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  King David and the Oral Law  

Loyalty to David is Required:
Ruth and the Oral Tradition

Reply to Claims that Ruth was not a Native-born Physical Daughter of Moab.
The Choice is between an Ancient Oral Tradition and a New One Derived from Base Motives!



Amongst the ancestors of David we find Ruth the Moabitess.

Ruth 4:
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, 'Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a
nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.' 16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. 17 Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, 'There is a son born to Naomi.' And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth was a Moabitess.
It was forbidden to accept a Moabite into the community of Israel but a Moabitess was permitted.

Deuteronomy 23:
3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of
Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

This is the Law as the Sages decided it (Talmud Yebamot 76;b).
It is a commandment to listen to the Sages:
[Deuteronomy 17:9-13].

The Bible says that whether one agrees with them or not in matters of Law the Sages must be obeyed.
[For a discussion of the Oral Law see:
"Little Sister.
" by Rabbi Avraham Feld.

Traditionally those who decided the Law came from the Tribes of Judah, Levi, or Issachar. The other Tribes may produce Sages but these (it is implied) generally lack the talent for Scriptural-Decision Making. We are only speaking in general terms based on a general observation made by the Sages themselves (Sifrei). In practice anyone who has the talent and learning to make decisions could do so. Some of the greatest decision makers were proselytes or the children of proselytes and may not have had any physical Israelite ancestry at all. At all events the decision-making talent of Judah concerning the Law was remarked upon in Scripture:
“Ephraim is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver” (Psalms 60:9, 108:90).
Cf. Hosea 11:12.

The Law-Giving Process in Practice:
There are two opinions held by X and Y.
The Law is decided by the Sages in accordance with X.
The Law is then passed down to the people who have a Benjamin-like tendency amongst their religious elements to try and accommodate both X and Y.
Even though the Law has been decided like X the more pious elements amongst the people will often try and take account of Y as well. After a period the Law is returned to the Sages who do one of the following:
a. Re-affirm that the Law is according to X and strictly forbid any consideration being given to Y.
b. Accomodate the judgment of the people and while restating the Law according to X consideration will be given to both opinions.

The law was that a Moabitess could be accepted but not a Moabite but not everybody was aware that such was the decision. The Sources indicate that there was some confusion in the matter and the Sages would later have need to discuss the subject anew and strengthen the original conclusion. There were those who were not aware of the decision or did not accept it or wished to conduct themselves in a way that would accommodate both opinions. This is why there was a reservation about accepting David. This reservation was especially strong amongst the Northern Tribes. Even though the Tribe of Benjamin was eventually to stay with Judah at that time they tended to consider themselves more in line with the House of Joseph than that of Judah (see 2-Samuel 19:16-20). Accepting the Law and later also acknowledging the House of David meant a certain acceptance of Judah against whom the other Tribes always felt a certain degree of resentment. Even very religious elements amongst the Northern Tribes could find reasons as to why the decisions of Judah were not acceptable. Jeroboam of Ephraim who eventually led the Northern Tribes away from Judah according to tradition was one of the greatest Sages who ever lived. Nevertheless Jeroboam led his subjects into idolatry and all because he did not want them to return to Judah.

1-Kings 12:
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord,
Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.'
28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!' 29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 31 He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from the lower classes of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.

We see that the initial break in matters of religion emanated from a rejection of the House of David and a fear of re-union with Judah.


Ruth in the Book of Ruth is depicted as being a Moabitess.
In the time of Judges there was a famine in the Land of Judah so Elimelech and his wife Noami moved to the Land of Moab with their two sons.

Ruth 1:
4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah
, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.

