Book Of Ruth
Chapter 1: 6-10
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
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Introduction, Visualized Text with Commentary and Q&A, Charts
As we transition from the first paragraph to the second we should spend a moment considering the bigger picture of the book of Ruth. God loves His people. In the Old Testament, since the time of God’s covenant with Abraham, it was the family of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob on to the twelve tribes that came out of Jacob. God chose them to be His special people. In the New Testament, God sets aside the nation of Israel for a time, and calls out to Himself a people we know as “the Church,” or “the Body of Christ.” The Book of Ruth sets forth pictures in words using Elimelech’s family, especially Boaz and Ruth, as types (or symbols) of God’s people (first the nation of Israel and then the Church of Jesus Christ). In the First five verses of the book we see a picture of God’s family during the times of the Judges, when “everyone did right in his own eyes.” This was a time when God’s people turned their back on Him and worshipped pagan idols. The picture seen in the first five verses is of God’s people moving away from His promised land in the midst of famine because they were caught up in idolatry. The punishment by the hand of God is the loss of rebellious lives who have taken on foreign wives.
As we begin turning to the second paragraph (1:6-10) we see the recognition that the Lord has shed His grace once again upon the Promised Land and his wayward people turn and seek Him and His grace.
The second paragraph of the book of Ruth is Chapter 1:6-10. A title for the first five verses (Ruth 1:1-5) is “Ruth’s Relationships.” This new paragraph (Ruth 1:6-10) deals with the aftermath of the death of Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Naomi hears that, back in Judah, the famine has ended and she desires to return to her homeland. She is destined to live as an indigent single woman, beyond child bearing age and therefore probably not a good candidate for a new marriage, nor is she a good candidate to enter into a Levirate marriage relationship with a brother of her dead husband Elimelech, as she will not be able to bear children to carry on the Elimelech’s family name which is the requirement of the law.
The Levirate marriage comes out
of the Law in
“If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her; Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.”
But returning to Elimelech’s (or possibly her own) family would be better than being indigent and alone in Moab.
Naomi departs for Judah and her two daughters-in-law depart with her. As Naomi reaches the boundary of Moab she instructs the two daughters-in-law to depart and head for their own mother’s homes. Verse 10 becomes a turning point in the story as both daughters-in-law do not wish to leave her.
That’s the overview; now let’s look at some specifics.
THE VISUALIZED TEXT (NASB) (conjunctions & prepositions (and other important words) underlined, words not in original text in italics) (alternate text in purple)
she arose with her daughters-in-law
she might return
from the land of Moab,
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:6a
The word “then” usually means that something has happened in the past and now something new is going to happen. Naomi has lost her husband and her two sons. She is now left alone in Moab with her two Moabite daughters-in-law (the Hebrew here indicates “a son’s woman or bride”), Orpah and Ruth. She only has her family’s personal belongings that have been brought from Judah. (Later in the book we will also see that she does have some property of her own in Bethlehem.) All that her husband had owned back in Judah had transferred to their First Born son Mahlon upon Elimelech’s death. Now Mahlon and his brother Chilion were both dead and all family properties revert back to the oldest living male relative of their clan according to the law. She is now an indigent alien in the land of Moab. Her response to all of the tragedy that has befallen her is to arise, pick her self up, and begin to consider her future. She considers two options – stay, leave. Her choice is to return to Judah and be indigent there instead of Moab. The Hebrew word used here for “return” carries with it the idea of “returning to the starting point.”
You will also notice that this first verse says nothing about her choice to bring or leave behind her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Her statement is to “return,” and Orpah and Ruth have never been to Judah and thus cannot “return” to it. At this point in Naomi’s decision process she is pondering her choices.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 1:6a
What is the implication of "Naomi arose?"
(she picked herself up, she pulled herself up, she got out of the boat, she did not give up)
Who arose with her?
(Orpah and Ruth)
(daughters-in-law, literally Heb: kallah, son’s woman or bride)
Where were they going?
(Bethlehem – home)
(Return – Heb: shuwb, as in return to the starting point)
(Naomi remembers the Lord and her home amongst the Jews of Judah)
(Matthew Henry Note: When death comes into a family, it ought to reform what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that Heaven may be dear.)
(the LORD [Yehovah] visited His people with food)
(visited – Heb: sadeh, visited to oversee)
(food – Heb: lechem, bread, or grain to make bread)
Where were they leaving?
