Perez to David
From the Breaker to the Beloved
Introduction: At 2:24 on the morning of the 10th of September, I was lying in bed, pondering the enormity of what the book of Ruth pictures. I was so overwhelmed with the all that this story details that I actually covered my face and said, “O God, I am so unworthy before you.”
Many views concerning what the book of Ruth is showing us in redemptive history have been given in the past, but none that I know of take into consideration who Elimelech, Mahlon, and Chilion actually picture. Thus, they miss the actual overall significance of what we’re being shown. I will give my thoughts on them and I believe they are correct, but you must decide for yourself after considering the whole.
The story of Ruth is one of five megillah scrolls read each year by observant Jews. It is read at Pentecost. Thus it is particularly intended to picture that time in redemptive history which is known as the church age. It is given to show how Gentiles were brought under the wings of the Lord and how the church will be used to bring the Jewish people back to the Lord.
Text Verse: “God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day.” Romans 11:8
Here He is, tending to the an entire panorama of history which is pictured in a short little book, tucked away in a seemingly remote corner of His word, and yet He has also tended to the individuals in the story as well. In other words, just as they are a part of the story, we are too because we’re in the greater picture being presented.
And so the minute care of the individuals, and the minute care of the greater story, must equate to the same minute care that He dotes on each of us. Ruth and Naomi had to wait until the end to see the results of their story, but we get to see in advance the results of the pictures they’ve made. Things that haven’t happened yet are still known to us.
And so we can trust that because we are a part of that same larger picture, the end will work out just fine for us. I know that if someone were there ready to take my head off for my faith, that this thought would be a huge comfort to me at that time. “He has it all under control and this is just a step I was ordained to take.”
Israel has probably felt like the punching bag of the world for eons, but they won’t always feel that way. Although they don’t know it and haven’t seen the truth of what Ruth pictures, they will someday and then they, like Naomi, will sit contentedly in the presence of their Redeemer, just as she did.
This is a truth that the Bible presents to us and it presents it in types and pictures that have to be drawn out in order to understand their meaning. But the meaning is there and it is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Generations of Perez (verses 18-22)
18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez:
The term “genealogy” is the Hebrew word toledot. It is the same word used for the first time in Genesis 2:4, which said, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” (KJV)
This is the 30th time that a set of genealogies or “generations” has been listed in the Bible. Each comprises either a narration or a list of genealogies which point to God’s work in redemptive history. This word translates over into the Greek word genesis which is used five times in the new Testament, but only once in the same sense from the Old. That time is Matthew 1:1 –
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”
Each generation so far has built upon God’s redemptive plans, showing us the main line leading to Christ, such as Noah, Abraham, etc., and those that branch off of that main line, such as Ishmael, Esau, and so on.
This 30th genealogy in the Bible is that of Perez, the son born to Judah and Tamar. From him, a list of 10 names are given. This is a common form of such generational genealogies. From Adam to Noah, 10 generations are listed. From Shem to Terah who is Abraham’s father, there were 10 generations. Here, from Perez the son of Judah, 10 generations will be listed until King David.
18 (con’t) Perez begot Hezron;
Perez means to Break through, break out, or break open. He is “The Breaker.” Hezron means “Enclosure,” such as being enclosed or surrounded by a wall; like a Village.
19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;
Ram means “High,” or “Exalted.” Amminadab means “My Kinsman Is Noble” or “People of the Prince.”
20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon;
Nahshon means “Enchanter” or a “Serpent-person,” in essence one who foretells. According to Jewish tradition, he was the first man who entered the Red Sea during the Exodus. Therefore, “Nahshon” is used as an appellation of a brave person who goes first in spite of any danger. Salmon means “Garment” or “Clothed.”
21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;
Boaz means “In Strength” or “In Him is Strength,” meaning “in the Lord is Strength.” Obed means “Servant” or “Serving.”
22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
Jesse means “My Husband,” as well as “Jehovah Exists.” As such the name Jesse contains the most profound notion that human marriage reflects divine revelation. That alone should tell us that this story of marriage in the book of Ruth is there to reveal to us a portion of God’s divine revelation. David means “Beloved.”