It says that Ruth and Orphah were "of the women of Moab".
It does not say that they were Israelites but rather "of Moab".
There was never any tradition or any known opinion (until modern times) that Ruth was not born a Moabitess.
ON THE CONTRARY, there is a tradition (Midrash Ruth Rabah, 2;9) that Ruth was a Moabite princess descended from Eglon the King of Moab who was killed by Ehud of the Tribe of Benjamin [Judges 3:20].
Elimelech and his sons died and so Noami decided to return to the Land of Judah.
When their Israelite husbands died Ruth and Orphah (1:10) offered to accompany Noami (their mother-in-law) on the return to "thy people", i.e. to the people of Noami. Noami told them that such a move would not be in their interests so Orpah returned (Ruth 1:14).
Noami then said to Ruth:

Ruth 1:
15 ..."Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law."

Here we see Noami exhorting Ruth to follow in the footsteps of Orpah who had returned to her gods and to her people, i.e. to non-Israelite gods and to a non-Israelite people. NO distinction is made between Orpah and Ruth. Both were Moabitesses.
Ruth however had other ideas:

Ruth 1:
16 But Ruth said:
      "Entreat me not to leave you,
      Or to turn back from following after you;
      For wherever you go, I will go;
      And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
      Your people shall be my people,
      And your God, my God.
 17 Where you die, I will die,
      And there will I be buried.
      The LORD do so to me, and more also,
      If anything but death parts you and me."

Ruth says that the place and people and the God of Noami will be her own, in the future. Until that point the people and culture of Ruth had been Moabite.
After Ruth continued on with Noami to Beth-Lehem in the territory of Judah she was known as "the Moabitess" (Ruth 1:22, 2:26). In Beth-Lehem Ruth joined the poor people who were allowed to follow the reapers and glean for themselves what was left behind. She chanced to come upon the fields of Boaz who was a local potentate and relative of Noami. Boaz welcomed her and gave her favored treatment.

Ruth 2:
10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, 'Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?'
11 And Boaz answered and said to her, 'It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.'

Notice Boaz praises Ruth for leaving her family and the land of her birth and coming to live amongst a people she was not familiar with beforehand and also for coming to place her trust in the God of Israel. She had come to Israel for refuge to be under the wings of the God of Israel. It is clear from the context that previously Ruth had not pertained to the God of Israel but now of her own voluntary will had done so!
These words are pertinent to someone who was born a non-Israelite and who came of their own volition to join themselves to Israel and place their trust in the God of Israel.
Someone who was born an Israelite would have been obligated to act in such a manner as Ruth did and laudations of that kind would not have been relevant. Ruth had not been born an Israelite but had acted of her own free will and made a choice of her own. She was an exception and had acted exceptionally and was praised for it.
Boaz decided to marry Ruth but he was an old man (Ruth 3:10), wealthy, and with the status of a local ruler. He needed to act with circumspection.
It was customary to attempt to keep lands of the family within the family along with the widow and dependents of the family. This was based on Biblical principles. Boaz was apparently related both to Naomi and to Elimelech the deceased husband of Naomi. There was however someone else who was of closer kin and had a prior prerogative. Boaz approached the kinsman and asked him to redeem the land of Elimelech and the kinsman agreed. Boaz then told the kinsman that together with acquiring the land he would also have to marry Ruth and bear children from her as part of a "package deal". The kinsman then backtracked (as Boaz expected him to) and said he would no be able to go through with it.

Ruth 4:
6 And the close relative said, 'I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.'

He did not want to take another woman into his house since this would cause trouble with his existing family and offspring. It may be that a certain degree of racial prejudice was also involved.
There was a taboo against Moab.


We see from above that it was forbidden to intermarry with the Moabites.
How then did Machlon and later Boaz marry Ruth?
Certain "Identity" type articles (some of which are quite well written) say that Ruth was a descendant of Israelites who had settled in Moab.
There is however no basis for this assumption in the Bible.
The Sages (Talmud, Yebamot 73;a) explained that the prohibition against Ammonites and Moabites applied to the males and not the females.