(Moab and the Midianites)
she had heard in the land of Moab
the LORD had visited His people in giving them food."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:6b
she departed from the place where she was,
and her two daughters-in-law with her; and
they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:7
This paragraph begins with “So.” This is another word of purpose or result and this time, by the context, we choose result. She has considered the facts and now like the Apostle Peter when Jesus calls to him from the waters of the Sea of Galilee, she has decided to “get out of the boat, and walk.” A change has taken place and we find Orpah and Ruth have also made their decisions and “they went.” The words here for went forth carry the meanings of “went forth with purpose (Heb: yatsa) and the mode was “walking. (Heb: yalak)” Their place to return to – the land of Judah, and home to Bethlehem.
Here we should once again consider the fact that Orpah and Ruth are Moabites. At this time their intention is to leave Moab where they are nationals and head for Judah where they will be strangers and aliens, because of their love and devotion for Naomi – what a remarkable woman she must have been to merit such love and devotion. Naomi’s only hope to return and regain Elimelech’s or Nahlon’s family is the hope of the Levirate marriage laws – but – Naomi is much older now and considers herself beyond the age to bear male children. Even against the odds she is returning home to Bethlehem, Judah.
What a wonderful picture of those who have broken fellowship with the Lord, wandered away, seeking after other gods, repenting and returning to Him. What hope do they have? Returning to Him, knowing Him and His wonderful grace, like the confession of the Prodigal son – Against you have I sinned and you alone!
Questions and Answers about Ruth 1:7
Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,
"Go, return each of you to her mother's house.
May the LORD (Yahweh) deal kindly with you
as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:8
The word “and” indicates a list or a continuing action. In verse 7 Naomi has begun her journey to Bethlehem but stops along the way. While it is not part of the text a good place to stop and consider her decision would be along the southern edge of Moab at the shores of the river Arnon.
“Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, go, return” Now a time of testing begins as Naomi attempts to send the two women back into Moab and back to their mothers. In the next paragraph we will learn of their love of and devotion to Naomi. Naomi is giving them the option of returning home and not suffering the hard life and shame they would have to endure if they followed her to Bethlehem. They would be foreigners and aliens living with an indigent Hebrew in a very male based society.
Naomi’s love for them can also be seen in this verse as she attempts to convince them with the blessing, “May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me.” It is certain here that Naomi is remembering Orpah and Ruth’s love for her sons, and the treatment they gave to her as their mother-in-law. As we look at the situation the wise old saying comes to mind – “bad things happen to good people.” But, we are to always remember that behind the events of this world there is the wonderful grace of God. He is always doing everything He can for His people.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 1:8
"May the LORD
grant that you may find rest,
each in the house of her husband."
she kissed them, and
they lifted up their voices and wept.
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:9
In verse 9 Naomi’s blessing continues as she wishes them rest. This blessing surely is about Orpah and Ruth’s staying in Moab and finding husbands from amongst their own people. Again the love between Naomi and her daughters-in-law is clearly seen as she kisses them and the three of them raise their voices (wailing) and crying at the possibility of separation from each other.
It is also interesting here that Naomi calls upon The Lord God for this blessing upon her Moabite daughters-in-law. The test continues as Naomi tries to encourage them to leave her side and return to their families and their homes. We’ve mentioned it before that The Lord God only wants those who want Him whether it is an individual from the Old Testament nation of Israel or a New Testament Jew or Gentile. God is looking for that personal relationship, that personal fellowship that comes only when the individual truly desires and chooses The Lord God.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 1:9
they said to her,
but we will surely return with you to your people."
Brief Commentary on Ruth 1:10
Once again Orpah and Ruth both choose Naomi over the possibility of returning to their homes. We must not forget that to return with Naomi will remove them from their families, their country, and their gods. What a difficult decision this is for them. As we continue to consider the bigger picture we see the conflict of those who are out of fellowship The Lord God and considering repentance, or seeking The Lord God for the first time to become members of His family. Whether it is the Nation of Israel repenting and seeking the face of God, an individual in the Nation of Israel seeking salvation in God, a gentile seeking salvation in God, or a Christian offering repentance to God, the picture is the same. He wants it to be from the heart, just as Naomi is looking for her daughters-in-law to make their final decision from the heart.
Questions and Answers about Ruth 1:10
Horizontal Chart for Ruth 1:6-10
Ruth 1:6-10 "Ruth's Resolve"
"Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab,
for she had heard in the land of Moab that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food."
"So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah."
"And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me."
"May the LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband." Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept."
"And they said to her, "No, but we will surely return with you to your people."
Ruth 1:6-10 "Ruth's Resolve" Paragraph Verse Percentage Chart
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