2Chronicles Chapter 10 (Bible Marathon Day 188)

2Chronicles Chapter 10 (Bible Marathon Day 188)

The Northern Tribes Revolt
10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king.

2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news,
he returned home.

3 The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him,
4 “Your father placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us,
we will be your loyal subjects.”

5 Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to consider the matter. Then come back.” So the people left.

6 King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon’s advisers. “What
answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.

7 They replied, “If you are kind to these people and try to please them by giving a considerate answer,
they will always serve you loyally.”

8 But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with
him and who were now his advisers.

9 “What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make
their burdens lighter?”

10 They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.’

11 Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with
whips; I’ll flog you with bullwhips!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them.
13 The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people,

14 as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them
even heavier. He beat you with whips; I’ll flog you with bullwhips!”

15 It was the will of the Lord God to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through
the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.

16 When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his
family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let’s go home! Let Rehoboam look out for
himself!” So the people of Israel rebelled,

17 leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.

18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labor, to go to the Israelites, but
they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem.

19 Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the
dynasty of David.


Ruth Chapter 4 (Bible Marathon Day 118)

Ruth Chapter 4 (Bible Marathon Day 118)

Boaz Marries Ruth.
Boaz went to the gate* and took a seat there. Along came the other redeemera of whom he had spoken.
Boaz called to him by name, “Come, sit here.” And he did so.
Then Boaz picked out ten of the elders* of the town and asked them to sit nearby. When they had done this,
he said to the other redeemer: “Naomi, who has come back from the plateau of Moab, is putting up for sale
the piece of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech.
* So I thought I would inform you. Before those here present, including the elders of my people, purchase the
field; act as redeemer.b But if you do not want to do it, tell me so, that I may know, for no one has a right of
redemption prior to yours, and mine is next.” He answered, “I will act as redeemer.”

* Boaz continued, “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you also acquire responsibility for Ruth the
Moabite,c the widow of the late heir, to raise up a family for the deceased on his estate.”
The redeemer replied, “I cannot exercise my right of redemption for that would endanger my own estate. You
do it in my place, for I cannot.”
d Now it used to be the custom in Israel that, to make binding a contract of redemption or exchange, one
party would take off a sandal* and give it to the other. This was the form of attestation in Israel.
So the other redeemer, in saying to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” drew off his sandal.
Boaz then said to the elders and to all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi
all the holdings of Elimelech, Chilion and Mahlon.
I also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, as my wife, in order to raise up a family for her late
husband on his estate, so that the name of the deceased may not perish from his people and his place. Do
you witness this today?”
e All those at the gate, including the elders, said, “We do. May the LORD make this woman come into your
house like Rachel and Leah, who between them built up the house of Israel. Prosper in Ephrathah! Bestow
a name in Bethlehem!
With the offspring the LORD will give you from this young woman, may your house become like the house of
Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”*
Boaz took Ruth. When they came together as husband and wife, the LORD enabled her to conceive and
she bore a son.
Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the LORD who has not failed to provide you today with a
redeemer. May he become famous in Israel!
He will restore your life and be the support of your old age, for his mother is the daughter-in-law who loves
you. She is worth more to you than seven sons!”
Naomi took the boy, cradled him* against her breast, and cared for him.
The neighbor women joined the celebration: “A son has been born to Naomi!”f They named him Obed. He
was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
g These are the descendants of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron,h
Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminadab,
i Amminadab was the father of Nahshon, Nahshon was the father of Salma,
Salma was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed,
j Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.
* [4:1] The gate of an Israelite town was the place where commercial and other legal matters were dealt with
in publicly witnessed fashion.

* [4:2] Ten of the elders: to serve as judges in legal matters as well as witnesses of the settlement of
business affairs; cf. Dt 25:7–9.

* [4:4] Although the laws governing inheritance by Israelite widows are not specified in the Bible, Naomi
seems to have the right of disposal of a piece of Elimelech’s land. The redemption custom in Lv 25:25 would
then guide the procedure.

