Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, June 1, 2018

“All the City … Doth Know That Thou Art a Virtuous Woman”





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If your personal character were to be described in just a few words, what would you want those words to be? 


What is one thing you can do this week to come closer to matching that desired description?


To emulate righteous qualities is a noble undertaking and it is what our Heavenly Father does desire of us.  In the book of Judges we were taught lessons of courage, strength and faith and tying ourselves with stakes of stability in the gospel that keep us strong in growing and evolving.  Continuing in the Old Testament we come to the book of Ruth which is an appendix to the book of Judges. It tells of some nobler events that "came to pass in the days when the judges ruled" (Ruth 1:1). It is reassuring to read about Israelites of that time who were good, even exemplary; showing faith, love, loyalty, generosity, and devotion to duty. Perhaps they represent many other Israelites of the time whose family history we do not have but should strive to be like.


As well  
Samuel 1 gives us Hannah who's son visited the grandson of Ruth, interviewed the young men in his household, and anointed the youngest, David, king of Israel.  The example of these women of the Old Testament are what we need today.  As they endure hardships, trials and personal struggles they teach us; men and women, great trust and strength in the Lord.  They teach us righteous qualities that can help us form our character so that when we describe ourselves in those few words, we make our goal and like them them may not only endure, but find that we endure well with a heart full of hope and peace. 


The setting for Ruth, Naomi and Hannah



“Many years had passed since the Israelites had crossed the Jordan and formed a loose tribal confederacy in the central highlands of Canaan. As they established their own settlements, they gradually discarded their nomadic traditions and adopted an agricultural way of life.   

“Yet their position remained precarious. The northern tribes were almost constantly at war with those walled cities that remained under the control of the Canaanites, and they frequently had to defend themselves against invasions by people from the east: the Ammonites and Midianites. In contrast, Judah, which occupied the southern end of the Israelite territory, seems to have been relatively tranquil and not involved in the great wars that concerned the Judges.   

“The people of Judah regularly battled another sort of enemy: the climate. Judah occupied a rugged plateau in the semiarid lands west of the Dead Sea. Normally, the land was fertile enough to sustain fields of wheat and barley, grape vineyards and groves of olive and fig trees. But occasionally the rains failed, the crops withered and there was famine(Great People of the Bible and How They Lived, p. 126.)



1. Ruth leaves her home to go to Bethlehem with Naomi Ruth 1–2
Beginning with Ruth 1–2 The story occurred during the period of the Judges - about 1150 B.C. According to Jewish tradition, the story was originally recorded by Samuel. It was not written in its present form until centuries later (about 500-400 B.C.)  The chapters tell us how after Ruth’s husband dies, and she leaves her home to go to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi.


Ruth 1:1–2 states there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.  

1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

Its interesting to note that all of the names in these introductory verses are significant: 

Beth-lehem-judah names a community in the usually pleasant, productive hills and dales south of Jerusalem

 Beth-lehem-judah means "house of bread" or "place of food" in Judah. 

 Ephratah (Ruth 4:11), connotes "fruitfulness." Nevertheless, an intense cyclical drought and famine caused a family of Ephrathites to leave the area and seek sustenance in Moab.  

Elimelech means "my God is king" and characterizes the religious loyalty of the man and his family.  

Naomi means "pleasantness, sweetness," and though this good woman later became so depressed that she thought Mara ("bitter sorrow") would be a more appropriate name, she recovered her pleasantness and showed wisdom and faith as well.  

Mahlon is possibly derived from mahlah, implying "illness," and seems to have anticipated his short life.  

Chilion is possibly derived from kalah, which has one root meaning "to be ended, spent, consumed," also anticipating a short life and early death.



Why did Naomi and her family go to Moab to live? Ruth 1 1-5 There was famine they left to find food to care for themselves.  



1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.



After this Elimelech Naomi's husband died and she was left with her two sons.  Her son's took wives of Moab and they resided in the area for ten years.  Then as a triple agony of grief Naomi's son's also died.  

4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.



