Ruth 1:1-18

The family in Moab

1 During the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. A man with his wife and two sons went from Bethlehem of Judah to dwell in the territory of Moab.
2 The name of that man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the territory of Moab and settled there.
3 But Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died. Then only she was left, along with her two sons.
4 They took wives for themselves, Moabite women; the name of the first was Orpah and the name of the second was Ruth. And they lived there for about ten years.
5 But both of the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died. Only the woman was left, without her two children and without her husband.
6 Then she arose along with her daughters-in-law to return from the field of Moab, because while in the territory of Moab she had heard that the LORD had paid attention to his people by providing food for them.
7 She left the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law went with her. They went along the road to return to the land of Judah.
8 Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, "Go, turn back, each of you to the household of your mother. May the LORD deal faithfully with you, just as you have done with the dead and with me.
9 May the LORD provide for you so that you may find security, each woman in the household of her husband." Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 But they replied to her, "No, instead we will return with you, to your people."
11 Naomi replied, "Turn back, my daughters. Why would you go with me? Will there again be sons in my womb, that they would be husbands for you?
12 Turn back, my daughters. Go. I am too old for a husband. If I were to say that I have hope, even if I had a husband tonight, and even more, if I were to bear sons—
13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you refrain from having a husband? No, my daughters. This is more bitter for me than for you, since the LORD's will has come out against me."
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth stayed with her.
15 Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods. Turn back after your sister-in-law."
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you."
18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.

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Ruth 1:1-18 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF RUTH

This book is called Ruth, not because she was the author of it, but because she is the principal subject of it. In the Syriac and Arabic versions, it is called the Book of Ruth the Moabitess, which describes her by the country of which she was. Her name, according to Hillerus {l}, signifies beautiful, of a good aspect, the same with Calliope in Greek. As to the author of this book, some attribute it to Eli the priest, who seems to have been too soon to give an account of the birth of David; others to Gad or Nathan; some to Hezekiah, and others to Ezra; but what the Talmudists assert, which is most generally received, and most probable, is, that it was written by Samuel; so they say Samuel {m} wrote his own book, Judges, and Ruth; and it is commonly said that this book is an appendix to that of the Judges, and the introduction to Samuel, and is fitly placed between them both. According to Eusebius {n}, with the Hebrews, Judges and Ruth make one book they call Shophetim, or Judges; the principal design of it is to give the genealogy of David, whom Samuel had anointed to be king of Israel, and from whom the Messiah was to come, and who therefore may be said to be the aim and scope of it, as he is of all Scripture; and whereby it appears that he sprung both from Jews and Gentiles, and is the Saviour of both, and there is a good foundation for both to hope in him; and the call and conversion of Ruth the Moabitess may be considered as a shadow, emblem, and pledge of the conversion of the Gentiles. Manythings besides may be learnt from this little book, as the different circumstances of good people in this life, and the particular providence of God respecting them. It furnishes out examples of bearing afflictions patiently, of industry, courteousness, kindness to strangers, and young converts; and none can doubt of the divine authority of this book, that considers the use made of it in the genealogies of Christ by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke.

{l} Onomastic. Sacr. p. 211. {m} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 13. 2. {n} Eccl. Hist. 1. 6. c. 25.

\\INTRODUCTION TO RUTH 1\\

This chapter treats of a family that removed from the land of Canaan to the land of Moab on account of a famine, where the father of it and his two sons died, and each of them left a widow, Ru 1:1-5 the mother-in-law proposed to return to her own country, and set forward with her two daughters-in-law, whom, when they had gone a little way with her, she entreated to go back, and expostulated with them about it, Ru 1:6-13, upon which one of them did, but the other, Ruth, the subject of this book, resolved to go the journey with her, Ru 1:14-18 and they both came to Bethlehem, the former residence of her mother-in-law Naomi, who was greatly taken notice of by her old friends and acquaintance, to whom she related her present circumstances, Ru 1:19-22.

Ruth 1:1-18 In-Context

1 During the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. A man with his wife and two sons went from Bethlehem of Judah to dwell in the territory of Moab.
2 The name of that man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the territory of Moab and settled there.
3 But Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died. Then only she was left, along with her two sons.
4 They took wives for themselves, Moabite women; the name of the first was Orpah and the name of the second was Ruth. And they lived there for about ten years.
5 But both of the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died. Only the woman was left, without her two children and without her husband.
6 Then she arose along with her daughters-in-law to return from the field of Moab, because while in the territory of Moab she had heard that the LORD had paid attention to his people by providing food for them.
7 She left the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law went with her. They went along the road to return to the land of Judah.
8 Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, "Go, turn back, each of you to the household of your mother. May the LORD deal faithfully with you, just as you have done with the dead and with me.
9 May the LORD provide for you so that you may find security, each woman in the household of her husband." Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 But they replied to her, "No, instead we will return with you, to your people."
11 Naomi replied, "Turn back, my daughters. Why would you go with me? Will there again be sons in my womb, that they would be husbands for you?
12 Turn back, my daughters. Go. I am too old for a husband. If I were to say that I have hope, even if I had a husband tonight, and even more, if I were to bear sons—
13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you refrain from having a husband? No, my daughters. This is more bitter for me than for you, since the LORD's will has come out against me."
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth stayed with her.
15 Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods. Turn back after your sister-in-law."
16 But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you."
18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.
19 So both of them went along until they arrived at Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem, the whole town was excited on account of them, and the women of the town asked, "Can this be Naomi?"
20 She replied to them, "Don't call me Naomi, but call me Mara, for the Almighty has made me very bitter.
21 I went away full, but the LORD has returned me empty. Why would you call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has deemed me guilty?"
22 Thus Naomi returned. And Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, returned with her from the territory of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.