proof and direct evidence about a topic under investigation. As opposed to secondary sources that offer second-hand information and commentary from other scholars, a primary source provides direct reach to the subject forming the basis of the research, which in this case is Ruth. The primary sources enables the researcher to gain knowledge, skills, and analytical competence because when dealing with this kind of source one has to ask questions, think critically, make informed inferences, and come up with reasoned assertions and interpretations of past issues and events. The selection process of the relevant sources follow a systematic stratified sampling technique, which entails categorizing particular groups called stratum before selecting the most appropriate ones. Dividing the larger group into subdivisions that are suitable for the research purposes makes it easy to settle on the most suitable sources.
Chapter 2 – Analysis
Who was Ruth?
Together with Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife), Mary, and Tamar, Ruth are among the few women recognized in the genealogy of Jesus documented in the Gospel of Matthew. During the era when judges ruled over the tribes of Israel, a serious famine existed that left many people stranded and without food. Because of this calamity Elimelech who hailed from Bethlehem in Judah relocated to Moab with his spouse, Naomi. Elimelech had two sons – Chilion and Mahlon (Ray, 2009). Upon Elimelech’s death while in Moab his sons married women from the local community. Chilion married Orpah and Mahlon married Ruth. They stayed together for about a decade in the Moabite community before both Chilion and Mahlon died. Neither of the couple had children.
Naomi, Elimelech’s wife, received news that the famine in Judah had ceased, and opted to return home. She informed her daughters-in-law (Ruth and Orpah) to return to their homes and consider remarrying. The two Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth) were reluctant to leave their mother-in-law but Naomi kept urging them claiming that she is not in a position to give birth to more sons that the Moabite women could marry (Ray, 2009). Naomi insisted that they should leave but only Ophra was persuaded to go back to her mother’s home, and possibly consider entering into another marriage. Ruth, on her part, chose to stay put despite the constant push from her mother-in-law (Ray, 2009). Ruth told Naomi that she will go everywhere Naomi goes and will sleep wherever she sleeps. She further added that Naomi’s people will be her people, and that she will die and be buried where Naomi will die and be entombed in the same place as Naomi (Ruth 1:16).
The Nature of the Moabites
The Moabites were the West-Semitic people who mostly resided along the highlands of the Dead Sea. Most of their stories in the Bible appear in the Old Testament. The inscriptions on the Moabite Stone also provided more information about the group. Their culture dates back to the 14th century BC to about 583 BC, when, based on Jewish history, they were toppled by the Babylonians. Genesis 19:30–38 describe the Moabites as belonging to the same ethnic group as the Israelites. Lot’s son, Moab, is attributed to the ancestral founder of the Moabites. The group believed in Chemosh as their protector in the same way Israelites considered Yahweh to be their God and savior. In other words, the Moabites were pagans who did not believe in the teachings and ideologies of God. A tension between the Israelites and the Moabites ensued in the 13th century and the Old Testament describes some of these conflicts. A particular incident is recorded in 1 Samuel 14:47 where King Saul of Israel fought the Moabites in the 11th century. The King later provide production to the family of David who later became the King (1 Samuel 22:3–4). David also fought against the Moabites while serving as the king and compelled them to pay a hefty penalty as documented in 2 Samuel 8:2.
Marriage to Boaz
Naomi and Ruth ultimately arrived in Bethlehem at a time when the season for harvesting barley was just starting. Close to where they established their home was the homestead of Boaz who was a relative of Elimelech. Ruth would from time to time go to a relative of Elimelech’s field and collect the leftovers of the crops after assigned reapers had finished their work. Boaz one day arrived at the field and noticed Ruth. He did not know her so he inquired about her whereabouts from those working at the farm (Ray, 2009). Boaz was friendly to Ruth immediately he saw her and notice her humble nature. He told her to always glean at his farm and not to go to other fields because she could get enough from the farm. Boaz also informed Ruth that she was welcomed to drink from the reapers’ vessels if she became thirsty. Ruth inquired from Boaz why he was exceedingly kind to her and learned that it is because the landowner and master had heard about her loyalty to Naomi (Ray, 2009). Boaz even invited Ruth during mealtimes to dine with him, and directed his workers to treat her kindly and even allow her to carry some foodstuffs to Naomi. He also warned them against rebuking her and advised them to treat her with courtesy. During all this time Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’s fields and did so throughout the wheat and barley harvesting seasons.
