Calvary Road Baptist Church

“A Survey Of Satanic & Demonic Warfare In Ruth”

Ruth 

Our book-by-book survey in God’s Word of Satanic and Demonic warfare continues in the book of Ruth. Ruth is one of my favorite Old Testament books because of Ruth’s personal story, because of Ruth’s place in the Lord Jesus Christ’s genealogy, because of the often-overlooked detail that the man who became Ruth’s second husband, Boaz, was the son of Rahab, the harlot, and because in the book of Ruth we see an application of the Mosaic Law provision for redemption provided by a kinsman-redeemer.

Before turning to the book of Ruth, however, we need to backfill from God’s Word. We begin by reading Matthew’s genealogy, found in Matthew 1.1-16: 

1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;

4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;

5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;

7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;

8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;

9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;

10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;

11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:

12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;

13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;

14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;

15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;

16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

Five women are named in this genealogy, the fifth of them being the virgin named Mary. However, for our purposes, Mary is not of present concern to us. Who is of current concern to us are Tamar, verse 3, Rahab and Ruth, verse 5, and Bathsheba, unnamed but referred to in verse 6 as “her that had been the wife of Urias.” “Why are these four women, possibly all Gentiles, in the bloodline of Jesus?”[1] “While inclusion of women in biblical genealogies isn’t unusual in itself (there are fourteen such women listed in 1 Chronicles 2, for example), the inclusion of these four women is all the more odd when one realizes that ‘the great Jewish female figures are missing: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel.’”[2] This observation should pique your interest.

It has been suggested that, in addition to their inclusion as demonstrations of God’s grace to sinners or, specifically, Gentiles, these four women are included because of their connection to activities associated with demons. Remember, from the time of the great rebellion against God when Nimrod gathered people instead of people going forth as God had directed them; God judged the Gentile nations by confusing their languages, Genesis 11.7-9.

Though not explicitly stated in that passage, it does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that the entire enterprise in Babylon, from the gathering of the people in direct rebellion against God’s will to the construction of the tower of Babel as a central feature for Nimrod’s idolatry, was all of it the product of wicked supernatural influences. Thus, the confusion of tongues mentioned in Genesis 11.7 was part of a more extensive judgment that resulted in consequences that include those mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1.18-32: 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

One Bible scholar asserts that each of the four women in Christ’s Matthew genealogy used the illicit skills and arts that were initially taught to human beings by fallen angels. And that each of the women named in Matthew’s genealogy participated in sexual activity considered suspicious at best and unrighteous at worst. Each of their stories involved the use of the arts of seduction. Each of their stories, then, included activities associated with fallen angels.[3] Does that grab your attention? It ought to.

Let us get specific. Tamar played the harlot on one occasion with her father-in-law.[4] Rahab was a harlot. Ruth’s conduct at the feet of Boaz on the threshing floor one night, as Naomi coached her, was at least a questionable presentation of herself as an available woman to Boaz (more on this later).[5] And Bathsheba’s involvement with King David undoubtedly featured her failure to cry out in the city if one assumes David forced his unwanted attentions on her.

There is a great deal here to consider. We who read the Bible in our era view Scripture through an entirely different lens than Jewish and early Christian readers of the Bible. Whereas we can read Matthew’s genealogy again and again and see no supernatural implications other than the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, such would not be the case for Matthew as he wrote this genealogy or for those who were his original intended readers.

There is no question that Tamar had engaged in sexual sin when she seduced her father-in-law, Judah while pretending to be a harlot, Genesis 38.12-30. And no one disputes that Rahab is identified as a woman whose profession was prostitution, Joshua 2.1. However, without evidence, some insist that she had been a prostitute but was no longer a prostitute when the spies came to her. Nonsense.

What about Bathsheba? We know that King David summoned her, a married woman, in Jerusalem, on the night in question. If she consented to David’s advance, she was guilty of adultery as well as he. However, if she did not agree to his advance, the Mosaic Law called for her to cry out so neighbors could hear and deliver her, Deuteronomy 22.24. But she did not cry out. Neither did she later inform her husband. Thus, Bathsheba was an accomplice and, therefore, guilty of some misconduct related to sexual sin.

