Thursday, November 15, 2012




Benjamin Hart, artist, middler seminarian, and member of my Hebrew Reading and Exegesis Course, created this image, which we discussed in class today. I like the focus on Naomi here. Boaz thought especially of her, when he sent Ruth back to her loaded up with six measures of barley (six seahs?, 60 pounds!). He said, “Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed” (Ruth 3:17). Could that be Boaz’s (metaphorical) hand on Naomi’s left shoulder? The lectionary reading paired with Ruth this Sunday was Mark 12:38-44, the story of the poor widow with two small copper coins. Ben had this lection in mind as well as he drew. Could it also be Jesus’ hand on the widow’s shoulder? The hand seems to grasp her as we watch the image, and the widow seems to turn to the left at just that moment. She is looking to see who has come to her aid and support. Her eyes and the thumb on her daughter-in-law Ruth's hand on her shoulder seem to look and to point forward, out of the scene and into the future—a future of hope and redemption. At the same time, her eyes are deep set and sunken, reflecting memories of a tragic past and a long trek of suffering. A rich image indeed….

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