Was Ruth an Israelite?

Hawkeye

Active member
How is it that a Moabite is in the lineage of Yeshua when there was a curse on such unions at the time?
Contrary to popular opinion....and errant Biblical teaching she wasn't of the Nation of Moab but was born and raised an Israelite on the Plains of Moab. Thus...she is referred to as a Moabite woman the same way a woman of French descent, living in Texas...... is called a Texan.
 
Contrary to popular opinion....and errant Biblical teaching she wasn't of the Nation of Moab but was born and raised an Israelite on the Plains of Moab. Thus...she is referred to as a Moabite woman the same way a woman of French descent, living in Texas...... is called a Texan.
That certainly makes more sense than the popular interpretation. Is this thesis of yours a matter of improved linguistic studies or has this understanding just been suppressed for all these years? It was only recently that I began to question the popular belief, which doesn't make sense once you actually study the scriptures. Thanks Hawkeye.
 

Stephen

Active member
Deut 23:3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you. 6 You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.​

I think the lesson is that "Ruth the Moabite" stopped being a "Moabite" and became an "Israelite". It isn't about genetics, but rather who you worship. Those who worship the Moabite God can never enter the assembly of the Lord.
 

Hawkeye

Active member
Deut 23:3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you. 6 You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days forever.​

I think the lesson is that "Ruth the Moabite" stopped being a "Moabite" and became an "Israelite". It isn't about genetics, but rather who you worship. Those who worship the Moabite God can never enter the assembly of the Lord.
If Ruth lived on the Plains of Moab during this time (Famine in Israel) [Ruth 1:1] she was probably a woman of Reuben, Gad [Numbers 32:15] or Mannasseh [Joshua 22:1-4]. The point is......Yahweh had placed a curse upon Moab and all its inhabitants and it was still in effect 1000 years later [Ezra:9:1-2][Nehemiah 13:23][I Kings 11:1-2][Deuteronomy23:3].

Why do people believe that a God fearing family such as Naomi's [Ruth 1:1] would go to a heathen nation (Moab) during a famine when they probably had relatives living on the Plains of Moab (not part of the Nation of Moab) instead? These three tribes lived east of Jordan on the Plains which used to be Moab but was taken from them by Sihon [Numbers 21:21-26]....and Israel took it from him!

Ruth was born an Israelite....not a Moabite.
 

Stephen

Active member
Ruth was born an Israelite....not a Moabite.

That would certainly remove alot of the force of Ruth's determination in the opening chapter:

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
 

Hawkeye

Active member
That would certainly remove alot of the force of Ruth's determination in the opening chapter:

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
It's always enlightening when you read a relatively new "Literal Translation" that does not have typical Roman Catholic or Protestant bias built into it....like the King James or later biased translations like the New International Version which you are quoting. Let's look at "Young's Literal Translation" which I believe is among the best. Straight Hebrew/Greek literal with no bias.

[Ruth 1:14-16] And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Do you see the Italics? This means those words are not in the original Hebrew. Let's look at that passage without those words to distract...Italics or not.

[Ruth 1:16] And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people my people, and thy God my God:

Thy people.....my people. Obviously... if she were from Manasseh, Rueben or Gad her people also worshiped
Yahweh....the Great God of the Universe....and not Chemosh...the god of Moab. "Thy people my people" is what the various tribes of Israel considered one another and thy God my God follows logically.
 

Stephen

Active member
[Ruth 1:14-16] And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Do you see the Italics? This means those words are not in the original Hebrew. Let's look at that passage without those words to distract...Italics or not.

[Ruth 1:16] And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people my people, and thy God my God:

Thy people.....my people. Obviously... if she were from Manasseh, Rueben or Gad her people also worshiped
Yahweh....the Great God of the Universe....and not Chemosh...the god of Moab. "Thy people my people" is what the various tribes of Israel considered one another and thy God my God follows logically.

Ruth made a choice and the competing choices are shown in verses 15 and 16. It doesn't indicate that Ruth's choice was easy, or that she was choosing to remain with her people:

15 . . . “her people and her gods." "Go back with her.”
16 . . . "Your people will be my people and your God my God." "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay"
 

Hawkeye

Active member
Ruth made a choice and the competing choices are shown in verses 15 and 16. It doesn't indicate that Ruth's choice was easy, or that she was choosing to remain with her people:

15 . . . “her people and her gods." "Go back with her.”
16 . . . "Your people will be my people and your God my God." "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay"
Well....as pointed out the Hebrew does not say what your above passage says it says. It simply affirms that Ruth's people are Naomi's people and their God is the same. Words have been added to scripture to alter this fact....and that is a fact because of the Italics.