When the harvest season came to an end, and Boaz was separating chaff from grains, Naomi advised Ruth to approach Boaz. She directed Ruth to clean up and join Boaz at the threshing floor, and when Elimelech’s relative was asleep, uncover his feet and lie next to him. Ruth followed all instructions as guided by Naomi (Ray, 2009). Boaz woke up at midnight and Ruth engaged her in a talk. She asked him to guide and protect her considering that he his husband’s closest relative bestowed with the obligation of safeguarding their rights. Boaz accepted the request but tried to inform Ruth that her husband had a closer relative who could take up the role more appropriately but Ruth insisted that he was better placed (Ray, 2009). Boaz left for the town when morning came to discuss the matter with Elimelech’s closest relative. He talked to him about Naomi’s wishes to sell her husband’s parcel of land, and the man agreed to sell it. Boaz informed him that he would purchase the land as well as marry Ruth. Even though the man was still adamant at the first place he ultimately gave in, thus permitting Boaz to take over both the land and Ruth (Ray, 2009). Ruth formally became Boaz’s wife, and conceived a son called Obed, the father of Jesse who gave birth to King David.
How Ruth’s Nature Depict the Beauty of Salvation
Being married to an Israelite husband and family, Ruth was compelled to embrace the ideologies of Christians and act like one of them. Ruth casted the ideologies of the Moabites and practices that she could have picked from her homeland and opted to act like a Judean who believed in God and all his directives, especially after salvation. Ruth’s ability to transform clearly depicts her as a hero, for she displays various essential features, acknowledged in the Bible and in the prehistoric world.
However, the most interesting aspect in this case is how Ruth conducts herself contrary to the expectations of many people of a Moabite, thus showing the beauty of salvation. Her ability to display Christian virtues suggest that salvation has the power to transform one’s nature and adjust their views towards others and their environment. Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in-law could be attributed to her acceptance of Christianity and salvation that do not encourage opposition and betrayal. Though Naomi, after the demise of her husband and two sons, asked Ruth and Orpha to go back to their homes in Moab where they would find other men to marry them, Ruth chooses to be loyal to Naomi and even choose to relocate to Judea with her. Her promise to stay with her until the time of her death is a sign of unwavering love for her mother-in-law. Her decision to stay with Naomi further illustrates the quality of a Christian, which requires one to help and comfort others at a time of problem. Ruth’s action in this case is in accordance with the teachings of Proverbs 19:17, which states that a person who helps and is kind to the poor gives to the Lord and will receive a reward for their good deeds. Ruth’s action in this case reflects the argument by Ushatikova et al. (2018) who assert that the mere practice of practicing charity is itself rewarding. Other than being increasingly loyal, the story of Ruth shows the beauty of salvation in the way she becomes increasingly diligent in her actions. Once she arrives in Israel, Ruth does all she can to fend for herself and mother-in-law, collecting leftovers in Boaz’s field. It is because of her diligence that leads Boaz to recognize Ruth gleaning in the fields. Ushatikova et al. (2018) inform that God encourages people to work hard and is likely to bless those who put some effort into their duties. It is the reason why the Bible informs that God blesses the work of the hands of those who work hard and put considerable effort in their duties. These positive traits that Ruth develops after being part of a family that embraces salvation reaffirms the beauty of accepting Christ and casting sinful ways.
Salvation could be attributed to the kindness that Ruth displays in her story, an argument which further shows the benefit of accepting God and shunning sinful ways. Ushatikova et al. (2018) describe kindness as the nature of being considerate, generous, and friendly. A kind person shows concern, is gentle, displays affection, and is generous. Whereas some may relate kindness with being weak or naïve, that is usually not the case. The truth is that kindness usually requires strength and courage. A great show of kindness in the part of Ruth, and which may be attributed to her adoption of the Judean values is she ensures she takes all foodstuffs that Boaz gives her and which she collects from Boaz’s field to Naomi (Matheny, 2020). Her kindness in this case further illustrates her selflessness. Her decision to stay with her mother-in-law regardless of her tribulations shows that she cares for the welfare of the old woman who could suffer without anyone to look after her. Therefore, the beauty of salvation in this scenario develops in the way Ruth manages to overcome the inappropriate practices and beliefs of the Moabites to the way she embraces actions that depicts her as having received salvation.
