Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Naomi's Provision

Feast of St. Bartholomew

Daily Readings
Psalm 118 + Ruth 3 + I Chronicles 17 + Jeremiah 12

Quote of the Day
And you made your people Israel to be your people forever; and you, O LORD, became their God. I Chronicles 17:22

Daily Text: Ruth 3

Lectio What one word or phrase from the Daily Text leaps out at you? ‘Comment’ below.

Naomi’s Provision
Usually we consider the book of Ruth to be about Ruth, and a source of David’s line. But, in fact, it is also about Naomi and Naomi’s redemption. Elimelech dies and Naomi is left bereft. Not only that, she is responsible for her daughter-in-law Ruth, as her husband Elimelech would have been had he survived his son Mahlon. Boaz is Elimelech’s kinsman, and it is Naomi that has the widow’s right for provision. As we move towards the denouement of the relationship between Ruth and Boaz, it is on the strength of Naomi’s rights. Naomi is responsible for Ruth, and by redeeming his responsibility to Elimelech, Boaz will take both Ruth and Naomi as their kinsman.

On the night of our account Ruth goes to Boaz in the second half of the night and uncovers his legs—this is the Hebrew meaning, rather than feet [ff. Campbell 436:121]. And the suggestion clearly is that she uncovers his genitals. My image of this is that Ruth pulls off his cloak exposing his nakedness and then lies beside him, though perhaps nearer his feet, and on his cloak. When he awakens and gropes for his cloak he finds the woman and the conversation recorded ensues. It is clear that sexual intercourse does not occur, though it is suggested. Ruth asks that he spread his ‘wing’, most likely his ‘cloak’ over her and that is tantamount to asking him to provide her the coverage of marriage. He demur’s because there is another kinsman with a greater right of redemption than his. He asks her to ‘lodge’ there the remainder of the night and she leaves very early so that no one sees her. Both are being very responsible. Ruth is responsible , in order, to provide for Naomi and herself, and Boaz is responsible in order to honor the kinsman with the greater right, but all to the end of providing for both Naomi and Ruth. God’s provision is bountiful! “What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me? [Psalm 116:12]”

Meditatio What would you add to this commentary on the Daily Text? ‘Comment’ below.

The Zest of Life
Henry van Dyke

Let me but live my life from year to year,
With forward face and unreluctant soul.
Not hastening to, nor turning from the goal;
Not mourning for the things that disappear
In the dim past, nor holding back in fear
From what the future veils; but with a whole
And happy heart, that pays its toll
To youth and age, and travels on with cheer.
So let the way wind up the hill or down,
Through rough or smooth, the journey will be joy;
Still seeking what I sought but when a boy,
New friendship, high adventure, and a crown,
I shall grow old, but never lose life’s zest,
Because the road’s last turn will be the best.
404 I:60

(Alternative poem? Include under ‘comment’ below.)

Oratio Conspire to respond with an act of kindness for someone you encounter today. Make it loving, low key and low risk. Hold a door, clean a car, give a flower, notice the unnoticed, make Christ’s love real. Write your experience below under ‘Comment.’

Contemplatio Enjoy what God is doing through you.


Blogger Norm said...

The field of Boaz is 1 mile east of Bethlehem. Adjoining the field is the Shepherd’s field, where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. King Solomon, a descendant of Boaz and Ruth, named one of the 2 pillars at the Temple entrance after Boaz (1Kings7:21)

7:58 AM  

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