5 May 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading finishes Judges and begins Ruth – congratulations on keeping up!
The book of Ruth is powerful story of love and loyalty. I think it is also an important reminder of how God can use people in ways that are almost impossible for us to perceive, especially if they extend beyond our lifetimes – to say it challenges faith would be an understatement. The Bible does not tell us who wrote Ruth. When I did some basic research, there were several who suggested Samuel. Samuel seems unlikely to me since he died before David became king, but David’s kingship is referred to at the end of the book, and not in the normal language of prophecy. The Bible does not tell us precisely when Ruth was written, but it refers to a “former time” in Israel, so it was likely written quite a few years after David became king in 1010 b.C.
Moab was east of Judah and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. Naomi and her husband Elimelek fled there because of famine. When her husband and two sons die, Naomi returns to Israel. Most of the story takes place in Bethlehem. Naomi means “pleasant”. She left her home a pleasant woman. When she returned a childless widow, she wanted to be called Mara, a name which means “bitter”.
This is a story of people being faithful, kind and honorable. Ruth is faithful to Naomi, Boaz is faithful to Ruth, they are all faithful to God.
Judges 21 – Ruth 1:22
21 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us will give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.” 2 The people came to Bethel, and sat there until evening before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept severely. 3 They said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that there should be one tribe lacking in Israel today?”
4 On the next day, the people rose early, and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. 5 The children of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who didn’t come up in the assembly to Yahweh?” For they had made a great oath concerning him who didn’t come up to Yahweh to Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” 6 The children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, “There is one tribe cut off from Israel today. 7 How shall we provide wives for those who remain, since we have sworn by Yahweh that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?” 8 They said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel who didn’t come up to Yahweh to Mizpah?” Behold, no one came from Jabesh Gilead to the camp to the assembly. 9 For when the people were numbered, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead there. 10 The congregation sent twelve thousand of the most valiant men there, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11 This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has lain with a man.” 12 They found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred young virgins, who had not known man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 The whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. 14 Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead. There still weren’t enough for them. 15 The people grieved for Benjamin, because Yahweh had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “How shall we provide wives for those who remain, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17 They said, “There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel. 18 However we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, ‘Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin.’” 19 They said, “Behold, there is a feast of Yahweh from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.” 20 They commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and each man catch his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 It shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us, because we didn’t take for each man his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, otherwise you would now be guilty.’”
23 The children of Benjamin did so, and took wives for themselves, according to their number, of those who danced, whom they carried off. They went and returned to their inheritance, built the cities, and lived in them. 24 The children of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they each went out from there to his own inheritance. 25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.
1 In the days when the judges judged, there was a famine in the land. A certain man of Bethlehem Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah. They came into the country of Moab, and lived there. 3 Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4 They took for themselves wives of the women of Moab. The name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth. They lived there about ten years. 5 Mahlon and Chilion both died, and the woman was bereaved of her two children and of her husband. 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab; for she had heard in the country of Moab how Yahweh had visited his people in giving them bread. 7 She went out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her. They went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May Yahweh deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 May Yahweh grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.”
Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices, and wept. 10 They said to her, “No, but we will return with you to your people.”
11 Naomi said, “Go back, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Go back, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, ‘I have hope,’ if I should even have a husband tonight, and should also bear sons; 13 would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from having husbands? No, my daughters, for it grieves me seriously for your sakes, for Yahweh’s hand has gone out against me.”
14 They lifted up their voices, and wept again; then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth joined with her. 15 She said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people, and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law.”
16 Ruth said, “Don’t urge me to leave you, and to return from following you, for where you go, I will go; and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God[c] my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. When they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was excited about them, and they asked, “Is this Naomi?”
20 She said to them, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and Yahweh has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Yahweh has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” 22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. So where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”
19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” 27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”
30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.”
33 The disciples therefore said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 35 Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. 36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, “He told me everything that I did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
105 Give thanks to Yahweh! Call on his name!
Make his doings known among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him!
Tell of all his marvelous works.
3 Glory in his holy name.
Let the heart of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength.
Seek his face forever more.
5 Remember his marvelous works that he has done;
his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,
6 you offspring of Abraham, his servant,
you children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
7 He is Yahweh, our God.
His judgments are in all the earth.
8 He has remembered his covenant forever,
the word which he commanded to a thousand generations,
9 the covenant which he made with Abraham,
his oath to Isaac,
10 and confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute;
to Israel for an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
the lot of your inheritance”;
12 when they were but a few men in number,
yes, very few, and foreigners in it.
13 They went about from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people.
14 He allowed no one to do them wrong.
Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes,
15 “Don’t touch my anointed ones!
Do my prophets no harm!”
25 A truthful witness saves souls,
but a false witness is deceitful.