By Steven L. McKenzie

During this much-needed reminder for these suffering to dwell devoted lives this present day, Steven McKenzie insists that the Bible's actual message leads Christians clear of the evils of racism and narrowness of bigotry to God's imaginative and prescient of humanity and solidarity.

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For the moment, however, it is enough to observe that keeping Rahab and her household alive, however many they were, undermines the "devotion'' of Jericho and prevents it from being complete.  Only after Achan's sin is confessed (7:16–21), and atoned for by obliterating him, his family, and his property (7:22–26), are the Israelites able to return to Ai and take it (8:1–23).  The final result comes in 11:23: Joshua took all the land according to all that Yahweh had told Moses, and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their allotments by their tribes.

They are also not likely Mesopotamians, since the story deals with Judah and its nearby neighbors.  In either case, her becoming pale white with disease was a particularly appropriate counter to her objection to Moses' black wife.  But even in Joshua's telling of the story, the truth emerges that the Page 35 complete destruction of the Canaanites was impossible, impractical, and in the end, undesirable.  Perhaps this is one reason why she helped the Israelite spies.  Before she lets them go, however, she extracts a promise from them to spare her and everyone in her house when the city falls to the Israelites (12:8–14).

So may Yahweh do to me and more— only death will separate me from you.  Naomi does not make any more effort to persuade Ruth to stay behind, because her determination is plain (1:18).  She does not explain why, only that she left full but has returned empty (1:21).  At any rate, his Page 45 servants point out what a hard worker Ruth is, noting that she has been in the field all day from early morning (2:7).  Boaz recognizes the extraordinary unselfishness of Ruth's leaving her family and homeland for a foreign country, all out of love for Naomi (2:11).

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