Book of Ruth.
The book of Ruth is known as the “love story” of the Bible. Yes, it is, but it is so much more.
As we have emphasized in our study of Jesus’ ancestors in Ancestry. Jesus, the series, in order to fully understand God’s Word it is important to grasp the context of the day in which the book of Ruth is set.
Originally a scroll contained in the Ketuvim (Hebrew: writings) (Greek: Hagiographa) of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), the book of Ruth exemplifies several themes important to Judaism.
The story of a Moabite sojourner in Bethlehem, Ruth the non-Jewish refugee had to provide for herself and her family in a foreign land. Being a Moabite and an enemy to the Jewish people, Ruth obviously had many obstacles to overcome.
An overarching theme of the book of Ruth is the Jewish concept of chesed – the Hebrew word that encompasses the indescribable attributes of God. Christians often describe chesed as being Christ-like, and can also be explained as God’s amazing grace.
Ruth exhibited many attributes of chesed to those around her in spite of the obstacles placed in her path. One of these was the loyalty that Ruth showed to her mother-in-law, her deceased husband, to her future husband, and above all to the Lord.
Another theme brought forth that is important to Judaism is charity, or tzedakah (Hebrew). Fending for herself in a foreign land, Ruth awakened in Boaz, her future husband, the sense of tzedakah that wasn’t just a Levitical mandate but was something much deeper, and much more caring.
Enter the picture, Boaz, who redeemed Ruth in his self-sacrificial manner, foreshadowing Jesus Christ with his self-less love and unlimited charity.
Boaz was Ruth’s earthly redeemer, in a similar way that Christ is the ultimate redeemer of souls. In many ways, Boaz foreshadowed Jesus through his chesed and love.
As a redeemer-kinsman, Boaz made it possible to for Ruth to live the life God meant for her to live. Similarly, Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to have a relationship with the Father, allowing us eternal life.
In many ways Ruth was the epitome of the person who God uses for His glory. Ruth became a convert to Judaism from a pagan-worshipping religion and married Boaz, a righteous Jewish man from the tribe of Judah. Of interest is that Ruth through her union with Boaz, became the matriarch of the most famous family line in Jewish and Christian history – the House of David.
In spite of her Moabite heritage, Ruth entered into the fold of God, even though her background and ethnicity was from the people who were the enemies of Israel and therefore of Yahweh, the God of Israel.
Steeped in Jewish culture, the book of Ruth brings home our Jewish-Christian roots and gives us the opportunity to explore our Jewish background. As Christians we must never forget that our Savior, Jesus Christ was sent to earth as a Jew, and through exploring His ancestors, we become acutely aware of our roots.
Additionally, we should never forget that all ethnicities are accepted by God the Father. This concept is exemplified through exploring the book of Ruth. A gentile in origin, Ruth, through her conversion to Judaism, set the standard for all who want to be a member of the family of God, no matter your background or ethnicity.
The book of Ruth is indeed the love story of the Bible, and so much more. Not only is it wonderful history, but it illustrates how the Lord works undercover and imparts wisdom and direction to those who are willing to follow Him in faith.
The book of Ruth fits into God’s Masterplan for the salvation of humanity as it is the love story of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and His followers who are welcomed into His family for eternity.
The words of his father, Salmon, echoed in his ears as Boaz encountered Ruth. Boaz’s father, Salmon, had married the Canaanite prostitute who protected the Jewish spies as they scouted out Jericho before their conquest of the city (Joshua 2, 6).
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.”
Drawing parallels about Ruth to his very own mother, Rahab, Boaz realized both had been stamped by society as ‘unworthy’ people due to their ominous backgrounds.
Rahab was once branded as ‘the prostitute’, and as a pagan, Amorite Canaanite.
Similarly, Ruth was also labeled by society, being known as “Ruth, the Moabitess.”
Because of his parents and their faith in God, Boaz was raised to see the heart of a person, as God sees them. Not the exterior, as society views a person.