How Marriage to Boaz Reaffirms the Beauty of Salvation
Boaz was the son of Salmon and the great-grandfather of David. He traces his ancestry from Nahshon who was the son of Amminadab who served as a prince of Judean tribe of Israel. Boaz’s wife was called Rahab. Leviticus 19:9-10 depicts Boaz as a generous person who cares and shows concern for others. The Bible shows that Boas is loving and appreciates doing good to others as he does to himself. Boaz was wealthy and owned large tracts of land in Bethlehem and across Judea. However, his wealth did not deter him from showing his generosity and did not counter his love for his neighbors and the less fortunate (Matthew 1:5). Moreover, Ruth 2:11-12 depicts Boaz as a person with effective leadership qualities that he used to improve his relationship with others.
Although Boaz enjoyed an elevated social status, he took time to supervise the activities on his farm, purposely to counter cases of theft that were rampant during the time. It is during his regular trips to the fields that he got the opportunity to see and interact with Ruth. Ruth 2:11-12 informs how Boaz acknowledged Ruth as a hard worker. He congratulates her for taking good care of Naomi. Boaz shows his commitment to help Ruth and her mother-in-law get out of poverty by ensuring that they have enough to eat. He also provided for their other needs while ensuring that Ruth and Naomi live a decent life.
Boaz is awakened out of sleep by Ruth and appears evidently shaken. He first thought it was a devil and reached out to her hair to confirm if she is a real human being because it was widely believed that devil had no hair. He is convinced that Ruth was a real human being and perceived her sincere intentions. Boaz uses this opportunity to express his feelings about her, especially in the way she is dedicated to taking care of Naomi. He blessed Ruth and directed his workers to supply her with enough barley to enable them feed well. They became closer each day and defied the claim that members of the Judean community could not form strong relationships with the Moabites despite the latter being part of the Israelite community.
Ruth’s marriage to Boaz could be termed as blessing to the Moabite woman that comes to her as a result of accepting Jesus and casting the sinful ways of the people of Moab. The redemption of Naomi and Ruth through Boaz could be viewed as God’s providence in practice. Boaz in this case comes as a redeemer who recognized his responsibilities and practiced what he knew was precise (Ray, 2009). Furthermore, Ruth’s marriage to Boaz could be viewed as the benefits that a person gets for accepting the Lord and shunning sinful practices. This is because she gets an opportunity to get over poverty together with Naomi. She also got the chance to conceive a baby who would extend her lineage (Ray, 2009). Ruth’s marriage to Boaz shows the beauty of marriage because her self-esteem improves and gets the chance to feel like part of the Judea who ascribed to Christian ideologies.
The Bible has numerous verses and explanation that show how accepting Christ and his ways come with a lot of blessings and merits. For example, the Bible acknowledges kindness as a virtue that can reward those who display this virtue. Lioy (2018) describes kindness as the ultimate show of a person’s love for God. Lioy (2018) further asserts that being kind is how people show God that they choose Him in the same way he chose people. Proverbs 11:17 informs that a person who is kind brings good to himself, but a cruel person may be harming himself. Another reason that explains the blessings that Ruth received after marrying Boaz could be attributed to her patience. Salvation calls on believers to practice patience, arguing that the practice improves one’s hope and faith. Moreover, the James 1:4 informs that patience results in perfection and relates to charity. Galatians 5:22 describes patience as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. The good things Ruth encountered after her acceptance of Christian values affirm that God would not forsake those who believe in him and act in accordance with his directives.
Ruth showed love to Naomi and Boaz, and this virtue associated with Christian values also contributed towards the successes she encountered after marrying the prince. Various Bible verses encourages those who have accepted Jesus to practice love and consider this virtue as one that could present various benefits. Corinthians 16:14 encourage people to do everything while considering love to be a vital aspect of all that they do. 1 Peter 4:8 emphasizes the need for love by offering encouragement on the need to show deep for each other because love erases many sins. However, one may feel obliged to show love upon accepting Jesus Christ through salvation because the Bible in 1 John 4:8 informs that anyone who does not show love for others does not acknowledge God, because God is true love. Thus, the Bible also affirms that the only way to receive love is to show love to others, which could entail being forgiving, compassionate, and kind.
