One might wonder why the story of Ruth is in the scriptures. Why the lives of these two people are so important that scripture records it. Did Ruth and Boaz really do something historically significant to Israel? Or is there some hidden meaning to the book?
The book of Ruth tells us how the Messiah would rise again to redeem us on the Day of Firstfruits. How? Ruth is a type of the bride, and Boaz a type of the Messiah. Watch the story unfold to give us a picture of Messiah rising on the day of firstfruits.
RUTH CHAPTER 1
Ruth of Moab commits herself to Naomi
RUTH CHAPTER 2
Ruth meets Boaz and gleans in his fields until Shavuot / Pentecost or shortly thereafter;
- Ruth 2:17 Ruth gathers an ephah of barley. So this would be sometime between Passover and Pentecost.
- Ruth 2:21 Ruth is told to stay close to the young men until "they have completed the whole harvest"
- Ruth 2:23 says, "So she stayed with Boaz's work-women, and gleaned until the barley and wheat harvests were finished."
In chapter 3, we find only barley mentioned as being on the threshing floor. So there's two possibilities;
- It was not yet Pentecost
- Ruth 2:23 is placed at Pentecost or SHORTLY THEREAFTER
One could say that the absence of any mention of wheat means that Ruth chapter 3 is backtracking in time to describe events that happened BEFORE Ruth 2:23. Genesis 2:4-etal backtracks to Gen 1:27, so this does happen in scripture. Not everything can be described so neatly. But if Ruth is perfectly chronological, then the events in Ruth 3 must have been close to Shavuot/Pentecost, simply because there was barley on the threshing floor. It is possible that they brought the wheat into the barns, but had not finished threshing the barley yet, and did not want to get started threshing the wheat until the barley was finished. So Genesis 3:1 could have happened a week or so after Shavuot / Pentecost for all we know, but this isn't likely for reasons we'll see in the next section.
RUTH CH 3
Personally, I would conclude that Ruth 3 is backtracking a little just like it does in Bereshit / Genesis in the account of man's creation. Because Ruth 3 seems to be connecting barley with the events it discusses. Now how does Ruth capture her man? Ruth goes to Boaz while he is sleeping and shames him into redeeming her. She does this in several ways;
- Ruth 3:7 Removing his sandals - There is a ceremony that shames a person via removing his sandals if he refuses to marry his brother's line (See Deuteronomy 25:9)
- Ruth 3:9 Asking him to cover her with his garment. Since Boaz was a Jew, at the corner of his garment should have been tzitzit (Num 15:38). The tzitzit is suppose to remind a Jew of G-d's Word (Num 15:39). God's word commanded a man to redeem a woman in his brother's line. (Dtr 25). So covering Ruth with Boaz's garment would have reminded Boaz that he was obligated by G-d's Torah to redeem Boaz, and if he didn't, he would be put to shame. He'd look at the tzitzit and think of G-d's Word. He'd see Ruth at the same time, and he'd see his uncovered feet and connect the three together reminding him to redeem Ruth.
- Ruth is given 6 measures of barley in her shawl
- Ruth goes back to her mother (in-law).
In Ruth 3:15, Boaz gives her 6 measures of barley in her "covering". (The word "atonement" means "covering".) Why did Boaz give this to her? His reasoning was "Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed". Now if the "mother" represents Jerusalem (Since Galatians 4:26 say "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother"). The Torah forbids people from being empty-handed on the following circumstances:
- The 3 pilgrimage feasts; Dtr 16:16 says that at Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles, no one is to appear empty-handed. This would certainly fit Ruth since she was going to her mother (Jerusalem) at the time.
- Dtr 15:13 - When a slave is set free. This too, would fit Ruth since she was being redeemed by Boaz. This is also seen in Exodus 3:21, when the Israelites left Egypt (land of slavery) far from empty handed.
When Ruth goes to her mother (Jerusalem) with 6 measures of barley in her "covering", her mother tells her Boaz "will not rest until the matter is settled TODAY". She sees that Boaz has ALREADY done what is to be done when a slave is released. So she interprets this as his intent to "free" her. She is certain Boaz will act today, because if it takes a long time, he might have to fill her hands again. Naomi is likely to be reasoning in her mind that Boaz did this to save him the trouble of coming back and doing it again later after he "frees" her. This is why she is certain Boaz will act that same day. Note that Boaz does right after he wakes from "sleep" what the Messiah did right after rising from the dead. So Boaz's sleep is a type of Y'shua's death.
Is there a "Feast connection" in Ruth, as a possible meaning to not leaving empty-handed. Where a feast represents something in the spiritual realm, it will operate under Laws that parallel what it represents. So if a slave is not to go out empty-handed when he is set free, then certainly those ceremonies that represent this will include such a law as well. Note also, that this happened when Israel was redeemed from Egypt and set free from the slavery of Egypt (See Exodus/Shemot 12:35-36).