 In a time of economic distress, Naomi and her family were forced to flee their home in Bethlehem and relocate in a foreign land, Moab. The distance between Moab and Israel is not great—a little more than thirty miles. Distance in the scriptures, however, is not always measured from one place to another but by one's state of conversion to one's god. Moab, a nation of idolaters, was, by that standard, a far country.  

Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, must have agonized over their decision. They would be faced with the challenge of rearing their sons in a strange place, far from the good influence of friends and family. Surely they considered the possibility that their sons would marry women of Moab. In the end, however, they may have had no choice. 

They went to Moab, Naomi's husband died, and her sons did marry Moabite women. Nevertheless, because of Naomi's influence, the family lived together happily for ten years. Likely the Moabite girls, married outside their tribes, looked to Naomi for a steady, reassuring model in circumstances where they felt unsure. Then tragedy struck again: both of Naomi's sons died(Our Sisters in the Bible Jerri W Hurd)



Following these trying events Naomi returned to Bethlehem why?  Ruth 1:6.  Bethlehem was her home, and the famine there was over.

6 ¶ Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.



While living in Moab, Naomi’s sons had married Orpah and Ruth, who were women of Moab (Ruth 1:4). How did Naomi show love and concern for her daughters-in-laws after the death of her sons, when they offered to return to Bethlehem with her? Ruth 1:7–13

7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

9 The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?

12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;

13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.

Options for the three widows' survival were limited. For Orpah and Ruth, there was the possibility of another marriage; for Naomi there could be security and redemption under the marriage laws of Israel (Gen. 38:8; Lev. 25:23-28, 35; Deut. 25:5-6), but Naomi was not very optimistic. She felt that the hand of the Lord was against her and recommended that her daughters-in-law return to their families (Ruth 1:11-13, 20-21).



 It is to Naomi's credit that at this point she didn't expect anything from her daughters-in-law. She was a practical woman looking at a serious reduction in her prosperity and seems to have had no thought of inspiring further devotion in her daughters-in-law. Acknowledging the hand of the Lord in both the good and the bad, she grieved, not for herself, but because she had nothing more to give them. She determined to go home to her own people and suggested that they return to their own mothers' houses. Her daughters-inlaw were young; if they were not burdened with an old woman, they might find husbands again in their own land.(  Our Sisters in the Bible Jerri W Hurd)

What can we learn from Naomi’s concern for her daughters-in-law that can help us in our family relationships? (Record thoughts in your gospel doctrine journal!)



One of Naomi’s daughters-in-law, Orpah, returned to her family, but the other, Ruth, insisted on going to Bethlehem with Naomi. Ruth 1:14–17

14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

What can we learn about Ruth from her promise to Naomi?  She was loving, loyal, and willing to sacrifice.  The tension between love and loyalty on the one hand and an uncertain future on the other led Orpah to choose to return to her parents' home and hope for another marriage.  Ruth chose differently. Her testimony shows that her loyalty and love for Naomi and Naomi's God were real; her declaration thereof is radiant (Ruth 1:16-17). Interestingly, Ruth means "companion."



 Ruth is never physically described in scripture. What we know about her are her inner qualities. I admire most her sensitivity. She had enough inner reserves to show Naomi great tenderness, even while she grieved for her own dead husband. She understood Naomi's need to return to her home, and she didn't beg Naomi to remain in Moab. Neither did she insist on caring for her, thereby making her dependent. It was not in her nature to say something like "Oh, well, if you have to go, take this blanket and extra bundle of food and don't forget to write," thereby burdening her mother-in-law with material things and obligations. More importantly, she didn't blame herself for the things she couldn't do, the things beyond her means or ability. Ruth did what she could. She walked beside Naomi.(Our Sisters in the Bible Jerri W Hurd)

What did Ruth give up by going to Bethlehem with Naomi?  Homeland, family, friends, and religion.  Ruth was not an Israelite by birth. When she left Moab to go to Bethlehem with Naomi, she also left her religion and followed the God of Israel, telling Naomi, “Thy God [shall be] my God” Ruth 1:16

 How can we show greater loyalty in our families?


