The Women Ancestors of Jesus—Part 2: Rahab & Ruth (Study Guide)


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Rahab and Ruth (click to enlarge)

Left: "Rahab and the Two Spies," by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1851-60). Right: "Ruth Gleaning" by James Tissot, 1896-1904 (click to enlarge)

(Not to be confused with the mythological beast of Psa 89:10; Job 9:13; 26:12; Isa. 51:9)

1. Joshua 2:1-24: Why did Rahab welcome the two Israeli spies?

2. Joshua 6:15-17, 22-25:

a. Did Rahab change her life after she knew the God of Israel?

b. Did she commit a white “lie”? Give other Biblical examples.

3. Matthew 1:5: What is the significance of Rahab being one of the women listed in Jesus’ ancestry?

4. Hebrews 11:31: Why is Rahab included in the “heroes of the faith”?

5. James 2:25: Was Rahab justified by works?


1. Ruth 1:1-7: Why did Naomi and Elimelech go to Moab?

a. Who are the Moabites? (Gen 19:36-38)

b. Book of Ruth begins with death (Ruth 1:3-5) and ends with birth (Ruth 4:13)

2. Two things Israel needed:

a. 1:1: “Days when the judges ruled” (Jdg 17:6)

(1) Ruth conceives (Ruth 4:13)

(2) Produces an heir who will be king (Ruth 4:17-21)

b. What does the famine in Israel mean? (Deut 28:15-24)

(1) The LORD gives his people food (Lev. 19:9–10, laws on gleaning; Psa 37:21)

(2) Boaz lets her glean more than required by the law (Ruth 2:15-16).

(3) Because of their need for food, Ruth meets her kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 2:1-2), and her King-Redeemer (Ruth 4:13-17).

What is a kinsman-redeemer? (From Ligonier Ministries)

The concept of the kinsman-redeemer lies behind Ruth 3–4. The brother of a man who died childless in ancient Israel had to marry the widow left behind and father a son to carry on the dead man’s name and care for his family (Gen. 38; Deut. 25:5–10). This implies that other male relatives could raise up an heir for a dead man who had no brother. A related law said relatives must buy back (redeem) the property of a kinsman who lost his land (Lev. 25:47–55). Naomi is about to lose Elimelech’s land and has no son to care for her and Ruth (Ruth 4:1–4), and so she asks Ruth to pursue Boaz in Ruth 3:1–5 in order to keep the property and produce an heir.

Did Ruth have sexual relations with Boaz at the threshing floor?

1. What was Boaz’s prayer for Ruth? Compare Ruth 2:12; 3:9-10. “wings” in 3:9 can mean “the edge of your garment. So “spread your wings over your servant” may be Ruth’s proposal for marriage.

But what does it mean when God “spreads his wings” over Israel? Exodus 25:20; Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 17:8, 36:7; and Ezekiel 16:8.

2. Boaz calls Ruth “a worthy woman” or “a woman of excellence.” Compare with Proverbs 12:4; 31:10.

3. Why does Boaz praise her? (Ruth 3:10)

4. What steps did Boaz do, and what promises did he make to her (Ruth 3:10-15)?

5. What does the verb “lodge” mean in Ruth 1:16; 3:13 (same word translated as “lie down”)? (cf Josh 3:1).

5. Did Ruth do all that Naomi had commanded her?

Ultimately, Ruth is asking Boaz to be her husband, redeemer, and to give her a child. This was risky because it was then unheard of for women to propose marriage. Furthermore, her life would be in danger if she were to be found with a man at night and charged with adultery (Lev. 20:10). Ruth could have sought a younger man, but instead she looked to Boaz because she loved Naomi selflessly and desired her family to be redeemed.” (from

NEXT LORD’S DAY (April 21, 2013): THE WIFE OF URIAH (Bathsheba) & MARY

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