Now....the word "god" in verse 15 is elohiym which does not necessarily mean a diety. It could be a person....such as a magistrate; a judge; a mayor of a community, etc. Ruth's statement to Naomi is one of confirmation that she worships the same Yahweh that Naomi does, i.e. "Your people are my people, your God my God."

It's always been a question....why would Yahweh allow a Moabite to enter the family tree of Messiah [Deuteronomy 23:3] when it was strictly forbidden for Israelites to do so....under a curse. 1000 years later it is still a curse [Nehemiah 13:23-26] and Solomon lost his Kingdom [I Kings 11:1-13] midway between the two events for the same offense.

I've already established (and given scripture) showing that the PLains of Moab was where three Israelite tribes dwelt.....because of the good farm land. They won this land in battle against King Sihon [Numbers 21:26-29] who had previously won it from the King of Moab. The area was called (still is) the "Plains of Moab" so it would be quite natural for a woman who lived there to be called a Moabitess woman. This territory was from the Arnon River on the south to the Jabbock river on the north....and east of the Jordan. What better place to take your family (perhaps to stay with kin folk) than an agricultural farm land during a famine in your home territory in Judah [Deuteronomy 3:20].

Lets see what how this area is described in scripture.

[Ruth 1:1]1And it cometh to pass, in the days of the judging of the judges (elohiym), that there is a famine in the land, and there goeth a man from Beth-Lehem-Judah to sojourn in the fields of Moab (sadeh), he, and his wife, and his two sons.

What do you think the word sadeh means. (Strongs #7704.....a field; flat country; ground; land; soil) Because the King James calls it the "Country of Moab" does not make it the Nation of Moab.

It should be more precisely described as fertile, rolling countryside good for growing crops and raising cattle. That what scripture says [Numbers 32:1-5]. Moses gave it to three specific tribes... Reuben, Gad and Manesseh. From one of these tribes Ruth was born and raised. She was Israelite.
 

Hawkeye

Active member
[Ruth 1:1]1And it cometh to pass, in the days of the judging of the judges (elohiym), that there is a famine in the land, and there goeth a man from Beth-Lehem-Judah to sojourn in the fields of Moab (sadeh), he, and his wife, and his two sons.
Here is how "The Plains of Moab" became part of the nation of Israel:

When National territory is ceded to another Nation it generally keeps the same name it had. That's why Mexican California is still called "California. That's why many American states still maintain their "American Indian" names i.e. "Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas ....etc., etc.

If we named them all we would not have the room for anything else.

The Kingdom of Moab fought against King Sihon of the Amorites;
[Numbers 26:26-29]....and lost. Their territory, the Plains of Moab" were taken by Sihon.

The Amorites were subsequently destroyed by Israel....thereby ceding the "Plains" to Moses and the Israelites; Deuteronomy 2:32-34]. And....the war continued; [Numbers 21:30-35].

All this land was given to Reuben, Gad and Manasseh [Deuteronomy 3:12-16].

When Moses died the "Plains of Moab" were held by Israel (Circa 1450 B.C.). 300 years later....Israel still held that land [Judges 11:12-26].

This would be much like Russia asking us to return Alaska to them.

Ruth would have been born about 1322 B.C. which would place her on the "Plains during this period of time......when the Judges ruled [Ruth 1:1] before Israel had a King. The scripture places her in the "Country" (Sadeh) of Moab....which means "Plains, farmland, soil, agricultural areas, etc.

Ruth, the Moabitess is like saying......Julia, the Californian....who is actually a U.S. citizen, but born and living in an area that formerly belonged to Mexican California.

[Deuteronomy 2:34] tells us that no National Moabites were left on the Plains after Israel defeated Sihon and that land became the province of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh [Deuteronomy 29:8]. This territory retained the name of Moab just as Canaan retained the name of the Canaanites [Joshua 13:8-32 ].
 
Ruth made a choice and the competing choices are shown in verses 15 and 16. It doesn't indicate that Ruth's choice was easy, or that she was choosing to remain with her people:

15 . . . “her people and her gods." "Go back with her.”
16 . . . "Your people will be my people and your God my God." "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay"
Both you and Hawkeye put forth ideas/interpretations of scripture that avoid the New Age-y mysticism that pervades so much of theological debate, which I greatly appreciate. You both demonstrate that one needn't leave logic and reason at the church door- kudos.

With this question however, your reply seems a little squishy, imho. Hawkeye's thesis is straightforward and sensible, an application of logic that relies upon reason and eschews the unknowable. Your response is to suggest that Hawkeye's thesis renders Ruth's choice inconsequential. That conclusion requires one to assume that which is not in the text and therefore unknown.
 
Tradition is very powerful; Yeshua spoke against the traditions of men more than any other topic. For those who hold to the belief that Ruth was not an Israelite, is there anything other than tradition that informs your opinion?
 
