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permission to go over his stubble field with rakes and glean what they could. The girls worked steadily for four days, threshed their gleanings, and sold the wheat for $315. Then two girls of Bounty, Saskatchewan, hearing what the first girls had done, made the same experiment. They gleaned one hundred and fifty bushels of wheat from one hundred and sixty acres of stubble, and sold the grain for $331.50.
THE KINDNESS OF Boaz. A kind providence led Ruth to the field belonging to Boaz, kinsman of her dead fatherin-law Elimelech. Boaz was a man of wealth and ability, a leader in Bethlehem. As he visited his field, he noticed Ruth and inquired about her. As soon as he learned who she was, he gave orders that special favors should be shown her, for he had heard of her faithfulness to Naomi. She was to remain in his field and stay with his woman workers who bound the sheaves while the men workers cut the grain. Boaz even ordered the reapers to pull some grain out of the sheaves now and then and let her glean it. At meal-time Boaz bade her share the bread of the reapers, their sour drink,
Boaz and Ruth.
Doré and their parched grain that had been roasted on a hot plate. All this Boaz piously did for the Moabitess in the name of the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to take refuge.
In the evening Ruth, weary but rejoicing, carried to old Naomi an ephah (about a bushel) of barley which she had threshed out, and delighted her by telling the name of her benefactor, which Naomi recognized at once as that of her husband's kinsman. So Ruth continued gleaning in the fields of Boaz through the barley harvest, and then, two or three weeks later, through the wheat harvest.
"O simple piety of early days,
Their greeting in devout and fervent phrase." - James Drummond Burns. BOAZ AND CHRIST. “ It is not to be wondered at that the Church of Christ, with such a dash of romance and mysticism in her heart, should have seen in Ruth's husband, Boaz, a far-off figure of her own Husband, Jesus Christ. For she, like Naomi and Ruth, was disinherited, disconsolate, despised, forgotten, and without kinsmanredeemer in her famine and all her deep distress, when his eye and his heart fell on her in the field.” Whyte. IV. RUTH THE HAPPY WIFE, Ruth 3:1-4 : 22. The goel,
redeemer next of kin among the ancient Hebrews, had many duties. If his poor relative was obliged to sell a field, the goel should buy it back ; if he were sold as a slave, the goel should redeem him ; if he were accidentally slain, the goel should avenge him ; if he died without children, the goel should marry his widow and rear children to receive his property.
Naomi doubtless knew that Boaz was interested in Ruth, but he was much older than the young Moabitess, and there was a nearer goel than he, so he held back and Naomi decided to help him out. Therefore she sent Ruth to him at night, as, according to a custom still observed in Palestine, he slept beside the grain on the threshing-floor. Ruth virtually asked him to perform the duty of a goel, and he
was greatly pleased and flattered that she had thus honored him, passing by the younger men. “ You are kinder to me even than you have been to your motherin-law," he said to her. “She stood breast-high amid the corn
"Sure, I said, Heaven did not mean
Where I reap thou should'st but glean.
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.",
Thomas Hood. But Boaz was honest and prudent. He must first see what the still nearer kinsman had to say about it. So he loaded Ruth with six measures of barley and sent her home.
The next day Boaz sat at the gate of Bethlehem, where matters of business were customarily transacted — and are still in the East. Waiting till the nearer kinsman passed by, Boaz summoned ten “elders ” (heads of leading families) as witnesses, and challenged him to buy back Elimelech's land which Naomi had sold. This the next of kin was ready to do until told that with the land he must also take Ruth as his wife. Then he refused, lest the expense of supporting Ruth, or the fact that she was a Moabitess, should impair his own inheritance. Then, in token of releasing his claim, the next of kin took off his shoe as was customary (compare Deut. 25:9); on the contrary, casting the shoe on to something was a symbol of claiming it or taking possession (see Ps. 60 : 9).
