TIMELINE OF ISRAEL'S HISTORY
"in the days when the
(Note: All dates are approximations & time
gaps NOT to scale)
of book of RUTH
in Dark Days of Judges
To obey is better than sacrifice
Man after God's
The Lamb that
Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab
was born Obed by Ruth
was born Jesse
Jesse was born David the King
Jesus Christ the Lord
Roy Hession introduces his
comments on Ruth commenting on the pivotal statement by Naomi that...
I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty."
The first chapter of the book of Ruth is a very important one. Every
preacher knows, or should know, he has to begin by awakening a sense of
need in his hearers. He cannot plunge in too quickly with the positive
side of his message. He must first convince the people that they are in
just that state of need which requires the provision he proposes to
speak about. So it is, before we are introduced to the subject of
redemption in the book of Ruth, we have brought before us a story of
trouble and loss which occasions the need for one who can
that is what the first chapter is all about. Although the title of the
book is Ruth, the central character of the first chapter is Naomi, whom
I think we can describe as the prodigal daughter of the Old Testament.
As we pursue the story we cannot but notice certain marks of similarity
between her and the prodigal son in our Lord's parable in the New
Testament (Luke 15:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23,
24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32). That son, as he returned, could well have used the same words
that Naomi did, `I went out full, and the Lord bath brought me home
again empty.' True, he did not remain empty and neither did Naomi; and
that is what the remaining chapters of the book of Ruth unfold.
(Hession, Roy: Ruth: Our Nearest Kinsman: The Message of Redemption
and Revival in the Book of Ruth.)
NOW IT CAME
ABOUT IN THE DAYS WHEN THE JUDGES GOVERNED:
Literally the Hebrew reads "it was
the days of the judging of the judges" which we first encounter
in Judges 2...
Then (Always stop and ask
questions like When? Why? [see
5W'S & H]
Read the "pathogenesis" in Jdg 2:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) the
LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who
Observe that from this
introduction one can accurately establish the
historical context. What do we know
about the days when the judges governed?
The book of Judges
sums up these "days" as "dark days" because
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right
in his own eyes (Jdg 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25 - see notes Jdg
The phrase "there was no king in Israel" occurs in each of these
preceding verses and helps one understand the self-centered,
self-seeking mindset that controlled the children of Israel during this
350+ year period which accounts for almost 25% of Israel's history
in the Old Testament (see the abbreviated timeline above)!
Who should have
been the king over Israel?
And the LORD (see
said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that
they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have
rejected (A strong verb in Heb = ma'ac/maas = reject,
despise, abhor, refuse; treat as loathsome, cp uses in 1Sa 10:19, Je
8:9; Lv 26:15, Is 30:12, and even Israel's first king, Saul - 1Sa 15:23,
cp the ultimate rejection of the ultimate King - Ps 118:22-note!!!
= exoudenoo = to make of no account, to despise utterly! And the
= speaks of the
permanence of their rejection! Used in 1Th 5:20-note)
Me from being king over them. 8 Like all the deeds which they
have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this
day-- in that they have forsaken Me and served
other gods-- so they are doing to you also. (1Sa 8:7, 8)
days when the Judges
marked a time of apostasy, apathy, and anarchy, associated with
idolatry, immorality, and war. It is instructive (and poignant) to contrast
the two contemporaneous books of Judges with
and modified from Wilkinson, B, & Boa, K. Talk thru the Bible.
Nashville: T. Nelson)
who are no gods
of a Gentile alien
of the "chosen people"
Ruth is the
story of one individual's faithfulness, in the face of
national faithlessness and provides testimony to the truth
that God graciously preserves a godly
(see study of the important doctrine of
"remnant") who do what is right in the
sight of the Lord even when the ungodly majority do what
is right in their own eyes. Ruth is far more than a beautiful "love
story" and in fact the word "love" is not even used in
Ruth is part of
the unfolding narrative of how God will carry out His covenant promise
to redeem a people who will be His own. The book of Ruth focuses particularly on
the details of divine providence in the day to day affairs of ordinary
people and how these details play an intimate role in the unfolding of
the grand redemptive plan of God. An apropos title of
Ruth might be
In the Lives of
wrote a hymn which beautifully expresses the essence of the providential
working of God in unfolding the story of Ruth and Naomi and our Kinsman
Redeemer (see especially stanzas 4 & 5 - this may be where you are dear
saint even as you are reading these notes...but remember that God is the
same yesterday, today and forever, Heb 13:8-note).
Note especially stanza 4...
in A Mysterious Way
Listen to a chorale arrangement)
God moves in a
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
has the following note introducing Cowper's beautiful poem...
It is reportedly the last hymn Cowper
ever wrote, with a fascinating (though unsubstantiated) story behind it.
Cowper often struggled with depression and doubt. One night he decided
to commit suicide by drowning himself. He called a cab and told the
driver to take him to the Thames River. However, thick fog came down and
prevented them from finding the river (another version of the story has
the driver getting lost deliberately). After driving around lost for a
while, the cabby finally stopped and let Cowper out. To Cowper’s
surprise, he found himself on his own doorstep: God had sent the fog to
keep him from killing himself. Even in our blackest moments, God watches
GLASS HALF FULL"
Or using more
modern vernacular, one might entitle chapter 1 "The Glass Half Full."
Why? Because there are generally two types of people (even Christians!)
- pessimists (gall half empty) and optimists (glass half full). By the end of this
chapter Naomi seems to fit in the former, and Ruth more in the latter
group (based primarily on her decision in Ru 1:16, 17). The point is
that we all tend to view our temporal circumstances with physical eyes
and are all in continual need to lay hold of that supernatural, eternal
vision that comes when we put on the "glasses of faith" (2Co 5:7, 2Cor
4:16, 17, 18, cp Ro 8:24, 25-note,
1Co 13:12, 1Pe 1:8-note).
