Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Ruth and Boaz, by Eduard Holbein, oil painting, 1830, private collection of Adolf Stern, Berlin
And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son.
— Ruth 4:12-13
Ruth, the unconventional, the foreigner, the convert, marries a man descended from the equally unconventional (and possibly Canaanite) Tamar through her second son, Pharez.1 Two unconventional lines meet to produce Obed, father of Jesse, father of David, God's chosen, beloved king and redeemer of Israel.
Once again the Bible undermines the status quo, expressing in no uncertain terms that it is neither the rich and powerful, nor the obedient traditionalists who are chosen by God, but rather those living on the edge, and flouting the rules. These two women, Tamar and Ruth, ethically compromised, politically destitute, seductresses both are blessed by God to mother the future monarchy of Israel.
It is significant that this is the story of Ruth, not of Boaz, who is merely a secondary character, financial saviour and impregnator—essentially a stud, as was Judah in the story of Tamar. The Davidic line is recorded through its female ancestry, characterised by courage, determination and liberation, and in the case of Ruth, by faith, hope and loving kindness. We'd do well to remember that.
1 The story of Tamar is reflected on in Feminine, 17/01/2021