I'd just like to throw in here for whatever it's worth...according Judaism the restriction on Moabites becoming Israelites did not apply to women. A Moabite woman could have converted to Judaism.
Also, during those days, according to Jewish law, children followed the father, not the mother.

All that said, I personally think Ruth was most likely an ethnically Jewish woman of Moab.
 
I'd just like to throw in here for whatever it's worth...according Judaism the restriction on Moabites becoming Israelites did not apply to women. A Moabite woman could have converted to Judaism.
Also, during those days, according to Jewish law, children followed the father, not the mother.

All that said, I personally think Ruth was most likely an ethnically Jewish woman of Moab.
Could Moabite men have converted? The prohibition, as I understand it, was against intermarriage. I hadn't considered conversion; it is Ruth's marriage that brings into question her ethnicity.
 

Newbirth

Member
Contrary to popular opinion....and errant Biblical teaching she wasn't of the Nation of Moab but was born and raised an Israelite on the Plains of Moab. Thus...she is referred to as a Moabite woman the same way a woman of French descent, living in Texas...... is called a Texan.
That is rubbish, she was a Moabite. A Moabite is a descendant of Moab just as an Israelite is a descendant of Israel. France and Texas are land mass and don't have descendants. People have descendants.
 
Could Moabite men have converted? The prohibition, as I understand it, was against intermarriage. I hadn't considered conversion; it is Ruth's marriage that brings into question her ethnicity.
This seems to be the most popular opinion:

https://www.aish.com/atr/Ruths_Conversion_as_Moabite.html?mobile=yes

Ruth's Conversion as Moabite?​

I have a question about the Book of Ruth. As a Moabite, why was Ruth allowed to convert to Judaism, given the biblical injunction against accepting converts from the Moabite nation?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:​

Excellent question! Before I answer, I need to add an important clarification to your question. The Torah does not exactly forbid a Moabite to convert, only to "enter the assembly of God" (Deut. 23:4). This is understood by the Talmud to mean that they may not marry a pedigreed Jew (Yevamot 77b). Thus, a Moabite may in fact convert, but may not subsequently marry into the Jewish people – but must rather marry another convert or a Jew of poor lineage. Although a Moabite may personally become Jewish and observe the mitzvot, as a result of the historic cruelty they showed to the Jewish people, the Torah did not permit their truly becoming a part of the nation (v. 5).
The question is thus not how Ruth could have converted, but how she could have subsequently married Boaz. In fact, Ruth's descendant – the illustrious King David – was hassled by some of the greatest scholars of his time claiming that Ruth's marriage had never been permitted, and so David was not fit to rule.
However, upon closer inspection we see that the Torah was precise in writing the word "Moabite" in the masculine form, indicating that only Moabite males are forbidden to marry in, but Moabite females are allowed to.
Initially her name was Gilith, but she changed it to Ruth when she married. The Hebrew name Rut (for Ruth) spelled backwards is "tur" which means dove. A dove is a bird that is allowed to be offered on the altar – symbolizing that Ruth was permitted to fully become a part of the Jewish people.
(Sources: Talmud – Yevamot 77a; Zohar Chadash – Ruth 78a)

 

Newbirth

Member
I'd just like to throw in here for whatever it's worth...according Judaism the restriction on Moabites becoming Israelites did not apply to women. A Moabite woman could have converted to Judaism.
Also, during those days, according to Jewish law, children followed the father, not the mother.

All that said, I personally think Ruth was most likely an ethnically Jewish woman of Moab.
How do you suppose that makes any sense since Jews are the the descendants of Israel and Moabites are the descendants of Moab?
 
How do you suppose that makes any sense since Jews are the the descendants of Israel and Moabites are the descendants of Moab?
I didn't say that I agreed with what the Jewish Rabbis teach on this subject, I was just pointing it out.

In fact if one reads Ezra 9 and 10, when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, the men had to "dismiss" their pagan wives and the children they'd had by them. They didn't decide that it would be okay to convert their wives.

Ezra 9: 10 But now, our God, what can we say after all this? For we have abandoned your commandments, 11 which you gave through your servants the prophets: The land which you are entering to take as your possession is a land unclean with the filth of the peoples of the lands, with the abominations with which they have filled it from one end to the other by their uncleanness. 12 Do not, then, give your daughters to their sons in marriage, and do not take their daughters for your sons. Never promote their welfare and prosperity; thus you will grow strong, enjoy the produce of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.

So this seems to contradict what the Rabbis say.
 
That is rubbish, she was a Moabite. A Moabite is a descendant of Moab just as an Israelite is a descendant of Israel. France and Texas are land mass and don't have descendants. People have descendants.
So YHWH's prohibition against intermarriage is of no consequence? If so, how did you come to that conclusion?
 
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