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until they had ended all his harvest ; she exclaimed, Blessed be hè of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. It

appears, that Boaz had formerly been kind to Naomi's husband Elimelech, and she was rejoiced to find that he was still disposed to befriend them in their present distressed condition. And Naomi said unto Ruth, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field, which might appear as a slight of his kindness. So Ruth, little thinking indeed what a change of fortune was intended for her constancy, kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest ; and dwelt with her mother-in-law.

It seems that, in this country, the law concerning a man's marrying his brother's widow, when he died childless, was by custom extended to the other near relations, when there were no brethren. And as Mahlon had left Ruth childless, and had no brother living, it happened that the law, and the usage of the times, gave the stranger Ruth a claim upon her kinsman Boaz, if there were no one nearer of kin, to become her husband. Therefore Naomi, like every tender and thoughtful mother, who wishes for the desirable settlement of her children, began to reflect

upon this circumstance, and felt herself bound to endeavour, by such means as she deemed the most likely to succeed, to effect an union between the rich and worthy Boaz and the forlorn and gentle Ruth. My daughter, said she, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee ? And then Naomi told Ruth, that Boaz was about to winnow barley on that night in his threshing-floor. And having bidden her to wash and anoint herself, and to put on her best raiment, she counselled her to go

down privately to the threshing-floor ; and when Boaz, after the work of the day was done, had feasted with his threshers, and his heart was cheerful, and he had gone to lie down at the end of the heap of corn to rest ; that then she should modestly, and in the established manner of the country, assert her claim upon her kinsman Boaz. And Ruth said unto Naomi, All that thou sayest unto me, I will do. And she went down unto the threshing-floor, and there commenced her religious courtship, as it might well

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VOL. II.

be called, as her mother-in-law bade her. And the upright and excellent Boaz, being already prepossessed in her favour, and being moreover pleased that she had preferred him to the young men whether rich or poor, and that she regarded the law of God; instead of taking advantage of her exposed situation, or reproaching her with impropriety of conduct, or disdaining her as a poor destitute stranger, or suggesting that she was swayed by interested motives, he gave her his blessing, and his assent. Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter, said he. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest : for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman. Howbeit, continued he, there is a kinsman nearer than I. This, it is probable, was an unknown, or unlooked for impediment to Naomi. But Boaz, having promised to make inquiry in the morning, and if that nearer kinsman, who had a prior claim to marry Ruth, would waive his right, that he himself would become her husband ; in token of his favourable regard for her and Naomi, he heaped her veil, or shawl, with six measures of barley, for he said, Go not empty unto thy mother-in-law. And when Ruth went back into the city, and Naomi inquired, what success she had ? and she told her all that had happened ; then said the good Naomi, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall; for the man will not be'in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

And Naomi thought right. For, on that morning, , Boaz went up to the city gate, where the people were wont to pass and repass, and when the kinsman of whom he spake came by, he said, Ho, such a one, calling him by name, turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. Then he called ten of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. Then Boaz related, in presence of the ten elders, whom he had called as witnesses of the transaction, as was customary in former times in this country, all the circumstances attending the return of Naomi and of Ruth out of Moab; and of the lawful and asserted claim of the latter upon the kinsman, to redeem a certain parcel of land, which fell to her from Naomi's deceased husband Elime

lech ; and to marry Ruth, and thereby to raise up the name of the dead, that is, of her former husband Mahlon, upon the inheritance. And when the first kinsman declined the redemption of the land, except it were disconnected with the inarriage of Ruth, lest he might mar his own inheritance, as perhaps he had already a wife and family ; then Boaz, who evidently was himself desirous of marrying Ruth, declared, in presence of the witnesses, that he would redeem the estate, which Naomi, without considering Orpah, as she had remained in her own heathen country, had transferred to Ruth ; and would also marry Ruth, that the name of the dead might be raised up upon his inheritance, and not be cut off from among his brethren. Then said Boaz to the elders, To this purchase and proposal, ye are witnesses this day. And all the people, who had collected themselves around the city gate, and the ten elders, said, We are witnesses. Then did the witnesses, who appear to have been pious men, upon the public recognition of this honourable and interesting marriage, conducted according to the usages of the country, pronounce their glad benediction upon Boaz : The Lord make the woman, that is come into thine house, like Rachel and like Leah of old ; and worthily bless the seed, which the Lord shall give thee of this young wo

So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife ; and the Lord gave her his favour, and she bare a son. And then did the women, the neighbours of the pious Naomi, gather around to congratulate her upon

her renewed prosperity ; and blessed the Lord, who had thus blessed her in giving her a grandson ; for, said they, he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age ; for thy daughter-in-law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him. And Naomi, being thus solaced for the death of her husband and her two sons, took the child, her little grandson, which the women her neighbours named Obed, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. Thus, by following the plain way of duty and piety, was the forlorn and affectionate Ruth led on, by the hand of a smiling Providence, to a happy settlement in Canaan ; her little son Obed became the grandfather of king David ; and

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she herself, the simple barley-gleaner in the fields of Boaz, became the greatly honoured, and remote mother of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

REMARKS.

Although I have endeavoured to interweave the Moral of this beautiful Story into it, as I proceeded, yet it may well suggest some other useful remarks.

1. We are taught by the affection of Naomi and Ruth, that there ever should be an affection between parents-inlaw and children-in-law; and also, we infer, although some appear to act otherwise, a harmony between stepparents and step-children, if Providence allot them to live together.

2. We see in this pastoral picture, that God regards the distressed condition of the pious poor, and will finally reward their confiding resignation to his appointments.

3. We learn, that no judgment can be formed of a person's piety from outward appearances ; for Naomi was eminently pious, yet God, to try her faith in a heathen country, greatly afflicted her for many years.

4. We learn, that persons who quit the ordinances and communion of the people of God, in order to escape some slight inconvenience, or to enlarge their worldly possessions, are not likely to be prospered.

5. We may infer, that those who, like Orpah, fall back in the day of trial, will soon be obscured and forgotten ; while those who, like Ruth, persevere unto the end, will be had in everlasting remembrance.

6. When we observe the sad changes in the external condition of others, we are reminded to prepare for changes ourselves, and especially for our great and last change.

7. We are taught, that honest industry, patience in poverty, and a willingness to labour in support of an aged parent, or benefactor, are both respectable and acceptable to God.

8. We learn, that religion will produce an affable condescension, and a becoming gratitude, between the high

er and lower orders of society, which will tend to the interest and happiness of both.

9. We suggest, that wisdom and religion should be always gleaning ; ever picking up some useful hint from every person and event, for future profit.

10. It appears, that our heaviest trials often arise from those quarters, whence we expected the most satisfaction ; and our greatest solace from those, whence we expected

none.

11. This story teaches, that parents should tenderly advise their children in the important article of marriage ; that they may make a wise choice, and thereby increase their future usefulness and comfort.

12. It also teaches, that prayers should be offered up by pious people on the birth of children ; that they may be a consolation to their parents, and a blessing to society, and to themselves; for without the blessing of God, none of these things can be

13. We remark, that as the chief scene of this Pastoral was laid in Bethlehem-judah, where afterwards Christ was born ; so the marriage of Ruth, a heathen damsel, to Boaz, the rich Jew, prefigured the future calling of the Gentiles into the church of Christ.

14. Finally, Let the condescending kindness of the wealthy Boaz to the destitute Ruth, lead us to contemplate the kindness of Jesus to us destitute and unworthy sinners, without himself upbraiding, or suffering others to upbraid us.

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