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Ruth 1:14 And they
lifted up their
clung to her.
GWT: They began to cry loudly again.
Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth held on to her
KJV: And they lifted up their
voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth
clave unto her.
NLT: And again they wept together, and
Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth insisted on staying
with Naomi. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: And they lift up their voice, and weep again, and Orpah kisseth her
mother-in-law, and Ruth hath cleaved to her.
LIFTED UP THEIR VOICES AND WEPT AGAIN:
started weeping loudly all over again" (NJB)
"then they renewed their audible weeping" (Berkley)
sobbed aloud and wept;"
uses a verb that means to cry with a loud voice. There comes a place in our following after God,
where it comes down to doing. Ruth and Orpah were both feeling the same
feelings but Ruth did differently than Orpah. Applying Ruth's decisive
action for God's people and thus for God one notes that in Christianity
some are content with feeling Christian feelings, with feeling a love
for God, with feeling a love for His Word, with feeling a love for His
people. But the decisive question is will you be doers of the word (Jas
cp Jas 2:14f-note
are all thankful that God did not just feel His
love for us? Instead
"God so loved the world, He gave His only
begotten Son." (Jn 3:16)
Ruth showed her feeling of love by her willingness to make a "costly
commitment" especially when one realizes that she had not yet "read" the
next three chapters! Her action is an excellent OT example of
faith which Hebrews "defines" as
the assurance of things
hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (see note
and goes on to add that "without faith it is impossible to please
Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a
Rewarder of those who seek Him. (see note
AND ORPAH KISSED HER MOTHER IN LAW:
(Ge 31:28,55 1Ki 19:20 Mt 10:37; 19:22 Mk 10:21,22 2Ti 4:10-see
note on Demas)
kissed her mother-in-law good-bye"
(NLT, NET, NAB, AMP)
(nashaq) means to kiss mouth
to mouth or to be attached and the Greek Septuagint verb adds the
interesting nuance of kissing one tenderly, with caressing and as a sign
of special affection (the same verb was used by the Greek Septuagint in
Maclaren writes that...
Orpah as she goes back to her home
and her gods. She is the first in the sad series of those, 'not
far from the kingdom of God''
(Mark 12:34) who needed but a little more resolution at the critical
moment, and, for want of it, shut themselves out from the
covenant, and sank back to a world which they
had half renounced. So these two lonely widows are left, each seeking to
sacrifice herself for the other. Who shall decide which was the more
noble and truly womanly in her self-forgetfulness,--the elder, sadder
heart, which strove to secure for the other some joy and fellowship at
the price of its own deepened solitude; or the younger, which steeled
itself against entreaties, and cast away friends and country for love's
sweet sake? We rightly praise Ruth's vow, but we should not forget
Naomi's unselfish pleading to be left to tread her weary path alone (Ruth Exposition)
referring to Orpah's apparent resolution to do but failure to
follow her words with actions says
Strong passions, without a settled judgment, commonly produce weak
What is the application to
saints today? It is
probably unfair to Orpah to be too critical of her action and to
misjudge her motives for kissing Naomi goodbye. The Greek verb certainly
suggests a tenderness and therefore a heartfelt sincerity in her action.
Nevertheless, by way of application, it should be noted that a kiss of
outward profession can be an an act that appears sincere (Mt 26:48, 49
Lk 22:47, 48), but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself
in definitive decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter.
Is your heart fixed upon Jesus (Col 3:1, 2, He 12:1, 2- see notes
and the sacrifice
bound with cords to the horns of the altar (Ps 118:7-
Spurgeon's Note)? Have
you counted the cost,
and are you solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master’s
sake (Lk 14:28; 14:33, Mk 8:34, 35, 36, 37)? The gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt’s
treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed (cf
Moses - He 11:24, 25, 26, 27 - see notes
What happened to Orpah?
The Living Bible says she "returned to her childhood home" and
the TEV says she "went
both of which are certainly plausible but neither of which is clearly
stated in the Hebrew or Greek Septuagint texts (which is another reason
paraphrases should be assiduously avoided as one's primary Bible when
performing serious Bible study - see chart on
So the most reliable answer is that we don’t know what happened to Orpah
and that is where the commentary should cease. Men however often concoct
fantastic stories to explain what they don’t know. For example, Jewish
tradition says this request of Naomi came four miles outside of Moab;
and that Orpah shed only four tears and the thought of parting from her
mother-in-law Naomi. The rabbis go on to say that in recompense for the
four miles that she went with Naomi, Orpah gave birth to four sons -
Goliath and his three brothers! Fruitless, foolish, unfounded
BUT RUTH CLEAVED
("clave" KJV): (De 4:4, 10:20, Pr 17:17, 18:24 Isa 14:1
Zec 8:23 Mt 16:24 Jn 6:66, 67, 68, 69 Acts 17:34 Heb 10:39 )
Ruth would not be parted from her (BBE)
Ruth held on to
Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi
Ruth held on to her tightly (GWT)
Ruth hugged her tightly (NET)
Note the phrase "but
draws a contrast (See
value of observing for contrasts) so vivid that one can easily imagine themselves as a
quiet observer standing nearby as this poignant, life-changing drama
unfolds. As discussed elsewhere, a "but" always signifies a change of
direction is occurring, in this case not just literally (Moab to
Bethlehem) but spiritually (idolatry of Moab to the God of Naomi) and
ultimately a change in Ruth's eternal destiny (from hell to heaven).
