The Captain Of Judah

Numbers 2:1-3
“And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: ‘Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father’s house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting. On the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies; and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be the leader of the children of Judah.’”
The Children of Israel were divided into 12 different tribes, each with their own leader and standard.  They camped in a specific order as directed by God.  In fact, everything they did was according to the order He gave to Moses.  Is He a God of order or what!?
Every time the Children Of Israel broke camp, Nahshon and the tribe of Judah were always the tribe and leader that lead the way.  They were followed by Issachar, Zebulon, then Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.  The tribe of Levi carrying the Tent of meeting came next, followed by Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, Dan, Asher, and Naphtali.
After their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, after having failed to cross the Jordan the first time, they were back, ready to enter the promised land.  They inquired of the Lord which tribe should go first and, by divine lot, the tribe of Judah was chosen.
Nahshon, as captain, was the first one to step onto the dry ground of the Jordan riverbed and cross over, after the priests of course.  They were instructed to go first into the midst of the river.  When they did, amazingly, the waters rose up in a heap, all the way to the city of Adam.  (See Joshua 3:15-17)  The significance of this is discussed in greater detail in the article below.  To learn more, please follow the link below:
Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
Nahshon’s name is derived from the root word, “Nachash,” which means “Snake;” lterally, “Snake guy.”  You know, like a snake charmer or enchanter.  He was the son of Amminadab.  His name means, “Noble kinsman,” and  Judah means “Praise!”
The letters of Judah’s name are a message all by themselves which we won’t go into here.  If you’d like to know more about that, follow the link below:
At the end of this article, you’ll see that all these names, plus a few others, are a message to us about our Lord Jesus!


Matthew records in his Gospel that Nahshon’s son was Salmon. He had married Rahab, the reformed prostitute from Jericho.  She is the lady who hid the two Hebrew spies.  I wonder if Salmon was one of the those spies?  Just my own personal speculation, mind you.

Salmon means “Garment.” It is a picture of Jesus, Who emptied Himself of His Deity, and took on the “Garment” of a servant, and was born as a tiny, helpless, human baby.


Salmon and Rahab had a son together named, “Boaz.”  He is the HERO in the story of Ruth, one of the most beautiful love stories in the whole Bible.  It showcases like no other just how wonderful, caring, loving, and altogether lovely Jesus is!

Boaz means, “In Him is strength.”  He became to Ruth her “Goél,” or “Kinsman Redeemer.”  As a Gentile, she is a depiction of the Church.  Jesus is our, “Goél.”


During the Feast of Shavuot, or “Pentecost,” the story of Ruth is read through in its entirety in synagogues throughout the world.  Why?  Because it was at that time of the year that her story takes place.

As you know, Ruth came back with Naomi, her mother-in-law, from the country of Moab.  They were homeless and poor, having lost everything in that foreign land.  With no men to take care of them, they were reduced to either begging for food or gleaning in a nearby field.

Law Concerning Gleaning.

Leviticus 19:10 records the law regarding gleaning:  “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

The Jewish people, by law, were commanded not to strip their fields of every bit of grain so that the poor among them could glean in their fields.  He wanted them to remember that once they were strangers in a foreign land, too, and to treat strangers with respect.

Ruth somewhat knew the law and determined to go and do this menial task of gleaning so she and Naomi could have food.  Because she put her trust in the God of Israel, He guided her steps!