Faith, albeit intangible, is nevertheless not some imaginary entity, but
a vital component in the life of every believer, whether in the Old or
New Testament. And faith is cultivated (Ps 37:3-note)
by taking in the truth about God (Ro 10:17-note)
found only in His Word of Truth (Ps 119:43-note,
2Co 6:7, Col 1:5-note,
the word of truth birthed us and is necessary to grow us =
Naomi needed to lay hold of truths (written later by Ruth's offspring
David) like Psalm 34:19 (note the
word "but" which Spurgeon calls a
"blessed but" see notes below -
read Spurgeon's excellent note),
a truth all believers have access to now and need to recall to our minds
when afflictions strike unexpectedly and our tendency is to become
Spurgeon's comments on Ps 37:3 (ESV has "befriend faithfulness";)
that relate to the book of Ruth where he writes that...
Faith cures fretting.
Sight is cross-eyed, and views things only as they seem... faith has
clearer optics to behold things as they really are, hence...peace.
And do good. True faith is
actively obedient. Doing good is a fine remedy for fretting. There is a
joy in holy activity which drives away the rust of discontent.
So shalt thou dwell in the land.
In "the land" which flows with milk and honey; the Canaan of the
covenant. Thou shalt not wander in the wilderness of murmuring,
but abide in the promised land of content and rest.
"We which have believed do enter into
Very much of our outward depends
upon the inward:
where there is heaven in the heart there will be heaven in the house.
And verily thou shalt be fed, or
shepherded. (Ed: The Hebrew actually is an imperative or
command to "shepherd" or "tend" faithfulness, which explains the NAS
translation of "cultivate faithfulness") To integrity and faith necessaries are guaranteed. The good
shepherd will exercise his pastoral care over all believers. In truth
they shall be fed, and fed on truth. The promise of God shall be their
perpetual banquet; they shall neither lack in spirituals nor in temporals. Some read this as an exhortation, "Feed on truth;" certainly
this is good cheer, and banishes for ever the hungry heart burnings of
Many (Read that again!) are the afflictions of the
righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Spurgeon comments that...
Many are the afflictions of the
righteous. Thus are they made like Jesus their covenant Head (cp Col
Scripture does not flatter us like the story books with the idea that
goodness will secure us from trouble; on the contrary, we are again and
again warned to expect tribulation (Acts 14:22) while we are in this body. Our
afflictions come from all points of the compass, and are as many and as
tormenting as the mosquitoes of the tropics. It is the earthly portion
of the elect to find thorns and briars growing in their pathway, yea, to
lie down among them, finding their rest broken and disturbed by sorrow.
BUT, blessed but, how it takes the sting out of the previous sentence!
(cp Ps 119:50-note)
But the Lord delivereth him out of
them all. Through troops of ills Jehovah shall lead His redeemed scatheless and triumphant. There is an end to the believer's affliction,
and a joyful end too. None of his trials can hurt so much as a hair of
his head, neither can the furnace hold him for a moment after the Lord
bids him come forth of it (Da 3:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30). Hard would be the lot of the righteous if
this promise, like a bundle of camphire (see
description of camphire),
were not bound up in it, but this sweetens all. The same Lord Who sends
the afflictions will also recall them when His design is accomplished,
but He will never allow the fiercest of them to rend and devour His
Maclaren comments that...
The lovely idyl (means "a short
poem") of Ruth is in sharp contrast with the bloody and turbulent annals
of Judges. It completes, but does not contradict, these, and happily
reminds us of what we are apt to forget in reading such pages, that no
times are so wild but that in them are quiet corners, green oases, all
the greener for their surroundings, where life glides on in peaceful
isolation from the tumult. Men and women love and work and weep and
laugh, the gossips of Bethlehem talk over Naomi's return ('they said,'
in Ruth 1:19-note,
is feminine), Boaz stands among his corn (Ed: actually barley and
wheat, cp Ru 2:23-note), and no sounds of war disturb
them. Thank God! the blackest times were not so dismal in reality as
they look in history. There are clefts in the grim rock, and flowers
blooming, sheltered in the clefts. The peaceful pictures of this little
book, multiplied many thousand times, have to be set as a background to
the lurid pictures of the Book of Judges. (Ruth Exposition)
How important is an understanding of the "days
when the Judges governed"?
Paul comments that
these things happened to them as an
example and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of
the ages have come...that we should not crave evil things, as they also
craved. (1Co 10:11, 10:6)
The Greek word for "instruction" (nouthesia
from nous = mind + tithemi = place -
click for word study of related verb
means to place in one's mind and refers to training of one's mind (nous)
and conveys the ideas of encouraging, warning and
advising and is a comprehensive term for counseling. Ruth is one of
those books that counsels us in our affliction.
A T Robertson says
the word nouthesia describes
"Putting sense into the heads of people. A
thankless, but a necessary, task."
So it behooves us to be knowledgeable of those
days so that we might not repeat their mistakes and also that we
might not become discouraged and lose hope at the darkness that seems so
prevalent and so powerful in America in the 21st Century, for...
whatever was written in
earlier times (reference to the Old Testament Scriptures [see
in depth study of
= Scriptures] - this should be a motivation for all teachers and
preachers to be sure to amply "supplement" their exposition of the NT
with the OT! cp Paul's testimony = Ac 20:27) was written for our instruction (didaskalia
--shaping of our will of the one instructed and
doing so by Word),
that through perseverance (hupomone
[word study]) and the encouragement of the
Scriptures (graphe) we might have hope.
see also in depth study on the
Believer's Blessed Hope)"
Apparently it was
Augustine who in explaining the interwoven nature of the Old and
New Testaments declared that...
The New is in the Old concealed
The Old is the New revealed
C. I. Scofield
parallels the 4 chapters of Ruth with the general pattern of
the Christian experience:
I. Ruth deciding
II. Ruth serving
The book of Ruth is
nothing short of a literary masterpiece as every careful reader will
attest. In the 18th century Dr. Samuel Johnson, a Christian, read a copy
of Ruth before a prestigious London book review club and did so as if it
were a recently written work. The club was vocal and unanimous in its
praise of this new work. It was only after their acclaim abated that Dr.