 How can we show greater selflessness, as Ruth did?


What did Ruth gain by going with Naomi? The gospel of Jesus Christ

Ruth may have nominally accepted the God of Israel at her marriage, but her conversion had deepened. When it came time to decide, she cast herself forever on the side of her husband's country, his people, his mother, and his God. Her words have become immortal: "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."  (Our Sisters in the Bible Jerri W Hurd)

How does Ruth’s conversion and acceptance into the house of Israel reflect Christ’s attitude toward those who wish to join his Church?  2 Nephi 26:33; Alma 19:36; 3 Nephi 21:6.

  33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. 



What can we learn from Ruth about making sacrifices for the gospel?

President John Taylor used the example of Ruth to describe modern Saints who also were willing to give up homes and kinships to be where their God wanted them to be: “‘Thanks be to the God of Israel who has counted us worthy to receive the principles of truth.’ These were the feelings you had and enjoyed in your far distant homes. And your obedience to those principles tore you from your homes, firesides and associations and brought you here, for you felt like one of old, when she said, ‘Whither thou goest I will go; thy God shall be my God, thy people shall be my people, and where thou diest there will I be buried.’ And you have gathered to Zion that you might be taught and instructed in the laws of life and listen to the words which emanate from God, become one people and one nation, partake of one spirit, and prepare yourselves, your progenitors and posterity for an everlasting inheritance in the celestial kingdom of God.” (In Journal of Discourses, 14:189.)




In this chapter Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem.  In order to survive Ruth works in the fields of Boaz, who treats her kindly.  Interestingly again for meaning, the name Boaz means "in him is strength, swiftness, quickness" (Ruth 2:1a). 

Ruth meets Boaz as she volunteered to go out as a gleaner to secure food for both herself and her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:2a), and it was indeed a blessing that she was guided to the field of Boaz, a "kinsman." The good qualities of Boaz may be seen in the way he greeted the workmen, in his inquiry about the foreign gleaner, and in his generous treatment of Ruth after learning she was the Moabite daughter-in-law to Naomi. Ruth's humility and appreciation are also noteworthy. It is evident here, as it was earlier, that she had become a converted follower of the true God (Ruth 1:16; 2:12).



After going to Bethlehem, what did Ruth do to provide food for herself and Naomi?  Ruth 2:2.  She gleaned from local crop fields.  A gleaner was a person who was allowed to gather and keep the grain that was left in the fields after the harvest. 

 2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.



Whose fields did Ruth glean in?  Ruth 2:1, 3 

 3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.



Why was Boaz impressed by Ruth?  Ruth 2:5–7, 11.  Boaz saw that Ruth was a hard worker. He also knew of all that Ruth had done for Naomi.  

5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this?

6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab:

7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. 

 11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.



 How did Boaz show kindness to Ruth? Ruth 2:8–9, 14–16

 8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:

9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.

 

14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.

15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.



 How did Ruth show her selflessness when she returned from gleaning?  Ruth 2:14, 17–18. Ruth brought the grain that she had gleaned home to Naomi, and she also brought Naomi some food she had saved from her noon meal.

17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

18 ¶ And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.



 Naomi was impressed with the amount of grain Ruth had gleaned and threshed (nearly two-thirds of a bushel) and the leftover parched grain from Ruth's lunch. She was yet more pleased to learn whose field Ruth had gleaned and recognized the blessings of the Lord in all that had happened.

A kinsman had the right to purchase (redeem) the land of a deceased relative, marry his widow, and produce offspring—the first of whom would be the heir of the man who had died. Thus a "redeemer" could restore to a widow a degree of security and status she could not of herself attain and even provide for continuation of the seed. Understanding this meaning deepens our appreciation for the prophets' use of the word redeemer (Heb., go'el) to characterize our Savior (TG, "Jesus Christ, Redeemer").

Naomi recognized all the potential and guided the follow-up action throughout the harvests.  (Latter-day Saint commentary of the old Testament EllisT Rasmuessen)



 How have you been blessed by other people’s selfless acts?   