Boaz thereupon was warmly congratulated by the witnessing elders, and the close of the book relates the congratulations which the women of Bethlehem heaped upon Naomi when Ruth bore a son to Boaz. This son was Obed ("one serving". - Obadiah means “a servant of Jehovah”), who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
LESSONS FROM Ruth. “In proportion as we draw near to each other in the holy communion and unforbidden love of earthly friendship, we lessen the distance between our spirits
A City Gate. and their Original Source, — just as the radii of a circle in approaching each other approach also their common center.” - John Greenleaf Whittier.
“ The household of Elimelech were meant to be missionaries among the Moabites, and, in Ruth's case, the purpose was fulfilled.”. Hastings.
“In the soul of Jesus the wedding bells of Ruth and Boaz are rung once more. Here again Moab and Israel meet together.” — George Matheson.
Ruth's reward : the favor and home of Boaz; becoming ancestress of the royal house of David ; becoming ancestress of Jesus Christ ; becoming the subject of one of the most beautiful books of the Bible. “ The less we put our service for God in the form of bargain, the more likely are we to fare with special richness at the end."
“ The story of Ruth is the classic instance of a friendship between two women. What David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias, are for men, that for the other sex are Ruth and Naomi. And — strange contradiction to modern flippancy — it is the passionate love of a girl for her mother-in-law.” – Prof. R. G. Moulton.
“Of the best kind of heroes there are few brighter examples, even in the annals of the church which numbers its virgin martyrs by the score, than this sweet figure of Ruth. She may well teach us to recognize the quiet heroism of many a modest life of uncomplaining suffering. The yielding birch tree, the lady of the woods,' bends in all its elastic branches tossing ringlets of foliage to the wind ; but it stands upright after storms that level oaks and pines. God's strength is gentle strength, and ours is likest his when it is meek and lowly, like that of the strong son of God. " Alexander Maclaren.
Happy,' says Augustine, “is he who loves his friend in God.'. Happy, I would add, is the friend who is so loved. Let him only see that he loves in like manner; so shall he witness and share a greater happiness than that which Orpah missed and Ruth found with Naomi in the fields of Bethlehem.” E. J. Hasell.
Devotional Reading : Psalm 84.'
Lesson Material : 1 Sam. 1 :21-28 ; 2:11, 18, 19, 26.
Memory Verse : Serve Jehovah with gladness. Ps. 100 : 2. Junior Topic : A Boy Who LISTENED AND OBEYED.
Lesson Material : 1 Sam. 3:1-21.
Memory Verse : 1 Sam. 3:9.
Additional Material : I Sam. 1:1–2 : 21.
THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS. Try to fill them with zeal for their high
calling as leaders of childhood to its For the younger classes this is a very best. famous and greatly beloved lesson. The principal teaching for them is obedience,
THE ROUND TABLE. and the honor and happiness that come from it - obedience to elders, to teachers,
FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION. and to God. The ideal teaching for this Eli's faults and excellencies. lesson is vivid description followed by Hannah a model mother.
The evils of polygamy. close application and loving questioning.
The probable structure of the tabernacle at Shiloh. The pupils of intermediate age, though The children of the Bible. they also need this teaching and should God's ways of revealing himself. have it, will be interested as well in the matter of Samuel's training. Here is THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. the one who was to become one of the world's greatest men. Every pupil, boy Time. Beecher's conjectural date or girl, can become great in the same way. for the birth of Samuel is B.C. 1171, and Try to arouse noble ambitions and point for his call, B.C. 1160. out the way to achieve true success.
Place. The location of Ramah is The older pupils and adults have here disputed. It was in Zuph, a district a lesson in which they should be taught named after Samuel's ancestor, and it to perceive the splendid potentialities of is identified with the modern Beit Rima, the children. Some are parents, some a village thirteen miles east-northeast of are older brothers and sisters, some are Lydda ; or with Ramallah, a village Junior superintendents or public school eight miles north of Jerusalem. Shiloh teachers. They have in charge the (modern Seilun) was about nine miles Hannahs and Samuels of the future. I north of Bethel.