Johnson inform them that the masterpiece they had so unreservedly
endorsed was to be found in a book they all rejected—the Bible! Thus we
see that Ruth’s literary genius is recognized even by those with no
A very similar story is told of
Franklin who while
serving at the French court heard some aristocrats denigrating Holy
Bible as not worth reading, lacking style, etc. Although Franklin was
not a born again believer (as best can be discerned from written
descriptions of his beliefs), he had been sufficiently exposed to the
merits of Scripture as literature that he foisted the following ruse on
the French skeptics. Franklin proceeded to copy Ruth in longhand,
changing all the names to French names. He then read the manuscript to
the aristocratic elitists who to a man praised the elegance and simple
style of the touching story. One then queried Franklin
where did you find this gem of literature, Monsieur Franklin?”
"It comes from that Book you so despise, la sainte
Who wrote Ruth
Ruth was written
by an anonymous author, but in its final form must date from the time of
David because of the facts noted in (Ru 4:7-note,
Ru 4:18 19 20 21 22-note).
Jewish tradition says that Samuel is the author of Ruth. Since the book
ends with David, the final manuscript cannot have written before his
time. Samuel did anoint David king and may well have provided the book
to show the monarch-to-be's pedigree.
Alternatively it is possible that David was the author but we will have
to wait until glory to find out for sure.
SUMMARY OF RUTH
God moves Ruth
Ruth to Boaz
details for marriage proposal
marriage of Ruth & Boaz
Elimelech & sons
Naomi, Ruth, Orpah
Ruth Cares for Naomi
Kinsman, Ruth, Naomi
Ruth's Reward of
Death & Despair
Life & Joy
THAT THERE WAS
A FAMINE IN THE LAND: (Ge 12:10; 26:1; 43:1; Lv 26:19, 26; Dt
28:23,24,38; 2Sa 21:1; 1Ki 17:1-12; 18:2; 2Ki 8:1,2; Ps 105:16-note;
Isa 3:1, Jer 14:1, 15:2; Lam 4:9, 10, Ezekiel 14:13, 14, 15, 16, 21; Joel 1:10,11,16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Am 4:6) (See
(ra'ab) is the standard word for hunger or famine occurring 101
times in the NAS, the first occurrences in Genesis...
Now there was a famine in the
land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was
severe in the land. (Genesis 12:10)
Now there was a famine in the
land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days
of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the
Philistines. (Genesis 26:1)
Through His prophet Ezekiel God
warned Judah (the 10 northern tribes having already been taken off into
captivity by Assyria in 722BC)...
Son of man (God's name for Ezekiel
many times in this book), if a country sins against Me by committing
unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply
of bread, send famine against it, and cut off from it both man and beast
What irony...famine in Bethlehem,
a place whose very name meaning the "house of bread"!
(Not to mention that the word Ephrathite means fruitful and
Judah [Elimelech's tribe] means praise!)
Application: God's intention was that Israel should be blessed and
then be a blessing to the nations. Instead, Israel scorned her Maker,
and God's subsequent affliction of people and land drove many Israelites
to seek sustenance from other nations. When God's people refuse to use
the resources God has given them to bless the families of the earth, God
may withdraw those blessings from them and bring them by force to face
both their own poverty of soul and the needs of the peoples of the
family left "the house of bread" and went into Moab
(God calls it "My washbowl"! - Ps 60:8-note;
Meaning of Moab = "Water of a father; i.e., seed, progeny;
desire; progeny of a father; of the father. Waste; nothingness" - from
Smith & Cornwall's book "The Exhaustive Dictionary of Bible Names")
losing essentially everything and not seeing it restored until Naomi
returned to the the house of bread. It appears that Elimelech seems to have forgotten the eternal
truth about God's faithfulness to His covenant promises for as David
wrote years later
Trust in Jehovah and do good. Dwell in the land, and feed on His
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of
your heart. (Ps 37:3,4 NKJV)
Spurgeon: There is an ascent
in this third precept. He who was first bidden not to fret, was then
commanded actively to trust, and now is told with holy desire to
delight in God.
Delight thyself also in the Lord.
Make Jehovah the joy and rejoicing of thy spirit. Bad men delight in
carnal objects; do not envy them if they are allowed to take their fill
in such vain idols; look thou to thy better delight, and fill thyself to
the full with thy more sublime portion. In a certain sense imitate the
wicked; they delight in their portion -- take care to delight in yours,
and so far from envying you will pity them. There is no room for
fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive
to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind.
Every name, attribute, word, or deed
of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon (see
Primer on Biblical Meditation)
our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a
profound relish for his dainties.
And he shall give thee the desires
of thine heart. A pleasant duty is here rewarded with another
pleasure. Men who delight in God desire or ask for nothing but what will
please God; hence it is safe to give them carte blanche. Their will is
subdued to God's will, and now they may have what they will. Our
innermost desires are here meant, not our casual wishes; there are many
things which nature might desire which grace would never permit us to
ask for; these deep, prayerful, asking desires are those to which the
promise is made.