Although the dating of this list for Perez cannot be determined precisely, it can come close. William Ussher in his book, The Annals of the World, dates the time of Perez to 2236AM and he says that David was born in 2919AM. And so this chronology here spans about 680 years.
Give the king Your judgments,
O God And Your righteousness to the king’s Son
He will judge Your people with righteousness
And Your poor with justice, so it shall be done
The mountains will bring peace under each church steeple
And the little hills, by righteousness
He will bring justice to the poor of the people
The children of the needy He will save and bless
And He will break in pieces the oppressor
They shall indeed always fear
You As long as the sun and moon endure
Throughout all the generations through
II. Wonderful Pictures
The book of Ruth isn’t just a love story, or a story of the redemption of one family in Israel. God doesn’t waste words; nothing is superfluous. Also nothing that is needed is left out. Every story is given to show us pictures of other things. Ruth is just a bit longer than many such pictures.
In the first chapter, six people were named. Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, and Ruth. The names of two specific locations were given as well. Bethlehem in Judah and Moab. The family was identified further as being in Ephrathah Bethlehem. Each name’s meaning was explained.
The story began with the words, “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled.” This then is the time of Israel’s pure theocracy. Eventually, this was replaced by the times of the kings. The people got tired of the way things were and asked for a king. At that time, the Lord said this to Samuel –
“And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.'” 1 Samuel 8:7
This first period is represented by Elimelech, whose name means “God is King” or “My God is King.” Either way, he represents the time from the giving of the Law of Moses, through the time of the judges until the time of the kings. His wife Naomi represents the Israelite people. Her name means “Pleasantness of the Lord, a perfect name for the people He called as His own.
The two sons then represent the two kingdoms. The first is that of the northern kingdom known as Israel, represented by Chilion. His name means “Wasting Away” and it perfectly describes what happened to these people. They were exiled by Sennacharib, King of Assyria in 722BC and simply wasted away as a kingdom.
Malon, whose name means “Man of Weakness” or “Great Weakness,” represents the southern kingdom known as Judah. They were the bearers of the law, something actually termed as weak by Paul in Romans 8:3. And again in Hebrews 7:18, it says this about the law –
“For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness…” Hebrew 7:18
This then is a story of the people of Israel throughout their history, represented by Naomi who is the only character consistently noted from the beginning to the end of the book. Even though I showed that the movement of Elimelech and his family from Israel couldn’t be considered disobedience, the picture it makes is just the opposite. It reflects the continuous disobedience of the people of Israel.
Throughout their history, the biblical record shows that they incessantly disobeyed God’s commandments and also joined themselves to foreigners in their rebellion against Him. Thus they suffered exile. In their exiles the theocracy and the kingdoms died.
First, Chilion, representing the northern tribes, married off to the world and died as a kingdom. The people turned away, just as did Orpah, whose name means “Back of the Neck.” They turned away from their religion and their homeland. They were married off to foreigners and the kingdom ended.
I explained that Chilion was the elder of the two, but that doesn’t seem to make sense. Didn’t the southern kingdom come first? The answer is “no.” There is a king who is overlooked by almost everyone, and yet he is identified as a king at the same time as King David. Going to 2 Samuel 2, we read this –
“Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.” 2 Samuel 2:10, 11
The kingdom of Judah came after Saul and during the time of Ishbosheth. This is important later in the story of Ruth. Mahlon, the younger son picturing the younger southern kingdom of Judah, returned after their exile, but only through the Gentiles pictured by Ruth. They were subject to Gentile rule from this point on.
They were no longer a kingdom and thus Malon died. The kingdom ended. However, Gentiles clung to them, just as Ruth clung to Naomi. The Edomites, for example, were assimilated into the Jewish people in 129 BC under the rule of John Hyrcanus. Even the New Testament notes such Gentiles, particularly Roman centurions, but others as well who clung to Israel.
