[CF Devotionals] 2013-09-29 - Israel & Moab

Ruth ~ Part 3

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I like what Dr. Vernon McGee says in his introductory comments in his commentary on Ruth:

“There is something in the Word of God about Moab that’s quite interesting. It is almost humorous. In Psalm 108:9, it says, “Moab is my washpot.” Now that’s what God says of Moab. You see, these were an outcast people. They had a very sordid and sorry beginning, and Moab just doesn’t stand out very well in the Word of God. One way to paraphrase what God says about Moab might be to say, “Moab is my garbage can.”

“Marriages of Israelites with women of Ammon or Moab are nowhere in the Law expressly forbidden, as were marriages with the women of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1-3). In the days of Nehemiah, the special law (Deuteronomy 23:3-6) was interpreted as forbidding them, and as excluding the children of such marriages from the congregation of Israel (Nehemiah 13:1-3).

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you —and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons” (Deuteronomy 7:1-3).

“No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way, when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam - son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim - to pronounce a curse on you. However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam, but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them, as long as you live” (Deuteronomy 23:3-6).

“On that day, the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people, and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent” (Nehemiah 13:1-3).

Cundall and Morris, in their comments on the dating of Ruth, make the following comments about the interaction of Israel and Moab when they say:

“There is also the fact that according to the Deuteronomic legislation ,Moabites were not permitted to enter the congregation. That the heroine was a Moabite points to a time like that of Judges - when foreign wives were not so likely to be objected to.”

Of course, if Cundall and Morris’ assumption is correct, it continues to demonstrate how far Israel had drifted from where God desired them to be.

  1. McGee, J. Vernon, p. 90.
  2. Fuller, A., Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Vol. 2, “Exodus – Ruth,” The Master Christian Library, AGES Software, Albany, OR, Version 8.0 © 2000.
  3. Cundall, Arthur E. and Leon Morris, Judges & Ruth, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1968, p. 237.

To be continued.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

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CFD | September 2013 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Devotional Topics