We see from the above:
The reasons for the prohibition were that they did not provide you with provisions and that they hired a sorcerer to curse the Children of Israel.
These (in those days) were the tasks of males and the actions of males.
The females were not expected to participate in these actions and therefore they did not bear the opprobrium of their results.
We know from the Science of Genetics and natural observation that certain qualities may be passed down only through the males or only through the females. It may be that whatever quality it was that prohibited the entrance of Moabites and Ammonites into the community of Israel was only possessed by males and passed on only through males. Therefore the prohibition only applied to males and not to females.

We have said:
The non-Israelite stranger who identifies with Israel could always be counted as part of Israel after being accepted by the community.
The prohibition against the Moabites applied to the males and not the females.
This is the tradition that the Sages had received and they explained it through the different gender-roles.
It was a tradional decision that had existed from the beginning though due to wars and general distubrances there may have been a time when it was not clear enough to everybody and therefore was clarified anew.
Even if a critical observer should (wrongly) claim it was something the Sages had decided on their own initiative it is supportable by Scripture.
We were commanded to obey the Sages in matters of law even if we did not agree with their decisions:


Non-Jewish people who believe in the Bible do not have to accept Rabbinical interpretations on every point neither are they expected to do so. On the other hand where the traditional explanation adequately explains the simple meaning of the Bible there is no reason to perform intellectual somersaults, create a new "oral" tradition that previously did not exist, and invent explanations that contradict the simple meaning of Scripture.
Ruth was born a Moabitess and not an Israelite.
Ruth attached herself to the Israelites and worked to provide for herself and her widowed mother-in-law. She demonstrated the possession of those virtues that were the opposite qualities for which the prohibition against the males of her nation had been enacted.
On a racial level the Moabites and Ammonites were close relatives of the Israelites yet it was forbidden to accept their males into the community. On the other hand someone who came from a distant land and from an altogether different people could be accepted if he/she identified with Israel and fulfilled certain conditions.
Legally today we can no longer be certain that someone really is descended from Moab or Ammon. Ever since Assyrian times most peoples of the world have been intermixed. Therefore the prohibition no longer applies since it would be impossible to properly apply it.
Boaz and the kinsman agreed that the "duty" of redeeming the property and of marrying Ruth should be taken up by Boaz. To seal the agreement the kinsman took off his shoe and passed it to Boaz.

Ruth 4:
7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel.
8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, 'Buy it for yourself.' So he took off his sandal.

A marriage is a form of purchase. Until recently in Northern England and Scotland when someone got married they used to tie old shoes to the back of the carriage that would bear the bridal couple away after their wedding.

Boaz married Ruth in the presence of the elders of the city. David was their descendant.

Ruth 4:
18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot
Hezron; 19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

Ruth the Moabitess from the Moabite nation who attached herself to Israel and identified with Israel became the ancestress of David king of Israel from whom will emerege the future Messiah.

The following extract is pertinent to this message:

The re-union between Judah and Joseph can only take place when both are ready for it and Joseph has undertaken to reform himself.
In 1-Kings chapter 12 it is related how the Northern Ten Tribes sent to King
Rehoboam the son of Solomon the son of David the son of Jesse a delegation. They requested an alleviation of taxes. Rehoboam refused and the people reacted:
They were rejecting the House of David son of Jesse represented by
Rehoboam. They broke away from Jerusalem and the Temple Service and instituted their own religion. They set up their own kingdom and made Jeroboam the son of Nebat from the Tribe of Ephraim their king. Later these Tribes were exiled and became the Lost Ten Tribes.

Concerning this event the
Midrash tells us:
'Against three things were the Children of Israel destined to show contempt:
Against the Rule of Heaven, against the Kingdom of David, and against the Holy Temple.
This occurred in the Reign of King Jeroboam.
In effect this meant rebellion against the Kingdom of Heaven [by whom David had been appointed].
They also said,
This meant a rejection of the House of David [son of Jesse] in general.
This meant turning their back on the Holy Temple.'
[The expression TO YOUR TENTS, O ISRAEL in some opinions was a play on words. The real intention of the expression or the original expression had been "TO YOUR GODS O ISRAEL" (
Rashi, Radak, Minchat Shi).
The Hebrew for YOUR TENTS and YOUR GODS uses the same letters with only a slight change of order,
Elohecha ("Your gods") versus Ohelecha ("Your tents").
The motivation for breaking away from the Kingdom of David had been at least in part a desire to commit idolatry.
Jeroboam almost immediately set up two gold calves and all the Northern Kingdom began worshipping them].

