What is a threshing floor. In biblical days there was no machinery, so after the harvest, the grain was separated from the straw and husks by beating it manually.
First there had to be a flat surface that was smooth and hard, and this was known as the threshing floor. The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading the sheaves on the threshing floor and causing oxen and cattle to tread repeatedly over them, loosening the edible part of cereal grain or other crop from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it Deuteronomy ; Isaiah On occasion, flails or sticks were used for this purpose Ruth ; Isaiah Then winnowing forks were used to throw the mixture into the air so the wind could blow away the chaff, leaving only the good grain on the floor.
I Am Ruth: A Story of Loss, Love, & Redemption by Kenneth Berg
The workers stayed there day and night to thresh. If the wind was blowing they were threshing. Some slept on the floor to protect from thieves.
It was a time of celebration and feast and praising God for the harvest! So telling her to wait was maybe not to interrupt the praise time. The widow must make the claim. Ruth has made no claim. She was married to Boaz kin. Ruth has been out there a while.. Naomi is stepping in and playing match maker. She knows what to do!
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Heads up…. We must be washed from our sins. We must be anointed by the Holy Spirit. We must be clothed in righteousness by Him. And we must lay down at His feet and submit to all this.
Ask yourself. Do you really lay down at His feet? Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. Spread your wings[ a ] over your servant, for you are a redeemer. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning. Then she went into the city.
There may be one or two movies out there that follow this train of thought, but I must confess that I am at a loss to name them. The standard plot line that I am familiar with is the one we find in Titanic. This is not really an option for a biblical love story.
The specific sort of responsibility is spelled out at the end of the book of Ruth. When Boaz and Ruth marry, the Lord immediately intervenes and allows Ruth to conceive a son. May his name be perpetuated in Israel! And if this is not sufficiently surprising consider the next two verses with which our story comes to its end. And indeed, in the ancient Near East there is a venerable tradition of childless persons adopting children. But the Bible is curiously silent on this matter; we have no provisions in biblical law for the adoption of a child. It seems more likely, and most commentators move in this direction, that Naomi becomes something of a foster mother of the child, that is someone who looks after the child in a most intimate fashion.
But more important than nailing down the type of relationship between Naomi and the child is coming to grips with the specific socio-cultural reasons that propel it forward. And this we learn from the blessing spoken by the women. This child born to Naomi is to have two functions: first, that of perpetuating the name of Mahlon within the community of Israel and second, that of sustaining Naomi in her old age.
Our own situation could not be more different. Indeed the begetting of children is a real and pressing question for modern couples. No longer are there social conventions that make this an unstated obligation; becoming a father or mother has become a matter of choice. The reason why this was not the case in antiquity is easy to provide: children were absolutely necessary for the preservation of the elderly. Indeed the most frequent reason for adoption in ancient Near Eastern culture is that of providing a means for supporting a childless couple in their old age.
In a culture bereft of retirement plans and Social Security, children played a crucial economic role. Ruth has already distinguished herself in the book by undertaking the role of honoring her mother-in-law by going into the field in chapter two to glean food. In biblical law, gleaning grain is the means by which the poor are sustained. As Jesus would put the matter in the Sermon on the Mount, Ruth has seen clearly beyond the letter of the law to its very spirit. Your latest deed of loyalty is greater than the first, in that you have not turned to younger men, whether poor or rich.
But it also constitutes a considerable challenge to the manner in which we view marriage. Given the role of children within the larger family, it is crucial that Ruth come to see her opportunities for marriage in light of larger familial circumstances. And in light of these needs, it is simply impossible for our biblical writer to tell a story of human love in the form in which we see it in Titanic.
For such a story is only possible if we exempt the couple from the larger familial circumstances in which it sits. So what does the book of Ruth tell us about the sacrament of marriage?
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First of all, that within the sacred bond of marriage there lies a symbol of the love of God for humanity. Ruth is praised by Boaz for leaving kith and kin to adopt the God of Israel. But strikingly her adoption of this God is inextricably linked to the marriage bond she! The grand transformation of Song of Songs from a simple love song to a tale about the marriage of God to his people Israel is already in evidence in the book of Ruth.
Human marriage truly is an analogical expression of the love of God for His people. Secondly, the love of a husband and wife is not extolled as an end in and of itself. On this point, however, a great abyss opens up between the world of the Bible and our own day. It was important to biblical writers to see the marriage bond as necessarily linked to children and grandparents.
Indeed, the Bible needed to make no argument for this linkage because it was a socio-economic reality of the day. What makes Ruth particularly virtuous is not her desire to marry and have children. With no retirement programs available for her, the mothering of children was as basic to human survival as the daily tilling of the fields and preparation of meals. What distinguishes Ruth is her willingness to understand her marriage in a way that will favor her adopted mother-in-law.
In other words, Ruth courageously extends her level of obligation between the bare minimum and by so doing show us that persons within the Old Testament were able to discern what the spirit of the law consisted of. In our own day, economic and technological developments have allowed young couples to view children as a simple life-style option.