2. Ruth and Boaz marry and have a child Ruth 3–4 
I personally love these last two chapters of Ruth.  They show what great blessings her righteous qualities and sacrifices are given to her. Ruth 3–4. describes how Ruth lies at the feet of Boaz, and he promises to marry her. They marry and have a child and their descendants include King David and Jesus Christ.  For me I say in my heart, how cool is that!  


Boaz was a good and noble man and kinsmen to Naomi.  Knowing this and also for the love Naomi had for Ruth she counseled her to perform a ritual  that she hoped would result in the marriage of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 3:1–5). By lying at the feet of Boaz, Ruth would be, in effect, proposing marriage to him.

(Deuteronomy 25:5–10 is the scriptural reference for the levirate marriage obligation in Israelite families.) 

1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?

 2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.

3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.

5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.



 Naomi suggested that Ruth consider a levirate marriage (Ruth 3:1a). It was proper for Naomi to propose this option because she was the responsible parent. She knew the threshing would be done during the time of evening breezes. For Ruth to return thereafter and lie at his feet as a humble servant would bring her status to Boaz's attention, and Naomi was confident that he would tell Ruth what to do. There would have been moral danger in such proceedings except for the known character of Ruth and Boaz—in which Naomi implicitly trusted.  (Latter-day Saint commentary of the old Testament EllisT Rasmuessen)



What did Ruth’s obedience to Naomi’s counsel reveal about her feelings toward Naomi? She had complete trust, respect and love for her.   



 How did Boaz respond when he woke up and found Ruth lying at his feet? Ruth 3:8–15

 8 ¶ And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.

9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.

10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than

13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning.

14 ¶ And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.

15 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.



 “When Boaz awoke from his sleep by the pile of grain, which he was guarding as was the custom during harvest time, he was startled by Ruth’s presence. She was direct in her proposal. The word rendered ‘skirt’ also means ‘wing,’ and her request is not unlike our idiom ‘take me under your wing.’ Gesenius, the famous Hebraist, says it was a proper proposal of marriage—even though the girl was doing the proposing!” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:157.)



The idiom means “protect me,” or, in other words, “be my protector or husband.”

“According to our customs, indeed, this act of Naomi and Ruth appears a very objectionable one from a moral point of view, but it was not so when judged by the customs of the people of Israel at that time. Boaz, who was an honourable man, and, according to [Ruth 3:10], no doubt somewhat advanced in years, praised Ruth for having taken refuge with him, and promised to fulfil her wishes when he had satisfied himself that the nearer redeemer would renounce his right and duty [see vv. 10–11]. As he acknowledged by this very declaration, that under certain circumstances it would be his duty as redeemer to marry Ruth, he took no offence at the manner in which she had approached him and proposed to become his wife. On the contrary, he regarded it as a proof of feminine virtue and modesty, that she had not gone after young men, but offered herself as a wife to an old man like him. This conduct on the part of Boaz is a sufficient proof that women might have confidence in him that he would do nothing unseemly. And he justified such confidence.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:1:483.)



 Under what condition did Boaz agree to marry Ruth?  Ruth 3:11–13.  When Ruth’s husband died, his nearest male relative was supposed to marry Ruth. Boaz was not the nearest male relative, but he agreed to marry Ruth if the nearest male relative did not wish to do so.



Boaz responded graciously, generously, and properly, appreciating her honest choice in seeking security for herself and her mother-in-law. But there was another go'el with a precedent claim that he would respect, so he promised sincerely to do the redeemer's duty by this virtuous woman if the other man refused.

He sent with her a quantity of grain as a token to her mother-in-law near morning, while it was yet too dark for anyone to recognize her, thus safeguarding her reputation. Naomi comprehended fully, confident the matter would be concluded that very day.  (Latter-day Saint commentary of the old Testament EllisT Rasmuessen)



 What was Ruth’s reputation among the people of Bethlehem? Ruth 3:11.

 11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.



 How did this reputation benefit her in her relationship with Boaz?  Everyone knew she was good and virtous with righteous qualities therefore she would be accepted. 