Midrash continues:
Shimeon the son of Menasiah said: Israel will not see a blessing until they return and seek out the three things they rejected. As it says in Hosea:
This means [by dividing the verse]:
AND DAVID THEIR KING; - This is the Kingdom of the House of David.
AND SHALL FEAR THE LORD AND HIS GOODNESS IN THE LATTER DAYS This is the building of the Third Temple.'
Midrash Shmuel 13, Yalkut Shomeoni-2, remez 106, Rashi on Hosea 3;5).

Midrash says:
"About the Ten Tribes it is written:
'WOE TO THEM THAT DEVISE INIQUITY, AND WORK EVIL UPON THEIR BEDS! (Micah 2;1) which is at night. Also even during the day [they do the same] 'WHEN THE MORNING IS LIGHT, THEY
IT' (Micah 2;1). In the Generation of the Deluge none survived. Why should these [from the Ten Tribes] have survived? They survived by virtue of the righteous men and women who were destined to emerge from them."
"Joseph. The Israelite destiny of America".

Ruth was a Moabitess and David was her descendant. David was able to be accepted into the community of Israel thanks to the Oral Tradition and the judgment of the Sages. Whoever denies the Sages denies the Bible and rejects David.
We must all repent and do as well as we can from this time onwards.

Reply to Claims that Ruth was not a Native-born Physical Daughter of Moab.

Several articles exist out there in Cyber Space that contest the Moabite Ancestry of Ruth.
They say that Ruth was really an Israelitess and was only called a Moabitess because she came from the area of Moab.
These articles all more or less use the same arguments and seem to pertain to the same ideological background.
They consider the Moabites to have been somehow inferior. There was a clear-cut commandment forbidding the acceptance into the Israelite Community of anyone from Ammon and Moab.
The Rabbinical explanation that this applied to males and not females implies countenancing Rabbinical Opinion and this is anathema to some non-Jewish enthusiasts.

As as example of such an approach we have chosen the article,
"The Story of Ruth the Israelite!?" by Richard Fix

Fix says,
# the 'plains of Moab' were [NOT] "in"  the nation of Moab.
They were,  he avows,  in some place named after Moab or in a portion of what had once been Moab but was now settled by Israelites.

We do find in Scripture several different locations all going by the same name e.g. Cush.
Also Edomites have been shown to have occupied or ruled over several different areas all referred to in the Bible as Edom or Land of Edom.
Nevertheless, everywhere in Scripture where Moab is mentioned it means either the Nation of Moab or their country.

 Ruth 1:
1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
2  .....And they went to the country of Moab and remained there...
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.

Here we have the family moving to the country Moab because in Judah there was a famine.
Later they hear  "in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread. "
From this it may be understood that "His people" (i.e. Israelites) were not in the country of Moab.

The simple literal meaning of the Bible is that they went to the Land of Moab and stayed there for a while and that Moab was a non-Israelite area.
It was Moabite!

Fix claims that part of the Land conquered from the Amorites east of the Jordan had previously belonged to Moab and Ammon.
It was later settled by the Tribes of Reuben and Gad and this says Fix is the country of Moab referred to.
If such is the case why does the Book of Ruth not mention it?
Why does it refer to "the country of Moab" and not recall Gad or Reuben?
Why does the Bible say Moab and give the extremely strong impression that non-Israelite Moab is being referred to?
Why does the Jewish-Rabbinical Tradition say (as the simple meaning of Scripture says) that Ruth was born a non-Israelite Moabitess?

