So here’s something cool: As it turns out, the book of Ruth is the story of a Moabite woman named Ruth and her Hebrew mother in-law Naomi. To this point everyone’s in the know. But read on. In the course of the story, Ruth approaches Boaz in the middle of the night and asks him to ‘spread his wings’ over her, that is, to play the part of the kinsman-redeemer and marry her. In the course of this conversation, Boaz praises Ruth and blesses her. He says that Ruth is known among all the city’s inhabitants as being a virtuous woman. But the word there for ‘virtuous’ is the Hebrew word ‘kahyil’ which is usually used to describe a courageous man of arms, a warrior. Ruth is a valiant warrior-woman. But what’s really neat is the fact that in the Hebrew Bible, Ruth comes just a couple of books after Proverbs. And the book of Proverbs ends with the beautiful passage describing the ‘virtuous woman’. In fact, the word ‘virtuous’ is also the word ‘kahyil’, thus Proverbs ends describing the valiant warrior-woman. At the risk of being too speculative, the order of these books does not seem to be accidental. The book of Proverbs is a basic living guide for young men and ends with what to look for in a wife. Job follows Proverbs and it’s a story about a man who has embraced the life laid out in Proverbs. Job is followed by the Song of Songs, the poetry of love between a man and his wife. And Job is followed by Ruth. And Ruth is the story of the ‘kahyil’ woman, the valiant woman, originally described in Proverbs 31.
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