Boaz knew that society might judge people based on their lineage, and then assign to the individual what they deem as appropriate worth. However, Boaz also knew that God does not.
This is possibly the very reason God put people like Boaz’s mother, Rahab, and as we will see in this book, Ruth, David’s great-grandmother, into the lineage of His son Jesus Christ.
Through his Canaanite mother, Boaz had the upbringing to respect all Gentiles who love God. Through this upbringing, Boaz then exhibited chesed to Ruth, showing traits of loving-kindness that are attributed to God.
Boaz was keenly aware that if people, no matter their ancestry or background, believe in the Almighty God, then He accepts and loves them as His children.
Boaz was the product of parents who were believers in the one, true God. Boaz had a Gentile mother, a paganist Amorite, who converted to worship the God of Israel. Boaz will emulate his upbringing and will end up marrying a similar woman to his mother, a woman of gentile descent that was reformed and came to know, love and worship the one, true God.
Raised with the belief that all who have faith in God can become His children, this emanated in Boaz’s life and his actions. A man of integrity, honesty and chesed, Boaz exemplified the true grace of God.
In many ways, Boaz foreshadowed Jesus with his grace and willingness to redeem Ruth.
With personal sacrifice on his part, Boaz redeemed Ruth so that she could have the gift of inheritance, a son, and a life that served for the glory of God.
Let the story unfold!
But first, to fully understand the character of Ruth and Boaz, let’s put the story into the context of the day and learn about of the times in which they lived.
The book of Ruth is set during the period of the Judges, which is estimated to be around 1100 BC. Joshua had since died, but before his death his army had invaded Canaan, and completed the general
conquest of the Promised Land.
After the conquest of the Promised Land, Joshua had followed God’s instructions and partitioned the land among the remaining 9-and-one-half Israeli tribes who would occupy the land west of the Jordan River.
Despite all the conquests by Joshua and his army of Israelites, there were still some sections of territory that had been unclaimed where the local pagan inhabitants continued to live.
Pearl: The takeover by the Israelites of the Promised Land was therefore deemed to be a general conquest, and was incomplete. This was not God’s intent, as He had ordered a total conquest of the Promised Land.
The Lord warned Moses after the exodus from Egypt,
“When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.
Distribute the land by lot, according to your ancestral tribes. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides.
They will give you trouble in the land.
And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.”
This incomplete conquest of the land was contrary to God’s specific orders, as the inhabitants that remained would only serve to represent a lingering presence of pagan influence.
Israel had therefore been disobedient to God.
The angel of the Lord spoke as God’s representative saying to the people of Israel,
“I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said that I will never break my covenant with you and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.
But you have not obeyed my voice.
So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides and their gods shall be a snare to you.”
For some reason, the Israelites had a certain fascination with the local Canaanite pagan culture.
As long as Canaanite inhabitants remained in the land, God knew that the Israelites would tend to intermarry with them, and turn to worship their pagan gods. God considered this intermarrying of Israelites and Canaanites as a breach of His Covenant, and knew how this would lead to widespread idolatry.
After the passing of the two men of God, one being Joshua and then the high priest Eleazar who served during the conquest of Canaan, the Israelites entered into a downward spiral of spiritual collapse.
The Israelites became ununited among themselves, and with their God.
“And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.
And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods.”
There was a need for a more complete conquest of the Promised Land, both militarily and spiritually. Pagan religions remained in the land and were rampant among the inhabitants that have been left in the surrounding land due to failure of the Israelites to completely drive them out.
Spiritually, the new generation of Israelites also needed to learn the lesson that with obedience to God comes prosperity, but with disobedience, comes adversity.
This lesson had been taught to the older generations through their wilderness wanderings and initial conquests of the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the newer generations of Israelites were not dedicated to God and His laws, and soon became vulnerable to the pagan influences and worship that surrounded them.
Pearl: Part of the Israelites’ fascination with the culture of the local inhabitants had to do with the transition of the Israelites to become an agricultural society.
