Ed: In November, a friend of ours named Jean Kowell wrote the following, which I have been saving to share with you in conjunction with Shavuot. As mentioned, the book of Ruth is traditionally read at this time and I thought you would appreciate Jean's insights. As with any analogy, it is important to appreciate the similarities as far as they go and not to take them further than what is stated.

I wanted to tell you about a recent study I did on Ruth. That story/history is a fascinating illustration. Naomi is like Israel. She leaves her land. Through Naomi, a Gentile, Ruth, comes to believe in the God of Israel. Ruth (the Church?) loves Naomi and trusts in her God. The two women are redeemed by a blood relative, Boaz. One of the women gets to be a bride. The land is redeemed and a son is born (in Bethlehem even): a guarantee of God's everlasting faithfulness.

Naomi's friends rejoiced. They said, Naomi has a son." Naomi got her land back, and Ruth got the bridegroom! I love the prophetic symbolism, yet the story is also anchored in real events and proved by history.

—Jean Kowell