One day recently I read the book of Ruth for my devotional time. I love the book of Ruth. I never tire of reading it, or listening to it on CD. There always seems to be something new to discover in it.
I read the part where Ruth goes in to the threshing floor and lies down at the feet of Boaz. And I thought to myself, am I missing something about the customs of the times? It seemed outwardly that it was a brazen move for her to do so. Almost immodest in some respect. Certainly forward.
And then comes verse 11 (chapter 3), entwined in the reply that Boaz made to Ruth’s request that he spread his skirt over her—”And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.”
I took some time to review several commentaries on this passage and was pleased to come to the conclusion that as a widowed woman it was Ruth’s right, even obligation, to seek a kinsman redeemer to care for her and carry on the line of her husband after his death. She was asking Boaz to do this for her by requesting him to cover her with his skirt, a request that would not have been appropriate for a virgin. He was more than willing to fulfill his part for this woman, not only out of obligation, but because she was indeed a virtuous woman, as had been demonstrated for him by her actions and reputation amongst his people.
I was reminded of the verse in Proverbs 31—Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. Boaz clearly found a virtuous woman in Ruth.
I have just finished a book written by another woman named Ruth—Ruth Mast. It is entitled, appropriately enough, A Virtuous Woman. I found this book recently in my basement and set it aside to re-read, remembering that I had quite enjoyed it the first time. After encountering the Biblical account of Ruth and Boaz, and pondering the character of the virtuous woman, I was eager to see what the author had to say. I was not disappointed and am happy to share my review of it here today.
- Title: A Virtuous Woman
- Author: Ruth Mast
- Publisher: Rod and Staff Publications
- Genre: Non-fiction
- Number of Pages: 429
- Theme: Encouragement for Women
- Age Range: Adult
- Links: Milestone Books
* I noticed when looking up this book in Milestone Books that there is a companion workbook. I have not read it or worked through it, so I cannot comment on its quality, but you can preview it here if you are interested. *I have no affiliation with Milestone Books, just letting you know where to find A Virtuous Woman.
Summary of A Virtuous Woman
This thorough, simply written book is filled with biblical quotations and practical advice for the encouragement of Christian mothers in all aspects of life. As its title suggests, A Virtuous Woman covers the topics that are portrayed in Proverbs 31. However, it does so in a new and refreshing way, beginning with a focus on the mother herself. The first section of the book examines the ideals of a godly woman including what our foundation should be, where we find our strength, how we identify our goals and why our adornment is of such significance.
The second section calls us to assess our relationships with others including our husbands, our children in each stage of their growth, and those outside of our home life. Ruth Mast takes a good hard look at what our God-given-role is and how we can serve in the station in which He has called us. She gives many ideas for outreach that will bless others while allowing us to remain focused on our families and their needs.
The book wraps up with several chapters on concerns that a mother might have and some suggestions about how to overcome them. Her chapter on Guarding Our Children’s Innocence is timely in our world of loose morals and values. Her insights about adoption and special needs children are thoughtful and encouraging. As we grow older we may encounter the death of our spouse, financial struggles or other afflictions. Practical solutions and godly perspectives on these topics direct the reader to trust in God’s grace through times of trouble instead of wallowing in self pity.
The book is written by a Mennonite woman for a Mennonite audience and therefore contains specific references to Mennonite culture and church practice. Do not let this fact dissuade you from reading this book if you are not from an Anabaptist background. You can easily substitute your own convictions into her examples to gain the most benefit from this scripturaly sound book. I encourage you to examine any issues in the way that the Bereans did in Acts 17: 11 “they … searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
SAW Rating System
- Good Qualities – 5/5
- Great Qualities – 4/5
I think that A Virtuous Woman would be a great addition to every mother’s library. While the book is intended for women in general and would be an asset to those approaching marriage, I feel that it is mainly directed at the married or widowed woman. I am so glad that I re-read it for this review; it has challenged me to evaluate several areas of my life and commit them to the Lord once again in light of his word and not the ways of the world. I hope that it may do the same for you.
- Wordless Wednesday
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