Why is it important that our family members, friends, and neighbors know what we believe in and what values we strive to uphold?






In this chapter the nearest relative declines to marry Ruth and Boaz takes her to wife, she then bears Obed, through whom came David the king.



What did Boaz do after promising to marry Ruth?  Ruth 3:15; 4:1–8.



1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.

2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.

3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s:

4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.

5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.

6 ¶ And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.

7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.

8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.



 “The public life of an Israelite village was concentrated at its main gate. It was here that matters of law were brought for adjudication before the elders of the community. They also were the official witnesses for transactions such as the one in which Boaz agreed to marry Ruth if her kinsman would give up all rights to her dead husband’s property. A man renouncing property rights removed a sandal and presented it to the new property holder, a gesture that everyone understood and considered binding if witnessed by the elders.” (Great People of the Bible and How They Lived, p. 133.)



 The proceedings were duly accomplished according to the law. The writer has not even preserved the name of that kinsman who was willing to redeem the property but not to marry the widow and raise up a son to the name of the dead. The heir of the dead man would get the redeemed property, and thus it would not increase the redeemer's estate; hence he said selfishly, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance" (Old Testament Student Manual)



 How did Boaz show that he was a man of integrity? Ruth 4:9–10, 13He carried out his promise to Ruth and honored his social obligation to her late husband.

  

9 ¶ And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.

10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.  



What famous king of Israel was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz?  King David was one of their great-grandsons Ruth 4:17, 21–22 



 Who else was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz?  Jesus Christ Matthew 1:5–16; John 7:42 



The wishes of the witnesses were complemented by the blessings of the women upon Naomi and Ruth in celebrating the birth of the baby. The Moabitess Ruth, who did indeed come into the congregation of the Lord (despite Deut. 23:3), became part of the royal line of Judah; numbered among her descendants would be kings of Israel and Judah and our Redeemer, King of the world. (Old Testament Student Manual)



Elder Thomas S. Monson called Ruth a heroine ( Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 156; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 108). 



In what ways do you think Ruth is a heroine? Elder Monson said Ruth is an example of fidelity and loyalty.  Ruth’s choice to remain with her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, is an example of selfless concern for others.  The acts of kindness exhibited by Ruth and Boaz had a positive effect on those around them.  Ruth’s virtue and integrity impressed the noble Boaz, and he was honorable in his relation to her, showing willingness to assume family responsibility.  The union of Boaz and Ruth produced a royal posterity from whom came King David and eventually Jesus Christ.





3. Hannah is blessed with a son, whom she lends to the Lord as she promised 1 Samuel 1
In 1 Samuel 1; 2:1–2, 20–21. Hannah who is barren, is blessed with a son, whom she lends to the Lord as she promised. She is later blessed with more children.

Childlessness to the ancient Israelites was a tragedy of far-reaching proportions. Israel, as the chosen people, expected to fulfill God's promise, and that meant the bearing and rearing of progeny. Feelings of desperation consumed the pious woman who remained childless. Her lament was not her failure to provide an heir, but that the root of God's people had dried up in her household. It was a condition interpreted by many to be a "shame," a sign of God's displeasure

A man of the lineage of Ephraim named Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah had none. Every year the family traveled to Shiloh to worship. As part of the ceremonies, Elkanah gave a portion of the offering to Peninnah and a portion to all her sons and daughters. He gave Hannah a "worthy" portion, implying more generosity than was required. Still, because she had no children, her portion was less; it was a painful reminder of her barren condition.


Hannah, wife of Elkanah, was childless. Each year at the temple she wept and prayed for a son Her husband, seeing her reduced to tears and without appetite, sought to console her, saying, "Why weepest thou? . . . Am I not better to thee than ten sons?" 

Peninnah, the other wife, “was constantly striving to irritate and vex her, to make her fret—to make her discontented with her lot, because the Lord had denied her children.

“As the whole family went up to Shiloh to the annual festivals, Peninnah had both sons and daughters to accompany her [see v. 4], but Hannah had none; and Peninnah took this opportunity particularly to twit Hannah with her barrenness, by making an ostentatious exhibition of her children.  “She was greatly distressed, because it was a great reproach to a woman among the Jews to be barren; because, say some, every one hoped that the Messiah should spring from her line.” (Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:207.)