Always stop when you encounter a "but" and ask what is being contrasted?
They both wept but
only Orpah kissed her mother in law while Ruth clung to her.
Naomi's daughters-in-law accompany
her, moved by the thought of returning with her to her people (Ru 1:10).
But this good intention is not enough, for nothing less than faith will
do in order to enter into relationship with grace. The behavior of Orpah
and of Ruth illustrates this principle. In appearance there is no
difference at all between them. Both leave with Naomi and walk with her,
thus demonstrating their attachment to her. Orpah's affection is real:
she weeps at the mere thought of leaving her mother-in-law; and full of
sympathy, sheds still more tears when she finally leaves her. Orpah, the
Moabite, also loves Naomi's people: “They said to her, We will certainly
return with thee to thy people.” But it is possible to have a very
amiable character without having faith. Faith makes a gulf between these
two women who are so similar in so many ways. Confronted with
impossibilities, the natural heart draws back, whereas faith is
nourished on impossibilities and so increases in strength. Orpah gives
up a path which has no outcome. What could Naomi offer her? She was
ruined, stricken by God, and filled with bitterness; did she yet have
sons in her womb to give as husbands to her daughters-in-law? Orpah
kisses her mother-in-law and returns to her people and to her gods (Ru
Here at last the secret of the natural heart is unveiled. The natural
heart may attach itself to God's people without actually belonging to
this people. A woman like Naomi surely is worthy of awakening sympathy,
but that is not the sign of faith in operation. In the first place faith
separates us from idols, causes us to give up our gods, and turns us to
the true God. This was the Thessalonians' first step in the path of
faith, too (1Th 1:9-note).
Orpah on the contrary turns away from Naomi and the God of Israel in
order to return to her people and her gods. Confronted by this
difficulty, she shows that she is unable to endure the test. She indeed
weeps as she leaves, but she does leave, just like that charming young
man who went away sad, unable to decide to separate himself from his
possessions in order to follow a poor and despised Master.
Ruth's case is quite different. What precious faith she displays: full
of certainty, resolution, and decision! No objection can change her
mind. How clearly faith sees its goal! She listens to Naomi's words but
her decision has been made, for she knows only one path, which for her
is the necessary path. What are nature's impossibilities before faith's
necessities? Ruth neither allows herself to be deterred by the prospect
of not finding another husband, nor even by the Lord's hand stretched
out against her mother-in-law; in the obstacles that mount up she sees
only so many new reasons for clinging to her decision. Naomi is
everything to Ruth, and Ruth cleaves to Naomi.
(dabaq) means to stick to, adhere to,
cling to, join with, stay with, stay in
close proximity to
and which yields the noun form for "glue". Dabaq
describes something that sticks or clings to something else (Ezek 29:4
and Ezekiel’s tongue to roof of his mouth Ezek. 3:26).
interesting that one of the most concentrated uses of "dabaq"
in the OT is found in this short story of Ruth (Ru 1:14, 2:8, 2:21, 23-see notes
-- Ruth 2:8 "stay here with my maids"; Ruth 2:21 "‘You
should stay close to my servants"; Ruth 2:23 "So she
stayed close by the maids of Boaz";
Dabaq - (See
passages below) 53x
in OT - Gen. 2:24; 19:19; 31:23; 34:3; Num. 36:7, 9; Deut. 10:20; 11:22;
13:4, 17; 28:21, 60; 30:20; Jos. 22:5; 23:8, 12; Jdg. 18:22; 20:42, 45;
Ruth 1:14; 2:8, 21, 23; 1 Sam. 14:22; 31:2; 2 Sam. 1:6; 20:2; 23:10; 1 Ki. 11:2; 2 Ki. 3:3; 5:27; 18:6; 1 Chr. 10:2; Job 19:20; 29:10; 31:7;
38:38; 41:17, 23; Ps. 22:15; 44:25; 63:8; 101:3; 102:5; 119:25, 31;
137:6; Pr. 18:24; Jer. 13:11; 42:16; Lam. 4:4; Ezek. 3:26; 29:4
dabaq as - (1), closer(1), clung(4), deeply attracted(1), fasten its
grip(1), follow closely(1), held fast(1), hold(2), hold fast(2), holding
fast(1), joined(2), joined together(1), overtake(1), overtook(5),
pursued him closely(1), pursued them closely(1), remained steadfast(1),
stay(1), stay close(1), stayed close(1), stick(1), stick together(1),
Dabaq often refers to physical things sticking to each
other, especially parts of the body as described vividly by Job who said
"My bone clings
to my skin and my flesh, and I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth"
(Job 19:20, cf one's tongue "stuck
to their palate" Job 29:10).