The result has been a dramatic limitation of what the office of marriage consists of.
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The larger family unit has shrunk to the tiny circle of the couple itself. My love and gratitude to my wife Kathleen for her suggestions on this article and for all she has taught me about marriage and family life in the covenant. Alter, Robert. Norton and Company, Anderson, Gary A. Baer, Helmut D. Bradshaw, Jeffrey M.
The Story of the Book of Ruth
Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. Chailley, Jacques. English ed. The Jewish Publication Society Commentary. Greenfield, Jonas. Keele, Alan. Kerry, Paul E. Lyon, Michael P. Terre des Hommes. E :. However, BYU Professor Alan Keele, who has done much to promote a modern appreciation of supernal idealism in German literature, opera, and cinema, has sought to rehabilitate its status by a more careful reading of this opera, whose central theme is, after all, the human tendency to mistake appearances for reality.
Keele, Magic Flute, pp. Lyon, Set Design. Chailley, Unveiled, p. The citation is found on p. Linked to our brothers by a common purpose that is greater than ourselves — a purpose that provides the very breath of life to us —we have learned by experience that love is not a matter of looking at one another. Who are my friends? Only those who are roped together in the same climb, reaching for the same summit, where they meet at last.
If this were not so, why, in the century of comfort, would we feel such a fullness of joy in sharing our last supplies in the desert? In light of such experiences, the theories of the sociologists are worthless. To those of us who have known the great joy of escaping life-threatening breakdowns in the Sahara desert, all other pleasures seem trivial.
Bonhoeffer, Letters from Prison, pp. See Deuteronomy Levenson, Sinai and Zion, pp. For further details, see J. Blenkinsopp, Prophecy and Canon, pp. Clearly Ruth, like all the other central matriarchal figures in Genesis [Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel] was sterile until the hand of God intervened. The theological function of this motif is to establish the direct involvement of God in the conception of the child. The child becomes not only the offspring of two human parents but also, in some sense, a son of God.
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On this point, see J. Levenson, Death and Resurrection, pp. Baer, Exception. It is worth noting that among Torah-observant Jews it is customary for married couples to seek the permission of a Rabbi to use artificial contraceptive devices. There is a presumption against them that must be overruled.
Moreover, some medieval thinkers noted that Jewish law requires that a woman abstain from sex during the period of her menstrual flow and seven days afterward. This meant that when this period of sexual abstinence was over this would be the most fertile time during the ovular cycle. Can it be accidental that precisely at the moment the married couple would be most desirous to return to conjugal relations was also the moment that the woman was most fertile?
Jonas Greenfield nicely summarizes the attitude of the ancients in this fashion J. Greenfield, Care for the Elderly :. The young and healthy can provide for themselves, but it is the very young and the elderly who need help to see them through hard times and to keep them alive. The aged have an additional burden — they need not only to be sustained, but after death they must be lamented, buried properly and remembered by prayers and rituals. In most societies this was a natural function of children, who thus maintained a link in the chain of being and guaranteed, as it were, by their own actions their own future.
The childless would overcome their lack of children by co-opting the children of others. The adopted son or daughter would have to sustain the aged, bury him or her and fulfill other duties in order to qualify as heir. This return to a position of intimacy was not necessary once she had secured his consent, instead it indicates her love for Boaz. Only when he has revealed these intentions does he mention the problem of the next of kin. Had he been less than sanguine about the matter, he would have first told Ruth of the obstacles and only then indicated his willingness to consent.
Gospel Doctrine. By Jeffrey M. Introduction In his timely presentation, Gary A. Two pillars at the temple gate; [iv] Two cherubim atop the Ark [v] Anderson mentions two elements of the temple undertone that pervades this deeply spiritual book. Woman reading at the traditional tomb of Ruth and Jesse, Hebron [xviii] As we come to the final verses of the book we recognize that the redemption story in Ruth concerns not just a single family but rather all of Israel, past and future. Yet Fisch goes one step further, pushing back the starting point of this progression to Genesis: Of whom, we may ask, is Ruth the redeemer?
Anderson University of Notre Dame In Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a letter from his prison cell in Nazi Germany to a young couple who had just entered the holy state of marriage: [xxvi] Marriage is more than your love for each other. The Story of Ruth Let me begin with a brief rehearsal of the narrative itself, which can be broken up into four scenes, each corresponding to a chapter of the book. On the Inseparability of Marriage and Procreation The second theme that is worth exploring is the place of marriage in the larger constellation of family life in ancient Israel.
Conclusion So what does the book of Ruth tell us about the sacrament of marriage? References Alter, Robert. Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Prophecy and Canon. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. Levenson, Jon D. Sinai and Zion. Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son.
Endnotes [i] Used with permission of Book of Mormon Central. Anderson, Marriage in Ruth. Kerry wrote P. Kerry, Initiates, p. Eshkenazi et al. I Kings