Her name has two meanings.  One is “Beauty,” the other is “Firend.’  Put them together and you have, “ Beautiful friend.”  And that she was!  It is derived from the root word for “Covenant,” in Hebrew, another amazing topic in and of itself.  To read more about that, please follow the link below:
Strange Names.
Ruth’s in-laws, Elimelech and Naomi, had moved to Moab during a time of terrible famine in Israel, which lasted for ten years.  They had two sons which they named, “Mahlon and Cheleon.”  One married Ruth, the other, Orpah
Both are very strange names to give to anybody.  Don’t ever give them to your kids!  Why?  Because they mean “Sickly and dying,” respectively.  Is it any wonder they got sick and died, leaving Ruth and Orpah as widows?  Every time anyone spoke their names, they were affirming that they were “Sick and dying!”
By the end of the ten years in Moab, all three women were widows as Naomi had also lost her husband some time earlier.
Back To Bethlehem.
After all this tragedy, Naomi heard that things were better back home in Israel.  God had once again visited His people, giving them bread.  So, she decided to pack up go back home.
Bethlehem means, “House of Bread.”  It is comprised of two words:  Beth-House,” and “Lechem-Bread.”  For all the 10 years of famine, the House of Bread had no bread because, just as in the case of Cain, the land rebelled.  (See Genesis 4:9).
Time Of The Judges.
Ruth’s story takes place during the time of the Judges.  That’s why it was place by God in Divine order after Judges.  Judges were not kings, you understand, but more like presiding officers.  They were appointed by God to govern the people, though they seemed to be pretty much ignored.
At the very end of the last chapter of the book of Judges it says, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” How terrible!  If somebody wanted to kill you and take your land and property, they would just do it.  It was a time of great lawlessness.  As a result, the Children of Israel were cursed from the ground.  It refused to yield its strength to them as a result just like it did for Cain after he killed Abel.  (See Genesis 4:11).  If you read carefully, God did not curse him; he was cursed from the ground.
Even so, you still see a few of them prospering in the midst the famine as Boaz was not only wealthy, he was VERY WEALTHY.  You see, God’s people never suffer during times of lack.  It was the ones who worshipped idols and had turned from the true God that suffered.
Ruth’s Confession.
Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return home to their families and find husbands for themselves, lamenting that she was too old to have a husband and to bear sons for them to marry.
Orpah turned back to her home and to her gods, but Ruth clung to Naomi.  Her beautiful speech to her, swearing love and fidelity, are often used in wedding ceremonies:
Ruth 1:16-17
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
She accompanied Naomi back to Bethlehem.  Ruth not only looked out and cared for her, she accepted the God of Israel as her God!  
In the passage above, it’s clear from the Hebrew that she knew the God of creation, like everyone else.  But she also knew the LORD, the covenant-keeping God of Israel.  “Your God,” your “Elohim,” shall be my God, “My Elohim,” she said.  But she also declared, “The Lord do so to me….”  Here she used the word, “YHVH.”
When she said those words, God took notice of her.  She fled for refuge under His wings.  Because she did that, He protected, blessed, and provided for her in ways she could never have imagined.
No doubt Naomi had told her daughters-in-law stories about this God of hers.  She probably heard about Joseph, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  She heard how God had rescued His people from Egypt, the story about the Red Sea parting for them.  She heard these stories and had fallen in love with Him!
You and I are the “Ruths” today. We heard the stories of this wonderful God from the “Naomis.”  We have Jesus and the word of God because of the Jewish people.
Kinsman Redeemer.
Unfortunately, the lands and property which had belonged to Elimelech were now in someone else’s possession.  They were now among the poorest of the poor, reduced to the most menial task of gleaning for food.
But it just so “Happened” that Ruth, after literally confessing favor, went to glean in a field which just “Happened” to belong to Boaz, a wealthy and close relative of theirs. She was not only allowed to gather as much grain as she wanted in his fields but was put under his protection as well!
As soon as Boaz saw Ruth, he was smitten!  It was love at first sight.
What an amazing “coincidence” that she “just happened” to find his field and he just “Happened,” to be a close relative…..and wealthy!   But not just wealthy; he was VERY wealthy…..and VERY handsome.  This guy was arguably the most elegible bachelor in all of Bethlehem!
Boaz actually told his men to drop bundles of grain on purpose for her.  She was even invited to come and eat at his table, where he passed parched grain to her.  She ate, was satisfied, AND kept some back to take home to Naomi.
When her mother-in-law saw all that she had brought, she exclaimed, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
He was such a close relative,  in fact, that he qualified to be her kinsman redeemer, in Hebrew “Goél.”  In order to qualify as such, a man had be wealthy, a close relative, and be willing to restore the forfeited inheritance to his relative freely, no strings attached.  Boaz met all three criteria.
But there was a closer relative to Ruth than him.  So, Boaz went to the city gates and sought out the man to see if he would buy back the land, or whether he would be able to acquire it, and Ruth, for himself.
Legally Disqualified.
According to Levitical law, anyone who was from the country of Moab was legally disqualified from entering the congregation of Israel. At that time, they were a nation cursed by God because of the way they mistreated Israel as they came out of Egypt.  (See Deuteronomy 23)
Nevertheless, Ruth did enter!  She entered by faith and became the great grandmother of King David, included in Jesus’ lineage.
Five Women.
She is one of only five women who are mentioned BY NAME in Jesus’ lineage. The fifth one was Mary.  (Five is the number of grace!)  Ruth is the only woman in the entire Bible God calls, “Virtuous!”  All the other women listed by name, with the exception of Mary, were GENTILES:  Rahab, Ruth, Tamara and Bathsheba.
(For more on this topic, follow this link:
In Biblical typology, Ruth is a picture of the church.  Naomi, a type of Israel, is our mother-in-law.  Like Ruth, who brought home food from Boaz’s table, God blesses those who bless Israel.
Israel (Naomi) was married to Elimelek, who’s name means “My God is King.  Sadly, he didn’t live up to his name, but chose to flee from his land in the wake of the famine.  Boaz shows us, however, that God prospers His people despite famine.
Orpah’s name, interestingly, means “back of the neck.”  She typifies those who reject the gospel. She “turned her back” on Ruth and Naomi, (the Church and Israel) and returned to her people, her gods: eternal damnation.  They were under God’s curse, just as people outside of Christ are under God’s curse because they chose not to come under God’s wings of protection.
She, like Ruth, could have stayed and been grafted into the “Jewish tree,”…..but she chose not to.  She made a conscious decision to turn her back and walk away.
This clearly shows us that those who will suffer eternal punishment have made a conscious choice.
The Closer Relative.
Before Boaz could marry Ruth he had to satisfy the claim of the closer relative.  He was there with 10 of the elders of the city.  This man a type of the law.  The Apostle Paul gives us the authority to personify the law in Romans 7.
Boaz went and sat at the city gate.  City gates in those days were where business was transacted and judgments took place in ancient times.  There were TEN ELDERS present to witness their business.  “Ten” typifies the law.  Boaz and this unnamed man (Mr. Law) legally sealed the deal by “Mr. Law” taking off his sandal–a sign of ownership–and handing it over to Boaz.  This accorded Boaz full and rightful claim to all the property of Elimelek and the right to marry Ruth.
In the same way, Jesus redeemed us from certain death and we became His bride!