The scriptures do not say that Hannah was beautiful or gifted, only that her husband loved her.  Her gentle virtues being sufficient, it mattered not to him that she was barren. But whenever he tried to comfort her, he fanned Peninnah's envy, making her unkind reproaches increase with each year as Hannah's hope diminished.  Caught in that vicious cycle, where could she turn? Hers was no trial of a day, a month, or a year. Each visit to Shiloh must have added to her despair. The very sight of all her fellow countrymen flocking to the observances with their many sons and daughters must have been a cause of great anguish, and the fact that her husband asked why she wept indicates that even he did not fully understand her sorrow. 


 1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 

2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there.

4 ¶ And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.



 After the feast, Hannah went alone to the temple. (The place where the ark was kept was called the temple.) There on the steps, she knelt and poured out her soul, fervently weeping.  Her prayer confirms the purity of her character. She spoke from her heart. Before the Lord as before her husband, she did not demand help against the mockery of her rival. She prayed not that Peninnah's joy might be less, but only that she might be considered. Humbly calling herself a handmaid, she placed herself wholly in God's care and with bold confidence made a covenant: "O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt. . . give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head."



  What promise did Hannah make to the Lord in 1 Samuel 1:11? 

 11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.



 What can we learn about Hannah from this promise? She was a woman of great faith 



Where did Hannah make her promise to the Lord?  1 Samuel 1:9–11  



9 ¶ So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.

11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.



How can going to the temple help us with our worries and troubles?  

Elder John A. Widtsoe said:I believe that the busy person … who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. If he will [do] the temple work for himself and for his dead, he will confer a mighty blessing upon those who have gone before, and … a blessing will come to him, for at the most unexpected moments, in or out of the temple will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life. That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly” (quoted by David B. Haight, in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 76; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 61).



 Who witnessed Hannah praying in the temple?  1 Samuel 1:9–12 

9 ¶ So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.

11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.



 What did Eli tell Hannah about her promise to the Lord? 1 Samuel 1:17. 

 17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.



 How did Hannah feel after hearing Eli’s words? 1 Samuel 1:18 

18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.



Eli, the high priest, sat by the post of the temple; seeing Hannah praying continually with some agitation, he thought she was drunk and reproved her.

Hannah's defense under his tactless criticism is as ingenuous as her prayer. "No, my lord," she answered. "I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord."

Eli, without knowing her request, added his own prayer to hers and seemingly promised her new hope. "Go in peace," he said, "and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition."

Hannah went her way, and the scriptures add that "her countenance was no more sad." She worshipped with her husband again the next morning, finished the yearly observances. (Companion To Your Study of the Old Testament Daniel H Ludlow)

Judging appropriately

As Eli the priest watched Hannah praying in the temple, he misjudged her, thinking “she had been drunken” (1 Samuel 1:13).

13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

What are the dangers of judging people solely on the basis of appearance? How can we avoid this kind of judgment?

President Hugh B. Brown said, “If I make errors [in judging people,] I want them to be on the side of mercy ( Eugene E. Campbell and Richard D. Poll, Hugh B. Brown: His Life and Thought [1975], 225). 

How can we apply this principle?

 How can Church leaders help us when we are troubled?



Hannah told Eli that she had “poured out [her] soul before the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:15). 
15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.

How can we make our personal prayers more sincere and meaningful?

What happened in response to Hannah’s promise to the Lord? 1 Samuel 1:19–20 

  19 ¶ And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.

20 Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.

 How did Hannah keep her promise after Samuel was born?  1 Samuel 1:21–28

21 And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the Lord the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.

22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever.

23 And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the Lord establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

24 ¶ And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young.

25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.

26 And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the Lord.

27 For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.



 What promises do we make to the Lord? the covenants we make with him at baptism and in the temple.



 What can we learn from Hannah to help us be diligent in keeping these promises?