However, lest we
be too critical of Elimelech, we need to remember that there is a little
of "Elimelech" in all of us and looking into the face of famine (in
whatever form that takes in our life) can be quite fearful and
Although the name "God" (Elohim
- see study - only found in Ru 1:16-note,
Ru 2:12-note) or "LORD"
- see study) occurs less than 20x in
the book of Ruth (18x in 15v - Ru 1:6-note,
Ru 1:8, 9-note,
Ru 4:11, 12, 13, 14-note)
or Almighty (Shaddai - Ru 1:20, 21-note), God is clearly in control from the beginning (famine
in land) to end (fertility of Ruth). God is sovereign, (what word do you see in
in simple terms means that He is in complete control over ALL the
affairs of nature and history and has the absolute right to act
according to His perfect will and His good pleasure. The Bible in
general and Ruth in particular is the story (history = "His-Story") of God working out His
sovereign plan of redemption for the world toward a conclusion which is
so certain that we can stake our very life on it. So don't think that
the paucity of the mention of God's name in Ruth suggests that He is
Deism teaches) or that He is not actively involved. It
follows that no "famine"
just "happens" in the land, but that God sovereignly controls every
Moses had warned
Israel that one of the consequences of disobedience would be famine
"if you will not
obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His
statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come
upon you and overtake you...And the heaven which is over your head shall
be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. The LORD will make
the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on
you until you are destroyed." (Deut 28:15, 23, 24)
The rains, it would seem, had ceased
to come at their usual seasons, and that probably not for one year, but
for several years. As a result, crops had failed and there was a
terrible famine in the area. Could it be, famine in the `house of
bread'? Surely not; but so it was. It was the very opposite of what one
would have expected, a virtual denial of the very name of Bethlehem. Had
God not also said about the Promised Land that it was to be a land of
milk and honey (Ex 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3; Lv 20:24; Nu 13:27; 14:8;
16:13, 14; Dt 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20; Jos 5:6; Je 11:5; 32:22;
Ezek 20:6, 15) where His people would eat bread without scarceness (Dt
Indeed, He had; but He had also said in various places that if His
people who were called by His name should turn away from Him,
worshipping other gods, transgressing His laws, and not be willing to
repent, He might well find it necessary to shut up heaven that there
should be no rain, and even to command the locusts to devour the land
and, further, to send pestilence among His people. (2Chronicles 7:13, 14,
2Chr 6:26, 27, Dt 11:17, Lv 26:19, 1Ki 8:35, 36, 17:1, Je 14:1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, Dt 28:23, 24, Hag 1:9, 10, 11)
Sadly, this too is pictorial of what sometimes happens in the life of a
Christian. Yes, it is a land of milk and honey for him
(e.g., Ep 1:3-note,
Col 2:3-note), but if he turns
away from the Lord his God in this matter or that, and will not heed the
word of correction that God is sure to give him, He sometimes finds it
necessary for the restoration of that saint to shut up heaven over his
head that there be no rain (cp Heb 12:5, 6-note,
He 12:7, 8, 9, 10-note,
The refreshing movings of the Spirit are no
longer known in his heart, the Bible becomes dead, prayer is empty,
personal witness and Christian service are chores and he ceases to have
a joyous testimony.
What a terrible possibility that
there can be such a famine in our souls! Amos talks about a famine, not `of bread, nor a
thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.' Amos 8:11 That
is a famine indeed when we cease to hear from heaven, and who of us has
not known such times? And all this can take place, if you please, m the
`house of bread.' (Hession, Roy: Ruth).
The Psalmist adds that God
for a famine
on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food and he sent a man
before them -- Joseph, sold as a slave.
(Ps 105:16, 17 NIV).
Spurgeon: How grateful ought
we to be that he does not often call in that terrible servant of His, so
meager and gaunt, and grim, so pitiless to the women and the children,
so bitter to the strong men, who utterly fail before it.
He brake the whole staff of bread.
Man's feeble life cannot stand without its staff -- if bread fail him he
fails. As a cripple with a broken staff falls to the ground, so does man
when broad no longer sustains him. To God it is as easy to make a famine
as to break a stall. He could make that famine universal, too, so that
all countries should be in like case: then would the race of man fall
indeed, and its staff would be broken for ever. There is this sweet
comfort in the matter, that the Lord has wise ends to serve even by
famine: He meant his people to go down into Egypt, and the scarcity of
food was his method of leading them there, for "they heard that there
was corn in Egypt.
As God's sovereign plan unfolded in Joseph's life he said to his
"as for you, you meant evil against me, but God
meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to
preserve many people alive." (Ge 50:20)
So in order to
"preserve many people alive" God used "famine
on the land."
you don't believe that God is in control of "famines" than
you will also have difficulty believing the NT counterpart of Genesis
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose. (Ro 8:28 -
and meander slowly through the book of Ruth and you will be
encouraged as you come to the understanding that God's sovereignty
is also His surety (ground of confidence and security).
Lay hold of this great attribute of God (see
of God" for an encouraging study: see also "Sovereignty"),
so that you won't faint during times of "famine",
but instead firmly grounded in this truth about God, you will continue
steadfast in the confidence that
"He Who began a good work in you
will complete in the day of Christ Jesus." (Php 1:6-note)
So what began with a
famine in the land was but
opening of the "Director's" master script for Ruth to be brought into
the nation of Israel through her kinsman-redeemer Boaz, thereby becoming
a link in the line of the Messiah, our Kinsman-Redeemer.
There are some other
important principles regarding famine which are worth noting. A
famine brings hunger and hunger tests a man (Ge 12:10; 26:1;
43:1) for as Moses reminded Israel
And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you
in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble (Heb =
'anah = to afflict, cause to be bowed down, often as in this verse
conveys the idea that God sends affliction to
discipline/correct/instruct - used in Ps 90:5) you, testing (Heb
= nacah= conveys the idea of testing someone by allowing stress,
adversity, difficulty, hardship) you, to know what was in your heart,
whether you would keep His commandments or not (What shows the true
state of our heart? Obedience!). 3 And He humbled you and let you
be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your
fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live
by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the
mouth of the LORD. 4 "Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did
your foot swell these forty years. 5 "Thus you are to know in your heart
that the LORD your God was disciplining (Hebrew = yasar/yacar =
instructs, chasten, reflects God's loving correction) you just as a man
disciplines his son. (Dt 8:3, 4, 5; cf Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4).
The lesson for
each of us to learn is that pressures and trials wrought by
in our life are sovereignly sent (or allowed) by God not to destroy
us but to humble us (repeated in Dt 8:2, 3) and to teach us
trust in Jehovah with all (our) heart and...not (to) lean on (our) own
understanding" but "in all (our) ways (to) acknowledge Him", fully
confident that "He will make (our) paths straight. (Pr 3:5, 6)
in his book
The Complete Gathered Gold: A
Treasury of Quotations for Christians
(one of the best books of Christian quotations I have read = quotes are
Biblically faithful rather than emotionally attractive and are often
very thought provoking -
has the following quotes on the blessings of affliction...
