16 November 2014

Thoughts on a Ruth Study

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing,
Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.
In September and October our new pastor led a four-week Bible study on the book of Ruth. I'd never done a study on that before, although I'd certainly read the book. I loved the study and especially our pastor's teaching style. It was engaging and interesting and reminded me some of what I loved about the First Presbyterian Church's women's Bible study I used to attend. Here are some notes I took and questions/thoughts I had:

In the Jewish Bible Ruth comes just after Proverbs, i.e. after Proverbs 31 about the Woman of Valor (which always makes me think of Rachel Held Evans).

Ruth is a conversion story and required reading for those seeking to convert to Judaism.

All translation is interpretation.

Ruth 1:13, about Ruth's devotion to Naomi and Naomi telling her daughters-in-law to return to their parents' homes. Is that end faithful? I have issue with the dead husbands and sons being God's will against Naomi. That feels self-centered to me, but I also know this is a story and requires the plot to be moved along.

Never only read Scripture alone -- apostasy and leads to confirmation bias. (Although I'd say you can get that by only reading Scripture with those who agree with you/feed into your same biases.)

Ruth 2:9 - culture of foreigner, a big deal to tell her to drink from Jewish water.

Feet is a euphemism for "below the waist"

All translation is interpretation. (This was basically said every week but I only wrote it down twice)

Ruth doesn't obey Naomi because she tells Boaz what to do -- make the proposal by telling him to spread his cloak.

To whom do we provide care and from whom do we allow ourselves to receive care?
I was one of only two mothers of young children in the study, and honestly I can't hear a question like that without only thinking of the care I give Jane. I also have a very hard time allowing others, even Shawn, to care for me. Right now I have a head cold and he's doing more -- helping with laundry, making suppers, entertaining Jane.
Ruth self identifies as "servant" then Boaz calls her "daughter."

Why is it faithful to go to him so forcefully?

Elemelech's property comes with Ruth, so there's money at stake.

When Naomi asks "who are you" in 3:16, she's really asking "has your status changed?" 

How does it risk the inheritance for the more closely related relative to marry Ruth? (I never got a good answer to that, and I don't get why Naomi didn't just try to hook up Ruth with the other relative who had the better "claim.")

Paloney almoney = "so and so" (the relative with the better claim on Ruth -- and I did my best to hold my tongue about Ruth/woman as property, but was, as usual, told to "remember the setting and time period.")

Onanism -- seed spilling

Hesed - loving kindness, devotion, exceptional love

Momentary vs. long-term care and commitment

I also learned about (at least) two Bible translations -- The Way, which the owner called her "hippie Bible" and The Voice.

Putting these together doesn't really make much sense, but I knew I wanted a post about it and a place to wrap it up for my own future reference.

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