In the last post on Ruth we completed the first chapter in the book. This took us up to the point where Ruth and Naomi had arrived in Bethlehem. They had been greeted excitedly by many townspeople that had missed Naomi since she had left with her family about 10 years prior. Noami shared with them the loss of her husband, her sons, and introduced them to Ruth. Naomi also expressed her distress and grief due to these losses. She told them how she felt God had "opposed" her or "testified against" her.
This brings us to chapter 2. Before we dig into the first few verses of this chapter (which we'll do in the next post), I think it might be helpful to take a brief look at the culture of the time. Before I even started posting on Ruth a couple of months ago, I did write a post about the culture. However, these are some items that I don't believe were included in that post and that will be particularly insightful as we begin chapter 2.
~ If a woman was single she belonged to her father. If she was married she belonged to her husband. While we find the word "belonged" to be a negative in our culture today, this is what they believed at that time. A little further look into this, though, does show some wisdom. Most unmarried females were fourteen or younger, so we can obviously see the need for supervision at such a young age. Women at that time were also much more vulnerable to rape and assault than we are today as they did not have doors that locked and jails to house criminals.
~ Commerce revolved around agriculture.
~ There was no organized welfare system.
~ Men and women were segregated in their work.
~ Harvesting was a big job! The grain was harvested, then bundled into sheaves, and gathered into barns. Then there was threshing (done by beating with sticks or laying them out on floors for the livestock to tromp) followed by the winnowing (separating the grain from the lighter parts).
My next post on Ruth will be from Ruth 2:1-7. We'll begin to see how God was way ahead of Ruth and Naomi and how obvious it was that He was guiding them and directing their path from the very beginning. There are also some great insights to God's plan that we all care for those that are less fortunate than ourselves.
Can't wait to meet you back here next Monday for more from the book of Ruth!