Adversity introduces a man to
Affliction is God's shepherd dog to drive us back to the fold.-Anon.
Affliction is the school of faith.-Anon.
Affliction, like the iron-smith, shapes as it smites.-Anon.
Afflictions are often God's best blessings sent in disguise.-Anon.
Crosses are ladders that lead to heaven.-Anon.
Fire is the test of gold, adversity of strong men.-Anon.
Our great Teacher writes many a bright lesson on the blackboard of
Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in the
shadows of life.-Anon.
The Christian justifies tribulation. Ten thousand times ten thousand
saints... are ready to witness that their most manifest and rapid
spiritual growth is traceable to their periods of trial.-Anon.
The darker the night, the brighter the stars; the hotter the fire, the
purer the gold.-Anon.
The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without
The hammer shatters glass, but forges steel.-Anon.
The more a tree of righteousness is shaken by the wind, the more it is
rooted in Christ.-Anon.
The water that dashes against the wheel keeps the mill going; so trial
keeps grace in use and motion.-Anon.
Trial is the school of trust.-Anon.
Where there are no trials in life, there are no triumphs.-Anon.
May we all grow in grace
and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:18-note) and learn what
Habakkuk learned so that we respond the way he did to "bad news" --
Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the
vines, though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce
no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be
no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will
rejoice in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17, 18, 19)
times will help grow us in our dependence on the all
sufficient supply of Jehovah
Refuge and Strength, a very present Help (Heb =
'ezrah ; Lxx/Greek =
boethos [word study]
= , see Heb 13:6-note) in trouble."
Jehovah Ezer: The LORD our Helper
Spurgeon comments: God is our
and Strength. Not our armies, or our fortresses. Israel's boast is in
Jehovah, the only living and true God. Others vaunt their impregnable
castles, placed on inaccessible rocks, and secured with gates of iron,
but God is a far better refuge from distress than all these: and when
the time comes to carry the war into the enemy's territories, the Lord
stands His people in better stead than all the valour of legions or the
boasted strength of chariot and horse. Soldiers of the cross, remember
this, and count yourselves safe, and make yourselves strong in God.
Forget not the personal possessive word
make sure each one of your portion in God, that you may say, "He is my
refuge and strength." Neither forget the fact that God is our refuge
just now, in the immediate present, as truly as when David penned the
word. God alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of
lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongeth unto God: but
as God is all sufficient, our defence and might are equal to all
A very present help in trouble,
or in distress He has so been found, hH has been tried and proved by His
people. He never withdraws Himself from His afflicted. He is their help,
truly, effectually, constantly; He is present or near them, close at
their side and ready for their succour (see word study on
and this is emphasized by the word
in our version, He is more present than friend or relative can be, yea,
more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this
comfortable truth is added the consideration that His assistance comes
at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the
winter; He is a Friend in need and a Friend indeed. When it is very dark
with us, let brave spirits say, "Come, let us sing the forty-sixth
"A fortress firm, and steadfast rock,
Is God in time of danger;
A shield and sword in every shock,
From foe well known or stranger."
How comforting for believers to recall to mind Paul's great
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...in all these things we
overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that
(nothing) ...shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 8:35, 36, 37, 38, 39 - see notes
Genesis records another
in the land, besides
that had occurred in
the days of Abraham" (Ge 26:1)
in the life of Isaac.
In contrast to the responses of Abraham
in Genesis and Elimelech in Ruth, Moses records that
LORD appeared to (Isaac) and said, "Do
not go down to Egypt. Stay in the land of which I shall tell you.
Sojourn in this land and I
will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I
will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore
to your father Abraham." (Ge 26:2, 3)
refused to be a "lighthouse" to the Gentiles dying without the covenants
and promises of God...it is often that way in our life--when we refuse
to go the direction which God foreordained for us to walk in He
orchestrates events to shuttle us in the way we should go!
Sent by God -Psalms 10:16-note
Often on account of sin -Leviticus 26:21,26; Lamentations 4:4, 5, 6
One of God’s four sore judgments -Ezekiel 14:21
God’s blessing withheld -Hosea 2:8,9; Haggai 1:6
Want of seasonable rain -1 Kings 17:1; Jer 14:1, 2, 3, 4; Amos 4:7
Rotting of the seed in the ground -Joel 1:17
Swarms of insects -Deuteronomy 28:38,42; Joel 1:4
Blasting and mildew -Amos 4:9; Haggai 2:17
Devastation by enemies -Deuteronomy 28:33,51
Often long continued -Genesis 41:27; 2 Kings 8:1,2
Often severe -Genesis 12:10; 1 Kings 18:2; Jeremiah 52:6
Taking away the stay of bread, &c -Isaiah 3:1
Cleanness of Teeth -Amos 4:6
The arrows of famine -Ezekiel 5:16
Often accompanied by war -Jeremiah 14:15; 29:18
Often followed by pestilence -Jeremiah 42:17; Ezekiel 7:15; Matthew 24:7
THINGS EATEN DURING
Wild herbs -2 Kings 4:39,40
Ass’s flesh -2 Kings 6:25
Dung -2 Kings 6:25; Lamentations 4:5
Human flesh -Leviticus 26:29; 2 Kings 6:28,29