These are examples of an association with sexual misconduct of some kind. Both Jewish and early Christian readers of the Old Testament would have seen each of these instances as suggesting complicity of some type with supernatural influences. And if you think sexual misconduct occurs absent supernatural power and involvement, you are usually mistaken.

We know who were the wildly promiscuous people in Old Testament times. They were Gentiles, who were idolaters. And what is behind every idol? Demons. And also Jews, when they succumbed to the influence of Gentiles. Reflect on how closely associated sexual misconduct is with idolatry, which we know is a commonly used front for demonic activity: 

Acts 15.20:

“But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” 

Romans 2.22:          

“Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?” 

Whether the practitioners of sexual sins are aware of it or not, I maintain that those who engage in sexual misconduct, which is to say sex before marriage with anyone, or sex with anyone you are not married to after you have married, displays some near association with or influence by demons. Why so? Because they are demons who characteristically instigate sexual misconduct by human beings!

Consider these passages in the New Testament: 

First Corinthians 6.18:        

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 

First Corinthians 10.13-14:   

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 

First Timothy 6.10-11:     

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 

Second Timothy 2.22-26:    

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 

Is it not interesting that some temptations are to be resisted, but other temptations we are directed to flee from? Flee fornication. And also, flee idolatry. While you are at it, you’d better escape from that which is closely akin to idolatry, namely the love of money. Fornication and idolatry are related activities. Related to what? Related to demons.

I would suggest that the influence of demons is far more pervasive than you might imagine, with a likely indicator of one’s susceptibility to demonic influence being one’s involvement with sexual sins. And this is especially true if one, like Ruth, is a Gentile, of that company of human beings given up by God to sexual sins, Romans 1.26-27.

What does this have to do with Ruth and the book of Ruth? Let’s see, as we consider the matter under four headings: 

First, THE CHRONOLOGICAL CONTEXT OF THE BOOK OF RUTH 

The book of Ruth is a historical book in the Old Testament, recording events occurring during the times of the Judges, following the death of Joshua, and the record of the book of Joshua:

Chapter one of the book of Ruth introduces the reader to Elimelech’s family. Elimelech was a Jewish man, married to Naomi, with two sons. Verses 1 and 2 mention this Jewish man moving with his family during a famine to Moab, on the East side of the Dead Sea. Verses 3, 4, and 5 inform the readers of Elimelech’s death and the deaths of his two married sons, widowing their Moabite wives. Hearing of improvements in the Promised Land, the Jewish widow, Naomi, prepares to return to her people, verses 6 and 7. Naomi releases her daughters-in-law to return to their former lives, verses 8-13. Verses 14-17 record the decisions of the two Moabite widows, with Ruth saying to Naomi, 

“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: 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.” 

Verses 18-22 records the return of Naomi to Bethlehem at barley harvesting time, accompanied by one of her Moabite widowed daughters-in-law, Ruth. Do you think it is significant that the mention of Ruth being a Moabite occurs eight times in this book?[6] You will.

Chapter two of the book of Ruth introduces us to Naomi’s near kinsman, Boaz. In verse 1, Boaz is described as a wealthy kinsman. In verses 2 and 3, Naomi’s plan for Ruth’s redemption begins. Verses 4-14 record Ruth winning the favor of Boaz. Verses 15-18 record Boaz’s discreet directive to bless Ruth’s gleaning of barley. Verses 19-22 record Naomi’s advice to Ruth. Verse 23 records Ruth’s compliance with her mother-in-law’s recommendation.

Chapter three of the book of Ruth describes the outworking of the Mosaic Law’s provision for kinsman redemption. Naomi addresses to Ruth her claim of kinsman redemption, verses 1 and 2. Naomi advises Ruth on how to proceed to establish her claim to kinsman redemption, verses 3 and 4, with three additional suggestions. Ruth complies with Naomi’s troubling advice, verses 5-12. Boaz responds to Ruth’s claim, verses 13-14. Boaz commits to Ruth’s redemption, verses 15-18.

Chapter four of the book of Ruth records the culmination of Ruth’s request for redemption. Ruth waits for Boaz to accomplish what only he can accomplish, verses 1-7. Ruth’s redemption by Boaz is completed, verses 8-10. Ruth and Boaz’ union is blessed by witnesses and elders, verses 11-12. Ruth’s marriage to Boaz is blessed with a son, the grandfather of David verses 13-17. The book concludes with a partial genealogy recorded, verses 18-22. 