The order is exact. First Elimelech died. He departed while the sons remained. Then the two sons died, but Naomi lived on. Naomi, whom it is agreed reflects the people of Israel, and Ruth whom it is agreed reflects the Gentiles, were being prepared for redemption and it would occur in the land of Israel.
The time that Naomi was said to be in Moab while everything happened was “about 10 years.” This number 10, according to EW Bullinger “…signifies the perfection of Divine order. … It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.” The cycle was complete and it was time for a new direction.
When Naomi was about to return to Israel, she said to her daughters in law “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.” (1:8) When she said that, the word for “dead” was hammetim. It was plural, not singular. All three entities were dead.
God was about to do a new thing. The time of the weak kingdoms, which were ineffective, had ended. But the line had been preserved, even though the kingship was dead. In Jeremiah 22:24, this is recorded, thus ending Judah’s kingship – “As I live,” says the Lord, ‘though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off.'”
It was this king who was carried away exile to Babylon, thus the kingly line was cut off. In his place, a puppet king, Zedekiah, was installed and he too was eventually removed, the temple was destroyed, and Judah went into exile.
It seemed as if that was the end of the story and that the promise of an everlasting kingship to David had failed, but later in Haggai 2:23, God made a promise to Zerubabbel that someday the kingly line would be restored through him. It would be someone who would come, destroy the Gentile nations, and reestablish Israel’s kingship under a true theocracy once again. Here is that verse –
“‘In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘I will take you, Zerubbabel
My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the Lord,
‘and will make you like a signet ring;
for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord of hosts.'” Haggai 2:23
The signet was promised to be reestablished through him. His name means, “Seed of Babylon.” He is the link between the genealogies listed in Matthew and Luke. Those records went in different directions at David, one through his son Solomon and one through his son Nathan, but they reunited in Zerubbabel. The line would continue until the fullness of time would come and Christ would be born.
It is at this time that the story says that Namoi heard that “the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” The word for “visited” indicates a divine superintendence over the affairs that were occurring. Bread has come to Bethlehem. Jesus, the Bread of Life has arrived.
Upon their return, Naomi said that she wished to be called Mara, not Naomi. She is Bitterness from the Almighty, not Pleasantness of the Lord. Though the name isn’t used again, indicating that she is still Pleasantness of the Lord to the Lord, this state of bitterness remained for her until the final part of the drama was realized.
At this time, Boaz enters the picture, which was at the beginning of Chapter 2. His name means “In Him is strength.” Where Malon, picturing the law, was weak, He pictures Christ who comes in the strength of the Lord. It is His genealogies which are reunited in Zerubbabel. He is the one who will bring back a theocratic kingdom. He is introduced “at the time of the barley harvest.”
Barley, as I explained, is the crop of hairy ears. It signifies awareness. In this case, the time of spiritual awareness has arrived.
This is at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits, both fulfilled in the work of Christ. He is our Passover Lamb and He is the Firstborn from the dead.
Ruth is an insert story. A story which really occurred in redemptive history at the time of the judges, but it pictures much of redemptive history. Ruth 2 & 3 are an insert into the insert story. What does that mean? To answer, one needs to remember that Boaz showed up at the time of the Barley harvest.
However, it says at the end of chapter 2 that, “Ruth stayed close by the young women of Boaz, to glean until the end of barley harvest and wheat harvest.” First there is the barley harvest, Christ. Then there is the wheat harvest which pictures the church age. This is symbolized by Pentecost, which is 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It is when the Holy Spirit came to dwell among men.
Because it says that Ruth remained in Boaz’ fields through both the barley and wheat harvests, it is speaking of the entire church age. But, the events of chapter 2, pictured Christ’s passion. We saw this in the meal with the bread, the sour wine, and the parched grain.
Again, in chapter 3, it said “Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.” This then isn’t chronological. The wheat harvest comes after the Barley harvest even though the end of chapter 2 mentioned that Ruth remained in Boaz’ field’s throughout both harvests, barley and wheat.
In other words, the events of chapter 2, chapter 3, and even a portion of chapter 4 are all an insert, leading to the final events of chapter 4. Christ suffered his passion in chapter 2 and the Gentiles joined him in this, receiving His work and asking to be brought under His redemptive care in chapter 3.