Provisions sold by weight during -Ezekiel 4:16
Suffering of brute creation from -Jeremiah 14:5,6
Burning and fever -Deuteronomy 32:24
Blackness of the skin -Lamentations 4:8; 5:10
Grief and mourning -Joel 1:11-13
Faintness -Genesis 47:13
Wasting of the body -Lamentations 4:8; Ezekiel 4:17
Death -2 Kings 7:4; Jeremiah 11:22
God provided for his people during -1 Kings 17:4,9; Job 5:20; Psalms
INSTANCES OF, IN SCRIPTURE
In the days of Abraham -Genesis 12:10
In the days of Isaac -Genesis 26:1
In the days of Joseph -Genesis 41:53-56
In the day of the Judges -Ruth 1:1
In the reign of David -2 Samuel 21:1
In the reign of Ahab -1 Kings 17:1; 18:5
In the time of Elisha -2 Kings 4:38
During the siege of Samaria -2 Kings 6:25
Of seven years foretold by Elisha -2 Kings 8:1
In the time of Jeremiah -Jeremiah 14:1
During the siege of Jerusalem -2 Kings 25:3
After the captivity -Nehemiah 5:3
In the reign of Claudius Caesar Acts 11:28
Before destruction of Jerusalem -Matthew 24:7
The Jews in their restored state not to be afflicted by -Ezekiel
A dearth of the means of grace -Amos 8:11,12
Destruction of idols -Zephaniah 2:11
Sent as a judgment
Leviticus 26:19-29; Deuteronomy 28:23,24,38-42; 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings
8:1; 1 Chronicles 21:12; Psalms 105:16; 107:33,34; Isaiah 3:1-8; 14:30;
Jeremiah 19:9; 14:15-22; 29:17,19; Lamentations 5:4,5,10; Ezekiel
4:16,17; 5:16,17; 14:13; Joel 1:15,16; Amos 4:6, 7, 8, 9; 5:16,17;
Haggai 1:10,11; Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8
Righteous delivered from - Job
5:20; Psalms 33:19; 37:19
A CERTAIN MAN OF BETHLEHEM IN JUDAH: BEYTH LECHEM:
Bethlehem - 47 times in OT and
8 times in NT - Gen. 35:19; 48:7; Jos. 19:15; Jdg. 12:8, 10; 17:7ff;
19:1f, 18; Ruth 1:1,2, 19, 22; 2:4; 4:11; 1Sa 16:4; 17:12, 15; 20:6, 28;
2Sa 2:32; 23:14, 15, 16, 24; 1Chr. 2:51, 54; 4:4; 11:16, 17, 18, 26;
2Chr. 11:6; Ezra. 2:21; Neh. 7:26; Jer. 41:17; Mic. 5:2;
Bethlehem in the NT -
Matt. 2:1, 5, 6, 8, 16; Lk. 2:4, 15; Jn. 7:42
Articles on Bethlehem)
(click link pix
of modern Bethlehem)
means "house of bread"
died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is,
Ephrath means fruitful or fruitful region.
Click to enlarge
David's father Jesse was from Bethlehem which was
David's birthplace --
"Now David was the son of the Ephrathite
of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse, and he had
eight sons. And Jesse was old in the days of Saul, advanced in
years among men." (1Sa
cf Ru 4:22-note)
Bethlehem was later referred to as "the city of David...called
who referred to Himself as true "Bread of life" (Jn 6:48, 33, 34,
35) would one day be born in the "house of bread" as God
prophesied through Micah --
"from (Bethlehem Ephrathah) One
will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are
from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2 fulfilled in
Mt 2:1) (See
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem, how
still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters
Where children pure and happy pray to the blessèd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
later the angels announced to the "shepherds staying out in the
fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night" (Lk 2:8) that
"today in the city of David
there has been born for you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord." (Lk
Bethlehem is situated 2,527 feet above
sea level (commanding a view of the mountains of Moab to the East)
about 5-6 miles (8-10 km) south of Jerusalem (click map below) in
the district known as Ephrathah in the land of the tribe of Judah
(Micah 5:2), on a
narrow eastward ridge which breaks down in abrupt terraced slopes
to the deep valleys
below, surrounded by fertile fields, fig and olive orchards, and
vineyards. Bethlehem is about 40-60 miles from Moab which lies on
the southeastern side. In 1995 the
estimated population of Bayt Lahm was
32,000. Bethlehem was particularly susceptible to the climate because
there was no spring and it relied on cisterns to gather water. The main
produce of the area includes grain crops (wheat and barley),
olives and grapes.
Click to enlarge
A city southwest of
Jerusalem -Judges 17:7-note;
Called Ephratah and Ephrath -Ge 48:7; Ps 132:6-note; Micah 5:2
And Bethlehem Judah - Jdg 17:7, 8, 9; 19:1,18; Ru 1:1; 1Sa 17:12
Rachel dies and is buried at -Ge 35:16,19; 48:7
The city of Boaz -Ruth 1:1,19; 2:4
Taken and held by the Philistines -2Sa 23:14, 15, 16
Jeroboam converts it into a military stronghold -2 Chr 11:6
The city of Joseph -Matthew 2:5,6; Luke 2:4
Birthplace of Jesus -Micah 5:2; Matthew 2; Lk 2:4,15
Herod murders the infants of -Mt 2:16, 17, 18
A town of Zebulun, six miles west of Nazareth -Jos 19:15
Israel judged at -Jdg 12:10-note
WENT TO SOJOURN:
NIV "live for a while"
NET Bible "went to live
(gur) meaning to dwell as an alien, stranger or foreigner. The
idea is to be in a place with a focus that one is living as a guest or
stranger in a place, whether a territory, city, or house and so; in the
reflexive sense, to seek hospitality with.
The TWOT adds that the root of
means to live among people who
are not blood relatives; thus, rather than enjoying native civil rights,
the gēr ("sojourner") was dependent on the hospitality that played
an important role in the ancient near east. When the people of Israel
lived with their neighbors they were usually treated as protected
citizens; foreigners in Israel were largely regarded as proselytes.
R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old
Testament. Moody Press)
Webster defines "sojourn" as a
Gur is commonly used to describe the movement of the patriarchs,
and the first use, which closely parallels the use of the same verb used here in Ruth,
describes the sojourn of Abram (Abraham) who went...
"down to Egypt to sojourn
there, for the famine was severe in the land"
(of Canaan) (Gen 12:10).