Next, THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF THE BOOK OF RUTH 

First, the origin of the Moabites. We begin with Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Lot came with Abraham and Sarah to the Promised Land from Haran. Lot accompanied Abraham and Sarah into Egypt and returned with them from Egypt with great wealth. Their large flocks required that Lot separate from Abraham, with Lot ending up near the city of Sodom and eventually in the city of Sodom. Later, Lot was kidnapped and then rescued from his captors by his uncle, Abraham. Then Lot, his wife, and two of their daughters were delivered from Sodom by holy angels before God destroyed the city with fire and brimstone. Though not explicitly stated, who would challenge that Sodom and Gomorrah were cities profoundly influenced by wicked supernatural beings, given their perverse sexual practices? Recall that Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt, and Lot’s two daughters seduced their drunken father and bore sons by him. One daughter’s son was the founder of the Ammonites, and the other daughter’s son was the founder of the Moabites. Thus, the Moabites were the product of wicked incest between Lot and one of his daughters. Would anyone dispute this horror reflecting the doctrines of demons, if not the outright seduction of those involved by foul spirits?

Next, the history of the Moabites. The chief deity of Moab was named Chemosh, mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament.[7] Human sacrifices were offered to Chemosh, according to Second Kings 3.26-27.[8] But Chemosh was not the only god of Moab, as is clear from Numbers 25, where it is also seen that their idolatrous worship was corrupt. They had their Baalim like the nations around, as may be inferred from place-names compounded with Baal, such as Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon and Baal-peor.[9] Since Moabites were idolatrous Gentiles, can there be any doubt that foul spirits also subjugated them? Why else would they offer human sacrifices to idols and engage in promiscuous sexual activity?

Thirdly, Israel’s interaction with the Moabites. Recall that during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, the prophet Balaam was hired by the king of Moab to curse Israel, but God would not allow it, Numbers 22-25. Balaam’s alternative to cursing Israel was to arrange for the seduction of Israelite men with Moabite women having sex with them, and enticing them to bow down to their gods, Numbers 25.2-3. This once again illustrates the connection between idolatry (backed by demons, of course) and sexual sins. Evidence suggests that relations between the Jewish people and the Moabites had improved and become relatively benign during the Judges, which is when events recorded in the book of Ruth transpired. That does not, however, suggest that the demonic suppression of the people of Moab had abated. Before David became Israel’s king, while King Saul persecuted him and running for his life, he managed to relocate his parents to Moab for their safety. This would suggest he maintained contact and good relations with his grandmother Ruth’s relatives, First Samuel 22.3-4. Later, however, David attacked and subjugated Moab during his reign as Israel’s king, Second Samuel 8.2. What brought that about, I do not know. 

Third, THE COVENANTAL CONTEXT OF THE BOOK OF RUTH 

Do we need to remind ourselves that the whole world lies in wickedness, First John 5.19? Do we need to remind ourselves that the entire Gentile world has, since Genesis chapter 10, been committed to gross idolatry? Do we need to remind ourselves that archaeology reveals to us that every idolatrous system is wickedly, and promiscuously, sexual in its practice?

That understood, when God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses, He was rescuing His covenant people from physical bondage to not only the Egyptians, but He was also rescuing His covenant people from spiritual bondage to demonic masters who made use of idols and sexual promiscuity to control their spiritual slaves, the Israelites.

The Exodus from Egypt was the first step in God’s nation-building enterprise. He first delivered them geographically by removing them from Egypt, and then He began to deliver them socially and culturally by reordering their lives. He did this by giving them the Ten Commandments atop Mount Sinai, the first four commands directing the people’s relationship to God and the subsequent six commands directing the people’s relationship to others in their nation.

As the Law of Moses was fleshed out from the first ten directives, specific requirements were set forth to govern the attitudes and the actions of those living under the authority of Israel’s theocratic rule. Deuteronomy 23.2–6 is of interest to us with respect to Moab: 

2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.

3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:

4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.

5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.