Before that happened, Ruth had attempted to step back from the picture and let Naomi be the one to unite with Boaz. However, this was not the plan. The redemption had to come through Ruth. This is why the Author identified Ruth as a Moabitess four separate times in Chapter 2, but never once in chapter 3.
The plan of redemption means that our foreign status is never considered. With Christ’s work finished, we are no longer strangers. Only in chapter 4 is Ruth again tied to Moab. This is done three times to show that it is through the Christ of the church that God would actually redeem Naomi; the people of Israel.
And that then brings us to the symbolism of Chapter 4 after that insert. Ruth had asked to come under the wings of Boaz in chapter 3. However, Boaz let her know that there was a closer redeemer. And so Boaz had to go to the gates of the city, the place where legal matters are settled to first to straighten out that matter.
This pictures a most unusual encounter which is found in the book of John. There in John 12, it says this –
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.'” John 12:20-24
Before He could be our Redeemer, He had to prove He was qualified where no one else could qualify. He had to die in fulfillment of the law in order for the Gentiles to come under His wings. Everything had to be fulfilled in a particular order, one thing leading to another.
And so as Boaz went to the gate of Bethlehem, Christ went to the cross. The word for gate is shaar. It is the same word used for example in Genesis 28:17 when speaking of the Gate of heaven when Jacob said this –
And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
In that Genesis sermon, we saw that the gate pictured the work of Christ. The same is true here. The place of heaven’s judgment is being pictured. There at the gate Boaz awaits the closer goel. When he shows up, he isn’t identified by name. Instead a term is used which conceals who he is while revealing his nature.
When called, ten witnesses are brought in. Who are these ten witnesses? They are the Ten Commandments, the representatives of the entire Law of Moses. They are what witness to the standards of God.
The nearer goel is given the details concerning “Naomi who has come back from the country of Moab.” In other words, the people of Israel. They have an inheritance that is in need of redemption. They have no theocracy and no kingdom. To this unnamed goel, the right to redeem is offered. Who is he? He is man under law.
He is any man who is under the Law. In other words, any Israelite male living under the law. Why is he a closer relative to Naomi? Because he is born of a father and a mother of Israel and thus a complete blood relative. Christ is also a near kinsman, but he is only related through the mother. Therefore, any man under law who can meet the demands of the law, has the right to redeem.
Boaz explains his right to him and he agrees to redeem. However, Boaz then throws in the fact that Ruth is a Gentile wife of Mahlon and he must marry her to raise up a son for the name of the dead. With this the redeemer resigns his rights. Why?
The answer is that even if he thought he could keep the law perfectly, as the young man who came to Jesus did, there was more involved than he realized. Jesus highlighted this to him. He is noted in all three of the synoptic gospels. Luke records it this way –
“And he said, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth.’
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
Truly, no one can meet the full measure of God’s law. Thus Israel was given grace once a year on the Day of Atonement. Where they failed under the law, if they confessed, they were forgiven. Thus the law was fulfilled on an individual basis through the death of a substitute.
All failed and all either confessed or they were not forgiven. They were considered free from guilt because of this wonderful provision of grace which came year by year. In the case of the man at the gates with Boaz, he was told that he would have to acquire Ruth. She is a Gentile. And the law anticipated that Gentiles would be brought into the commonwealth of Israel.
This is noted throughout the entire Old Testament, and even in the law itself. First, in Isaiah 49:6 it says this –
“Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Isaiah 49:6
In Romans 15, Paul cites the law in Deuteronomy to also show that this is true. There in Deuteronomy 32:43, it says –
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
Man under law, the nearer goel, had the grace of God extended to him on the Day of Atonement, but that went no further. He could not redeem the Gentiles. The ten witnesses, the Ten Commandments – representing the law, testified against him.
Only one who had perfectly fulfilled the law could redeem the land, qualify to marry Ruth, and raise up a son in the name of the dead husband, representing the dead kingship of Judah. And only this person could also redeem the Gentiles. Only Jesus qualifies. Only He was born under the law, but without Adam’s inherited sin.
