“The Lord sent Nathan to David.” 2 Samuel 12:1 David has sinned against Uriah and Bathsheba. God has allowed the crime to remain hidden for at least nine months – the son has been born who will die for the sin of David. The time has come. God sends his servant Nathan to start turning the wheels of justice. Who is Nathan? David had two main spiritual advisors in his court, Nathan the Prophet and Gad the “king's Seer.” These were accomplished men. Both were involved with David
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth. So says Psalm 96. God is the eternal Creator, holy and just. Righteousness and truth are foundations of his throne. His compassion and fait
The story of Bathsheba at the Bath has been told and retold. This is good in that its details are well known; it is bad in that the scant detail of the text has had millenia to fire the lurid imaginations of storytellers, artists, and moralists. The biggest casualty has been the reputation of Bathsheba. She has been depicted as scheming for power. She has been offered as a negative role model for young girls seeking to remain pure and modest. Boys have been warned against loo
The last act of Ruth opens at the city gates. Different cultures develop different methods of conducting local business. There has to be a space for deliberation: a commons, a large house, a town hall, a temple, a palace or castle, the streets, a public square. Some person or persons have to oversee the deliberations and reach verdicts. Ancient Israel chose the area around the city gates for the resolution of mundane issues, and Ruth 4 gives a window into the workings of anci
So what do we make of Boaz? Ruth is a short story, yet its portrait of him has amazing depth. He is of the royal line, which assumes at this point before David that he is head of the tribe of Judah. He is a wealthy land owner with a foreman and servants. He is used to authority – he is able to protect Ruth from molestation and can call ten men to hear a case at the city gates. He is obviously respected in the community. Herein is the “problem:” Boaz a very eligible bachelor.
The Hebrew word for kinsman-redeemer is goel, and involves the redemption of property. It has nothing to do with marriage. If a Hebrew fell on hard times and had to sell property, one of his relatives should purchase that property to keep it in the family (Leviticus 25:23-25). That relative was called goel, a kinsman-redeemer. He would keep and work the land until the original owner could repurchase it or until the year of Jubilee, when it would revert in ownership to the ori
Ruth is a wonderful story. It has the stuff of every great tale – tragedy and triumph, allegiance and dedication, love and romance, scheming and triumph. But its purpose goes beyond heartwarming inspiration: it involves the resolution of a complex legal problem that touches on the royal line of David itself. And in that resolution, it gives us one of the great heroes of Scripture, Boaz, in whome we see a powerful example of the quality of divine mercy. David at his best will
Life for prostitutes is usually difficult. In the minds of most they inspire some form of the question, "What kind of person becomes a prostitute? What has them in that line of work?" And the hypothesized answers are rarely flattering. The truth is, they are as human as any, but usually dealt a difficult hand in life. Rahab had no husband. She did have an extended family, though whether they supported her or she them or some combination is not known. We do know that in the an
no real military purpose. It is not to keep missiles from being targeted. What is its point? Sacramental, pointing back to Passover. And so we come to the scarlet thread. Joshua 2:18-19 records the instructions of the spies to Rahab in this way: Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father's household. Then if anyo
We tend to be optimists as Christians, even the most pessimistic of us. For all our talk of human depravity and divine judgment, we expect converts to swell our ranks and wonder what is wrong if they do not. We pray daily for opportunities to share Christ, expecting those to bear fruit. We expect our churches to be positive agents of transformation in our communities. Our prayer is invariably, "How do we reach our community for Christ?" I readily confess that I am one of thos