The new generations began to evolve from being a semi-nomadic culture without a permanent home, to one, which depended on agriculture for its existence. With a dependence of crops and harvest, the people began to settle in towns where the work could be organized among them.
As they became a more agriculturally oriented society, the Israelites became attracted by the Canaanite cult of Baal, which was associated highly with fertility and crops.
The Canaanites were advanced in architecture, and had developed fortified cities, which were flourishing with abundance of art and culture. The Canaanites also had superior arms and chariots of iron (Judges 1:19).
The Israelites, having been slaves in Egypt, then upon their exodus wandered in the wilderness for existence, were undoubtedly drawn to the Canaanite life-style. The Canaanite superior military also intimidated them.
The Israelites therefore made alliances with, and intermarried with the people of the land, becoming entrenched in the Canaanite lifestyle. This radical change in lifestyle led to repeated cycles of sin and oppression.
Israel had turned its back on God, and fully embraced the local Canaanite culture. Over time it became worse, violating Israel’s covenant with God in most every way imaginable.
“They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them.” (Judges 2:13-14)
“Then the LORD raised up judges who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. “ (Judges 2:16)
God, out of His Grace and mercy raised up military leaders to deliver the Israelites from enemy hands. These leaders were referred to as Judges. Each Judge led only a few tribes in a very loose federation of Israel.
A period of liberation would occur during the rule of a Judge, however after the Judge died, the people ended up repeating the downward spiral of disobedience to God, with resultant periods of oppression (Judges 2:19).
The ongoing cycles of periods of oppression of Israel by the Canaanite leaders, followed by transitory periods of liberation by a Judge have been referred to as “Deuteronomic cycles.”
These cycles correspond to the warnings written in Deuteronomy, when God spoke of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 11:26-32, 28).
The times of the Judges were marked with violence and bloodshed, as well as a breach of faith of the Israelites in God.
Consequently, there was a downward spiral of Israel’s national, military and spiritual life.
The Israelites became increasingly attracted to the Canaanite culture with its large urban centers and wealth, and to its religious system, which seemed to support and even provide for this.
“Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them.” (Judges 2:17)
Pearl: A prominent feature of the Canaanite religion was its sexualized orientation. It promoted sacred prostitutes which allowed people to combine sensual pleasures with their worship of Baal (Numbers 25).
The Israelites, with the influence of the local Canaanites, had plummeted to the ultimate depths of sin. With complete disobedience of God they had succumbed not only to the worship of pagan gods and goddesses, but stooped to embrace the immorality of the culture of the Canaanites.
God had given the Israelites strict laws against prostitution, and participation in pagan cult worship (Leviticus 19:29, Deuteronomy 23: 17-18).
With unrest in the land, the people eventually expressed the need for a godly king to lead Israel (Judges 17:6, 21:25).
Eventually this will lead to the establishment of the Davidic monarchy in Israel, which God was pleased to bless (2 Samuel 7). This was not of the people’s doing, but due to God keeping his promises to Abraham and his descendants (Deuteronomy 6:10-11, Genesis 12, 15, 26, 35).
But for now, during the period of time of the Judges in which the book of Ruth is set, Israel had sunk so low that morality and laws governing the people were equivalent to self-will.
The people had gone from adherence to law in the time of Moses, to the lowest-of-low, with complete disobedience to God.
“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (Judges 21:25)
The events in Judges took place in the period between Joshua’s death (mid 14th or late 13th century), and the rise of Samuel and Saul (mid-11th century). This would equate approximately to around 1380-1100 B.C.
Now with this context, we can proceed in our series of people who are in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ, bringing us to Ruth and Boaz.
Pearl: The Book of Ruth ~ Insights From a Jewish Prospective
Ruth became the matriarch of the Davidic royal family, as the great grandmother of King David.