6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 

Look at verse two. The word bastard is very strong, referring to someone whose parentage is not legitimate, saying that the mother and the father were not married. Why is this an issue in Israel? The bastard is the product of sexual sin. Though unstated in this verse, sexual sins are frequently associated with demonic activity. Having removed the children of Israel from the demonic oppression they were subject to in Egypt, God decided to take no chances. Therefore, he prohibited even the children of those whose conduct might have been influenced by demons. Is this an issue for the child of God? No, since the child of God thoroughly repudiates sexual sins and the consequences of such activity, the believer in Christ whose parents were not married has already renounced the sinful conduct of their parents. Concerning our spiritual welfare, God does not hold us accountable for what our parents chose to do.

Our concern is with the Moabites, whose founding was the consequence of sexual sin, specifically incest. However, did the Moabites repudiate the wickedness of their founders? No, they did not. Instead, they embraced the idolatry and sexual promiscuity promoted by the demons who so powerfully influenced them. That is Ruth’s background and the reason why she, as a Moabite, would never be allowed to become an Israelite, except by being a barren widow who a Jewish man redeemed according to the provisions of the Law of Moses. With God, nothing is impossible. 

Fourth, THE SPIRITUAL WARFARE MARKERS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF RUTH 

Though God was certainly gracious and merciful toward Ruth, there is little doubt that there is more at work here than God’s grace and mercy in the life of one Moabite widow. Remember, she is a woman who grew up in an environment saturated with idolatry and sexual promiscuity as it was cultivated in her culture by demons. She could not get away from the fact that she was born and reared a Moabite. Are such things limitations to God? No, they are not. Remember Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees. Remember Sarah, from Ur of the Chaldees. Remember Job. But also remember Lot. He, too, came from Ur of the Chaldees. And while going to Egypt damaged Sarah and Abraham without destroying them, the evidence suggests that Lot’s time spent in Egypt was his undoing and led to his involvement in the city of Sodom and the later tragedies with his two daughters.

Lot was righteous but seriously compromised and affected by the world in which he lived. Was Ruth righteous and possibly influenced by the world she grew up in? It seems so. Remember when Ruth went to the threshing floor and laid down at Boaz’ feet as Naomi instructed her, Ruth 3.7-9? That action suggested by Naomi and performed by Ruth startled Boaz. Why so? In part, because it was something no Israelite woman was likely to do, so brazen and profoundly immodest a deed for a woman to do. It was overtly sexual, even if there was no evidence that she and Boaz engaged in premarital sex.[10]

Where did she get the idea to do that? “Naomi told her to do it!” Yes, and it is likely Naomi learned that in Moab, Ruth would not have been raised not to do that. And suppose you are wondering what is wrong with what Ruth did. In that case, you display your upbringing in Moab, in a hyper-sexualized culture strongly influenced by supernatural beings to engage in enticements of men. 

We will stop here. But we have seen evidence in the book of Ruth that Satan and the demons were active in Moab. Their influence greatly affected all Moabites, but it is unlikely that anyone would strongly argue against the likelihood that even the Jewish woman Naomi learned some bad things and picked up some bad habits during her time in Moab. She recommended what she had learned to Ruth. And because Ruth was a Moabitess, she more quickly than a Jewish woman complied with Naomi’s wishes, though the steps she took to entice Boaz, wash, anoint herself, and dress a certain way, Ruth 3.3, were not things she had initially done to impress Boaz. Remember that Boaz had been initially impressed by Ruth’s conduct and character, not by her aroma or clothing. Her lipstick, eyeliner, and perfume were not the things that initially drew his attention to her.

You and I need to be careful. We learn things from the idolaters that we are better off not knowing. We acquire skills from the worldlings that we are better off doing without.

__________

[1] Michael S. Heiser, Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ, (Crane, Missouri: Defender Publishing, 2017), page 71.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., page 74.

[4] Genesis 38.24

[5] Ruth 3.7

[6] Ruth 1.1, 2, 4, 6, 22; 2.6; 4.3

[7] Numbers 21.29; Judges 11.24; 1 Kings 11.7, 33; 2 Kings 23.13; Jeremiah 48.7, 13, 46

[8] The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Vol III, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1939), page 2070.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Heiser, page 81.

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