THE PLAN OF THE LESSON.
THE LESSON IN ART. SUBJECT : Noble Parents and a Noble
“ The Call of Samuel,” the famous Son.
picture by Reynolds (National Gallery, I. THE ANSWER OF A FAITH-FILLED London). “ Samuel Taught by His
PRAYER, 1 Sam. 1 : 1-20; 2: 1- Mother Hannah,” by Rembrandt (Petro-
grad). “ The Presentation of Samuel,” Elkanah and Hannah.
by Opie, Copley, Burne-Jones.
THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY.
The Greater Men and
Women of the Bible, Vol. III. Mathe-
son's Representative Men of the Bible. III. THE Boy WITH WHOM
Meyer's Samuel the Prophet. Whyte's
Bible Characters : Gideon to Absalom.
Campbell's The Song of Ages. Hast-
ings's Great Texts of the Bible. Eli,"
by Principal Rowlands, and “Samuel,” THE LESSON IN LITERATURE. by Rev. P. Carnegie Simpson, in Men
of The Old Testament. Chapters Poems : “ The Presentation of Sam- Hannah, Eli, and Samuel in Whyte's uel,” by Mrs. Hemans ; “ Hannah and Bible Characters. Deane's Samuel and Samuel,” by Richard Wilton ; Samuel Saul. Sime's Samuel and the Schools of and the Voice of God," by James Drum- the Prophets. Chapters on Hannah in mond Burns ; “On Eli's Double Cen- books on the women of the Old Testasure," by Francis Quarles.
ment referred to in previous lessons. I. THE ANSWER OF A FAITH-FILLED PRAYER, 1 Sam. 1 : 1-20 ; 2: 1-10. The Books OF SAMUEL. First and Second Samuel are only one book in the original Hebrew Bible, as are the two books of Kings and the two of Chronicles. The division was introduced into the Hebrew by Daniel Bomberg, a Venetian printer, in 1517. But before him the Greek and Latin translations of the Old Testament (the Septuagint and the Vulgate) had divided Samuel and Kings into four books of Kingdoms (Greek) or Kings (Latin), so that Second Samuel was Second Kings and Second Kings was Fourth Kings.
In the Hebrew division of the Old Testament into the Law (the Pentateuch or first five books), the Prophets, and the Writings, the book of Samuel ranks with the Prophets, so called because, though history, these books have a teaching purpose like the prophets. The Prophets are divided into the Former Prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and the Latter Prophets, — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets. The other books of the Old Testament are the Writings (Hagiographa).
Samuel himself cannot have written the books named for him, because they relate the history of the reigns of Saul and David nearly forty years after Samuel died ; but Samuel is the great figure, not only of the early part of the book, but it was Samuel who crowned both Saul and David. These are the books of Samuel the Kingmaker” (Kennedy), and Samuel's influence extends through all the record.
“In the book of Samuel we have all that the editors of the exilic and early postexilic periods thought worthy of preservation regarding the greatest of the Hebrew kings (David), his predecessor, Saul, and the imposing religious personality who forms the connecting link between the monarchy and the period of the judges.” New Century Bible.
The books of Samuel are most systematically arranged, being divided into the story of Samuel and Saul (1 Sam. 1-14), that of Saul and David (1 Sam. 15-2 Sam. 8), that of David the king (2 Sam. 9-20), with an appendix of miscellanies (2 Sam. 2124). At the close of each of the first three divisions is a summary.
The father of Samuel was Elkanah, who lived at Ramah (“the Height "), where Samuel was born, lived, and died. He was a Levite (1 Chron. 6 : 22–28, 33-38), and is called an Ephraimite (“ Ephrathite ") because his family lived then or had lived in Ephraim.
The mother of Samuel was Hannah, which means Grace," the same name as the New Testament “ Anna,” the prophetess. Like Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David, and Solomon, Elkanah was a polygamist. The purer teaching of Christianity was needed to break up the bad custom of a plurality of wives. Elkanah's second wife was Peninnah, which means Coral or“ Pearl.”