She is therefore an ancestor of, and a forerunner to the universal blessing to all humanity, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
As Ruth is the main character, and has her name on an entire book of the Bible, there has been considerable amount of biblical exegesis concerning her character by Christian and Jewish scholars alike.
The author has included information from both Christian and Jewish scholars.
Information has been gleaned from noted Jewish commentaries from Judaica Books of the Hagiographa – the Holy Writings, The Five Megilloth (Volume 1). In these books, Hebrew text by Rashi and other commentaries are translated into English and has been included in order to provide context and deeper insight into all of the characters of the Book of Ruth.
A further aim of this book is to correlate the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic commentaries with scripture from the New Testament, all of which points forward to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Who is the Author of the Book of Ruth?
Rabbinic tradition (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Bathra 14b) tells us that the prophet and judge Samuel was the author of the Scroll of Ruth.
The influential Jewish commentator, Rashi (known by the acronym of his Hebrew initials ~ Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac), cited that Samuel wrote the Book of Judges. Since The Book of Ruth relates a narrative that occurred in the time of Judges and Samuel is known to be the last of the Judges, it follows that Samuel wrote Ruth. Many Biblical scholars however debate the authorship of Ruth.
Commentaries throughout the ages have discussed the purpose Samuel may have had in writing the book of Ruth.
Reasons vary from teaching how great the reward is for those who perform acts of kindness, to tracing the lineage of David, the son of Jesse.
According to the Babylonian Talmud, the Book of Ruth is placed in the Hagiographa or “Holy Writings,” as the first book, preceding Psalms.
Speculation is that the Rabbis wished to place Ruth adjacent to the Book of Psalms, composed by David, to inform us of his lineage.
The Rabbis noted this in the Talmud (B.B. 14b) by stating that Ruth should be at the beginning of the Holy Writings, and then followed by Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah, and the Chronicles.
However, in the Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) the order is different.
As a part of the Five Megilloth (the Scrolls in the “writings” or Ketuvim), the Book of Ruth is grouped with Song of Songs, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.
The reason for this grouping is given as all of these scrolls play a prominent part of liturgy, and are read in the synagogue on special days, as celebrated by the Jewish people.
Information about the Hebrew Bible and the relevance to the Book of Ruth:
The Jewish Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) has 24 books in three parts.
Tanakh is an acronym for the books that make up its composition, being the five books of the Torah (Law and Teachings, Greek: Pentateuch), the eight books of the Mevi’im (prophets), and the eleven books of Ketuvim (Greek: Hagiographa, English: Holy Writings).
The Ketuvim is made up of the Poetic Books, the Scrolls (Megillot), and the books of the prophets Daniel, Ezra- Nehemiah, and history in the books of the Chronicles.
Ruth has special significance among the Jewish people. Hebrew commentaries write that in many congregations, the Book of Ruth is read on the second day of the Festival of Shavouth, which celebrates the time of the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
It is customary to read the book of Ruth on the Shavuoth due to many reasons stated by the following Jewish writers:
- As stated by both Matteh Moshe and Midrash Lekach Tov, the book of Ruth shows the importance of charity and kindness, which is consistent with Mosaic Law (Leviticus 23:22),“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely remove the corner of your field when you reap, and you shall not gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor man and for the stranger.”And in Proverbs 31:26,
“and instruction of kindness is on her tongue”
- David Ibn Yachia wrote that it was customary to read the Scroll of Ruth on Shavuoth because it relates the history of the House of David. Its purpose was to instill in the hearts of the Jewish people the trait of trust, just as the Creator kept His promise to Israel, which He had promised them through His prophet Moses (Exodus 3:12). So will the Lord keep His second promise of Isaiah 11:1, being the Messiah would come from the lineage of Jesse.(Isaiah 11:1)
“And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”
- Besorath Eliyaha writes that according to tradition, the souls of all the Jews were present at Mt. Sinai when the Torah was given, as well as souls of future proselytes. As an allusion to this, the Book of Ruth is read, which embodies the narrative of Ruth, the proselyte, on Shavuoth.