As to the spiritual parallel, barley is offered on firstfruits, a time when Dtr 16:16 says no one is to appear empty handed in Jerusalem. The death and resurrection of Y'shua (Jesus) is symbolized in Passover and Firstfruits (He died on Passover and Rose Again on Firstfruits) to "cover" our sins. Boaz means "in strength" and G-d tells us in Ex 6:6-7 He redeemed Israel "with an outstretched arm". So I can definitely see the redemption of Boaz and Ruth in Ruth 4 as being a picture of our redemption by the event that happened on Firstfruits - namely, the Resurrection of the Messiah. Also, notice that Boaz redeems Ruth immediately after waking up from his sleep, just as the Messiah redeemed us immediately after rising from the dead.
Could this be a hint towards Shavuot/Pentecost? After all, that was another feast day in which no one was to appear "empty handed"! One might be inclined to think that to some degree since Shavuot/Pentecost was the START of the wheat harvest, but you'd bring the firstfruits of wheat to Jerusalem then and Ruth only had barley in her hands.
Could it be Sukkot (the third holiday to be in Jerusalem)? Maybe, but I just don't see a connection to anything if that's the case.
Boaz said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor." (Ruth 3:14) In the remetz, this was likely a desire to protect her reputation and prevent people from getting the wrong idea of what happened. In the drash, perhaps this is telling us that this aspect of the story should not be interpretted on the drash level. Perhaps this is telling us not to read anything into the drash understanding of Ruth by virtue of the fact that she was on the threshing floor.
What does the "threshing floor" represent? Perhaps when we understand that we would see she is "out of typology" by being on the threshing floor. Both wheat and chaff are put on a threshing floor, but the winnowing fork is used to clear the wheat off and leave the chaff behind. So perhaps Ruth's remaining on the threshing floor messes up the picture here, thus we're given a code to ignore it in the drash.
RUTH CH 4
Ruth 4: Boaz redeems her and is blessed at the gates (see Ruth 4:1)
The Hebrew word for barley (שעורה) is spelled with the same root letters as the word for "gate" (שער) as well as a few other words spelled the same but pronounced slightly differently. Is there a spiritual connection? The Hebrew word for "wheat" is closely related to the word for "sins"/"iniquity". So Boaz handed Ruth barley (also "gates" - the way inside) and not wheat (also sins). What is the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) telling us here? Also, שער is the spelling for each of the following words in Hebrew;
- Gates, entrance
- rate of exchange, cost, market price
- guess, estimate
- suppose, imagine
The word is pronounced differently in some of these cases. For example, "gates" is pronouced "SHA'ar" while "guess" is pronounced "shi-ER" and "hair" is "se'AR". Of these possible meanings, several are connected with Ruth. They are;
- Barley - what Boaz Gave Her
- Gates - where Boaz went ot redeem her
- rate of exchange, cost, market price - Boaz paid a price, in the presence of the public (market place) at the gates.
Barley was the sign of this transaction and what he gave Ruth so she would not go empty-handed. Based on the word-association in Hebrew, maybe it's easy to see how this was a "sign" and hinted that he would go to the gates of the city to pay the price for her and her estate. And why Naomi recognized this.
Ruth 4:6 Note that someone else was not able to redeem Ruth, just as no one else but Y'shua (Jesus) the Messiah is able to redeem us from sin.
Ruth 4:13: They marry
Story of Ruth Redemptive Parallel Boaz wakes from his sleep to redeem Ruth Y'shua rose from the dead to redeem us from sin Boaz fullfills the laws concerning freeing a slave with Ruth Y'shua freed us from the slavery to sin Boaz gave Ruth 6 measures of barley in her covering Y'shua gave us the way (barley spelled same as 'gate') to a covering through His sacrifice Ruth goes to her mother with hands full of barley Israel went to Jerusalem with hands full of barley on Firstfruits (Bikkurim). No one but Boaz could redeem Ruth No one but Y'shua can redeem man from sin.
The Zohar (on B'Midbar 188b) says that chittah (wheat) represents the removal of sin. Why? It gives one line of logic, I'll give another that lets you see this in the language. Sin is "chet" or Chet Tet (+silent Alef), meaning "to miss the mark". By adding a Hey to the end, we make "sin" a feminine thing. Making it feminine makes it incomplete, thus "chittah" represents sin in an incomplete state. In other words, maybe you thought about it, maybe the temptation was there, but you didn't do it. Thus...
- חטה = wheat (feminine)
- חטא = sin (masculine)
At Shavuot, we are suppose to offer the firstfruits of our Chittah (wheat) to G-d. This is what we do physically, but in the spiritual, this is a rehearsal of offering to G-d those sinful thoughts while they are still at an incomplete state. Not doing them. Putting them away instead. This would explain why the Law was given on Shavuot. The Law is to give us knowledge of sin so we wouldn't do it. So maybe spiritually, Shavuot should be a time for us to reflect on what places we are missing the mark, and how can we cut those thoughts short before we let them come to completion.
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