In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. – Ruth 1:1-5
John Wilch writes:
Ever since their patriarchs, the Israelites – at least in principle, if often not in practice – supported the custom of endogamy, that is, marrying within their own people in order to preserve their faith in God and His gracious covenant. Since the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, the practice of endogamy was also meant to keep the Israelite’s land inheritance. Because no stigma was attached to an exogamous marriage to a convert – that is, marrying a non-Israelite who worshiped Israel’s God and accepted His covenant – the practice of endogamy was based primarily on religious confession and not on ethnicity.
Marriage with Moabites [that is Moabites who became converts to Yahweh] was not expressly forbidden in the Torah of Moses, although the stipulation that Moabite men could not be received into the congregation of Israel for ten generations would factor against it. Marriage with Canaanites was forbidden in Deuteronomy 7:1-4, but that passage deals only with the idolatrous inhabitants of Canaan proper who were to be liquidated [Converts, like Rahab, were grafted into Israel through faith and no longer considered to be pagans]. However, Deuteronomy 7:1-4 could naturally be broadened to apply to Moabites and other pagans even though they were not expressly named. … This is a principle that all Christians today should take seriously and so refuse to marry any non-Christian. For it was intermarriage with unbelievers that eliminated the true faith from nearly all of Adam’s descendants (Gen 6:1-9) and estranged even wise Solomon from the LORD (1 Kings 11:1-10).
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 88
Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption, are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.