Not only does the Bible present love as a fundamental virtue that everyone who accepts Christ should display, but also various scholars who have learned so much about the significance of love to Christians. Krause et al. (2019) acknowledge that those who show love while appreciating that it is a long-term commitment are likely to witness the benefit of practicing the virtue. Krause et al. (2019) argue that love extends past a single relationship, a specific action, and has an intense effect than an emotion that only lasts for a short while. Scholars who examine love as a Christian virtue, and which serves as a key aspect in salvation identify other benefits. Krause et al. (2019) inform that the virtue of love is beneficial to the lover by offering inspiration for self-advancement. Krause et al. (2019) further write that when one wishes well for and develops strong and appropriate bonds with others, these aspirations offer a strong desire for self-advancement. Lee (2018) supports the argument by stating that when a person wishes well and does well to others, he wishes that their life be filled by success and good things. Lee (2018) claims that if one means well for others, he wishes that the beloved person’s life be showered and filled by that is pleasurable. If the lover wishes to create attachment and show love to those who are closer and share either close identity or experience, the combination of these feelings suggest that the one showing love needs to be the avenue through which the beloved person’s life improves. The scholarly analysis on the effects of love as demonstrated by people who have accepted Jesus Christ show how the virtue does not only benefit the lover but also those other who relate with the saved person directly or indirectly.
Impact of the Study
The study provides valuable information that could encourage others to embrace salvation acknowledge God as their personal savior. The story implies that it is possible to acquire new behaviors and ways of thinking and overcome past acts that contravene Christian teachings and requirements. The study reveals that despite being part of the Moabites, Ruth manages to conduct herself in a decent and acceptable way upon joining a family that believes in Christian teachings and ideologies. For example, the study describes how Ruth was loyal to Naomi, and how she conducted herself diligently.
Various scholarly findings reveal that salvation compel or influence people to develop virtues that are associated with Christianity. Christians describe virtue as the repetitive and unwavering disposition to do what is right. Traditional philosophy, on the other hand, define virtue as the conformity of action and life with the guidelines of morality. Virtue enables people to do well and generate the best of themselves. Ushatikova et al. (2018) inform that virtue is embedded in people’s being and impacts the way individuals act and respond to things around them. Ushatikova et al. (2018) contend that the moral obligation of Christians is to nurture and display the virtues that people learn during childhood. People should then pass these values to future generations, especially to the children and grandchildren. Thus, Ushatikova et al. (2018) recommend that Christians need to display virtues such as kindness, love, honesty, humility, charity, contentment, patience, and diligence. However, it is possible to display the desired virtues through salvation whereby one have faith in Jesus and believe that they have God’s grace. Receiving salvation suggests that they are confident God has blessed them, which in turns give them the motivation to lead an appropriate Christian life. Salvation also restrains Christians against acting contrary to what God requires of his people.
Ruth’s story and her adoption of traits that match of a saved person reaffirms that the qualities of kindness, diligence, and loyalty can be achieved even among those from other countries, cultures, tribes, or regions. Christianity directs that people should not disregard others based on their background or desires (Whalen, 2010). Precisely, Christianity calls for inclusivity, equity, and diversity, desires that emanate from within Christians’ desire to be faithful to the Lord who was through Jesus was reconciling with the world (Whalen, 2010). Christians should appreciate that creation is largely diverse, and God values everything in it. Therefore, even as people turn against God and their neighbors, it is important to remember that every person is the same before God and any form of discrimination or alienation is unacceptable.
The study reaffirms that God shall never leave its people and that those who accept Him as their personal savior will always enjoy his blessings and protection. Ruth chooses to leave her hometown and chooses to go with Naomi to an unknown place. The tough decision illustrates he commitment to do what is right and to leave behind the inappropriate practices of the Moabites (Friedman & Birnbaum, 2012). Ruth’s action in this instance reflects what Deuteronomy 31:6 says. The verse emphasizes the need to be courageous and strong and not to become terrified or afraid because of obstacles and constraints because the Lord would provide the needed protection and will go with them everywhere. The verse reiterates that God will not forsake His people, and will always steer them towards the right path. The verse encourages people to accept God and stick with him regardless of emerging challenges, arguing that God will always protect those who stick with him. On the other side, the analysis paints that image that anyone can be forgiven for their wrongdoing if they accept salvation and choose to do what is right according to Christian teachings and ideologies. Luke 23:34 insinuates that the practice of love suggests that any misgiving can be forgiven. John 20:23 creates a similar impression in the way it describes Jesus’ teaching the disciples. He tells them “If you forgive others your sins are forgives, but if you do not forgive others you will not be forgiven. Therefore, it is necessary to consider salvation as a possible avenue for overcoming inappropriate behavior and doing what is good while at the same time increasing one’s chances for being blessed.
