Son of a Prostitute, Husband of the Year
Did you ever read something you already knew, but felt like you just “got” it for the first time? That happened to me this morning. I was reading the first chapter of Matthew, and I saw Ruth and Boaz in there. Because Right Where I Belong is loosely based on the book of Ruth, I feel even more a connection with the characters in that story. So I slowed down, really looked at that section. And I saw something that hit me — Boaz’ mom was a prostitute. Rahab. I think I knew that, but I know I never really thought about it.
What would it have been like for Boaz to grow up with everyone knowing what his mom used to be? Sure, she saved the spies in Jericho. But when the rubble cleared and the people went back to “regular life” did they gossip about this woman who was now living among them, married to one of their men? People are people, so I’m sure there were those who held Rahab’s past against her. I’m sure Boaz heard things about his mother that caused some schoolyard fights.
But looking at Boaz in the book of Ruth, that made him a compassionate man. It prepared his heart for the woman who would be the love of his life. Ruth was from Moab – many Isrealites were prejudiced against Moabites. I would guess Ruth was gossiped about by some of the less-than-kind people in the town, too. Boaz would have known that. And what did he do? He made sure she had plenty of leftovers to take back to her mother-in-law, he cared for her, he gladly agreed to be her kinsman redeemer.
I know this is all conjecture – the Bible doesn’t say what life was like for Boaz as a child. But I don’t think it’s too far of a reach to guess that he faced struggles because of his mother’s past. And it is clear that he was a godly, kind, well-respected man (a clue that Rahab herself was likely a wonderful mother). The difficulties he may have faced as a child shaped him into a better man.
For me, it was a reminder that God works everything out for good. He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. He elevates the humble. It was a reminder to me that no one’s past is beyond redemption, and the believers’ future is better than we can imagine.
Who says you can’t get anything from reading geneologies?