Only He is known to be in the kingly line which descends from both Nathan and Solomon as testified through His genealogies which meet at Zerubbabel. Only He fulfilled the law as testified by the gospel records. Only He gave His life in fulfillment of that same law. And therefore, only He is able to redeem. No other person could in the past, and no other person will ever be able to. Only Jesus Christ is qualified.
The nearer goel, Man under Law, realized this and thus he plucked off his sandal and handed it Boaz, to Him in Whom is Strength, and in picture – to Christ. In that act, he gave up any future claim to redeem and faded out of history.
We need to remember here what Naomi said to Ruth after the night at the threshing floor. In 3:18 she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”
While visiting the church during that Genesis 3 sermon, my friend Sergio was checking the Hebrew and Greek of each passage. At the end of that sermon, he came to me and noted that the word Naomi used for “finish” is the Hebrew word kalah. It is the same word used in Genesis 2:1, 2 which says –
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”
This same word used by Naomi is translated in the Greek Old Testament as teleo, which not coincidentally, is the last word Jesus uttered on the cross as is recorded in John 19:30 –
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (Tetelestai/Teleo) John19:30
The rest which Ruth looked for, the rest that Naomi looked for, and the rest which man has looked for since his fall, it is the same rest which became available to man at the death of Christ on the cross. The Lord finished His work and offered that rest to man.
Man lost that offer at the fall and has sought it out ever since. Christ, through His satisfaction of the law, has restored that opportunity to enter God’s rest once again. In Him, it is finished – once and forever.
Not too long ago, I went to a synagogue to observe their Shabbat service in respect to a friend that was killed. After leaving, the Jewish man that drove me back home told me, “The rabbi of the synagogue perfectly fulfills the 613 laws of the Torah.”
How sad it is that they believe this. There is no man other than Christ who ever did or who ever could. There is no longer a Day of Atonement either. That was fulfilled in Christ. If this is not true, then no person is saved or ever will be saved.
He is our Atonement and apart from Him there is only separation from God. We all must take off our sandal and acknowledge that we have no right to step into His place. The ground where He stands truly is holy. Thus after ceding his right to redeem, the unknown goel is dropped from history, never to be mentioned again. The law is fulfilled and annulled. It is finished.
It is obsolete; it has expired. The law can no longer provide the grace it once did on the Day of Atonement. It is a heresy to claim that the Day of Atonement is yet to be fulfilled. It is finished. And so Boaz makes the statement –
“You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.” Ruth 4:9, 10
The word for “dead” here is not plural though like it was in verse 1:8 when Naomi spoke to her daughters in law. It is singular. All are one and all have been acquired in one great act by Christ. Elimelech, the theocracy; Chilion, the older brother and the first kingdom; Mahlon, the younger brother and the second kingdom; and Ruth, the Gentile people – are all His.
What this means is that even the Orpah’s of the world can be redeemed through Christ. He, in one act, redeemed all people for Himself and all rights to the kingdoms of both Israel and Judah, along with the theocratic rule of Elimelech. In other words, Christ is Lord. He is Jehovah incarnate.
Ruth, the Gentile who has come under His wings will be His wife to raise up the name of the dead – all of the dead mentioned. But this leaves the seemingly odd point from the previous sermon about the child born to them, Obed, being Naomi’s redeemer.
Obed the Servant is introduced and Boaz just as suddenly leaves the picture. Obed is Christ, the Servant. Just as numerous children were born and who pictured Christ at their birth – Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Benjamin, Perez, and others, Obed now fills this role. He is the Servant that Isaiah speaks of many times and the one Paul tells us about in Romans 15:8, 9 –
“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
‘For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.'” Romans 15:8, 9
This is the reason why Obed was named by the women of Israel and why they exclaimed, “… may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.”
After the church age, Israel will be restored to life. This is depicted in placing Obed in Naomi’s bosom. After all the years of separation and bitterness, Naomi will be redeemed through the child, and Israel will be redeemed through the Servant. Thus, it is an implicit reference to the fact that the law is fulfilled and that this child, Christ, is the embodiment of the law.
