|Rembrandt: Boaz and Ruth|
Pen and brush, ca.1637-40, Berlin
Beware of those who like the part,
who like the way they look in robes,
perfecting every day their art.
This is the same all o'er the globe.
If I forget, pull out this text;
remind me of the widow, poor,
who gave - not knowing what came next -
from trust that, on her, love still poured.
An earlier widow used her wits
to snag a man for Ruth (and her!)
while knowing all along, grace is
the gift of what could be, conferred.
Thus, Obed, David's grandpa, born
to one who served Naomi dear,
was named for service, like that sworn
by One who, in his line, appeared.
If Boaz didn't bite, the Christ
we know would never have been born;
This widow's trust in God sufficed;
Not ruthless, we're by love adorned!
Scott L. Barton
Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
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As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”