Ruth and Orpah were the daughters-in-law of Naomi. They had married the sons of Naomi who had since passed away.
When Naomi heard that the famine in Judah was over she decided to return home.
Ruth and Orpah began to accompany Naomi.

At some stage Naomi turns to her daughters-n-law and exhorts them to turn back.
Ruth 1:
9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.
So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 And they said to her, 'Surely we will return with you to your people.

Here we have the women wanting to go with Naomi to her people. This implies that they were foreigners and that the people of Naomi were Israelites whereas those of the girls were Moabites.

Orpah did decide to turn back but Ruth insisted on continuing:

Ruth 1:
15 And she said, 'Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'
16 But Ruth said:
     ' Entreat me not to leave you,
      Or to turn back from following after you;
      For wherever you go, I will go;
      And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
      Your people shall be my people,
      And your God, my God.
 17 Where you die, I will die,
      And there will I be buried.
      The LORD do so to me, and more also,
      If anything but death parts you and me.

Here we have Ruth making a distinction between the God of Naomi and her own gods.
Fix points out that the word translated here as God is Elohim which can also mean "judges" or "rulers".
Fix claims that Ruth was saying that the rulers of Naomi would be her rulers!
It is correct that on occasion the term "Elohim" (according to the context) could refer to the powers-that-be i.e. "mighty men, rulers, judges" but it is not the usual usage.
At all events, here the word means "God" which is how it is read and understood in the Hebrew.
The explanation of Fix is far-fetched according to any standard.
The Moabites did not worship the God of Israel. Ruth was accepting the God of Noaomi i.e. the ALMIGHTY.

Scripture does however give the impression that Moabites and Ammonites should be kept out of the Congregation of Israel.
Deuteronomy 23:
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:

Based on this verse,
Fix adduces the following "problems" to which we have added numbers for our own reference.

The Problems of Fix:

#1. How could a law abiding Israelite, whether Mahlon or Boaz, legally marry a Moabite?

#2. How can we circumvent Deut 23:3 in order to accept the actions of
Mahlon, Elimelech, Naomi, and later Boaz to let Ruth become a part of their family by law and bring her into Israel?

#3. The women of Israel welcomed Ruth into the "family" in Ruth 4:11, "The LORD make the woman that is come into
thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem". 

# 4. If Ruth was a Moabite by race, why would there be such attention to detail concerning the law of redemption by Naomi, Boaz, and the "near-kinsman" more near than Boaz? It would all have been performed in complete opposition to the very law being invoked to settle the issue being settled!

Judah's eldest two sons were slain by God, Er for his wickedness and Onan for his disrespect for the very law Boaz invokes to accomplish his goal to marry Ruth. Now Er and Onan were both from a Canaanite mother, the first wife of Judah. Point being, God slew Onan for not obeying a part of the very law that Mehlon and Boaz would likewise have been guilty of breaking had Ruth really been Moabite.

A Fix for Fix. Answers:

1. The Legal Position.

 The women of Moab and Ammon were permitted for marriage. This is the tradition. It answers all questions and is the accepted solution. Why not accept it.

For example,
How do we know that Hebrew letter "B" is the equivalent of "V" and "B"?
We have only Rabbinical tradition for how to read Hebrew yet we accept it.
Why pick and choose what to accept?

The mother of King Rehoboam was Naamah the Ammonitess. She was the wife of King Solomon.
Why was Naamah allowed to marry Solomon?
Naamah is recalled twice in Scripture: 1 Kings 14:21-31, and 2 Chronicles 12:13
On both occasions she is referred to as an Ammonitess.
It may be claimed that she too was really an Israelite but if so, prove it.
If you wish to accept or propose explanations that contradict the simple meaning of the Hebrew scripture you must provide justification for doing so.

We are the ones (and not our opponents) who accept the literal meaning of Scripture.
When and When Not is Scripture to be Taken Literally?
The Oral Tradition of the Rabbis is usually consistent with the literal meaning when the niceties of the Hebrew Language are taken into account.
From the line will of Solomon and Naaamah will emerge the future Messiah descendant of David.