This is actually seen in the book of Revelation. During the coming tribulation period, Israel will call on Christ and will be saved in and through this time of trial. There in Revelation, it says this –
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.” Revelation 12:14
Just as the women prophesied over Naomi that the child would be a nourisher of Naomi’s old age, so Christ will nourish the redeemed of Israel through the tribulation period and into the kingdom age to come. The pattern is exact and we have been shown in advance of its coming.
And this truth was anticipated in the six measures of barley that passed from Ruth to Naomi, from a Gentile to a Jew in chapter 3. It came from Boaz, picturing Christ, it went through Ruth, picturing the Gentiles, and it was received by Naomi, picturing the bitter Jewish people, awaiting their redemption.
As we saw and as the Bible shows us, despite his intentions to be betrothed to the church, Christ has still maintained compassion for, and a desire to support, Israel until they receive Him as their rightful Redeemer and their King.
It is through the same grace which saved and established the church that the remnant of Israel will be saved, not through the law. Paul explains this in Romans 10:4, where he says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
We see in this picture that the church was redeemed first through Christ and only afterward will national Israel be redeemed. This is the order which Paul meticulously explains in Romans 9-11 and which also was pictured in the stories of Joseph’s life back in Genesis. It is also mentioned by the prophet Micah –
“Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;
5 And this One shall be peace.” Micah 5:3-5
This prophecy from Micah is speaking not of just the time after the Babylonian exile, but of the time after the Roman exile. We know this because only after Ruth becomes Boaz’ wife and after the time of the entire harvest season does Messiah, the greater David rule.
Christ came the first time to serve and to suffer. He will come again to rule and reign. And this is why the narrative closes out with the name of David followed immediately by his genealogy. First, it says, “‘There is a son born to Naomi.’ And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”
This is given to show the record leading up to David, who is the next major figure to picture Christ in the Bible. His life will anticipate the great coming King who will unite Israel under one eternal kingdom, who will shepherd His people, who will root out every form of wickedness, and whose throne will be established in righteousness.
David is noted here at the end of Ruth because of God’s promises to him which are recorded in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 –
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’”
Christ is at this time the Lord of the Gentile church, but he is not yet reigning on His throne from Jerusalem and amidst His people Israel. However, from the look of things, it seems like that is coming soon.
Finally, the book of Ruth closes out with the ten generations from Perez to David. It almost seems like an afterthought and most scholars say it was added later and has no bearing on the narrative. But this is the furthest thing from the truth. If your commentary says that, put a big fat “X” through it… make it a red one for emphasis. This genealogy is an integral part of the book of Ruth and is given for several important reasons.
The first is that there is a requirement under the law which says, “One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:2
One of illegitimate birth is excluded until the tenth generation. Again, the law says, “None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord. 7 The nakedness of your father or the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover.” Leviticus 18:6, 7
Even though Perez was born before the law, his birth was still considered illegitimate under the law. And so David’s right to rule could be considered invalid. Therefore, the genealogy is given to show that he is in fact the 10th generation from that illegitimate union between Judah and Tamar recorded Genesis 38. Thus David is made known to be qualified to enter the assembly.
Likewise the law says this in Leviticus 18:11 – “The nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, begotten by your father—she is your sister—you shall not uncover her nakedness.” Abraham was married to his sister, Sarah, the daughter of his father. Boaz is recorded as the tenth generation from Abraham and therefore David is qualified in this regard as well.
Thirdly, this genealogy bears an unusual stamp that has been missing since before the fall of man. As I said earlier, the word for “genealogy” or “generations” is toledot. The first time the word was used was in Genesis 2:4 – “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,…” (KJV)
The word toledot in Genesis 2:4 was prior to the fall of man. Its spelling was tav, vav dalet, lamed, vav, tav. In other words, there are 2 vavs in the spelling. The next time the word was used was in Genesis 5:1, after the fall of man, and was spelled with one vav. The second vav fell out of the word just as man fell in the garden.
