by Alexander Zephyr (31 May, 2015, 13 Sivan, 5775)
Re: Brit-Am Now no. 2457, 2460: Nationality of Ruth.
#2. New Article. Field of Moab. Where Did Ruth Come From?
On the first sight this matter was not of my concern or interest. I
have always known and accepted the fact that the Ruth of the Hebrew Bible
was a Moabitess who converted to the Covenant of Israel and was honored to become
a grandmother of King David and, therefore, an ancestress of the
future Messiah. But when I finished reading your disputation with
opponents and learned of their ideas, I researched the subject
and now strongly feel compelled to raise my voice against those who
pervert the truth.
The opponents to "Ruth Being a Moabite Woman" are mostly Christians. The
thought that Ruth was a Gentile Moabitess, that is, the descendant of
Lot who was a drunkard and involved in scandalous incest with his
daughters, is felt as not to be kosher enough for the genealogy of their Lord and Messiah.
It is therefore not acceptable to them. So they have invented the idea that
Ruth was an Israelitess and that Noami with her family moved to the land of Moab
where only Israelites from the tribes of the Reuben, Gad, and
half of Manasseh dwelt. In order to prove their points, these
authors misquote and take verses out of context and deliberately mislead readers.
Yair has rebutted the proponents of this theory with their arrogant agenda.
Yair very well and properly "gave" them what they deserved. In addition, I would like to offer
a few thoughts on the subject.
The Israelites did not war against the Moabites when they entered the Land because at that time it was
strictly prohibited by the God of Israel: "And the LORD said unto me, distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I
will not give thee of their land for a possession" (Deuteronomy 2:9). God
issued an identical order not to war against the Ammonites (Deuteronomy 2:9). The Israelites
obeyed the commandment of God order and did not meddle with the Moabites or Ammonites and
nor with the land of Moab. On the contrary, the Israelite warriors stayed away from "wheresoever the LORD our God forbade us (Deuteronomy 2:37).
The Bible says that the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt came to the Amorites east of
Jordan, near Heshbon, and King Sihon refused to let them pass through
his country. The Israelites, by the order of God, attacked
and destroyed the nation of Amorites together with its king Sihon (verse34). They took possession of the land of
the Amorites. Meanwhile, the land of Moab remained in possession of the Moabite
people as the Bible clearly testifies on many occasions.
Eventually, Moab was captured by the Israelites a few generation
later, when king David, the grandson of Ruth, "smote Moab, and
measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with
two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep
alive. And so the Moabites became David's servants, and brought gifts"
(2 Samuel 8:2). He smote the Moabites, and made them tributaries to
Israel. David slew two thirds, and saved one. This is confirmed by
Still, this was not the end of Moab. The kingdom of Moab was to remain in
existence for a long time. Its relationship with the kingdom of Israel
was sometimes peaceable, sometimes warlike. Thus, Moab continued to pay
tribute to the Israelites until the death of King Ahab (c.853 BCE). After that Moab
asserted its independence and refused to pay any submission or tributes,
but made war upon the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 3).
As if it was not ridiculous and shameful enough for the "Ruth as an Israelie Coterie" to proclaim that
Ruth was an Israelitess going against the literal meaning of the Bible and
ACCEPTED tradition, they add, to their misery, the outrageous notion
that the words of Ruth words "your people shall be my people, and your God shall be
my God" (Ruth 1:16) do not represent Conversion to the Israelite Covenant.
Rather they say that these words confirm
that she had always been an Israelitess!
Once more, let us go to the Bible verses. In the beginning of the Book of Ruth, it is stated that
Noami's two sons married two Moabite women, one of them being Ruth
(Ruth 1:4). Ruth never said that she was an Israelitess: On the contrary;
she openly admitted that she was a foreigner, a "stranger" and that the
Israelites were not her people from birth and their God was not her God. The best
proof of this may be found in the words of Boaz:
"And Boaz answered and
said unto her, It has fully been shown me, how you have left your
father and your mother, and the land of your birth, and are come unto
a people which you knew not before" (Ruth 2:11).
Ruth came to a people (the Israelites) which she knew not before! The same goes
for the God of Israel whom she knew not before. That is what Boaz said: "The
Lord recompense your work and a full reward be given you of the LORD
God of Israel, under whose wings you are come to trust" (Ruth 2:12).
Ruth came under the wings of the God of Israel in perfect faith and love
for Him and His people Israel. In her own words "your people will
be my people and your God will be my God". This signified a remarkable and
indisputable act of conversion to the Covenant of Israel.
The Talmud uses this as the basis for what a convert must do to be converted.
There were many Gentile women in Israel's history who
converted to the Covenant of Israel in the manner of Ruth. They contributed greatly to the religious, political, genealogical, social, and other Israelite
experience. One of them was Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute living in
Jericho. She is almost always mentioned by in the Bible as "Rahab the
Harlot." Incidentally, she was converted to the Covenant of Israel precisely in the same way
Ruth was! This is described in Joshua 2:10-11, where Rahab declared her faith
in the One True God:
"We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of
the Red sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did unto
the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side of Jordan,
Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts
melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you;
for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth
For a heathen woman to say of the God of Israel that He is
God in heaven above and on earth beneath, means that she was no longer
worshiping the idols of Canaanites but had come to believe in a real Creator of
heaven and earth, the God of Israel.
It was because of her faith that she risked her life and the lives of her entire family hiding the Israelite spies
in her home. She turned her heart to the God of Israel and chose His
people Israel as her own people, the same way Ruth did. She was a
believer, a woman of strong faith.
Only ignorant and nonsensical people could deny the veracity of such a perfect conversion from idolatry to pure-hearten
faith in the King of the Universe. There is an opinion that Rahab became the wife of Salmon who begot Boaz. As we know, Boaz married
Ruth and begot Obed, who became farther of Jesse, who begot David (1
Among the other women is Egyptian Asenath daughter of
Potiphera, priest of On, who was given to Joseph to be his wife.
Manasseh and Ephraim were born to them (Genesis 41:45; 46:20).
Moses married Zipporah, the daughter of the Midian priest Jethro; she gave
birth to a son named Gershom (Exodus 2:21-22). Judah and Tamar begot
twins, Pharez and Zarah. The nationality of Tamar is disputed. The
Bible is silent about her genealogy. From one source we learn that she
was a Canaanite as her heathen name suggests, and that when widowed
the second time, she returned to her father's home, but who he was and
where he lived we are not told. Yet, we know from the Jewish
Encyclopedia that Tamar was the daughter of Shem, the son of Noah.
Shem was a priest, and when Tamar was charged with fornication (Gen.
38:24) she was condemned to be burned to death in conformity
with Leviticus 21:9. All these women were within the ambience of a high morality,
an extremely strong faith in the God of Israel and the righteous conduct of their
husbands. They selflessly, and whole-hardheartedly devoted their deeds
and life to the Creator and His chosen people Israel. Such women throughout history have followed
their men through hell, fire, and water, incessantly repeating the
same words, "Were you go, I will go. Your people will be my people.
And your God will be my God." This demonstrates a perfect conversion
from idolatry to belief in the one and only God of the Universe -- the God of
Israel. This embodies the same conversion and faith that our heroine Ruth proclaimed.