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Justice & Mercy

We are continuing our exploration of the book of Ruth. Spend a few minutes recapping what happened in chapter 1 (especially for those who missed it last week!)

Read Ruth 2:1-3 & Leviticus 19:9-10

  • How did God provide for Ruth and Naomi?

  • What does the author want us to think about the fact that it happened to be in Boaz's field where Ruth collected grain?

  • What can we interpret about God's heart for justice and mercy in instituting the gleaning law in Leviticus 19?

Read Ruth 2:4-17

  • How do Ruth and Boaz relate to one another here? What do you notice about each character - how does Ruth see Boaz, and how does Boaz see Ruth? [1]

  • What role does God play in these verses? (see if you can spot all the times God is mentioned, and by whom)

Read Ruth 2:18-23

  • How does Naomi interpret the events of verses 4-17? [2]

  • How does Naomi's comment in verse 22 remind the reader of the powerlessness of Ruth & Naomi?

  • How does Boaz's treatment of Ruth serve as an example for the readers who are powerful or influential in some way?

  • What does this chapter of Ruth reveal about God's heart for justice?

  • How can we live more justly, and use our power and influence God's way? (Try to think of really practical examples in your own life - at home, in the workplace, etc.)

Spend some time in prayer, praising God for his justice and mercy, and asking Him to intervene in any situations you know of where injustice is being done.

[1] Some people have been tempted to read some sort of romance into these first exchanges between Ruth and Boaz. Yet it seems that Ruth is substantially younger than Boaz (he refers to her as 'that young woman' in verse 5 and 'daughter' in verse 8), so we probably shouldn't be too quick to imagine them as two young people 'falling in love at first sight'.

[2] The term translated 'guardian-redeemer' or 'kinsman-redeemer' in verse 20 is a technical Hebrew word that has no modern equivalent in our culture. It covered a range of situations:

"The fundamental idea is that of fulfilling one’s obligations as a kinsman... The verb may be used of redeeming a relation from a state of slavery into which he has fallen (Lev. 25:48f.), or redeeming his field (Lev. 25:25)... When one of the family has been murdered it is important that the family honour be upheld, and the nearest relation is bound to avenge the deceased... There was an obligation resting on the next of kin to marry the widow and have a child who would be regarded as the child of the deceased and carry on his name (see Deut. 25:5–10 for an account of the custom).

Arthur Cundall & Leon Morris, pp273-4


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