Ruth Was An Israelite.
Recently someone made the statement that Ruth was not an Israelite, which I believe to be incorrect.
It is unfortunate that many preachers, in their ignorance, teach so much false doctrine. One such false doctrine is the statement that Jesus Christ was not of pure Israelite blood; they say that one of His Ancestors was Ruth, “a Moabitess.” From the use of this term, they believe that she was racially, not just geographically, Moabite. In this they are greatly mistaken.
The territory of the Moabites was originally east and northeast of the Dead Sea, extending from the River Arnon on the south to the river Jabbok on the north, and from the Dead sea and Jordan River on the west across the plains and foothills into the mountains to the east. From the name of the people who lived there, it was call “Moab,” and it kept that name for many centuries AFTER ALL THE MOABITES WERE GONE FROM IT!
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, after their 40 years wandering in the Exodus, the land of Moab was the first territory they conquered. God had commanded them to totally exterminate the former occupants of the lands they were to settle; and in Moab, they did just that. At that time, about 1450 B.C., Sihon, King of the Amorites, and conquered and occupied the kingdom of Moab, and was its ruler when the Israelites came in.
In Numbers 21:26, 29, we read:
“For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, AND TAKEN ALL HIS LAND OUT OF HIS HAND, even unto Arnon. Woe to thee, Moab! Thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.”
The Israelites conquered the land of Moab, killing all the people they found therein. We read in Deuteronomy 2:32-34:
“Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.”
From here, the Israelites advanced northward into the land of Ammon. Numbers 21:30-35:
“We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba. Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there. And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.”
This entire area, east of the River Jordan, was settled by the Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the Tribe of Manasseh, after all the original inhabitants, Moabites and Ammonites, had been killed or driven out.
In Deuteronomy 3:12-16, Moses tells us:
“And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites. And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants. Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan‑havothjair, unto this day. And I gave Gilead unto Machir. And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon.”
All of this was accomplished about 1450 B.C. From that time on, this was purely Israelite territory; even more so than the land west of the River Jordan, because in the old lands of Moab and Ammon none were left alive. Today, Anglo-Saxon Americans who live in California are called “Californians.” But bearing this name and living in a former Mexican territory doesn’t make them Mexicans. Likewise, pure Israelites living in the old land of Moab were often called “Moabites,” just as those who lived in Galilee were called “Galileans.”
Three hundred years later, about 1143 B.C., we find evidence that the Israelite occupation of the lands of Moab and Ammon was still unbroken, in Judges 11:12-26, which says:
“And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land? And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon: And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon: But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh; Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh. Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab. And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place. But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan. So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it? Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess. And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?”
So the Israelites had held unbroken possession of the land of Moab and Ammon all that time. Right in the middle of this period, about 1322 B.C., or 130 years after the Israelites of the Tribes of Reuben and Gad had occupied the land of Moab, ELIMELECH, A MAN OF JUDAH, WITH HIS WIFE NAOMI and his two sons was driven by famine out of Judah; and Ruth 1:1 says that he “went to sojourn in the country of Moab.”
Note the accuracy of that expression: Not among the people of Moab, but in the country of Moab, which was occupied by Israelites exclusively. His sons married women of that country; one of them being Ruth, became an ancestor of David, and through David an ancestor of Jesus Christ. SHE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN OF ANY RACE OR NATION BUT ISRAEL, FOR NO OTHERS LIVED THERE.
Indeed, it could not have been otherwise. From the beginning God very strongly condemned the Moabites and Ammonites. In Deuteronomy 23:3 He commanded:
“An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of God; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of God Forever.”
In the tenth generation there could be as little as one part in 1056 of Moabite blood: yet Forever a person with even on part in a thousand of Moabite blood could not enter into the congregation. And God was always consistent, in this as in other matters. In Sephaniah 2:9 we read:
“Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah...”
The whole 48th chapter of Jeremiah is a terrible condemnation of the people of Moab. In prophesying the triumphant return of Jesus Christ, Isaiah tells us:
“For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.” (Isaiah 25:10)
Certainly God would not take from a people whom He condemns like Sodom one to be an ancestor of Jesus Christ. So never let anyone tell you that Jesus Christ was only a mongrel, with the blood of other races flowing in His veins. God was so insistent that even the least peasant among His people Israel must keep the race line pure, under penalty of being cut off from His people for violation of this law; and Jesus Christ said,
“Think not that I am cone to destroy the law or the prophets: I am come not to destroy, but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17).
We have the clearest proof that, both as God the Father and as God the Son, He was consistently true to His own commandments: Ruth was a pure Israelite, from the land of Moab, but not from the race of Moab. But even if she were, the Moabites were descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and as such were not racial aliens either. (Taken, in part, from a study by Bertrand L. Comparet, from “Covenant Report,” New Zealand)