“Are You Changing Your Last Name?” (Ruth 4:7-8)

“We’re getting married!”


My colleague was bubbling over with the good news. Congratulatory slaps and high-fives abounded as we joined in the celebration. He and his fiancee had been dating for several years and we welcomed the announcement that was anticipated for months.


“So…are you changing your last name?”


We all laughed as one of our colleagues cracked this comment, certain of the answer. He chuckled and declared, “Actually, I’m taking her last name!”


We exploded in whoops over the presumed jest until he interjected. “No, seriously! I’m taking her last name!”


We were not expecting that one! In this enlightened and politically correct world, one cannot assume that a woman will keep her maiden name or take the name of her husband. There are other options. Both could hyphenate their names, both could adopt an entirely new name, or the man could take the last name of his bride.


Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal.

Ruth 4:7-8 (ESV)


Traditions change.


The Bible records in great detail some changing traditions including this touching example from the Book of Ruth. The tradition may seem foreign, especially when juxtaposed with current traditions. The Holy Spirit directed the author of the Book of Ruth to carefully record this lost tradition to remind us that the Bible is also a book of history and culture. Events such as wars between forgotten kingdoms and empires and architectural wonders have been recorded within its pages. For years, scholars scoffed at the authenticity of the Bible’s accounts until modern archeologists have steadily unearthed records and ruins of dozens of these civilizations. From the evidence of the Hittites to the pool of Siloam at Jerusalem, all archeological discoveries are in complete harmony with the Biblical record. Once again, the Bible demonstrates its relevance to our modern times.


For I the Lord do not change….

Malachi 3:6 (ESV)


Traditions change but thanks be to God that He does not. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.



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