From Ruth Chapter 1 in Sunday’s liturgy: “But Ruth said, “Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
The short story of Ruth is celebrated by Jews and Christians alike as one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible. It is an important story of respect, loyalty and faithfulness between people–in spite of their differences in race and religion.
In fact, it is the acceptance of these differences–the trust and reciprocal loyalty and kindness between Jew and non-Jew–that creates the primary role of the story in both the Jewish and Christian Bibles. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the union of Ruth the non-Jew and Boaz the Jew continues a synthesis of genealogy from Abraham the Jewish patriarch, to King David, to Jesus.
In this story, an outsider, a Moabitess (a non-Jew), is a widow and marries the Jew Boaz from the tribe of Judah. Their son Obed is the grandfather of David, the Jews’ greatest king, who, in turn, is the ancestor of Christianity’s Anointed One. Ruth’s loyalty, her acceptance of and responsibility for family and faith has put Ruth as a central figure in the Judeo-Christian legacy.
Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez . . . begot . . . (5) Salmon begot Boaz by Rehab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king . . . begot . . . begot . . . begot . . . Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
Trivia question: How many begots are there between Matthew 1:1 and Matthew 1:17?