* [4:5–6] Although redemption and levirate practices are not otherwise linked in the Bible, they belong in the
same area of need. Boaz claims that buying Elimelech’s field obligates the other redeemer to produce an
heir for Mahlon, who would then inherit the land. That would jeopardize this redeemer’s overall holdings,
since he would lose the land he had paid for. He can afford the first step but not the second, and cedes his
responsibility to Boaz, who is willing to do both.

* [4:7] Take off a sandal: the legislation in Dt 25:8–10 provides that if a “redeemer” refuses to carry out the
obligation of marrying his brother’s wife, the woman shall strip off his sandal as a gesture of insult. In later
years, when the obligation of carrying out this function of the “redeemer” was no longer keenly felt, the
removal of the sandal may have become a formalized way of renouncing the rights/obligations of the
“redeemer,” as in this text.

* [4:12] Gn 38 contains a story about Tamar similar to Ruth’s in levirate marriage. Judah, under less
laudable circumstances, fulfills the same role as Boaz will, and Perez, son of Judah and Tamar, perpetuates
the line. Thus two non-Israelite women, Tamar and Ruth, are important links in David’s genealogy.

* [4:16] Cradled him: the child belongs to Naomi in the sense that he now becomes the redeemer in the
family, as stated in 4:14. This tender act by Naomi is not necessarily adoptive and differs from the relationship
in Gn 30:3; cf. Nm 11:12. Naomi now has a “boy” to replace her two lost “boys” in 1:5.

a. [4:1] Ru 3:12.

b. [4:4] Lv 25:25.

c. [4:5] Ru 3:13.

d. [4:7] Dt 25:9.

e. [4:11] Gn 29:31–30:24; 35:16–19.

f. [4:17] Lk 1:58.

g. [4:18–22] 1 Chr 2:4–15; Mt 1:3–6.

h. [4:18] Gn 46:12; Nm 26:21; 1 Chr 4:1.

i. [4:20] Ex 6:23; Nm 1:7; 2:3; 7:12–17; 10:14.

j. [4:22] 1 Sm 16:2–13.

Ruth Chapter 3 (Bible Marathon Day 117)

Ruth Chapter 3 (Bible Marathon Day 117)

Ruth Again Presents Herself. When Ruth was back with her mother-in-law,
Naomi said to her, “My daughter, should I not be seeking a pleasing home for you?a
* Now! Is not Boaz,b whose young women you were working with, a relative of ours? This very night he will
be winnowing barley at the threshing floor.
Now, go bathe and anoint yourself; then put on your best attire and go down to the threshing floor. Do not
make yourself known to the man before he has finished eating and drinking.
But when he lies down, take note of the place where he lies; then go uncover a place at his feet* and you lie
down. He will then tell you what to do.”
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth replied.
She went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had instructed her.

Boaz ate and drank to his heart’s content, and went to lie down at the edge of the pile of grain. She crept up,
uncovered a place at his feet, and lay down.
Midway through the night, the man gave a start and groped about, only to find a woman lying at his feet.
“Who are you?” he asked. She replied, “I am your servant Ruth. Spread the wing of your cloak* over your
servant, for you are a redeemer.”
He said, “May the LORD bless you, my daughter! You have been even more loyal now than before in not
going after the young men, whether poor or rich.
Now rest assured, my daughter, I will do for you whatever you say; all my townspeople know you to be a
worthy woman.*
c Now, I am in fact a redeemer, but there is another redeemer closer than I.*
Stay where you are for tonight, and tomorrow, if he will act as redeemer for you, good. But if he will not, as the
LORD lives, I will do it myself. Lie there until morning.”d
So she lay at his feet until morning, but rose before anyone could recognize another, for Boaz had said, “Let
it not be known that this woman came to the threshing floor.”
Then he said to her, “Take off the shawl you are wearing; hold it firmly.” When she did so, he poured out six
measures of barley and helped her lift the bundle; then he himself left for the town.
She, meanwhile, went home to her mother-in-law, who asked, “How did things go, my daughter?” So she
told her all the man had done for her,
and concluded, “He gave me these six measures of barley and said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law
Naomi then said, “Wait here, my daughter, until you learn what happens, for the man will not rest, but will
settle the matter today.”

