June 2018           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Question: Was Ruth an Israelite?

Greetings and thank you for the question to 7times.org. We are happy to be of service to you.

QUESTION:   I was questioned about something that I have never thought about.  In the book of Ruth it has always been my understanding that Ruth was a Moabitess.  I have had a friend question this assumption because the Bible says that Ruth dwelt in the land of Moab but nothing about her heritage.  He claims that Ruth was an Isrealite even though she may not have been a jew.  In this way God was able to keep the royal line of kings "pure." 

Was the line of succession of kings supposed to be pure Isrealite heritage? 

Could a nonIsrealite actually be in the line that eventually lead to Jesus or even the Kings of today? 

My friend says that a nonIsrealite could not even have inherited or claimed ownership of land if they were not, at least by blood, an isrealite.  He says there is evidence that Ruth was an Isrealite because the word "shall" when Ruth says to Naomi "Your God shall be my God" was added in later translations and is not in the original text.

Can you shed any light on this subject?
Thank you
 ruth mcwilliams

ANSWER: According to God's Word, Ruth was a Moabitess. That is mentioned several times in the Book of Ruth at Ruth 1:22, 2:2, 2:21, 4:5, and 4:10.

It seems to me as I study God's Word that He has things repeated again and again to emphasize something of which He wants us to be aware.

I know it is boring to go through lineage sometimes, but it is necessary in times of question, like this.

Ruth was from the genealogical line of Lot, through Moab the son of Lot, and Lot was the nephew of Abraham. Lot's father was Haran of Terah. Terah had three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran (the father of Lot).

From Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah) came Isaac who in turn begat Jacob. The name Jacob means 'supplanter', for truly Jacob supplanted His brother Esau and took Esau's birthright by subterfuge.

Later God changed Jacob's name to Israel, which means 'sustainer' or 'prevailer' with God. Israel had twelve children, one of whom was Judah, from which came the Jews. As a note here.... all Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews. There are 11 tribes other than the tribe of Judah.

As you can see, Moab came from another line of people who were Gentiles. There are only two kinds of people.... Israelites and Gentiles.

Ruth the Moabitess was a Gentile (means she was not from the line of Jacob/Israel).

I have not been able to find where God decreed a "pure" line of Israelites to be the "kingly" line of Israel.

In fact, the Harlot Rahab was a foreparent of King David, and as an interesting aside.....

Jesus' Father was NOT an Israelite! He was God.

If your friend has any proof that all the Kings of Israel must come from a "pure" line, I would love to see it. I am not familiar with any thing like that.

God uses whomever He decides to use as far as genealogy goes. The only times we get confused is when we tend to take mankinds word over God's Word.

There is no Biblical consensus that commands a "pure" line of Israelites to be Kings, as far as I can find. If anyone has any other information on this I would be very open to receive it.

As far as ownership of land goes, Ruth owned land in Moab which had been left to her when her Israeli husband, Mahlon, died. In order to understand more about those things would take a course in Hebrew law which commanded a brother or other decendant  to take the wife of the deceased and bear children to continue the genealogical line of the deceased. Property falls into a similar vein of ownership and the passing of ownership.

I personally don't see what the word "shall" has to do with it one way or another when we read the scriptures. Let me quote some for you.

Ruth 1:16  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:
17  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, (if ought but) death part thee and me.

I have placed the italicized words in parenthesis so we can see how the verse reads without them.

Ruth is saying, "where you live, I live, where you go, I go, your people, my people, your God, my God."

In the last sentence she is telling Naomi that only death can part them from each other.

From this I again say that I don't see what the italicized word 'shall' has to do with trying to determine Ruth's citizenship or lineage.

Assumptions make strange bedfellows, and anyone who studies God's Word needs to stay as far away from them as he/she can do.

I have said all that to say this, I guess. Just accept what God says in His word. That is ALL we need! Scripture is very plain when it says:

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

I certainly hope this has answered your question satisfactorily. If you have any followups to this answer, please contact me at the address below my signature.

May God bless your studies.

Your friend,


Ken Browder, Editor - The SevenTimes Newsletter -

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