We are so thankful to the Naomi’s, Israel. Without her family, we, the Ruths–the Church–would have no wealthy benefactor to marry. WE HAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO THANK FOR OUR MESSIAH!

What a beautiful portrait of how our Jesus loves us!

A Matter Of Legality.

He was born of a virgin and became human so He could qualify to become our Goél.

You see, it was a man, Adam, who was given the “keys” to this earth.  But he committed high treason, bowed his knee to the devil, and handed them over to him.  That’s why it LEGALLY had to be a MAN:  JESUS, to come to our rescue and buy us back (redeem) at great…no, INCALCULABE….cost!  Jesus HAD TO become 100% man, something He never was before.

(For more information on this topic, follow this link:
Our Goél.

Just like Boaz who fell madly in love with Ruth at first sight, Jesus fell madly in love with us from the very first moment.  He’s most certainly VERY WEALTHY–owns EVERYTHING there is–and became our Kinsman by being born as a human baby.  He willingly paid the FULL PRICE by laying down His life for us.  He freely restored to us our forfeited inheritance.  In fact, His death was far and above an OVERPAYMENT!

Ruth and Boaz’s son, Obed, was the father of Jesse.  His son was King David.

Reading Hebrew scroll

Secrets In The Hebrew.

There is a message to us in the meanings of names in this story.  They are all listed at the end of the book, which ends this way:

Ruth 4:13-22
“Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.”

Whenever a story like this ends with the lineage of Jesus, there’s a special message just for us! It’s hidden in the names of all these people.

Perez…………….Breach.  Breach means “break. Breaks in the wall can let sheep out and/or wolves in.
Ram………………High and Exalted
Amminadab……My Noble Kinsman
Nahshon………..Enchanter, like a snake charmer.  This word in the Bible is used for “magic, miracles and shekinah glory.”
Boaz……………..In Him is strength. Bo means “in,” az means “strength,” same root word for the Uzzi gun invented by the Isralis; literally “gun of strength.”
Jesse…………….The One Who Is or exists

It’s a picture of Jesus!  “The breach has been enclosed by my high and exalted Noble Kinsman with enchantment in His garment. In Him is strength to serve the one who is His beloved.”  That’s us, Church!

Jesus was born into the tribe of Judah.  He is the true Captain of Judah!

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