Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Note on Ruth

My chronological reading for this year has me just starting Samuel.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but for June 2012-May 2013 I'm reading through the "Chronological Study Bible (NKJV)" published in 2008 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  It's a different sequence than that I followed last year, but similar.  In any event, I just finished Ruth and wanted to share some notes that I found interesting.

Ruth follows Judges.  Judges presents the histories, most specifically the wars and battles of the people of Israel.  Ruth, on the other hand, presents a different sort of history -- that of the day-to-day life of the people and what their customs were when not engaged in war.  The society during the time of Ruth was stable with wise elders serving to govern the people.  The laws of the covenant were (for the most part, I'm certain -- even then men were tempted to and sinned) respected and kept.  One such law was that from Deut. 25:5-10 whereby a widow with no children shall be married to the nearest male relative and raise up an heir to the man who had died.  Under this law, Ruth is eventually married to Boaz.

Another curiosity of Ruth is that along with the relations between Israel and its neighboring lands fairly peaceful, Naomi moves back and forth between Israel and Moab, and her sons take Moabite wives (Ruth and Orpah).  Intermarriage was not encouraged nor common, but what is ultimately surprising is that Ruth and Boaz's union -- their first son was Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David, perhaps the finest king of Israel.

On a personal note, I have to admit to preferring histories such as Ruth (and Esther) in that I don't get engaged reading about how many men fought in this or that battle and what the various roles were.  As I move forward into Samuel I hope to write again soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


The summer most definitely got away with me this year.  While I've managed to keep up to date with my reading (getting ahead some days, falling short others!), I've not been diligent about keeping this blog up to date.  The chronological Bible I'm reading this year has a somewhat different "schedule" than I followed last year.  I haven't looked in depth to see the differences, but assume (hope!) that most chronological readings are fairly similar - obviously Adam and Eve come before Moses comes before the Kings comes before Jesus.  In any event, I have just finished reading the book of Joshua.  Joshua is one of the Biblical characters that even many non-Christians know (ever sing "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"?).  They may not know the details of his marches around Jericho or of the fact that only he and Caleb of his generation were permitted to enter the Promised Land, but there is at least some familiarity.  In any event, here is some information about Joshua that you may or may not recall from any reading or lessons you may have had in the past:

  • After Moses' death, Joshua was named the leader of the Israelites
  • Joshua is the man who allocated the land to the various tribes (see for a past posting about these)
  • The meaning of Joshua is "Yahweh is salvation".  Joshua is translated in Greek as the same name as "Jesus" and is commonly seen as a type of Christ
  • The waters of the Jordan River parted for Joshua during the battle for Canaan - reminding the Israelites of the waters parting in the Red Sea for Moses
  • God's instructions for conquering Jericho were for the army to march around the city for six days.  On the seventh day they marched seven times, shouted, and the walls fell down allowing them to swarm in
  • Key lessons from Joshua's life include the importance of patience, obedience, and dependence on God
  • Joshua was the son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim.  He was born as a slave in Egypt
I'll be moving into Judges and with school starting again, I hope to be more regular in posting.  To finish today's post, why not give a listen to Mahalia Jackson singing "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho"?