Ruth 1

1 Du temps des juges, il y eut une famine dans le pays. Un homme de Bethléhem de Juda partit, avec sa femme et ses deux fils, pour faire un séjour dans le pays de Moab.
2 Le nom de cet homme était Elimélec, celui de sa femme Naomi, et ses deux fils s'appelaient Machlon et Kiljon; ils étaient Ephratiens, de Bethléhem de Juda. Arrivés au pays de Moab, ils y fixèrent leur demeure.
3 Elimélec, mari de Naomi, mourut, et elle resta avec ses deux fils.
4 Ils prirent des femmes Moabites, dont l'une se nommait Orpa, et l'autre Ruth, et ils habitèrent là environ dix ans.
5 Machlon et Kiljon moururent aussi tous les deux, et Naomi resta privée de ses deux fils et de son mari.
6 Puis elle se leva, elle et ses belles-filles, afin de quitter le pays de Moab, car elle apprit au pays de Moab que l'Eternel avait visité son peuple et lui avait donné du pain.
7 Elle sortit du lieu qu'elle habitait, accompagnée de ses deux belles-filles, et elle se mit en route pour retourner dans le pays de Juda.
8 Naomi dit alors à ses deux belles-filles: Allez, retournez chacune à la maison de sa mère! Que l'Eternel use de bonté envers vous, comme vous l'avez fait envers ceux qui sont morts et envers moi!
9 Que l'Eternel vous fasse trouver à chacune du repos dans la maison d'un mari! Et elle les baisa. Elles élevèrent la voix, et pleurèrent;
10 et elles lui dirent: Non, nous irons avec toi vers ton peuple.
11 Naomi, dit: Retournez, mes filles! Pourquoi viendriez-vous avec moi? Ai-je encore dans mon sein des fils qui puissent devenir vos maris?
12 Retournez, mes filles, allez! Je suis trop vieille pour me remarier. Et quand je dirais: J'ai de l'espérance; quand cette nuit même je serais avec un mari, et que j'enfanterais des fils,
13 attendriez-vous pour cela qu'ils eussent grandi, refuseriez-vous pour cela de vous marier? Non, mes filles! car à cause de vous je suis dans une grande affliction de ce que la main de l'Eternel s'est étendue contre moi.
14 Et elles élevèrent la voix, et pleurèrent encore. Orpa baisa sa belle-mère, mais Ruth s'attacha à elle.
15 Naomi dit à Ruth: Voici, ta belle-soeur est retournée vers son peuple et vers ses dieux; retourne, comme ta belle-soeur.
16 Ruth répondit: Ne me presse pas de te laisser, de retourner loin de toi! Où tu iras j'irai, où tu demeureras je demeurerai; ton peuple sera mon peuple, et ton Dieu sera mon Dieu;
17 où tu mourras je mourrai, et j'y serai enterrée. Que l'Eternel me traite dans toute sa rigueur, si autre chose que la mort vient à me séparer de toi!
18 Naomi, la voyant décidée à aller avec elle, cessa ses instances.
19 Elles firent ensemble le voyage jusqu'à leur arrivée à Bethléhem. Et lorsqu'elles entrèrent dans Bethléhem, toute la ville fut émue à cause d'elles, et les femmes disaient: Est-ce là Naomi?
20 Elle leur dit: Ne m'appelez pas Naomi; appelez-moi Mara, car le Tout-Puissant m'a remplie d'amertume.
21 J'étais dans l'abondance à mon départ, et l'Eternel me ramène les mains vides. Pourquoi m'appelleriez-vous Naomi, après que l'Eternel s'est prononcé contre moi, et que le Tout-Puissant m'a affligée?
22 Ainsi revinrent du pays de Moab Naomi et sa belle-fille, Ruth la Moabite. Elles arrivèrent à Bethléhem au commencement de la moisson des orges.

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Ruth 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

We find in this book excellent examples of faith, piety, patience, humility, industry, and loving-kindness, in the common events of life. Also we see the special care which God's providence take of our smallest concerns, encouraging us to full trust therein. We may view this book as a beautiful, because natural representation of human life; as a curious detail of important facts; and as a part of the plan of redemption.

Elimelech and his sons die in the land of Moab. (1-5) Naomi returns home. (6-14) Orpah stays behind, but Ruth goes with Naomi. (15-18) They come to Bethlehem. (19-22)

Verses 1-5 Elimelech's care to provide for his family, was not to be blamed; but his removal into the country of Moab could not be justified. And the removal ended in the wasting of his family. It is folly to think of escaping that cross, which, being laid in our way, we ought to take up. Changing our place seldom is mending it. Those who bring young people into bad acquaintance, and take them out of the way of public ordinances, thought they may think them well-principled, and armed against temptation, know not what will be the end. It does not appear that the women the sons of Elimelech married, were proselyted to the Jewish religion. Earthly trials or enjoyments are of short continuance. Death continually removes those of every age and situation, and mars all our outward comforts: we cannot too strongly prefer those advantages which shall last for ever.

Verses 6-14 Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of her two sons. When death comes into a family, it ought to reform what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may be made dear. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith and piety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It is very proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thus part in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughters from going with her, when she might save them from the idolatry of Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God of Israel? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they went with her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Those that take upon them a profession of religion only to oblige their friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts of small value. If they did come with her, she would have them make it their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count the cost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession of religion. And more desire "rest in the house of a husband," or some wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest to which Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they will depart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow.

Verses 15-18 See Ruth's resolution, and her good affection to Naomi. Orpah was loth to part from her; yet she did not love her well enough to leave Moab for her sake. Thus, many have a value and affection for Christ, yet come short of salvation by him, because they will not forsake other things for him. They love him, yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but love other things better. Ruth is an example of the grace of God, inclining the soul to choose the better part. Naomi could desire no more than the solemn declaration Ruth made. See the power of resolution; it silences temptation. Those that go in religious ways without a stedfast mind, stand like a door half open, which invites a thief; but resolution shuts and bolts the door, resists the devil and forces him to flee.

Verses 19-22 Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem. Afflictions will make great and surprising changes in a little time. May God, by his grace, fit us for all such changes, especially the great change!, Naomi signifies "pleasant," or "amiable;" Mara, "bitter," or "bitterness." She was now a woman of a sorrowful spirit. She had come home empty, poor, a widow and childless. But there is a fulness for believers of which they never can be emptied; a good part which shall not be taken from those who have it. The cup of affliction is a "bitter" cup, but she owns that the affliction came from God. It well becomes us to have our hearts humbled under humbling providences. It is not affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does us good.

Chapter Summary


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.


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 Commentaries