Did God allow the interacial marriage of Boaz (בֹּ֨עַז֙) + Ruth the Moabite (ר֨וּת הַמּֽוֹאֲבִיָּ֜ה) to reveal faith in YHVH (יְהֹוָ֨ה) nullifies Levitical laws like Deuteronomy 23:4?

  • Deuteronomy 23:4 isn't a law, so how could it be nullified? There are laws in the surrounding verses, but it's not clear which one you mean. Also, don't put brackets around verse references that you refer directly to.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 7, 2020 at 1:34

2 Answers 2


The marriage was under the Law. It was Legal. According to Mosaic Law, Ruth needed to be redeemed.

She was a Moabite, but had Jewish ancestry by marriage that had taken place outside of the Law, in a country not under Mosaic Law. - so that was ‘legal’.

They had to fulfil the Law in respect to redeeming the land, and, the marriage was associated with that purchase, with that Mosaic requirement or Law of redemption.

It was the redemption of the Land, under Law, that ‘legalised’ the marriage, because the marriage was required.

  • Explain then [Ruth 4:6] "the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it." - Why was Naomi's closest relative to redeem Ruth unwilling to marry a Moabite? - It appears Boaz decided to dismiss [Devarim 23:4] and show grace to Ruth as a redeemer in honoring Ruth's devotion to YHVH. Aug 6, 2020 at 18:52
  • The ‘first in line’ wanted the land, but not another wife. It doesn’t provide details as to why he didn’t want to take Ruth. This is a ‘type’ of Jesus and the church. The Jews had first ‘right’ to Jesus, but the gentile church ended up with access. The‘Law’ didn’t demand he had to redeem the land, just that he had first right.
    – Dave
    Aug 6, 2020 at 19:09
  • Thanks for the response, Dave. I appreciate your insight regarding Hebrew culture & context. Aug 6, 2020 at 19:18

I think the Law as stated Deut 23:4 is, first of all, not a Levitical law because it applied to Israelites generally. Second, it prevent the faith of the God's people from being contaminated by foreign ideas.

The simple reason that Ruth was permitted to marry Boaz is because she converted her faith to that of the true God is Israel in that touching speech recorded in Ruth 1:16, 17:

But Ruth replied:

“Do not urge me to leave you

or to turn from following you.

For wherever you go, I will go,

and wherever you live, I will live;

your people will be my people,

and your God will be my God.

Where you die, I will die,

and there I will be buried.

May the LORD punish me,

and ever so severely,

if anything but death

separates you and me.”

This was not an isolated incident - many "foreigners" became Israelites by converting. Here is a short list:

  • Abraham’s own household must have consisted of perhaps 2000 people just to be able to raise an army of 318 men to liberate Lot, Gen 14:14. Indeed, Abraham’s chief servant (from Damascus) was clearly a believer and very devout as shown in Gen 24.
  • When Jacob entered Egypt, his family numbered 75 people (Acts 7:14, Ex 1:5). Some of these were not direct descendants of Abraham such as the wives of the 12 patriarchs, notably Joseph’s own wife. 215 years and four generations later at the exodus, Israel’s army had over 600,000 men, excluding women and children, (Ex 12:37, Num 1:46, etc) suggesting a total population of several million people, requiring many additions. This included a significant mixed multitude (Ex 12:38) showing that Israel obviously consisted of many non-biological Jews had joined. (Note that it is biologically impossible for Israelite numbers to have grown from 75 to several million biologically without many outside additions.)
  • Moses married a Midianite (Ex 2:16-21) also known as a Cushite. Miriam and aaron were severely reprimanded and punished for displaying racism (Num 12:1, 2)
  • Caleb, who represented and led the tribe of Judah was a Kennizite (Num 32:12).
  • Rahab was a Canaanite (Josh 2:1, 2, Matt 1:5) and the mother of Boaz
  • Uriah was a Hittite (2 Sam 11:3)
  • King David’s elite personal regiment was Gittite, Philistines (1 Chron 18:17)
  • The Rechabites were Kenites (Jer 35:1-19)
  • Many other foreigners lived in Israel (1 Chron 22:2, 17, 2 Chron 30:25)
  • In Esther’s time “many of the people of the land became Jews” (Esther 8:17, 9:27)
  • Even in NT times, many Jewish synagogues were attended by godly gentiles converted to Judaism (Acts 13:16, 26, 16:14, 17:17)
  • Many Jewish proselytes came to worship in Jerusalem (John 20:20, Acts 2:9-11)
  • Jesus quotes Isa 56:7, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations”, Mark 11:17.
  • Further, biological Israelites could opt out of the covenant and be cut-off (Ex 30:33, 38, 31:14, Lev 7:20, 21, 25, 27).

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