- Hataz’ath Ruth teaches that Ruth serves as example for the Jewish people, and is appropriate for the Festival of Shavuoth. This being that Ruth, as a member of a rejected nation by the Israelites, a nation with which intermarriage is forbidden, merited that God draw near to her to such an extent that she became the matriarch of the Davidic royal family. He then asked, how much more so will God draw near to a Jew who draws near to His Torah? This lesson is therefore appropriate for the Festival of Shavuoth, the time of the giving of the Torah. Additionally, Ruth accepted the 613 commandments, just as the Jews did.
The aforementioned hopefully gives you, the reader some background and context.
The book of Ruth is only four chapters long (eighty-five verses), and can easily be read through in less than an hour. However, in this study we will take quite a bit more time in order to decipher its meaning, going deeper to point out other associated and parallel scriptures from both the Old and the New Testament.
Hopefully we can discover what God is trying to tell us as we delve into His word.
More Jewish Context:
Recall that the book of Ruth is set in the period of Judges, so therefore famines, political and spiritual unrest were prevalent in the land.
“There was no king in Israel, each man did what was right in his eyes.” (Judges 17: 6, 21:25)
The people had a history of turning to God during oppressive times, but turned away and forgot Him during seasons of prosperity. These cycles characterize the culture of the time.
Pearl: During the book of Ruth, the story begins during an oppressive time, as there is a severe drought throughout all of Israel with a resultant famine.
People were starving, and sometimes would leave their homeland to go to other lands in search of food. Whether or not this would be the right thing to do remained unseen.
After reading the Book of Ruth, you may have some unanswered questions such as:
Why the famine in the land of Israel?
A blessing for obedience of God’s covenants are stated in Leviticus 26: 1-13, and include God’s promise to the people for a productive land, including rain and abundant crops.
We can draw from this, and considering the Israelite’s prevalent disobedience, we can deduce that lack of crops and rain may be a result of the people not keeping their promised covenant with the Lord.
Pearl: According to Jewish rabbis in the Midrash, during the famine the impoverished people tended to congregate around the wealthy and compelled them to feed them. The poor would sometimes take the food by force.
This famine in Judah forced Naomi, her husband, Elimelech, and her two young sons to move to Moab. Why did they leave the Holy Land?
Biblical exegesis by ancient Judaic Rabbis conclude that Elimelech was a wealthy man, and left the land of Israel as he feared that the poor would attack him and take his possessions.
Why did Elimelech choose to move to Moab?
Hebrew commentaries elaborate that perhaps Elimelech chose Moab to sojourn, as he was ashamed to go to another area of Israel where he would be looked down upon for deserting the poor of his homeland.
We don’t know for certain why Elimelech chose Moab, only that he moved there from Bethlehem with his family. Elimelech and Naomi’s sons grew up in Moab and married Moabite women. Moabites were descendants of Lot, and enemies of Israel.
How did Naomi and her husband take the fact that their sons married Moabites?
Under the laws set forth in Deuteronomy, Moabites were banned from the assembly of God, and worship of the Lord forever.
“No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord. No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever because they did not meet you with bread and with water when you came out of Egypt and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia to curse you.”
The Israelites were also instructed to not seek their peace, or their prosperity all of your days forever (Deuteronomy 23:6).
Pearl: At the time of Judges, the halachah (the collective body of Jewish laws derived from the written and oral
Torah) was unclear about permitting a Moabite woman to marry an Israelite man.
If Moabites were banned from the assembly of God forever, it certainly was not generally accepted, even if it was within the realm of the law.
However, if the woman embraced Judaism prior to her marriage, according to halachic requirements (which stated that it had to occur in the presence of a beth-din, a Rabbinic tribunal) and were sincere converts, their conversion would be accepted.
Many Jewish commentators state that Naomi and Elimelech’s sons (Mahlon and Chilion) married women who were forbidden to them by the Torah.
