Jesus’ Grandmothers, Part 1
And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David. Ruth 4:17-22
In an unprecedented act, Naomi’s friends seemed to have named the boy Obed in what was possibly a prophetic utterance. Obed means servant, or worshipper, of God. This boy was promised to serve his grandmother and worship his God.
The book then closes with a genealogy, which at first glance appears to be an afterthought. In fact, it is one of the most important sections of the entire story. The genealogy reveals that through Ruth’s redeemer husband, Boaz, and their son, Obed, eventually came the great King David. Second Samuel 7:1-17 promised that through David would come the Redeemer of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, to establish an eternal Kingdom. Roughly a thousand years after Ruth, Matthew 1:1-17 records the genealogy of Christ, and it’s the only place in all of Scripture apart from the book of Ruth in which her name is mentioned. One intriguing aspect of Matthew’s genealogy is the inclusion of women, which was uncommon. Even more intriguing is the scandalous type of women who are mentioned as members of Jesus family, namely the five women Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.
The first was Tamar (Matthew 1:3; Genesis 38) - Judah had chosen Tamar as the wife for his son Er, but Er was such a wicked man that God killed him. Judah then ordered Er’s brother Onan to replace his brother and impregnate Tamar. Onan was willing to repeatedly sleep with Tamar, but refused to impregnate or marry her, and so she was forced to live as a widow instead of a wife. Eventually her mother-in-law died, so Tamar dressed up like a prostitute with her face covered and waited for Judah by the side of the road where he picked her up and slept with her, impregnating her (with twin boys). When Judah later discovered she had become pregnant by becoming a prostitute, he ordered that she be put to death. But he then cancelled that order when she revealed to him in a great plot twist equal to any of the crazy daytime reality television shows that her twin boys were his sons and that she was the prostitute he had sex with!
Rahab is the second woman named in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:5; Joshua 1-2, 6:17; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25) – Rahab’s name means “pride, insolence, savagery,” and she was a Canaanite, the people who were the great enemy of God and His people. Vocationally, she was a prostitute, but she’s best known for being a good liar. God had promised He would deliver Rahab’s city of Jericho to Joshua. Joshua sent two spies to Jericho who were pursued by enemy soldiers. Fortunately, Rahab hid the men at her home, lied to the soldiers, and spared the lives of God’s spies. She converted to the Lord and was the great-great-grandma of King David.
- The women in the book of Ruth ended with rejoicing in what God had done and prayed for the future. How would you pray for your future?