Samuel was born into a religious family. Every year, probably at the harvest Feast of Tabernacles, Elkanah took his family and went to the central sanctuary of the Israelites, to worship the Lord of Hosts. This was at Shiloh, the modern Seilun, in Ephraim (Samaria) about nine and a half miles northeast of Bethel.
But Samuel's mother was unhappy,“ in bitterness of soul ” (1 Sam. 1 : 10). As often occurred in polygamous families, one wife had children, that chief blessing in a Hebrew household, and the other wife had none. Hannah was left childless, and “ her rival provoked her sore ” (1 Sam. 1:6), taunting her and making her life miserable. Matters were not helped by Elkanah's evident partiality for Hannah, shown by giving her, for the sacrifice and the sacrificial feast, twice as much of the animal sacrificed as he gave to Peninnah or any of her children.
“ Take it to the Lord in prayer." This is the thing to do with all troubles, and it is what Hannah did with hers. She must often have prayed over the matter at home, and it is natural that when she paid her annual visit to the Lord's house at Shiloh she should there present her eager petition for a son. There she repeated a vow, doubtless made often before, that if God gave her a son he should serve God all his days, and should be set apart by the token that his hair and beard should never be cut. This Nazarite vow included also abstinence from intoxicating drink and avoidance of defilement by a dead body — separation, strength, and purity. Samson and John the Baptist were Nazarites, as well as Samuel.
Illustrations. Samuel, next to Moses probably the greatest man of the Old Testament, was the child of his mother's prayers. “ For weal or for woe a mother's influence is infinitely great. We are not surprised to learn that Byron's mother was · proud, ill-tempered, and violent ; or that Nero's mother was a murderess. On the other hand, we need not be astonished that Sir Walter Scott's was a lover of poetry; or those of Wesley, Augustine, Chrysostom, Basil, and others, remarkable for their intelligence and goodness. Like mother, like child. This is what led the good Lord Shaftesbury to exclaim, Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the face of society in twelve months.?” - E. Morgan.
· Eli, watching Hannah, made a mistake. He was the high priest and the judge, the great man of his day. He saw Hannah's lips moving, but heard nothing. Silent prayer was not common in those days, but drunkenness seems to have been common even in connection with the sacrificial feasts (see Isa. 28 : 7; Amos 2 : 8). Rather hastily and uncharitably, Eli jumped to the conclusion that Hannah was drunk and upbraided her for it. Instantly, however, when Hannah made her dignified explanation, the old man changed his tone and promised her that Jehovah would grant her petition.
Hannah's thanksgiving must have begun at once, and continued all the way home. It showed itself, when her boy was born, in the name she gave him, 'for Samuel (Hebrew, Shemuel) sounds like the Hebrew verb ask, and so was understood to mean, “'Asked of God.” It showed itself most of all in Hannah's thanksgiving psalm (1 Sam. 2 : 1-10), a very beautiful hymn of praise to God, arranged in responsive lines, like all Hebrew poetry. The similar song of the Virgin Mary, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) is modelled upon this thanksgiving hymn of Hannah's.
II. A WISE FATHER AND MOTHER, 1 Sam. 1 : 21–28 ; 2:11, 18–21. Hannah did not carry out her vow to surrender her boy completely to the service of Jehovah until he was weaned, and we are not told at what age this occurred. brew mothers usually nursed their children for two to three years, but a period of five to six years is not unknown in Palestine at the present time. The longer period is suggested here by the fact that Samuel was able from the first to minister at Shiloh Sam. 2:11).” – New Century Bible. All this time Hannah remained at home and did not go with Elkanah on his annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
24. She took him up with her, to Shiloh, the centre of Hebrew worship at that time. With three bullocks. One perhaps for the burnt-offering, one for a peaceoffering, and one for the special sacrifice in performance of a vow. And one ephah of meal, that is, about a bushel. And a bottle (a skin-bottle) of wine, three pints of wine being required with each bullock.