June 14, 2024

Old Testament Wives – Ruth, Abigail and Esther

What quality of Ruth’s is God’s focus?

Ruth is humble throughout—she stayed with Naomi, she was willing to glean food with the poor, she humbled herself in front of Boaz (looking for his direction), and was blessed because of it.  Ruth showed humility, something she didn’t need to do.  She could have stayed in Moab, she could have complained about the harsh loss of her husband and status.  She didn’t do any of this, and as such, she’s in the line of David.

Ruth is one of the few discussions of Leverite marriage in that Boaz was a kinsman redeemer to her. This story plays out God’s love for us– an outsider that is chosen to marry someone with much. She is held up as an example of a godly young lady.

In the case of Abigail, how were her actions rewarded? (2 Sam 25:1-42)

Abigail is a difficult character to totally digest. She was very disrespectful to her boorish husband.  He had already decided to ignore David, even though David had been protecting his people.  Abigail attempts to intervene, but not only does she go behind her husband’s back, but she also was very disrespectful to him, calling him a name and leaving him quickly after he died.  How was she rewarded?  Her husband was not killed, and she did not become a widow or die. Instead, she saved her family, God killed her husband, and she married David.  God enacted vengeance against Nabal.  David blessed Abigail.  Based on this, it’s hard to get a principle that is in sync with the rest of Scripture.

Many would like to make Abigail’s story into a principle, stating that God blessed Abigail for going around her husband, and she saved the rest of the household by her actions. The evidence tends to point toward Abigail being an exception instead of the rule, and it’s rarely good to take an exceptional story– especially a historical one– and derives rules from it.

What happened that made Esther Queen? (Es 1:10-22)

Queen Vashti was called before the king during a feast, and she would not come—she would not obey. Now, she was having her own party, and the men could have been drunk and just wanted to gaze at her beauty. There could have been all sorts of reasons why Vashti would reject this request, or just simply rebellion. All we know is that it was a lawful command and she refuse.

The wise men of the time stated that her example would embolden all of the wives to not obey their husbands, therefore she had to be made an example of what not to do.  Since she was very beautiful, there was a search held to find the most beautiful woman to replace her.

This is a comment about men’s leadership as well as about a wife obeying.  If there is no consequence for disobedience, then whoever it is will do whatever they wish.  If the person that is in charge does not demonstrate good behavior, those under them will not either.

What is the lesson of how Queen Esther told the King about Haaman? (Es 8:1-17)

She met his need by throwing him a feast, positioning herself under him instead of demanding or nagging him, and though she provided him with information (Haaman is out to kill me and my people!), she let him exercise his authority and make the decision. This humility and recognition of the order did the exact opposite of what happened with Vashti– the king was willing to give her up to half the kingdom and ended up hanging Haaman and giving the Israelites the chance to defend themselves.

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