Dedicated to El Shaddai:


By Eben

O God, Thy Covenant reveal,

El Shaddai, come and visit us;

Thy steadfast love and grace make real,

Show forth thy endless faithfulness.

O hear the cry of prison-bound,

Of low estate we pray to Thee;

Afflicted souls, still lost not found,

Await the turning of Thy key.

Famine struck fair Israel,

Waywardness was each man's sin;

Faith, like water from a well,

Had fled the idols heaped within.

Naomi's Elimelech

Set his house in Moab's land;

Falling, he then broke his neck

And wrapped his wife with mourning band.

Sons of hers soon fell down dead,

All her hope--three men!--bereft;

Desolate, she lay in bed,

No issue of their line was left.

Bruised of God, she mourned until

News of grace and blessing came;

Judgment past, all Israel

Rose up, restored, no longer lame.

Daughter of the Lord, she turned,

Hoped for God's hand to bless

Life that lay so parched and burned,

Now that she could be made no less.

Spouses of her sons she took,

Then with tears she spoke to them:

"Daughters, turn and homeward look;

Let go, dear ones, of my poor hem.

"Each seek out your mother's home;

Husbands may the Lord give you!

Follow not where I must roam--

Forsook by God, his wrath my due."

Orpah kissed the old woman,

Youth and chance she still held dear;

Turning back, against the sun

She walked and wiped away a tear.

Ruth was next: "Return with her!"

Cried dead Mahlon's mother dear;

Plucking faith, Ruth clung to her,

And cast off Chemosh and her fear.

"Your God will be my God," she said;

"Entreat me not to e'er leave you;

If I leave you, God strike me dead!

I'll share the grave that falls your due."

Naomi fell silent then;

Ruth was kneeling in her way,

A faithful daughter, years full ten.

So the two of them crept on,

Poor, forsaken though they seemed;

Sun had set, all light was gone;

The hills with fearful beasts now teamed.

Arm in arm the women went,

Stars shed luster on each face;

Angels unseen o'er them bent,

And of their presence gave no trace.

Days and nights passed wearily,

Food fell scant and strength declined;

They no longer had the fee

That inns along the way all fined.

Yet a trader rich drew near,

Camels, donkeys, in his train;

"Take your mount, and do not fear!"

He said though he had naught to gain.

Ishmael's seed was kind to them,

Giving them both drink and food;

Brought them to Jerusalem,

With fear of God he was imbued.

So the two women went on,

Bethlehem rose up in view;

Hands outstretched, all prospects gone,

The old widow she shed tears anew.

Women ran outdoors to see

Naomi laid as low as dust;

"Naomi's back! O come and see!"

The news spread fast, a windy gust.

Naomi then said to them:

"Call me not that 'Pleasant' name;

'Mara', 'bitter,' is this stem,

A widow's weed entwines my frame.

"Full went I from this fair place,

Empty brought back to my door;

El Shaddai seized in his jaw

My lord, my sons, and robbed me poor!"

Round her barley-heads were grown,

April's harvest then drew near;

Lodging in a room on loan,

She paid with rings cut from her ear.

Ring by ring, all silver spent,

Moabitess Ruth spoke out:

"Let me go and earn our rent,

Gleaning in the fields about."

"Go, my daughter," Naomi

Said to her as tears she hid--

Gleaners lost all purity,

As evil men their favors bid.

Boaz--"Strength resides in him"--

Naomi's kinsman, Rahab's son,

Rich in land round Bethlehem,

A humbler man yet was there none.

Boaz came from Bethlehem,

"El Shaddai be with you men!"

Reapers stood with girded hem,

"The Lord bless you, O Head of Ten!"

Boaz laughed, then saw a maid

Strange in dress and red of hair;

"Who be this?--the one not paid?"

As Ruth lay down her gleanings spare.

Boaz' servant made a bow,

"Naomi's own ward is she;

Gleaning without rest 'til now,

The Moabitess first asked me."

Rahab's son then said to Ruth:

"Glean close by my own maidens;

Drink from water in my booth,

Your honor's safe, no man offends!"

Ruth then fell with head bowed down.

