Saturday Sisters: Two Worlds, One Society

  The Scripture shares two very different stories from the same time frame.  What made the difference?
  Right after the book of Judges, the book of Ruth opens:
         Now it came about in the days when
         the judges governed....
   Ruth's story is known as an ageless love story, in which a young girl, beautiful outside and in, finds love and protection, and incidentially a place in God's people and Jesus' royal lineage.

The Pilegesh's Tale

  However, just a few pages before, another young girl does not fare so well.
  In Judges 19, a father, apparently too poor to provide his daughter with a full-status marriage, gives her to become a concubine, that is, a second-class wife.  In itself, that may not have been such a bad thing, but life deteriorated from there, for her and the society around her.  The entire chapter shows a heedlessness of the value of women, and the men as well in many cases.  
  The Pilegesh's fate becomes a harbinger of the fate of other young women as civil war ensues.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

  After the violence of the end of the book of Judges, it's hard to believe that the peaceful book of Ruth takes place at roughly the same date & time.
  However, here people are valued.  
 Ruth cares for her mother in law.   Boaz not only cares for Ruth, the romance of the book, but shows us a model of labor/management relations:
      Boaz arrived ... greeted the harvesters, 
      “The Lord be with you!”
     “The Lord bless you!” they answered.
  What a change from the adversarial attitude we often hear about in today's society.  Reading on in the chapter, we see that Boaz put his money where his mouth was.  He made his fields a safe place to work, and the reputation spread.   His workers gladly returned his blessing.
Psalm 119:32 says,
      I run the same path as Your commandments

     because You give my heart insight.   CEB

The Sister Angle

    In Judges, the Pilegesh was a passive woman, with no speaking part.  We empathize with her, but know nothing about her as an individual.

  Ruth, however, shines from the pages of Scripture as a personality.  When Ruth asked Boaz why he noticed her, he responded,

     Everything that you did for your mother-

     in-law...has been reported fully to me.

   He had heard how Ruth had refused to leave Naomi in her need,and recognized a kindred spirit

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,    and this is what he requires of you:to do what is right, to love mercy,    and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8


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