How do you think Hannah felt about giving Samuel to the service of the Lord?   When the time came again for Elkanah and his family to make their yearly offerings in Shiloh, Hannah asked to be excused, saying, "I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever." Her husband answered that she might do what seemed good to her. 


The next verse states that when the child was weaned (from two to three years old), Hannah took him up with her to Shiloh along with three bullocks, some flour, and a bottle of wine. Then "they," meaning Hannah and her husband, slew a bullock and brought the child to Eli. Hannah explained to the high priest that she was the woman he had seen praying and that because the Lord had heard her supplication and granted her the child, she had come to lend the Lord her boy for as long as the child lived.

She had prayed and promised, and when her prayer was answered she quietly redeemed the promise. While the occasion must have been solemn, it was not sad. Hannah, whose vow was at first known only to herself and God, showed no sign of regret, no second thoughts. Before she left Samuel with Eli, this woman, who had prayed with such fervor in her moment of sorrow, offered a prayer of pure poetry in her moment of gratitude.



 What does the Lord ask us to give him? Our time, our talents, our heart…



What should be our attitude about giving to him?  We should give willingly, remembering that everything we have comes from the Lord.



When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, she made offerings and sang praises to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:24–25, 28; 2:1–2).



24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the Lord in Shiloh: and the child was young.

25 And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.



28 Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.



 Why is it important to remember to thank the Lord for the blessings he gives us?



Hannah's song of thanksgiving distinguishes her as one of the great poets of the Bible. Her ability to express her spirituality in solemnly beautiful phrases evinces constant practice and marks her as a woman of more than modest artistic achievements.

She sang for those who had stumbled but were strengthened; those who were hungry but were fed; those who were barren but now fruitful; those who were low but now lifted up. What Christ would promise his disciples in the Beatitudes, Hannah already knew under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

She affirmed her faith in God, who kept the feet of the righteous on the right road, and offered her testimony of his strength, power, and glory, fully expecting that when the ends of the earth were judged, he would exalt his anointed.

There is no self-exaltation in her song. She doesn't suggest that it was because of any individual merit that her reproach was removed, or that the fervor of her prayer earned God's favor.



 After Samuel, Hannah had three additional sons and two daughters. More than anything, Hannah had desired a son, and when God gave her one, she gave him back. She did not consider that a sacrifice but a privilege, and she glorified the Lord who had considered her condition and lifted her up. The Lord, in turn, paid her back five fold.



 Hannah waited many years before being blessed with children (1 Samuel 1:2; 2:21).



2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.



What other Biblical characters were blessed for patiently waiting on the Lord?  Children promised to barren women
Genesis 17:16-17; 21:1-3;
Judges 13; 1 Samuel 1; 2 Kings 4:14-17; Isaiah 54:1-8; 3 Nephi 22:1-8



What does the world say regarding when we should receive the things we want? The world has become a place of instant gratification and entitilement



 What does the Lord say? Be patient for he knows best



 How can we learn to wait patiently for blessings that will come in the Lord’s time?



Conclusion

 What righteous qualities have been exemplified by Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah? Loyalty, selflessness, love, faith, obedience, virtue, honesty, integrity...to emulate the righteous qualities demonstrated by Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah is living the gospel, it is living righteously, it is living a Christlike life.  These women teach us how to pray, how to fulfill the covenants we've made with the Lord.  The teach us about temple attendance and the importance of marriage and family.  Developing these qualities will bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ and this is our goal.  When we become closer to Jesus Christ we are able to not just endure but to endure well and look forward to help, hope and peace as well as the great gift of an eternal home in his presence. 



Resources

Our Sisters in the bible Jerrie W Herd

Latter-day Saint commentary of the old Testament EllisT Rasmuessen 

Companion to your study of the old testament Daniel H Ludlow

Old Testament Student manual

Conference Reports

Ensign

Hugh B. Brown: His Life and Thought [1975]

 Great People of the Bible and How They Lived, p. 133

 Clarke, Bible Commentary, 2:207

 Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:1:483.

Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1:157

Journal of Discourses  

The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...