"O Sir, why notice take of me?

For foreign is my native ground,

And idols nursed me on their knee."

"All was told me," Boaz said.

"El Shaddai, I pray, bless you!

Wife of honor to the Dead,

You strive to aid your mistress too."

Ruth replied to Rahab's son:

"You are most gracious, lord, to me;

And deeds of kindness you have done

For this no maid of yours I be."

Boaz called at meal-time:

"Come here, O Ruth, eat some bread;

Dip your morsel in the wine."

So on parched grain she fully fed.

Ruth rose up again to glean;

Boaz said to his young men:

"Let her take both fat and lean--

From sheaves pull out some grain, I mean."

Evening came to end the day,

Ruth did thresh her gleanings out;

Barley grain, an ephah lay,

Was much to bear on her home route.

Naomi was waiting up,

Saw the barley in Ruth's robe;

"Blessing fill that farmer's cup

Who favored you as God blessed Job."

Ruth replied with joyful face:

Boaz is the man's own name."

Mahlon's mother praised God's grace;

"This man," she cried, "of our line came."

So until the wheat was in,

Ruth the Moabitess gleaned;

Heaped with golden grain her bin,

And from the heads all chaff she cleaned.

Naomi then said to Ruth:

"Daughter, may I serve you well!

This I know, it is the truth,

Draw up close, and I will tell.

"Boaz winnows grain tonight;

Wash therefore, put on fine scent,

Best of clothes, and veiled tight--

The threshing floor to him was lent.

"Daughter, wait until he's done

Drinking, eating to his ease;

Go then softly, do not run,

When he lies down to rest his knees.

"Lie down then at his bare feet,

He will tell you what to do."

Ruth rose up from her low seat

And chose a gown of purple hue.

Eglon's daughter, as some own,

Lost her kinsmen, family, all;

Royal princess, poor and lone,

She fled from Ehud, palace, hill.

Boaz sat on threshing floor

Bruised and beaten by a Hand;

Golden grain from stem so sore

Now fell unnumbered as the sand.

Yet he answered to the call:

"Rahab's son to Moab join";

Spread his skirt, and with it all,

Gave up right to his own loin.

"God bless you with his favor!

Young men, rich or poor, were not

Chosen by you, good maiden;

Now I will help you as I ought.

"Yet there is a nearer kin,

Well if he will do his part;

Yet if not, his right I win,

So have no fear in all your heart!

"Stay this night and take your rest,

I will do what is ordained;

In the morning light is best

For working out what honor gained."

Ruth then lay on ripened wheat,

Rising early in the dark;

Grain he gave her, six heaps full,

For Naomi's eyes--how sweet!

Bent with Boaz' grain she went

Home with strange joy as her part;

Stars still shone, their light yet lent

A beauty that matched hers at heart.

"Wait this day, for time will tell,"

Naomi then said to Ruth;

"He will settle (I will sell

Poor Mahlon's land!) all this in truth."

And all was done as Boaz said;

He went to City Gate and sat;

The next of kin declined to wed,

Restore the Dead with his own fat.

The land Naomi had to sell

To next of kin was Mahlon's due;

If 'twas redeemed, a fountain fell

On Mahlon's grave through Ruth's womb-well.

Giving up redeemer's right,

The kinsman passed Boaz his shoe;

Ten elders witnessed by their sight

That Boaz bought Mahlon's wife too.

Then Boaz said without gainsay

To elders and the people there:

For you all witnessed on this day

What I redeemed by right most fair:

"The land of Naomi, but more:

Elimelech's and Mahlon's too;

So that their name lies dead no more,

I'll wed the dead son's wife as due."

All Bethlehem ran to the gates

To see the great things making there;

An Ismaelite with trade in dates

Was passing through with camels bare.

He called the train then to a halt,

His camels roared and came to stop;

He took the story with some salt,

But something in his heart did hop.

They told him of a heart full true,

A Moabitess from afar,

A widow serving widow too,

With love that shone just like a star.

He saw a vine as they did speak

Climb up a barren trellis there,

And fruitful grow though stem was weak,

The two proved strong, no longer bare.