The most important thing in this case is to understand what salvation entails and to take actions that would ensure one does what is right and acceptable as per the teachings of Christianity to be in a position of witnessing the benefits of salvation as it happens to Ruth. It is imperative to understand that salvation entails being saved by God from the effects of sin. However, it is also important to think about what is saved from when claiming that one has received salvation (Kelhoffer, 2013). One may also consider what they are saved to achieve and who has saved them. It is also necessary to consider one’s salvation while comparing the state of things before accepting Lord, how things are at the present and how they are likely to change going forward (Kelhoffer, 2013). What readers learn from the story of Ruth is that whether one has accepted Jesus into their lives recently or have acted in accordance with Christian teachings all their life, the most essential requirement is to nurture and grow own faith (Kelhoffer, 2013). For instance, a person may claim that they are being saved from sinful ways that they think are threatening or deadly and could deter them from achieving their objectives as Christian believers. In response to who saves from sin, Acts 16:30 offers a suitable response to the question. The verse narrates the story of a Philippian warden who inquired about what he needed to do to be saved. The apostle responded by saying that Jesus is the only way to salvation. More fundamentally, it is essential to acknowledge that people are saved to get a second chance in life, seek forgiveness, and associate themselves with God (Kelhoffer, 2013). However, disregarding the value of salvation and not taking any action to be saved could deny an individual the opportunity to enjoy the benefits and beauty of accepting Christ as the redeemer of sin.
Anyone who needs salvation and who believe that accepting Jesus Christ and leaving sinful ways present numerous benefits as it happens to Ruth can seek guidance from relevant parties. One can talk to their religious leaders about salvation and find out if they can be saved themselves (Whalen, 2010). The beauty of salvation is that one does not have to pay anything to be converted as one who has accepted Christ in their life. All it requires to be saved is faith, which is having the assurance of the things desired for, or having the conviction of unseen things. Sharing the experience with religious leaders would inform one what they need to do to be saved and be on the path towards enjoying the benefits of living in Christ.
Chapter 3 – Conclusion
The study examines the beauty of salvation through the story of Ruth in the Bible, especially in the way she embraces desirable conduct and excels after accepting Christian values and accepting God as opposed to the idols that the Moabites worshipped. The study that acquires data through secondary sources reveals how Ruth embraced Christian values upon being married to a family that practiced Christianity and observed all values. Her virtues as a kind, loving, and hardworking woman contradict that of many Moabites who are seen are conflicting with people in Judea, despite being part of the Israelites. She also showed patience, which is what salvation calls for after the death of her husband by choosing to stay with Naomi and promising to remain with her all the time of her life. Her good deeds and character show the benefit of salvation in the way it emerges that it is possible to acquire new ways of thinking and relating with others as a result of accepting Christian values and acknowledging God as the Supreme Being. Ruth’s desirable conduct and what came as a blessing for devoting her life to Christ by always doing what was good was her marriage to Boaz who was wealthy and highly valued in the society. Ruth’s meeting and ultimate marriage with Boaz reveals that God blesses those who accept Him by choosing to do what is good and staying away from sin. Her marriage to Boaz gave her an opportunity to overcome her problems such as poverty that had severe effects, particularly during drought. Ruth also got a chance to be respected in the society for being a wife to the prince. More fundamentally, Ruth was blessed with a child for her commitment to do what salvation recommends and for her patience. The study reveals that scholarly research support the notion that salvation has numerous advantages. Findings show that practicing virtues such as kindness and love has significant positive effect on the one displaying the practice. The revelations urge others to accept Jesus Christ and cast sinful ways if they want to lead a desirable life. Therefore, salvation presents a desirable chance to enjoy numerous benefits and to witness the beauty of the devotion.
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