2. Torah Prohibition?

Deuteronomy  23:3 says that an Ammonite and a Moabite can never be accepted as Israelites.
It refers to males and not to females as we have explained.
The Israelites always accepted Converts from other nations. The Torah exhorts us to accept the convert and to treat them fairly.
We are commanded to love them!

The Book of Ruth tells us:
Ruth 1:
1 Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was
Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.

It is sometimes assumed that the two Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah, were converted before marrying the two sons of Naomi, Mahlon and Chilon.
It stands to reason that the men took Moabite women because they needed females.

Men and women have need of each other.
These Moabite women  were formally converted according to the Law but it was socially accepted that their acceptance was for the sake of marriage.
This may have been against the strict letter of the Law  but it could have been common practice.
Later when the men die Naomi begins to head back and her two daughters-in-law start to accompany her. Naomi attempts to persuade them to turn back and one of them, Orpah, indeed does so.
Ruth insists on continuing. Ruth in effect transforms what initially may have been a conversion of convenience to one of conviction.
Ruth was doing something exceptional and this is remarked upon several times over.
This was confirmed by the Community for whom the religious courts serve as emissaries.
The people acknowledged Ruth as Righteous and as genuinely pertaining to Israel of her own will.

3. Part of the Family?

Ruth was indeed accepted into the family (Ruth 4:11) since previously she had been an outsider.
The women blessed Ruth that she become like "Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel".
Rachel and Leah were the primordial matriarchs. They began the Israelite Nation. Previously Israel had not existed but they (and their maidservants) gave birth to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Ruth was compared to them. Like the Matriarchs, Ruth was a newcomer and she was blessed that a new addition to the Structure of Israel come through her as well.
This blessing was actualized in the House of David.

4. Redemption by the Next-of-Kin.

The 'near-kinsman' problem. Levirate marriage is the practice whereby if a man dies without any issue whatsoever then one of his brothers marries the widow in  his place (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). If however the deceased had begatten children then the marriage of his brother to the widow would be strictly forbidden:
Leviticus 18:
16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother's wife; it is your brother's nakedness.

The Levirate Marriage in Hebrew is called Yibum (pronounced as "Yiboom"). It only applied to brothers. Not only that but normally marriage (or even just intercourse) with the wife of one's brother or former wife of one's brother, even if they had divorced, was strictly forbidden.
This also applied to the passing on of land and responsibility for relatives. The brother who performed "yibum" with his dead brother's wife also received the inheritance of his brother. The two went together.
That is the Law as given to the Children of Israel at Sinai.
The Law at Sinai was a regulation and ordering of behavior that in some cases had been preceded by established custom.

The original practice of Yibum had been exemplified in the case of  Tamar. Two sons of Judah in a row coupled with Tamar and were killed for wickedness by the Almighty. Judah did not allow his remaining son, Sheila, to link up with Tamar. Consequently Tamar tricked Judah into having intercourse with her himself.

Nachmanides explains that in Ancient Israel they tried to keep women (as in the case of Ruth) and land etc in the same family. Before the time of Moses and the giving of the Torah when a person died without issue anyone of his relatives was supposed to marry the woman and bear seed from her. At that stage before the Giving of the Torah it could be anyone, i.e. one of the brothers or the father of the deceased. After the giving of the Torah it became the obligation of the brothers ONLY and the father was forbidden. In the case of Tamar however at that time (before the giving of the Torah) it COULD HAVE BEEN JUDAH FROM THE BEGINNING. Tamar wanted only to bear children from the line of Judah. She was within her rights. That is what Judah ultimately owned up to.
[See the Brit-Am Commentary to Genesis 38:26.]
After the giving of the Torah the principle of any close relative carrying on the role of the deceased husband (when no children had been born) was legally restricted to the brothers in the male line. Nevertheless the custom in effect encompassed aspects of the previous practice as shown in the case of Ruth.

