Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
Ruth 4:12 – “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman.”
In this verse we have a continuance of the blessing for Boaz and Ruth. In verse 11, Rachel and Leah, were mentioned, the wives of Jacob (Israel) and the house of Israel is mentioned. Now in this verse another house is mentioned, it is the house of Pharez. The line of blessing begins to narrow further. We see the tracing of that blessing and fruitfulness from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob (Israel), to a son of Judah (Pharez). This is Boaz’s lineage. Pharez was his great, great, great, great grandfather. But besides the relationship (this man was his ancestor), there is something else in this blessing. The descendents of Pharez were and will be both many and mighty.
When Moses took a first census Judah numbered 74,600 (Num 1:27) and in the second census they numbered 76,500 (Num 26:20), they had increased by 1,900. But it is not just the number of men that this blessing refers to; it is also the type of men, the mighty men that came from this line. In our present context we see in Boaz is an example of this strength and might and through Ruth a line of descendents will flow that are mighty men. Two later descendents after Boaz from the house of Pharez were Jashobeam (1 Chron 27:2) and Zerubbabel (1 Chron 9:4; Neh 11:4-6). Jashobeam was one of the “mighty men” of David (1 Chron 11:11). He was called “chief of the captains. He was commander in chief of a division of David’s army (2 Sam 23:8). Zerubbabel was a descendent of David and he was the grandson of King Jehoiachin. He became the governor in Judah during the restoration of the Temple.
“The family of Pharez continued to thrive and multiply from the numbers who returned from captivity. At Jerusalem alone 468 of the sons of Perez, with Athaiah, or Uthai, at their head, were dwelling in the days of Zerubbabel.” McClintock & Strong’s Encyclopedia
This is a prayer and a prophecy that the “house of Pharez” will be fruitful. But the fruitfulness and blessing has come from, and will come from, unexpected sources – Two Unusual Women!
In this blessing we see another woman mentioned who is an ancestor of Boaz. Tamar: “whom Tamar bare unto Judah.” It is through her the house of Pharez begins! Without this woman there would be no house of Pharez. Without her there would be no Boaz!. She is essential and yet her methods are desperate. Her story is found in Genesis 38:1-30. Tamar was a widow (like Ruth), her first husband (Er) was wicked and he was judged by God and died. Tamar (like Ruth) exercised her rights and married a “kinsman” (Onan) the brother of her husband. The difference is that kinsman did not want to fulfill his obligation, he was disobedient and God judged him and he died. After her second husband died Tamar waited for another promised kinsman and she was denied that right. She knew her rights, she wanted to carry on the family line, she wanted a husband and children but her father-in-law Judah denied her this. So she boldly laid hold of her rights, but she did it by deception. In the end, Judah, her father-in-law, and the father of her children called her “more righteous than I.” She was more obedient, she didn’t choose any man, she chose a man who was a kinsman and through him became fruitful. She had twin sons, Pharez and Zarah. This is the prayer and prophecy and blessing, it is to be fruitful like Tamar! Nothing critical is said of Tamar, only her fruitfulness is mentioned!
Tamar, who is mentioned here, is one of five women in the genealogy of Christ (Matt 1:3-6). And what is so striking is that each of these women would not be one that you would think God would choose but He did! Tamar played the harlot. Rahab was a harlot, and a Gentile. Ruth was an idolater, a Moabitess, a Gentile. Bathsheba was an adulteress. The only one that is blameless is Mary, she was a virgin. But God chose each of these women, He looked at their hearts and their faith, He saw beyond what man saw! The son of Tamar, Pharez, is mentioned in the genealogy of Christ, in both Joseph’s and Mary’s descendents. In Matthew it is the Kingly Line (Judah, Pharez, Boaz, David, Solomon). In Luke it is the Righteous Line (Judah, Pharez, Boaz, David, Nathan)
The blessing ends with the prayer that the Lord would give Boaz and Ruth children: “of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman.” The emphasis is on the house of Boaz and not the house of her first husband. The only recorded son of Ruth in the Bible is Obed, if this is true, the fruitfulness will come from his descendents. So we see in this wonderful blessing a description of God’s wonderful provision for those who walk by faith and live by faith. We see that the fruitfulness comes from faith and obedience! It is not by chance that this woman is mentioned in connection with Ruth. Both are women of faith, and both brought forth fruit from a kinsman and both have descendents leading to the Messiah!
Continued next issue