Taylor Husband –9
14 October 2014
Discussion Question 3:
The expression of hesed in the book of Ruth
The book of Ruth is a story of redemption and loyalty or hesed. Hesed is a special kind of loyalty that can be shown to one another, but also “envelops all the far-reaching implications of Yahweh’s loyalty to His covenant”. In the story, Ruth showed loyalty to her mother-in-law Naomi who was distraught by the death of her husband. Ruth then tells Naomi that no matter where Naomi goes, Ruth will go, (Ru. 1:1-17). Similar to Ruth, Boaz shows hesed to others by being kind to Ruth who is just a servant. Shortly after, Boaz wishes to marry her so that the deceased husbands’ name will not disappear (4:10) and so that they can conceive and Naomi will no longer be overwhelmed with feelings of emptiness, (4:15-16). The child that Ruth bears is labeled as a “God-granted redeemer who renews her life and will sustain Naomi in her old-age.” This is an example of how hesed is expressed in the book of Ruth since “hesed to one another is among the most fitting vehicles God can use to display his own hesed.” Ultimately, hesed is a term that can also be translated to “mercy” or “lovingkindness” which is exactly how God demonstrates the term in the book of Ruth. Although Naomi’s daughters-in-law were widowed, God showed love and mercy to them by blessing them with another husband, such as providing Boaz to Ruth. The term goel describes this example and shows God’s hesed towards His people and how if there were “jeopardized covenant blessings” that they could be regained. Another example of God extending His hesed to His people is in chapter 1 verse 6 when He promises “the restoration of sinful Israel from famine and death to grain and life.” Therefore, hesed not only shows God’s unfailing love and loyalty to the people of His covenant, but is also shown towards one another through Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.
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