“Widows”, “Fatherless”,”Strangers” (and “Poor”): A Spiritual Understanding of the Biblical Books of Ruth and Esther: Jesus, The Messiah, Is in Both Books!

The casting of “pur” or “lot” in the Book of Esther is like the rolling of dice, but as we know from Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.“ Esther was an orphan, thus counted among the “fatherless”.

The Only Two Books With Women’s Names

It is far more than mere coincidence that the only two books in the entire Bible which are named after women, Ruth and Esther, also happen to provide historical accounts of women who are, respectively,  “widows” (Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth was also a “stranger”, and because they were destitute they were also most certainly “poor”) and “fatherless” (Esther was an orphan raised up by her elder cousin, Mordecai).  Why is that?  We can begin to find the answer by searching God’s word, the Bible, to find that in Psalm 68:5, God declares, “A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.” Then in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me.”  In Zechariah 7:8-10 we read, “And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.” Also in Psalms 10:13&14, “Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require [it]. Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.

In Psalm 146:9,The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.”  

Moreover back in Deuteronomy 10:17-19 we read, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

We also read in the New Testament in James 1:2, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Moreover, God classifies them together with the “stranger” as we read in Deuteronomy 27:19, “Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.”  Finally we read in Jeremiah 20:13, “Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.”

In each of the two historical accounts provided in the books of Esther and Ruth, we will see God’s mercy and providence bestowed on those who would otherwise be entirely destitute and without any hope apart from God’s mercy alone.  Moreover, God is not mentioned once in Esther and only alluded to a few times in Ruth.  The best explanation is that God deliberately chose to remain hidden from direct view when dealing with those two women, who each are chosen as allegorical representatives of God’s beloved eternal Bride (the elect of God, His church).  Nonetheless, God’s providential care, mercy, and love for His Bride shines forth brightly for all to see.

Those two earthly, historically accurate, accounts of God’s providential mercy and lover for the destitute “fatherless” orphan (Esther) and “widows” (Naomis and Ruth, and Ruth as a “Moabitess“, was also a “stranger”) were provided by God in the Books of Esther and Ruth to typify His magnificent salvation plan, in which God displays His eternal spiritual mercy and love, by grace alone, to destitute sinners, who would otherwise be entirely without hope apart from the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Each book displays God’s complete mastery over time and space, involving supernatural ironies and challenges to faith, that glorify God in the process, and give us insights into Who God Is, and about His love for His saints, His Bride (the church), as made possible only through the intercessional and substitutional sacrifice of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save sinners, and all of us are sinners, who are by nature (due to the original sin)…and destitute spiritual “widows”, “orphans”, “strangers” and “poor”.   However, by God’s grace alone, through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone, salvation is obtained for those whom God the Father draws to Jesus according to John 6:44.

A detailed exposition has already been produced on the Book of Esther. In that exposition it is shown that Esther, as an otherwise destitute “fatherless” orphan, was established by God as a typological representation of the body of believers from throughout the world (both Jews and Gentiles) who would ultimately co-share in God’s Kingdom as the Bride of Jesus Christ. In this historical “parable”, Mordechai, Esther’s elder, and nearest living relative, served as a nurturing savior to Esther, and guided her and her people in a time of great affliction to safety from their mortal enemies.  Mordechai, who was eventually elevated to the right hand of the King in glory and honor, is shown in that exposition to have been clearly and unequivocally established by God as a typological representation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what about Ruth?  It has already been pointed out by another writer, Warren W Wiersbe,[1] that there are some amazing twists and counterpoints when the two books are viewed together from the purely historical perspective.  Wiersbe correctly points out in one example that first, “The Book of Ruth tells the story of a Gentile who married a Jew and became ancestress of the Messiah (Jesus Christ),” while, “The book of Esther introduces us to a Jewess who married a Gentile and was used of God to save the Jewish nation from destruction so that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) could be born.” Both accounts are miraculous and glorify God in the events and the recording of them.

[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Committed: An Old Testament Study- Ruth And Esther, SP Publications, Inc, 1993 (ISBN 1-56476-067-7)

But what about the spiritual perspective as was already exposited for Esther?  Are there similar parallels that we might find in the Book of Ruth?

Yes!, Indeed there are! Please see the newly completed study of the Book of Ruth.

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