Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Year: Ru 4; 1 Sam 1 for Mar 19

Ruth 4 and 1 Samuel 1 certainly give a great picture of piety at Bethlehem and Shiloh before the times of Samuel and David.

And like a good website, we can see that piety need not have much elaborateness attached to it: basically, access to God and to be able to express and act on it (cf. Ru 1:16; 2:4,12,20; 3:10,13).

A greater factual knowledge is exhibited by, of all people, the civic leaders of Bethlehem. They know the Patriarchal story (Ru 4:11-12)!

Ruth 4, and the following chapter, 1 Sam 1, continue the pattern of Judges in highlighting the relationship of the socially unexpected person, e.g., Hannah before she bore Samuel (1 Sam 1:8), to the purposes of God: often in Judges we had the role of women highlighted. The whole book of Ruth, not to disparage Boaz's importance of course, did that. Here, the same pattern exists: while not disparaging Elkanah, indeed, honoring him (1:8) for his love for Hannah (1:5), honors Hannah, who in an uphill battle in her prayers for obtaining from God what she wanted (1:10-11), has to defend her outward actions to a priest, who, when convinced, grants her a priestly blessing as best he has to give anyone (1:18).

The language of 1:19 describes what the best thing someone who prays could ever want: "the Lord remembered her."

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