Jesse Tree – Day 12: Ruth

Ahhh! This one is a day late! I’ll explain why in another blog (there’s a good reason… honest!) but for now, let’s look at the story of Ruth really quickly, along with the Jesse Tree ornament!

So, this ornament that I made was… um… a bit of a disaster, lol. And by that, I mean that I probably should have blocked it because it likes to curl up big time despite my best efforts to lay it straight. Still, if you squint, you can see three barley grains! Check it out…

If you look closely, you can allllmost see the resemblance of three barley grains! If you want to make your own ornament, go here for the crochet pattern!

And this is the perfect symbol for Ruth, who is the mother of Jesse, who will be eventually the father of David!

See? I told you that the Jesse Tree was all about exploring the ancestry of Jesus!

Now, the excerpt that I am going to give of Ruth is… woefully inadequate. Honestly, it’s such a short book that it’s hard to take just one excerpt from it. I honestly want to quote the whole book, it’s just so good! But… I can’t.

So, I encourage you to go read the whole book of Ruth yourself — starting with chapter 1, of course! It’s only four chapters long and a very quick read. Plus, it’s a sweet love story, which makes it pretty fun… if that’s your taste anyway.

Anyway, some background information, before we read the scripture: back then, widows were basically impoverished. If you didn’t have a husband, nor had any sons, there was a good chance that you were going to be neglected and probably dead soon.

There were several safety nets for widows… male family members of the deceased husband’s family were obligated to marry the widows under certain circumstances. But it wasn’t strictly enforced.

So, a lot of the story revolves around this conflict in which Ruth, a widow,

Anyway, let’s read some scripture! 🙂

Naomi and Ruth

(Scripture taken from Ruth 1:1-18, 22. Click here for the source!)

Once back in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah left home with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab. The man was named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his sons Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah.

Some time after their arrival on the plateau of Moab, Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two boys nor her husband.

She and her daughters-in-law then prepared to go back from the plateau of Moab because word had reached her there that the LORD had seen to his people’s needs and given them food. She and her two daughters-in-law left the place where they had been living.

On the road back to the land of Judah, Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you to your mother’s house. May the LORD show you the same kindness as you have shown to the deceased and to me. May the LORD guide each of you to find a husband and a home in which you will be at rest.”

She kissed them good-bye, but they wept aloud, crying, “No! We will go back with you, to your people.” Naomi replied, “Go back, my daughters. Why come with me? Have I other sons in my womb who could become your husbands? Go, my daughters, for I am too old to marry again. Even if I had any such hope, or if tonight I had a husband and were to bear sons, would you wait for them and deprive yourselves of husbands until those sons grew up? No, my daughters, my lot is too bitter for you, because the LORD has extended his hand against me.”

Naomi and her Daughters exhibited 1804 George Dawe 1781-1829 Purchased 1990 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T05746

Again they wept aloud; then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth clung to her. “See now,” she said, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-in-law!”

But Ruth said, “Do not press me to go back and abandon you! Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people
and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you!”

Ruth Swearing Her Allegiance to Naomi, by Jan Victors, c. 1653. Private collection.
Ruth Swearing Her Allegiance to Naomi, by Jan Victors, c. 1653. Private collection.

Naomi then ceased to urge her, for she saw she was determined to go with her.

Ruth Goes to Bethlehem with Naomi, by Jacob Pynas, c. 1650. Private collection.
Ruth Goes to Bethlehem with Naomi, by Jacob Pynas, c. 1650. Private collection.

Thus it was that Naomi came back with her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who accompanied her back from the plateau of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Ruth in Boaz's Field, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, c. 1828. National Gallery, London, England.
Ruth in Boaz’s Field, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, c. 1828. National Gallery, London, England.

Yup! The last picture is a hint of what is to come… her meeting Boaz! At the barley harvest!

See, the bits of barley are totally relevant!

Did I mention that it was a pretty awesome book? You should read it! Again, here is chapter 1!

As far as later today? Some (exciting!) news and hopefully another Jesse Tree blog for the proper day. And this time, we’re looking at the rise of King David. 🙂

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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