He saw again a golden Vine,

Fair Israel upon her God,

And then believing on this sign

He felt his heart begin to laud.

"O grant me, Lord, one look at them!"

He prayed silent within his breast;

But he must now leave Bethlehem

And carry home what grain was best.

Going to the threshing floor,

He bought (not barley!) wheat like gold!

It tasted sweet unto the core,

His camels heaped 'til all was sold.

Much grain of Boaz, clean and bright,

Now threshed and beaten of the chaff,

Went forth with joyful Ishmaelite,

Who praised the Lord with faith not half.

The people at the gate all cried:

"We all today are witnesses;

The Lord be with you and abide,

Build up your house as with Perez!"

A small boy piped a cheerful sound,

And reapers raised a manly cry:

"In Bethlehem be you renowned,

In Ephratah your wheat heap high!"

And now fair maidens sang a song,

With timbrel they all solemn-stepped;

They circled in a line along

Where Boaz sat with heart that leapt.

"As Rachel, Leah, both bore fruit

And filled up Jacob with increase,

So may Ruth now, though poor in root,

Give sons to you without surcease!"

So Boaz took his Ruth to wife

With pipe and dance and glad array;

El Shaddai bought her womb to life,

And she conceived in a day.

The Moabitess bore a son,

Through him the Star of Israel raised;

Yet God had hid what he had done,

To Naomi the women praised:

O blessed be the Lord today!

He left you not without issue;

His light has shone on you this day;

May your old age be nourished too.

"And who is like our God the Lord?

He raises poor up from the dust;

For those cast down He lifts his sword,

His steadfast love for those who trust.

"From the dung-heap they are raised up

To sit with princes of his land!

He fills the barren woman's cup

And gives her children by his hand.

For she who bore this son of yours

Is more than seven sons to you;

On you this daughter's love outpours."

'Twas then the widow ceased to grieve.

Without her mourning garment on,

In festive garments, Naomi

Then took the boy as her own son

And cared for him most tenderly.

The neighbor women sat round one day,

Rejoiced and gave to him a name;

"Obed" or "Servant" they did say,

Unknown to them would gain great fame.

For Obed was the father too

Of Jesse by whom David rose

To glorify the Lord he knew,

Who one day conquered all man's foes.

Far off from Bethlehem at night,

An Ishmaelite to God gave praise;

He thought he saw a birth of Light,

Where there was none a Star did blaze.



Chemosh--The god of heathen Moab

Ehud--Judge and deliverer of Israel; slew king of Moab who oppressed Israel (Judges 3)

Eglon--King of Moab slain by Ehud the Benjaminite

El Shaddai--Most often translated "Almighty," this Name of God contains a richer meaning, denoted by the Hebrew base word, "shad," which means "breast." This great, transcendent, almighty One is a nurturing, life-giving, loving Source of life to all who draw their life from Him! Thus, El Shaddai is the God of Ruth and Naomi, amply proven by the events of the story and Ruth's own character, which in most significant ways reveals her as a Type of Christ, the True Vine, for Whom she was grafted into the Vine of Israel in order that she might become Jesus's own fore-mother in the royal line that led to Christ.

Rahab--The harlot of Jericho who sheltered Joshua's spies in her house; she was saved when Jericho fell to the Israelites led by Joshua, and she married a prince of Israel, Salmon, thereby being grafted into both the Vine of Israel and into the Line of Christ.

Ruth--A young Moabite woman who became an ancestress of King David (and Christ, born in the royal line of David through Mary) through her second marriage to Boaz, Rahab's son. Her story is told in the OT Book of RUTH, and the events occurred during the time of the Judges of Israel (Ruth 1: 1) As a Messianic forerunner, she exemplifies the Christlike characteristics, very strongly, of selfless love, longsuffering, kindness, devotion to a loved one, humility, and mercy. It impossible to imagine a more perfect individual than Ruth.

(c) 2007, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved

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You may want to follow this up with "Oak of Weeping," A Poem about Jacob the Patriarch of Israel, A Man of God Caught Between His Family (a "Hard Place") and a Rock (His own Deceitful, Scheming Nature), by Eben - Dedicated to El Shaddai