Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
Ruth 4:17 – “And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.”
In this verse we see the continued importance of the women, Naomi’s neighbors, in the part they play. They had shared in both Naomi’s sorrow and joy, now they declare and confirm this child’s place in Naomi’s life. They gave the child the name of “son of Naomi” and the name of “Obed.” In the first they declare that this child is a descendent of Naomi, one who will carry on the family name. The word “son” in the Hebrew” can also be translated “descendent.” They see in Obed the fulfillment of the kinsman-redeemer’s responsibility. This child was not only the heir of Boaz but of Mahlon. He would unite both families. Through him Naomi’s son’s line would continue and through him Naomi would receive honor as a mother or nurse.
These women next name the child; it’s interesting that they name him and not Ruth or Boaz, or even Naomi. Somehow they see in this child a testimony of all three, and it is the testimony of a servant, for the name Obed means “serving” or “servant.” This is the testimony of Ruth and Naomi for both began as servants, they learned to serve, though they were forced into it by circumstances there was no struggle or resistance, only an acceptance. Boaz too, had this testimony as a servant, one willing to serve, for he fulfilled his responsibility as their kinsman and redeemed all that needed to be redeemed. Both these women and Boaz will pass on to this child this testimony and it will become a part of his character. Somehow these women saw this! This is also a prophecy concerning the descendents of this child, one of who is named. He will be the father of Jesse, who will be the father of David, whose testimony as a servant was that he fulfilled all God’s will (Acts 13:22). And from David’s line will come their Messiah, who did His Father’s will (John 6:38), the Perfect Servant. Ultimately this is what will be the description of the nation’s character as they become true servants of the Lord, it is the testimony of the New Creation! Sister Mary Bodie writes the following concerning this name Obed:
“Obed — “servant” the name given to the child by Naomi’s women friends (type of the nations that rejoice with Israel in her renewal of life). The Messiah is constantly brought before us in this role in Isaiah 41-53: but after Isaiah 53, with its clear view of Christ’s sufferings, we read no longer “My Servant,” but “My servants,” to the very end of the book. These servants are the remnant, and are from now on owned by Jehovah according to the value of the atoning work of Christ. Therefore that little babe in Naomi’s bosom, figures both the Messiah of Israel and the beginning of the nation of Israel.”
In the following verses are listed the names of the lineage of David, of whom Obed plays such an important role, for with Ruth and Boaz there would be no Obed and without Obed there would be no David and without David there would be no Messiah, no Savior, no Christ. But God is in control and He knows what He is doing and He plans all things. He knew Ruth’s heart before she knew it. He knew Naomi’s circumstances before she knew it. He knew Boaz’s heart before He knew it. He knows everything. Here in these final verses we have a list of the line of David beginning with Pharez who was mentioned earlier, the son of Tamar who played the harlot. I would like to simply give you the teaching from Sister Mary Bodie concerning their names and the meanings and the wonderful types they represent and let the Spirit bless this to your hearts and He has blessed my heart. I can think of no better way to present this and to do it in simply a historical way is not enough, it is the typical teaching that becomes a blessing that we can apply to our lives. May you find the following teaching by Sister Mary Bodie a blessing. It can be found in the Ruth study book.
Vs 18: “Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, Phares – “a breaking forth,” is not difficult of interpretation as relating to anyone in whom resurrection life is implanted. They must “break forth on the right hand and on the left.” (Is 54:3)
Hezron – “to be green,” the second name in the series, surely is indicative of the vital energy that will be pent up in the nation. The green blade will come after the “breaking forth” of the seed. Then the next result:
Vs 19: “And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, Ram – “exalted,” surely harmoniously informs us of growth, just as the blade increases into the stalk with its “ear,” finally in evidence. So is the unfolding of divine life in the soul whether in the individual, or in Israel. The next name shows us more.”
Amminadab – “my willing people,” is the result of true spiritual growth. It manifests itself in a spontaneous delight in God and in His will. The Perfect Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ, so beautifully exemplified this delight and so expressed those sentiments in His words, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight” [Mat.1:26]. It is into this joyous obedience that every child of God is sanctified [2Pe.1:2]. It is that submission of will that brings rest [Mat.1:29]. It is a sign of perfect redemption in its result, whatever the dispensation, when the rebel, man, thus can be brought into such harmony with God. It is fruit in full ear.
Vs 20: “And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, Nahshon – “to shine,” teaches that the one who grows will shine. (This name continues to emphasize experience). The “willing people” are always the luminaries in their day. It is so now; and it will be so in the time of Israel’s re-gathering. They will be the light of the whole world. Their city set upon a hill cannot be hid in the millennium. The next name emphasizes another phase of salvation.
Salmon – “raiment,” speaks of the garments of salvation with which the people are clothed, waiting the Kinsman-Redeemer to whom they will be united.
Vs 21: And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, Boaz – “strength,” is He. They will recognize and accept Him as the One willing and able to redeem – their Lover and Husband. And then they will serve as none ever served, as the next name indicates.”
Obed – “servant,” becomes their happy occupation. They will say, as the Psalmist, “O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.” [Psa.116:16]. Redemption is thus the power of service. It gives character to the ministry of the saints in any and every age.
Vs 22: “And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.
Jesse – “Jehovah is,” tells the reason of the exaltation of service. Jehovah becomes a servant. He is linked up with those that serve. We see Him thus in the Gospel records. Especially in Mark’s narrative, do we view Him in this character. Then the following name is in fullest harmony.”
David – “the beloved king,” most wonderfully prophetic, not only of Christ, God’s beloved Servant and King, but also of Israel, the nation that will reign over the world. They will be exalted on the earth when Christ as King is on His throne in the heavenlies.