In other words, Ruth was to become the wife of the legitimate inheritor of her husband from the clan of her husband.
Naomi had adopted Ruth and she was considered in some way her daughter:

Ruth 4:
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. 14 Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! 15 And may he be to you a restorer of life and a
nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him."

Boaz was a close relative of Naomi
Ruth 2:
20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!" And Naomi said to her, "This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives."

Nevertheless, another close relative had a prior claim to that of Boaz as Boaz acknowledged:
Ruth 3:
12 Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.

Naomi had inherited land from her husband. She was now a widow without children. It was as if the land she had inherited was in danger of being estranged from the clan. It had to be  redeemed (by buying it back) by anyone in the male line. All men in the extended family of the deceased husband of Naomi were eligible. There was in fact an obligation upon family members to redeem the Land. The closer the relationship the prior the obligation (cf. the Laws of Jubilee, Leviticus 25:13-16).
The buyer would have to recompense Naomi. Ruth also had a portion in the Land and from her too the land would have to be brought back. "Buying" the land from Naomi involved paying her money but redeeming it from Ruth entailed marrying her. The "Redeemer" would have to take to wife the widow of the previous owner as if he was the brother in lieu of any living brother being present.
This was customary practice at the time.

There was however another widow. This was Orpah! She was the other Moabite woman who had been married to one of the sons of Naomi. The two women, Orpah and Ruth, were the widows of Mahlon and Chilion sons of Naomi. Ruth had followed on after Naomi and so established that her original marriage and "conversion" were based on genuine motivations. Orpah had turned back to her own people. Orpah and Ruth are described as both being Moabitesses.

Ruth 1:
4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was
Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.


If Orpah had have been an Israelite by birth then she too would have had a claim in the land of Naomi but nothing is said about her!

Let us read the description of the Redeeming Process:

Ruth 4:
1 Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, 'Come aside, friend, sit down here.'  So he came aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, 'Sit down here.' So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the close relative, 'Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother
Elimelech. 4 And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.'
And he said, 'I will redeem it.'
5 Then Boaz said, 'On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the
Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance.' 6 And the close relative said, 'I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.'

The Close Relative is offered the opportunity to redeem the Land. He accepts but upon learning that this entails also marrying the widow of his deceased kinsman he backs out and suggests that Boaz, being next in line, take his place.

Ruth 4:
8 Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, 'Buy it for
yourself.' So he took off his sandal. 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, 'You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.'

According to our understanding there is nothing in the above situation that militates against Ruth being a native-born Moabitess.

5. The Wickedness of Er and Onan as Analogy?

Tamar, says tradition, was a daughter of Shem (son of Noah) though the Bible does not recall her ancestry. Judah gave Tamar as wife to his son Er. Due to his wickedness God killed Er [Genesis 38:7]. Judah then gave Tamar to Onan the brother of Er. Onan did not want to have children from Tamar and spilt his seed upon the ground. This was a wicked thing to do so he too was disposed of [Genesis 38:10]. Judah had another son named Sheilah. Now it should have been the turn of Sheilah to do his duty by Tamar. Judah however was afraid that Tamar was somehow jinxed and so he delayed giving Tamar to Sheilah. Tamar disguised herself as a woman of fortune and seduced Judah. The result of this apparently unsavory escapade were the twins Pharez and Zerach (Genesis 38:30).
Judah had in effect unwittingly performed the principle of Yibum (Levirate Marriage) which before the Torah could be carried out by any member of the family.  It did not not necessarily then have to be restricted to only one of the brothers.
This explains as to how Boaz acquired Ruth as explained above.

The clans of Judah were to include the offspring of Sheilah:
Numbers 26:
19 The sons of Judah were
Er and Onan; and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 20 And the sons of Judah according to their families were: of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites; of Perez, the family of the Parzites; of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites.

