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Ruth as Symbolism

I read a short study of Ruth during week before classes started at Nyack.  Because of getting accustomed to a new school and new classes, I haven’t been able to write about it yet, but fear not!  I have returned.

So, Ruth in Big Picture.  What’s the book all about?  Ruth is a woman from Moab who marries into a Jewish family. When her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law all kick the bucket, she moves with her mother-in-law (Naomi) back to Judah, where the two women start again.  Whilst there, Ruth catches the eye of Boaz, who is a close relative of Naomi.  There’s only one other man more closely related to them that would be able to marry Ruth first, but he’s not interested.  So Ruth and Boaz get married, they have babies who have babies like King David, who also has babies, and eventually you get to Jesus Christ.

But what does that mean today?–That’s what the study I read talks about.

According to this study, the entire story of Ruth is a vast, sweeping allegory for the Jesus story that would come several generations later.  Ruth, being that she’s not Jewish, represents humanity.  The other relative, who had the legal rights to buy the property and marry Ruth, represents the law.  Finally, Boaz represents Christ/God/love/what have you.

The study also puts an emphasis on Naomi’s journey as a Jewish person.  The idea is that when she and her husband decide to move to Moab, they’re really running away from God.  When Naomi decides to return, she is like the Prodigal Son of the New Testament.

So, there you have it–The book of Ruth is a symbolic foretelling of Christ’s relationship to humanity.  It is also so much more (I’m sure), and I will continue to investigate.

Now, what does that mean for me?  If Ruth represents all people, then she has a spirit that people can relate with.  If I am like Ruth, am I easy to relate to?  I know that I try to be.  I know that Ruth needing to be accepted into the Jewish culture holds up a mirror to my own need to repent and ask God to work and move in me.

Next step: Exegesis!  As in, my own…  I’m taking a super amazing class this semester on Old Testament Literature, so I am equipping myself now to better understand Ruth (and everything else in the Old Testament).

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