Unfortunately Abram "went down" in
more ways than one, for he received more than
he bargained for, returning with the Egyptian handmaiden Hagar, the
eventual mother of Ishmael who became the protagonist of Isaac,
presaging the current Jewish-Muslim conflict in the Middle East.
life's road are obstacles—
Our choice becomes a test;
Help us, O Lord, to know Your way
That we may choose what's best. |
—D. De Haan
And so it seems Elimelech was only
going for a short time, just to sojourn. But it became a long sojourn,
for as we soon learn he never came back, nor did his sons; and when at
last Naomi did, ten long years had passed.
is an opportunity
It is vital that we remember that every test ("famine")
is an opportunity to trust God. As we see in the description of Elimelech's
sojourning, there is no Scriptural record of Abram or Elimelech seeking
God's leading to "sojourn".
It is not surprising that both "sojourns" ended up reaping
a "harvest" of tragedy (at least until we get to chapter 2 of
Ruth!). We on this side of the cross would do well to remember that when
the "famine" comes, and especially if it is related to personal
disobedience, God is still there, mercifully holding out the promise that
"My people (this applies primarily to
Israel but in principle to saints of all ages) who are called by My name
humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked
ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will
heal their land." (2Chronicles 7:14)
What does it mean to "sojourn"?
Let's look at how the Hebrew scholars
translated the word "sojourn" into Greek. The
translation (often abbreviated "LXX"
for "seventy" which by tradition is the number of Hebrew scholars
involved in the translation)
is the name of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament
and it will be used frequently to supplement the meaning of key words in these
notes. It may surprise you to know that most of the Old Testament
quotations in the New Testament (by Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, etc) are
not from the original Hebrew (with exceptions) but are from the Greek
In this verse the
with the Greek verb "paroikeo" (from pará =
near + oikéo = to dwell - see word study of related word -
paroikos) literally means to dwell beside
or among and describes one living in a place without holding citizenship
and thus one who is living as an alien dwelling temporarily in the land.
Paroikeo is used positively to describe Abraham who "by
faith...lived as an alien (paroikeo) in the land of promise"
In this sense all believers are sojourners "aliens
and strangers" (2Pe 2:11-note)
who because of
His promise...are looking for new
heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
How can we as believers apply these
to our everyday life?
Some choices have good consequences
but Elimelech's choices led to dire consequences. Someone has well said
that if you don't want to end in failure, be sure to begin with God. As
you make your decisions today, be sure to include God (there is no
record Elimelech included God in his decision to detour). It's tempting
for us all to look for the "easy way" out of pressing problems and
crushing circumstances, forgetting that God uses these to press out of
us what is on the inside and ultimately to mold us into the image of His
son. Everyone loves to read Romans 8:28-note
but many forget the important rule of reading verses in
interpretation, so be sure
to note God's purpose in Romans 8:29-note. Paul writes
And we know
that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For (explains
why He works all things out) whom He foreknew, He also predestined
to become conformed (or molded, describing an inward and not
merely a superficial conformity) to the image of His Son, that
He might be the first-born among many brethren."
Do you see problems as...
When we keep
our eyes on Christ and God's ultimate purpose in our lives,
obstacles begin to be seen as opportunities.
obstacles that we must face
Along life's rocky way
Are used by God so we might hear
"Well done" from Him someday.
Remember that any choice that takes us away from
God (from Bethlehem to Moab so to speak) is a sojourn in the wrong direction. Elimelech's choice
which he made to preserve life, ultimately
brought death to himself and his two sons. No matter how desperate the
situation, it is always better to face what our sovereign God has allowed and trust
His hand of mercy and provision than to run from the circumstances. If
you are going through a "famine", seek to make your choice based on clear direction
from God as revealed in His all sufficient Word and prayer supplemented by the
counsel from godly men and women.
"There is a way which seems right
to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Pr 14:12)
To enjoy your walk with God, keep in step with His Word,
which always unfolds His will (cp Ps 119:130-note). Don't allow a feeling of desperation to steer you in the wrong
direction. Unaided human nature (i.e.,
the fallen flesh) leads people to make wrong choices
which can lead ultimately to death as Solomon writes in this proverb. The untrained
conscience cannot be a
trusted guide. When pressing circumstances come, press harder against
the "sufficient One",
EL Shaddai - God Almighty, for
after you have suffered for a
little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory
in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl
died on September 2, 1997 at the age of 93.
During World War II, Dr. Frankl was imprisoned at Auschwitz, where he
was stripped of his identity as a medical doctor and forced to work as a
common laborer. His father, mother, brother, and wife died in the
concentration camps. All his notes, which represented his life's work,
were destroyed. Yet Frankl emerged from Auschwitz believing that
can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human
freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
We may not be able to choose our
circumstances, but we can choose our attitude toward them. The apostle
Paul gave us an example of how this works. He wrote,
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be
content...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
(Php 4:11, 12 -note,
True contentment does not come in
having everything, but in being satisfied with everything you have!
Whatever our circumstances may be, we can draw on the power of Christ
for the strength to face them and experience the rest and contentment
found in Him and ultimately only in Him (cp Mt 11:28, 29, 30).
Yes, we have free will and so we always have a choice--and that
choice will always make a difference.
Remember that desperate choices are seldom the
best choices but those who learn to
wait (hope with a sense of expectancy
and confidence) for the LORD will gain (Hebrew word means to exchange
their "strength" for God's strength) new strength. They will mount up
with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk
and not become weary." (Isa 40:31)
What may appear to be a shortcut to
success may in fact be a broad road to disaster. Remember, the decisions
you make will make you. So to reiterate, even though you can't control your
circumstances, you can control your attitude. Therefore rather than complaining
about the thorns on roses, begin to practice the discipline of being
thankful for the roses among the thorns. As discussed in the quotes
recorded above, afflictions can become
blessings when blended with acceptance and Spirit enabled obedience. When we stop saying, "Why me?"
and start saying, "Why not me?" we take the first step to glorifying God
in our trials.
give me the grace to be
Content with what You give to me!
No! More than that, let me rejoice
In all You send me--it's Your choice!
