Ruth 4:16 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
So last time we talked about David not falling to far from the tree; however, we only briefly dabbled in some of the impact of David’s lineage. We’d like to dig a little deeper into the Ancestry of David. We’ll look at how the lives lived by Boaz & Ruth played a significant role in who David would become.
“Finding Your Roots,” a PBS Documentary Series which started back in 2012 and is hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. sparked interest by many Americans who would look to search for information about their own history. In 2019 MIT released a story which stated that more than 26 million people shared their DNA with to four leading commercial ancestry and health databases. These people were willing to pass along their most confidential information through a shipping envelope to complete strangers. Ancestry.com is the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world and back in 2018, the company claimed to provide access to approximately 10 billion historical records, to have 3 million paying subscribers, and to have sold 18 million DNA kits to customers. These numbers are astronomical, and it is all because people want to know where they came from. Who their ancestors are? Who’s in their lineage?
There is a law of First Mention that many theologians and clergy use to comprehend certain aspects of the scripture. The law of first mention says “that, to understand a particular word or doctrine, we must find the first place in Scripture that word or doctrine is revealed and study that passage.” I believe this can also be used for David’s life in this instance. The first time we see David’s discussed in the bible, he has not even been born yet. The mention of David comes as the bible is showing David’s Ancestry; so, let’s see who they were.
Who Were They: Boaz and Ruth are two of the central figures in the book of Ruth, and they were the background of David’s first mention; what do we know about them? Boaz was the wealthy field owner from the clan of Elimelek and the distant relative of Ruth’s deceased husband. His name Boaz means “strength is within him,” and inner strength is often more powerful than external strength. We also see in the text that Boaz looked out for Ruth because he heard about how she had treated her mother-in-law Naomi. He recognized the inner strength it took to lose your family and future; yet take great care of her hurting mother-in-law. Ruth’s name actually means “Companion; friend and vision of beauty.” That may explain why she was capable of focusing on Naomi’s loss rather than her own and befriended Naomi during a painful time in both of their lives.
It is also fascinating to see how David demonstrated both of these characteristics (Strength and Friendship) in very impactful ways; like the inner strength (in the form of courage) to battle a bear and lion to protect the sheep that he shepherds as well as challenging the Philistine Giant Goliath. He would also befriend Jonathan, the Son of Saul the King of Israel; a relationship that would benefit David’s escape from assassination and give an example to a level of friendship that is very difficult to find by many people even today.
What Did They Symbolize: Ruth was known for her relationship with her mother-in-law Naomi and being redeemed by and married to Boaz. However, one of the more interesting stories we find is now Ruth’s other mother-in-law is Rahab. Rahab (also a Gentile) was the prostitute who was known for helping the Israelite spies prepare their army to take the City of Jericho. Her assistance to Israel, saved her life and allowed her to follow the God of Israel and marry Salmon a Jew. This would also explains why Boaz was not turned away by Ruth but drawn too, this Gentile woman who was a widow (a woman who has no means of financial support, and is therefore in need of special legal protection) and decided to serve God after being exposed to Him by Naomi, rather than going back to her native home after the death of her husband (Ruth 2:11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”).
Boaz had a heart towards Ruth because she reminded him of his mother and honestly, he probably had a heart for many who needed redemption. Boaz would become the Kinsman Redeemer, which “in the rabbinical tradition, is a person who, as the nearest relative of another, is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.” This would be the very actions that decades later Jesus (who is also in this lineage) took to redeem humanity, His sacrifice on the Cross was “restoring the rights” for us all and “avenging our wrongs.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ can be told in the story of David’s Ancestry; the wealthy and esteemed Boaz loved Ruth, the gentile widow and he paid a great price so that she could be redeemed and have her life restored. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.