* [3:2] Ruth’s determined action to bring relief to Naomi’s and her own circumstances now impels Naomi to
move, using means available in Israelite custom which no one in the story has up to this point brought into

* [3:4] Uncover a place at his feet: Naomi advocates a course of action that will lead Boaz to act. Israelite
custom and moral expectations strongly suggest that there is no loss of virtue involved in the scene.

* [3:9] Spread the wing of your cloak: Ez 16:8 makes it clear that this is a request for marriage. Ruth
connects it to “redeemer” responsibility. A wordplay on “wing” links what Boaz is asked to do to what he has
asked God to do for Ruth in 2:12.

* [3:11] Worthy woman: the language corresponds to the description of Boaz in 2:1 (lit., “strong and worthy”);
the two worthy people are linked in character to one another, as they have already proven to be in their
generous behavior toward the ones in need of their care. The townspeople, lit., “all the gate of my people,”
will ratify this at the gate in the sequel.

* [3:12] Another redeemer closer than I: Boaz knows of a closer relative who would have a prior right to buy
the field and marry Ruth.

a. [3:1] Ru 1:9.

b. [3:2] Ru 2:1.

c. [3:12] Ru 4:1.

d. [3:13] Ru 1:16; 4:5.

e. [3:17] Ru 1:21.

Ruth Chapter 2 (Bible Marathon Day 117)

Ruth Chapter 2 (Bible Marathon Day 117)

The Meeting.
* Naomi had a powerful relative named Boaz,a through the clan of her husband Elimelech.
* Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “I would like to go and glean grain in the field of anyone who will allow me.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.”
So she went. The field she entered to glean after the harvesters happened to be the section belonging to
Boaz, of the clan of Elimelech.
* Soon, along came Boaz from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, “The LORD be with you,” and they
replied, “The LORD bless you.”
Boaz asked the young man overseeing his harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?”
The young man overseeing the harvesters answered, “She is the young Moabite who came back with
Naomi from the plateau of Moab.b
* She said, ‘I would like to gather the gleanings into sheaves after the harvesters.’ Ever since she came this
morning she has remained here until now, with scarcely a moment’s rest.”

Boaz then spoke to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Do not go to glean in anyone else’s field; you are not to leave
here. Stay here with my young women.
Watch to see which field is to be harvested, and follow them. Have I not commanded the young men to do
you no harm? When you are thirsty, go and drink from the vessels the young people have filled.”
Casting herself prostrate upon the ground, she said to him, “Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your
c Boaz answered her: “I have had a complete account of what you have done for your mother-in-law after
your husband’s death; you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come
to a people whom previously you did not know.
d May the LORD reward what you have done! May you receive a full reward from the LORD, the God of
Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
She said, “May I prove worthy of your favor, my lord. You have comforted me. You have spoken to the heart
of your servant*—and I am not even one of your servants!”
At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and have something to eat; dip your bread in the sauce.” Then as
she sat near the harvesters, he handed her some roasted grain and she ate her fill and had some left over.
As she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young people: “Let her glean among the sheaves themselves
without scolding her,
and even drop some handfuls and leave them for her to glean; do not rebuke her.”
She gleaned in the field until evening, and when she beat out what she had gleaned it came to about an
ephah* of barley,
which she took into the town and showed to her mother-in-law. Next she brought out what she had left over
from the meal and gave it to her.
So her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you go to work? May the one who
took notice of you be blessed!” Then she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked. “The man at
whose place I worked today is named Boaz,” she said.
e “May he be blessed by the LORD, who never fails to show kindness to the living and to the dead,” Naomi
exclaimed to her daughter-in-law. She continued, “This man is a near relative of ours, one of our
“He even told me,” added Ruth the Moabite, “Stay with my young people until they complete my entire
“You would do well, my daughter,” Naomi rejoined, “to work with his young women; in someone else’s field
you might be insulted.”
So she stayed gleaning with Boaz’s young women until the end of the barley and wheat harvests.
* [2:1] Kinship ties and responsibilities now become very important. Boaz is introduced as one of a group
surrounding Naomi through her husband’s kin who are expected to extend care. The particular term used
here (moda‘, “relative”) is picked up in 3:2; otherwise, most of the terminology about this responsibility to care
will use the vocabulary of redeeming (go’el, “redeemer”).