Be this the purpose of my soul,
My solemn, my determined choice:
To yield to God's supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice. —Anon.
Warren Wiersbe adds that
When trouble comes to our
lives, we can do one of three things: endure it, escape
it, or enlist it. If we only endure our trials, then
trials become our master, and we have a tendency to become hard and
bitter. If we try to escape our trials, then we will probably
miss the purposes God wants to achieve in our lives. But if we learn to
enlist our trials, they will become our servants instead of our
masters and work for us; and God will work all things together for our
good and His glory (Ro 8:28-note).
Remember that true freedom
comes not from choosing our way, but from yielding to God's way.
may not understand
The path You've laid for me,
Complete surrender to Your will—
Lord, this my prayer shall be.
It does seem very likely that Elimelech and family made a wrong choice
in hard times, as subsequent events suggest. The point is that they
didn't have to make the choice they did because as we read in Chapter 2
the inhabitants of Bethlehem are still there and haven't perished from
Thompson Chain Reference -
Sojourners - Ge 12:10; 20:1 ;21:34 ; 47:4 Lv 18:26, 20:2, 25:40 Nu
15:15 Dt 26:5 Jdg 17:7-note
Ru 1:1 Heb 11:9-note
IN THE LAND OF MOAB:
The Moabites (Moab, Moabites
- articles) were descended
from Lot (Ge 19:37) and so were distant relations of Israel,
but they had been hostile when the Israelites had approached from Egypt
after the exodus (Nu 21:29 ).
Early in the period of the judges Eglon
King of Moab had invaded and dominated the Israelites for eighteen years
The Moabites worshiped
(associated with the practice of
child sacrifice) and other pagan gods. Scripture records two times when
the Moabites fought against Israel (Jdg 3:12-30-note
1Sa 14:47). As best we can determine the events in the book of Ruth took
place about 200 years after the first war and approximately 80 years
before the second war.
Moab is an elevated, rolling plateau (averaging 3,300 ft elevation), bounded on
the west by the rugged escarpment which drops down to the Dead Sea
(which is almost 1,300 ft below sea level), on the east by the Arabian desert, and
running through it the steep Wadi Mujib canyon with the Arnon River
which flows east-west and enters the Dead Sea approximately mid-way
along western shore, separating northern Moab from Moab proper.
Relatively few springs appear on the Moabite plateau, and the waters of
the Arnon are virtually inaccessible because of the steepness of the
river canyon. Still, the area is well watered by winter rains brought by
winds from the Mediterranean.
In Psalm 60:8, God declares "Moab is
my washbowl", which was the bowl used to wash dirty, dusty feet!
1. Son of Lot, Ge 19:37.
2. Plains of. Israelites come in, Deut. 2:17, 18.
Military forces numbered in, Nu 26:3, 63.
The law rehearsed in, by Moses, Nu 35, 36; Deut. 29-33.
The Israelites renew their covenant in, Deut. 29:1.
The land of promise allotted in, Josh. 13:32.
Descendants of Lot through his son Moab, Gen. 19:37.
Called the people of Chemosh, Nu 21:29.
The territory E. of Jordan, bounded on the N. by the river Arnon, Num.
21:13; Jdg. 11:18.
Children of Israel commanded not to distress the Moabites, Deut. 2:9.
Refuse passage of Jephthah's army through their territory, Jdg. 11:17,
Balak was king of, Num. 22:4; calls for Balaam to curse Israel, Nu.
22-24; Jos. 24:9; Mic. 6:5.
Are a snare to the Israelites, Nu. 25:1, 2, 3; Ru 1:4; 1Ki 11:1; 1Chr
8:8; Ezra 9:1, 2; Neh. 13:23.
Land of, not given to the Israelites as a possession, Dt. 2:9, 29.
David takes refuge among, from Saul, 1Sa 22:3, 4.
David conquers, 2Sa 8:2; 23:20; 1Chr 11:22; 18:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
Israelites had war with, 2Ki 3:5-27; 13:20; 24:2; 2 Chr. 20.
Prophecies concerning judgments upon, Jer. 48.
WITH HIS WIFE
AND HIS TWO SONS:
Elimelech appears to have made a bad
decision, exchanging one famine for three funerals!
Spurgeon feels that this "was a bad move on their part; Better
poverty with the people of God, than plenty outside of the covenanted
ANOTHER WAY TO VIEW
Alexander Maclaren points out
The household of Elimelech emigrated
to Moab in a famine, and, whether that were right or wrong, they were
there among heathens as Jehovah worshippers. They were meant to be
missionaries, and, in Ruth's case, the purpose was fulfilled. She became
the 'first-fruits of the Gentiles'; and one aim of the book, no doubt,
is to show how the believing Gentile was to be incorporated into
Israel...All this is a beautiful completion to the other side of the
picture which the fierce fighting in Judges makes prominent, and teaches
that Israel's relation to the nations around was not to be one of mere
antagonism, but that they had another mission other than destruction,
and were set in their land, as the candlestick in the Tabernacle, that
light might stream out into the darkness of the desert. The story of the
Moabitess, whose blood flowed in David's veins, was a standing protest
against the later narrow exclusiveness which called Gentiles 'dogs,' and
prided itself on outward connection with the nation, in the exact degree
in which it lost real union with the nation's God, and real
understanding of the nation's mission. (Ruth Exposition)
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of
Biblical Theology -
The Book of Ruth furnishes a panorama
of God's sovereignty in everyday life, especially in the three most
important needs of ancient Near Eastern people: food, marriage, and
children. Famine drove Elimelech's family from the land of Judah; the
likelihood of starvation appears to have compelled Naomi to return to
her native land after the death of her husband and sons. The need for
the protection of marriage induced Ruth to implement the bold plan of
requesting Boaz to act as her kinsman redeemer. Barrenness in ancient
times was a cause of embarrassment and concern; without an heir, the
family name and lineage could not be carried on, and estates were
forfeited. God blessed Ruth with both a child and an important lineage,
the lineage of David. (Reference)