The question then arises if the two women (Ruth and Orpah) embraced and converted to Judaism prior to their marriage to Mahlon and Chilion?
Some Jewish rabbis commented that they doubt if conversion occurred. They point out that even if they were proselytes, they may have converted to Judaism out of fear of their husbands, or for insincere reasons for the purpose of marriage.
It is complicated to say the least, and many scholarly exegetes have debated over divergent theories relating to conversion of a gentile woman to Judaism and the timing of the conversion, if she is marrying a Jewish man.
The Talmud has laws of conversion to Judaism, and there was considerable debate over the timing and legality of Ruth’s conversion to Judaism.
The Torah does not exactly forbid a Moabite to convert, only to enter the assembly of God.
In the Talmud, however, this is understood to mean that a Moabite may not marry a pedigreed Jew (Yevamot 77b), but may marry another convert.
Interestingly, the Talmud relates the question of does the halachah apply to a Moabitess (female from Moab), as well as a Moabite (male from Moab)?
Pearl: Samuel the prophet addressed this issue, and ancient scholars agreed that the Torah was precise in writing the word Moabite, meaning that Moabite males (referred to as a Moabite) are forbidden to marry a Jew, but Moabite females ( referred to as a Moabitess) were allowed to marry a Jew.
Samuel apparently later composed the Book of Ruth to substantiate this halachah so it would no longer be disputed. This legality was of utmost importance as the question was not if Ruth converted, but how she could have legally married Boaz.
The ramifications of the decision came up later when Ruth’s descendant, David, was hassled by Saul’s council claiming that David was not fit to rule as King of Israel, as they claimed that Ruth’s marriage to Boaz should have never been permitted.
Nonetheless, this legal decision was included in the canon of the Talmud due to the profound implications it has on legitimizing the Davidic dynasty, from which the Messiah will be descended.
Scholars agree that Ruth accepted Judaism wholeheartedly; they had only in the past argued that her marriage into the Jewish people was questionable.
Pearl: This concept is re-visited in the installment in the series of Jesus. Ancestry of David and how it relates to how the head of Saul’s tribunal contested David’s eligibility to enter the assembly of God. The implication was that David should not be permitted to marry Jewish women since he was of Moabite extraction, and that he was not fit to king of Israel.
However, The Book of Ruth puts this rumor to rest!
Not only will we see that Ruth chose to accept the Lord and finds a place in His congregation, but also finds an important place in His genealogy.
The book of Ruth is not only a classical love story between Ruth and Boaz, but is also a story of a prodigal family who repented, and whose lives were restored out of God’s love for humanity.
It also is a book that substantiated the halachah of the Jewish people, and legitimized Ruth’s legacy of her royal ancestry in the Davidic dynasty.
But most importantly, the Book of Ruth demonstrates how due to God’s grace, a prodigal family was transformed and became a legacy existing at the center of spiritual importance.
Ruth and Boaz exemplify God’s grace, which will extend to Jews and Gentiles alike through the blessings of their descendant Jesus Christ (Matthew 1, Micah 5:2).
Other Ebooks by Dr. Jana Jones McDowell
Jana Jones McDowell DVM, DAVCA, DAVECC has spent a lifetime practicing Veterinary Medicine and former Professor at a College of Veterinary Medicine.
A Christian, Dr. Jones began her research into Biblical studies a number of years ago, focusing on “context.”
Her research revolves around the “context,” with the study and application of the Judaica Books of the Prophets and the Hagiographa (A new English translation of the Hebrew Masoretic text and commentaries by Rashi and other Rabbinical scholars), and the books of the Midrash Rabbah. The basis of this was the exegesis of the Hebrew bible with application to the origins of Christianity.
Now retired, Dr. Jones spends time researching and applying the depth of her studies into books and as a student of the Israel Bible Center, studying deeper into Jewish context and the application to Christianity.
Dr. Jones and her husband, reside in the southwest with their horses, bengal cat named Ravi and their border collie, Sarah.