* [2:2] Israelite custom made provision for the poor, the widow, the stranger and the orphan to gather what
was left behind by the harvesters, and instructed farmers not to cut to the edges of their fields, for the sake of
these marginalized; Lv 19:9–10; 23:22; Dt 24:19–22.

* [2:4] The story brings Boaz upon the scene quickly, but he moves among his workers with the grace of a
man of prominence, greeting them and being received with courtesy. The Hebrew blessing formulas used
are frequent in Jewish and Christian liturgies.

* [2:7] The verse is somewhat garbled, but the points are clear that Ruth has been appropriately deferential
in seeking permission to glean, and has worked steadily since arriving. Or perhaps she has waited patiently
until Boaz arrives to gain permission.

* [2:13] Servant: only here is the language of servanthood used. Ruth has spoken with very deferential
words to Boaz, but then seems to think that she has assumed too much.

* [2:17] Ephah: see note on Is 5:10.

* [2:20] For the first time, the story uses the Hebrew word go’el, “redeemer,” for the responsibilities of the
circle of kinship surrounding Naomi and Ruth and their deceased relatives. Involved are the recovery or
retention of family land (Lv 25:25; 27:9–33; Jer 32:6–25), release of a relative from voluntary servitude to pay
debts (Lv 25:47–55), and “redeeming blood” or vengeance, attested in passages which regulate such
vengeance. No explicit connection is made elsewhere in the Bible between marriage responsibilities and

a. [2:1] Ru 3:2, 12; Mt 1:5.

b. [2:6] Ru 1:22.

c. [2:11] Ru 1:14–17.

d. [2:12] Ru 3:9; Dt 32:37; Ps 91:4.

e. [2:20] Gn 24:27; Lv 25:25; 27:9–33.

Ruth Chapter 1 (Bible Marathon Day 116)

Ruth Chapter 1 (Bible Marathon Day 116)

Naomi in Moab.
Once back in the time of the judges* there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah left
home with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab.
The man was named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his sons Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites
from Bethlehem of Judah. Some time after their arrival on the plateau of Moab,
Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons.
They married Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten
both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two boys* nor her husband.

She and her daughters-in-law then prepared to go back from the plateau of Moab because word had
reached her there that the LORD had seen to his people’s needs* and given them food.
She and her two daughters-in-law left the place where they had been living. On the road back to the land of
Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you to your mother’s house.* May the LORD show
you the same kindness as you have shown to the deceased and to me.
a May the LORD guide each of you to find a husband and a home in which you will be at rest.” She kissed
them good-bye, but they wept aloud,
crying, “No! We will go back with you, to your people.”
Naomi replied, “Go back, my daughters. Why come with me? Have I other sons in my womb who could
become your husbands?*
Go, my daughters, for I am too old to marry again. Even if I had any such hope, or if tonight I had a husband
and were to bear sons,
would you wait for them and deprive yourselves of husbands until those sons grew up? No, my daughters,
my lot is too bitter for you, because the LORD has extended his hand against me.”
Again they wept aloud; then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth clung to her.
“See now,” she said, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-
* But Ruth said, “Do not press me to go back and abandon you!
Wherever you go I will go,
wherever you lodge I will lodge.
Your people shall be my people
and your God, my God.
Where you die I will die,
and there be buried.
May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you!”
Naomi then ceased to urge her, for she saw she was determined to go with her.