Vav is the sixth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet and it is pictured by a tent peg. The number 6 in the Bible represents “man” such as man being created on the 6th day. So you see “fallen man” is what’s being relayed. The second vav fell out of the word, just as the man fell from grace.
The word toledot is used 39 times throughout the Old Testament in various places when referring to different groups of people, but it is never spelled with two vavs again until this genealogy at the end of Ruth. In every occurrence between Genesis and Ruth, and those after Ruth, one or both of the vavs is missing.
But in this genealogy, the lineage of King David is given and the second vav is restored. Up until then, God was working through various people and various covenants. These were to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The final covenant is to David.
As I said at the beginning of this sermon, this is the 30th time that the word “toledot” is used in the Bible. As always, when considering a number, I go to Bullinger’s work to see what he says about that number. He says that 30 “…being 3 x 10, denotes in a higher degree the perfection of Divine order, as marking the right moment.”
And doesn’t that fit perfectly? The 30th instance of the word is the right moment for the vav to be reinstated into the line leading to Christ. David is the final peg in the line of covenants prior to Christ’s coming. At this time, the second vav is reintroduced to the word toledot to indicate that the restoration of fallen man would come through the line of David.
In all, these are the only two times in the whole Bible that the word toledot is spelled with two vav’s. Thus they should form both a contrast and a confirmation. In contrast, one was before the fall of man, the other was after it.
In one, man had no knowledge of good and evil; after it, he possessed it. In one, there was no need of a Redeemer; in the other there was such a need. In the first, man was destined to live forever; in the second man was destined to die.
In other words, everything that was possessed before the fall is in contrast to that after the fall. However, in confirmation of the two, they show that God has a plan and that it is being worked out. What was lost will be restored.
The Lord that was seen in the Garden is anticipated in the restored earth. Man was whole and man will be made whole again. It is all seen in this obscure word hidden in this genealogy of Perez through David.
The 39 toledots in the Bible correspond to the 39 books of the Old Testament. It is as if they are anticipating the coming Christ and His work. The fortieth such generation is the one in Matthew. To understand the significance of the number 40 we go again to Bullinger –
He says that 40 is associated “with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8).”
In Christ, the time of trial and chastisement has ended. In Christ there is grace, revival, and renewal. If you are born again through Him, you are no longer fallen, but complete and alive forevermore. The likeness of God that was given at the creation was lost, but that likeness is restored in us when we call on Jesus as our Savior.
That’s what these little hidden things in the Bible are telling us. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 15:48, 49 –
As was the man of dust (that’s Adam – the fallen man, the man without the tav), so also are those who are made of dust (there is something missing); and as is the heavenly Man (full and complete), so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust (fallen and earthly), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man (restored and complete). 1 Corinthians 15:48, 49 (Charlie Garrett’s parenthetical inserts.)
Forth, the ten names of this genealogy, make a picture of the work of Christ to come. They are Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. Translated, they say, “Break Through, Enclosure, Exalted, My Kinsman is Nobel, Enchanter, Clothed, In Him is Strength, Servant, My Husband, Beloved”
Obviously we have to insert our connectors to these names, and without trying to stretch it too far, it would then say, “The One who broke through death is exalted, He is my noble Kinsman, the foreseer, clothed in the strength of the Lord, a Servant is my husband, beloved.” It is a picture of the work of the Lord Jesus.
And a fifth reason for this genealogy goes back to the story of Judah and Tamar. In that story, Tamar received the pledge of Judah which consisted of his signet, cord, and staff. The Hebrew term was eravon, a guarantee or a deposit. That deposit belonged to Tamar until it was returned to Judah.
That pictured the church age as we saw then. This genealogy and the story of Ruth takes us from the church age through to the return of the people of Israel and the time of the Kingdom age. The placing of Obed in Naomi’s lap pictures the redemption of Israel of the future, after the church age. This then is looking forward to the tribulation and then the millennial reign of Christ.
And so the genealogy is taking us from Perez, the Breaker of death, all the way through to David, the Beloved King on His throne – each picturing Christ – from advent to advent. The interim period is the church age. There are probably other reasons for this genealogy, but those are the five points that I gleaned from it.
