“’A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the descendants of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron of Ram, Ram of Amminadab, Amminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon, Salmon of Boaz, Boaz of Obed, Obed of Jesse, and Jesse of David.” Ruth 4:17b-21
Perez, twin Brother of Zerah, is the son of Tamar and Judah. Judah is in fact Tamar’s father in law, who she tricked, after the death of her husband, his son. Find the story in Genesis 38:11-30. A sordid story that would make headlines even today, but that isn’t the point. This story now fast forwarded to the book of Ruth has a surprise ending. Perez is a direct ancestor of King David through Boaz the man who redeems Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. When we continue the genealogy from David we get to Joseph – husband of Mary, mother of Jesus. Through God’s grace great and wonderful things can happen out of sordid, worldly selfish acts (as we read in the Genesis 38 story). Further, from the Ruth/Boaz story we learn that if David, Israel’s most revered king, has a Moabite ancestor, then surely we the community of Christ are called to likewise welcome all our neighbors – even though we might consider them enemies. Welcome all with the love of Christ to receive the love of Christ and become more than neighbor, but family.