The Genealogy of David

4: 18-22

DIG: Why do you think the story of Ruth concludes with a genealogy of David? What would someone reading this genealogy of David’s roots have to conclude about the righteousness of Ruth and Bo’az.

REFLECT: Who is in control of your life? As you look back on the story of Ruth, you can see that God was in control the whole time. Have you let God take the steering wheel of your life? Or are you holding on? What did Ruth do? What are you going to do? What is the most important lesson in the book of Ruth for you?

The genealogy provides a fitting end to the story because it adds a striking significance to the narrative, for that resolution has meaning not only by virtue of all that was discussed in the epilogue, but also by virtue of the fact that it provided an integral link in the family line that led two generation later to David.105 At the end of the book we discover that ADONAI has throughout the whole book been pursuing bigger plans than bringing two worthy people together. What looked like a simple story of personal emptiness filled and personal needs met turns out to be YHVH’s way of meeting a far greater need. The story that opened with the statement: Back in the days of the judging of the judges (1:1a CJB), closes with the genealogy of Isra’el’s most famous king: Jesse was David's father (4:22b).106

Here we are given ten generations: It seems likely that the genealogy is somewhat compressed, with certain names being omitted because the span of 640 years lists only ten names. The material found in this genealogy is also found in First Chronicles 2, but in a slightly different form. In the ancient world genealogies represented an efficient and economical way of writing history.107

First, then, is the family line of Perez: The narrator starts with Perez because he was the founder of that family within the tribe of Judah of which Bo’az belonged as did Elimelek. Perez was the son of Judah through Tamar (see the commentary on Genesis Jf – Tamar Gave Birth to Twin Boys, She Named them Perez and Zerah).

Second, Perez was the father of Hezron (4:18): Apparently he was born in Canaan since Genesis 46:12 lists him among those who migrated with Jacob to Egypt. The Hezronite clan in Numbers 26:21 is named for and presumably descends from him.

Third, Hezron the father of Ram, also mentioned in Second Chronicles 2:9. He was probably the second born to Hezron (First Chronicles 2:9 and 25; Matthew 1:4, Luke 3:33). Beyond that, his only distinction in his being the father of Amminadab, about whom slightly more is known.

Fourth, Ram the father of Amminadab (4:19), he was the father-in-law of Aaron who married his daughter Elisheba in Exodus 6:23 and the father of the very notable Nahshon.

Fifth, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, he was a leader of the tribe of Y’hudah during the time of Moshe (Exodus 6:23; Numbers 1:7, 2:3, 7:12 and 17, 10:14; Second Chronicles 2:10).

Sixth, Nahshon the father of Salmon (4:20), Second Chronicles 2:10-11, also spelled Salma in Second Chronicles 2:51 and 54. He’s the one who married Rahab in Matthew 1:5, and therefore contributed to the conquest of the Land and settled in Beit-Lehem. However, Rahab lived in Joshua’s time, about 250-300 year earlier. Therefore, Rahab was probably Bo’az’s “mother” in the sense that she was his ancestress (like when the Jews say, “our father Abraham”).

Seventh, Salmon the father of Bo’az, it is no accident that Bo’az is the seventh ancestor named. Ancient genealogical practice reserved that spot for the ancestor of special honor and importance. This placement implies a link between Bo’az, the hero of the story, and Bo’az, the revered ancestor of David. In effect, it accords him special heroic honors for rescuing a faltering family line from extinction.108

Eighth, Bo’az the father of Obed (4:21),

Ninth, Obed the father of Jesse, Jesse’s greatest legacy, of course, was David.

and tenth, Jesse the father of David (4:22). The books of Samuel never provide a genealogy for David, but we see it here in the book of Ruth. So Ruth serves as a genealogical link between the books of Joshua and Judges and First and Second Samuel.109

Therefore, the descent of the great king and poet in Isra’el is traced to Moabite ancestry. But according to Deuteronomy 23:3, no Moabite or any of his or her descendants for ten generations could enter the assembly of YHVH to worship or to serve God. David was a third-generation descendent of a Moabite, yet he became king of Isra’el, built an altar, and sacrificed to ADONAI (Second Samuel 24:24)! The Torah is always binding, by Yeshua pointed out that human need sometimes transcend Torah. He appealed to the fact that David ate the showbread that was only for the priests and that the priests made bread on Shabbat for the Temple (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Cv - The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath).

The book or Ruth shows that Torah is not to be played with. Elimelek left the Land of Promise and consequently lost his life. His sons died as well. But the book also demonstrates that the LORD can make exceptions. That’s what makes Him God! Here, there is an exception based on faith and loyalty to ADONAI. Ruth, the Moabitess, demonstrated faith and covenant loyalty to YHVH. The prohibition against Moabite participation in the assembly of Ha’Shem was superseded by the principle of faith.

The Rabbis, recalling David’s conquest and suppression of the children of Mo’av (Second Samuel 8:2), were led to quote the proverb, “From the very forest itself comes the handle of the axe that fells it.” Tradition ascribes to Ruth unusual longevity. She died, says a Midrashic comment, until after beholding her royal descendant Solomon sitting and judging the case of the prostitutes (First Kings 3:16-28).

If you remember, the first requirement of a kinsman-redeemer was to be a blood relative (see Aq – Ruth Gleans in the Field of Bo’az). Now Na’omi had a [blood] relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Bo’az (2:1). Jesus was a blood relative of humanity in general (John 1:14; Philippians 2:1-11), but He was particularly a blood relative of the Jewish people (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ai – The Genealogies of Joseph and Mary).

Everything leads up, in the last instance, to David, and so the whole purpose of the book is achieved in the final verse and final word of this chapter. Considering Judah’s irresponsibility (Genesis 38), the perilous intervening centuries, and Ruth’s unlikely prospects of finding a husband in Judah, that David was born at all attests to the providence of God. Further, Saul’s cruel vengeance (First Samuel 18 to 28), and David’s ascent to power provided weighty corroborating evidence. God is, indeed, King.110 Therefore, in the dark days of the judges, the foundation was laid for the line that would produce the Savior, the Messiah, the Redeemer for a lost and spiritually destitute humanity; so redemption could be offered and heaven’s door opened to all who choose to follow the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, as Savior and Lord. Ruth’s faith is an example showing that God accepts Gentiles who put their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Merely knowing about the offer of God is not enough. Faith choose to follow God’s redemption offer. Without faith it is impossible to Please God (Hebrews 11:6). YHVH in His wisdom choose to include the story of Ruth in the Holy Scriptures, thereby giving evidence to the Gentiles that they too may enter His heaven (if they have faith) not just knowledge about - but a faith that trusts.


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