In other words part of the offspring of Judah included the descendants of someone who assumedly was a Canaanitess i.e. the mother of Sheilah.

Not only Judah but Simeon also begat Shaul (amongst others) who was the son of a Cannanitess.

Genesis 46:
10 The sons of Simeon were
Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, JachinZohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

This raise the question of mixed marriages with Canaaanites which is a separate subject though Fix brings it up and manages somehow to confuse the issue with it.
Fixit tries to confound us through the matter of inter-racial alliances which he links to the sin of Er and Onan sons of Judah.

The Bible does not make this connection. Fix does.

Fix claims that just as the Almighty eliminated the two brothers for wickedness so too would he have terminated Boaz if Ruth had have been a real Moabitess. This is a confusing circular argument.
If marriage with a Moabitess really was forbidden then Boaz would not have married Ruth.
Apparently it was not forbidden which explains everything.
Ruth was of foreign non-Israelite Moabite birth. She became an Israelitess of her own free will.
Ruth was the mother of the grandfather of King David.
The future Messiah will be one of her descendants!

The Choice is between an Ancient Oral Tradition and a New One Derived from Base Motives!
The simple literal common sense meaning is that Ruth was of non-Israel Moabite origin.
This however would seem to contradict a Biblical commandment not to accept Moabites into the fold.
The Rabbis resolve this by explaining that the prohibition applied to males and not females and they quote the relevant Biblical verses to justify their statement.
I personally accept this because I am Jewish by religion and understand that an Oral Law or Explanation must have existed from the beginning.
Otherwise numerous commandments and statements remain without explanation as to their practical application.
In addition the Bible itself gave the Sages authority to decide how the Law should be applied which is why seventy elders were appointed by Moses.
Suppose however I was not Jewish and did not feel obligated to accept the Law as expounded by the Sages?
I would then find in the case of Ruth the explanation of the Prohibition applying to males only to be a possibility.
Or I would leave the case open. Not every problem or apparent contradiction has to have an immediate answer.
The solution offered by people like Fix saying that Ruth was really an Israelite woman is in effect far-fetched.
It needs proving.
It would require Biblical verses to support it.
The supporting verse would have to apply to Ruth and the resulting scenario would have to be compatible to the simple literal sense of the Book of Ruth as read and especially as read in the Hebrew and in line with everything else in the Book.
The explanation of Fix does not do that.
Fix in effect has a thinly disguised double edged motivation for his proposed solution:

(a) He considers the Moabites to have been somehow racially inferior to the Israelites. By accepting Ruth as being from Moab he would be admitting that the ancestor of David came in part from inferior stock!! David would be a product of miscegenation!

(b) By not saying that Ruth was really an Israelitess he would be leaving the Rabbinical solution open as a likely possibility. This is anathema!
Because Fix (and people like him) have these ulterior motivations they in effect invent an oral tradition of their own!

In addition to all this the so-called Oral Tradition of the Rabbis has thousands of years behind it and can be shown to have existed from the very beginning; from the time of the Bible itself!

It is not a case of accepting the literal meaning (as proposed by Fix etc) in place of the Oral Law Rabbinical explanation.
It is rather a choice between accepting one Oral Law Explanation  (of the Rabbis) that is consistent with the Literal Meaning instead of another Oral Tradition (of Fix etc) that is inconsistent with the Literal meaning and has base motivations.

What we have said regarding the preferability of the Rabbinical Explanation in the case of Ruth applies in all other cases.
If you are not Jewish we do not say that you should automatically accept Rabbinical Authority.
Just keep an open mind, search for the truth and accept the possibility that maybe the Rabbis were right.
They were not evil. Nor were they stupid. They did have traditions. They knew Hebrew. They argued with each other, contradicted each other, and in the end reached conclusions supported by logical analysis of Scripture.

See Also:
Messiah Son of David in the Bible.
King David and His Descendants.
Ancestry: The House of DAVID and the Lost Tribes.
The House of DAVID by Athol BLOOMER.