Thus ends the book of Ruth and the beautiful story of redemption of both Jew and Gentile by the work of Christ. Unfortunately, in order to keep this to a manageable length, a lot of details were skipped over, but there is one that I’d like to share before we close.
In the first Ruth sermon, I mentioned a series of gender discords in the book. In the first chapter, there were nine of them. Seven were spoken by Naomi and two by the Author of the book. Then there is another in relation to Boaz where a word was used to describe him in the masculine once and in the feminine once.
Finally, there is one in chapter 4. Nobody has ever been sure of why they are there and many speculations have been given. However, after much thought and loss of sleep, I believe there may be an answer. These are the discords that are recorded:
In 1:8-13 the two daughters-in-law are referred to by Naomi in the masculine five times. In those same verses, Naomi refers to her sons in the feminine twice. Then in 1:19-22 the Author refers to Naomi and Ruth as they travel from Moab to Bethlehem twice in the masculine. In 4:22, Rachel and Leah, the wives of Jacob are referred to in the masculine.
The reason for these discords, I believe, can be seen when compared to who the people picture. The sons of Naomi picture the two kingdoms. Therefore, any future sons ostensibly born to replace them would also picture kingdoms. The word “kingdom” in the Bible is a feminine word malakhut, and therefore, the sons are spoken of in the feminine.
Naomi pictures the people of Israel. Ruth pictures the Gentiles uniting with the Lord God of Israel. Orpah pictures the Gentiles of the world not yet united to Christ. Leah represents the people under the law, as we saw many times during her life, and Rachel pictures those under grace, again as we saw many times.
In the Bible, people groups are always referred to in the masculine – such as goyim – “Gentiles,” or anashim – “peoples.” This then is why those gender discords are listed in the book of Ruth. It is referring to those bodies or groups of people whom they represent. This fits the picture and it gives an explanation, a reasonable explanation, for those instances of gender discord.
The other gender discord was in the words used to describe Boaz. In 2:1 it was masculine and in 3:2 it was feminine. I explained what I believe was the reason for that gender discord in detail when we did that sermon.
In these instances of gender discord, one has to assume that the pictures I’ve presented are correct and that the plan of redemption shown in Ruth is as I’ve described. They would also have to acknowledge that the dispensational model of history is valid. I believe all of these are sound. But each of us is accountable for what we accept. To me, I firmly believe that God still has a plan for Israel.
No other view of the Bible makes sense without violating Scripture to such a point that anything can mean anything. God is ever faithful and true, even to His unfaithful people whom He has called. He loves them. And He loves us as well, even enough to allow us to make our own choices.
The greatest choice of all, and the choice that will mark our eternal destiny, is what we will do about Jesus Christ. In the end, this wonderful book He has given us is all about Him. If you’ve never understood the plain and simple message of salvation, please give me another minute to share it with you…
Closing Verse: And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 2
7 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins. Romans 11:26, 27
Next Week: Exodus 1:1-14 (Bitterness and Bondage in the Land of Egypt) (1st Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. He knows your trials, troubles, and woes and He is there with you through them. So cling to Him and let Him do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Generations of Pere
Now this is the genealogy of Perez:
It is listed as follows, just as the Bible sez
Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram next
And Ram begot Amminadab, so says the text
After that Amminadab begot Nahshon, as the Bible so relates
And Nahshon begot Salmon, telling us names but no dates
Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed
Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David
These are the generations which are found in Ruth
And they are carefully placed here for us to learn
They show us glorious things and reveal deep truth
And knowing their meaning should make our hearts yearn
Some glorious day, we will be raptured out of here
We will be in the presence of our wondrous Lord
And shortly afterword purified Israel will shout and cheer
When Christ returns to them, so says the Word
And we have it all laid out before us
Here in detail in the Bible’s pages
All of it pointing to our Lord Jesus
The plan of redemption for all peoples and all ages
Hallelujah to our great Lord and our King!
Hallelujah, let us rejoice and to Him make noise and sing!
Hallelujah and Amen…