The Return to Bethlehem.
So they went on together until they reached Bethlehem. On their arrival there, the whole town was excited
about them, and the women asked: “Can this be Naomi?”
b But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi [‘Sweet’]. Call me Mara [‘Bitter’], for the Almighty has made my
life very bitter.
* c I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why should you call me ‘Sweet,’ since the
LORD has brought me to trial, and the Almighty has pronounced evil sentence on me.”
Thus it was that Naomi came back with her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who accompanied her back from
the plateau of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.*

* [1:1–2] Back in the time of the judges: the story looks back three generations before King David (4:17) into
the time of the tribal confederation described in the Book of Judges. David’s Moabite connections are implied
in 1 Sm 22:3–4. Bethlehem of Judah: Bethlehem, a town in which part of the Judean clan-division called
Ephrathah lived; cf. 1 Chr 2:50–51; 4:4; Mi 5:1. Jos 19:15 mentions a different Bethlehem in the north. The
plateau of Moab: on the east side of the Jordan valley rift, where the hills facing west get more rain, and
where agricultural conditions differ from those in Judah. Ephrathites: a reminder of David’s origins; cf. Mi 5:1.

* [1:5] Boys: the way the storyteller chooses certain words as guides is shown here; “boy” will not appear
again until 4:16.

* [1:6] Had seen to his people’s needs: lit., “had visited his people.”

* [1:8] Mother’s house: the women’s part of the home, but also perhaps the proper location for arranging
marriage; Sg 3:4; 8:2; Gn 24:28. Kindness: Hebrew hesed. The powerful relationship term used here will
recur in 2:20 and 3:10; kindness operates on both the divine-human and human-human level in Ruth.

* [1:11] Other sons…husbands: a reference to a customary practice known from Dt 25:5–10, levirate
marriage, which assigns responsibility to the brother-in-law to produce heirs in order to perpetuate the name
and hold the patrimonial land of a man who died childless. How far the responsibility extended beyond blood
brothers is unclear; cf. Gn 38:8 and the upcoming scene in Ru 4:5–6. Naomi imagines the impossible: were
she to have more sons they could take Ruth and Orpah as their wives.

* [1:16–17] Ruth’s adherence to her mother-in-law in 1:14 is now expressed in a profound oath of loyalty,
culminating in a formulary found frequently in Samuel and Kings; cf. especially 1 Sm 20:13. Even death:
burial in Naomi’s family tomb means that not even death will separate them.

* [1:21] Naomi’s despair is made clear by her play on the meaning of her name in v. 20 and now by her
accusation, like that in many psalms and in Job, that God has acted harshly toward her. The language
belongs to the realm of judicial proceedings. By crying out in this way, the faithful Israelite opens the door to
change, since the cry assumes that God hears and will do something about such seemingly unjust

* [1:22] Barley and wheat harvests come in succession, from as early as April–May into June–July; Dt
16:9–12 suggests that the grain harvest lasts about seven weeks. The time reference leads effectively to the
next episode.

a. [1:9] Ru 3:1.

b. [1:20] Ex 15:23.

c. [1:21] Ru 3:17; 1 Kgs 17:20.

Bible Marathon Day 116: The Book of Ruth

Ruth was a Moabite woman, a foreigner from a hated country. But she married a Hebrew immigrant in Moab, and after his death she left her native land and went with her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem in Israel. Here she was allowed to glean left-over corn in the fields belonging to Boaz, a rich farmer and kinsman of Naomi.

Ruth became the great-grandmother of David: Boaz begot Obed, Obed begot Jesse and Jesse begot David . She is also thus the ancestor of Joseph (husband of Mary and would-be legal father of Jesus), and is one of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Matthew 1