God speaking through
Moses warned Israel to
"choose life in order that you may live...by
loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and
holding fast (dabaq)
to Him" going on to explain that one should cling to
Jehovah because "this is your life and the length of your days,
that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." (Dt 30:19, 20)
King Hezekiah heeded this instruction and
the LORD; he did not depart
from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had
and the result of his clinging was that "Jehovah was
with him; wherever he went he prospered." (2Ki 18:6 18:7, cf : Ps
A vivid picture of the meaning of dabaq is found in
"I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I
hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip
on me." (Ps 101:3),
picturing the power of sin to entrap the sinner. (Spurgeon
on Ps 101:3)
Dabaq also conveys the ideas of loyalty and devotion
as in the first use of dabaq where "a man shall leave
his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall
become one flesh" (Ge 2:24)
which also emphasizes the basic meaning of being intimately joined to
another and of being identified with one another, even as Ruth was now
committing to be "identified" no longer with the Moabites but primarily
with Naomi, her people and her God.
As alluded to earlier, this idea of
leaving former affections and loyalties and shifting them to Jehovah is
found numerous times in Deuteronomy, as for example in (Dt 10:20)
where Moses instructs Israel that they are to "fear the LORD your
God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by
His name". In
this verse we also see that reverential awe (fear) of God
is in part manifest by one cleaving
closely to Him. This truth gives us some insight into Ruth's cleaving to
Naomi and ultimately to Naomi's God. (cf
Dt 11:22 23, 13:4 Josh 23::8 contrast Josh 23:12 Dt 13:17)
"but Ruth cleaved to her" as "but
Ruth followed her"
where the verb followed is the Greek verb akoloutheo
(from "a" = expressing union or likeness + keleuthos
= way, road) which literally pictures one (in this case Ruth) going in
the same way or walking the same road and so to follow or accompany
someone (in this case Naomi) who takes the lead. The first use of akoloutheo in the NT is instructive, Matthew writing that Peter
and Andrew, upon hearing Jesus' call
"Follow Me!" (Mt 4:19),
"immediately left the nets, and followed (akoloutheo) Him."
In a similar way Ruth left her friends, family, familiar culture and
foreign gods and
Naomi even in face of Naomi's discouragement to do so! What great faith
Do I have the
faith and willingness to commit to follow Jesus
Who taught that
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up
his cross, and follow (akoloutheo)
Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses
his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it." (Mk
Naomi’s well-being was
Ruth's first concern, though that involved
emigration from her homeland, leaving her parents who were still living
and settling among strangers. From this point on Naomi’s people would be
her people, though Ruth had no certainty that she would find acceptance.
MacDonald has nicely summarized
this dramatic scene describing
the different attitudes of the three widows: Naomi was a grieving widow,
stripped of the earthly joys of husband and family by divine judgment.
Orpah , having soberly considered the words of her mother-in-law, proved
to be a leaving widow, choosing the easiest and most convenient course.
But Ruth was a cleaving widow, clinging to Naomi in spite of the
latter’s discouragements. When Ruth chose a new life with Naomi, she
knew that it wouldn’t be easy. There was hard work and poverty ahead
since they were without a male provider. There was separation from home
and loved ones, too. (MacDonald,
W., & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
describes the scene as...
was trying to cover up; Orpah had given up, but Ruth was prepared to
THE OLD TESTAMENT
in OT -
Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his
mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Comment: The Lxx use the verb
(from prós = to, toward, in compounds prós
implies motion, direction + kollao = to glue) literally means to
glue one thing to another so that it cleaves or adheres. To unite. To
cleave. To be united with. To join oneself to closely. To stick to. It
is used metaphorically in this verse to describe the marriage bond. To
adhere to closely, be faithfully devoted to. Proskollao
was a medical term used to describe the uniting of wounds. Here this
compound verb denotes the most intimate union. This verb emphasizes not
only permanence but also unity of the two who have been "glued"
together. Take a picture of a husband and another of his wife and glue
them together. Allow time for the glue to set. What happens when you try
to take the two individual pictures apart? Do you see what God is saying
about the dissolution of the marriage covenant between a husband and a
Genesis 19:19 "Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight,
and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by
saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster
will overtake me and I will die;
Genesis 31:23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a
distance of seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the hill country
Genesis 34:3 He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and
he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her.
Numbers 36:7 "Thus no inheritance of the sons of Israel shall be
transferred from tribe to tribe, for the sons of Israel shall each hold
to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers....9 "Thus no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another
tribe, for the tribes of the sons of Israel shall each hold to his own
Deuteronomy 10:20 "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him
and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name.
Comment: The Lxx uses the root
which means to join closely,
to "glue together," to unite, to cling to, to adhere to, to cleave to,
to come in close contact with. It was used in 1Cor 6:16 to describe the
joining of oneself to a harlot. In Acts 9:26 it describes joining
oneself to another as a disciple.
Deuteronomy 11:22 "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment
which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in
all His ways and hold fast (Lxx use the verb
proskollao) to Him,
Deuteronomy 13:4 "You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and
you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and
cling to Him.
Comment: Lxx uses
prostithemi meaning to add to something that is already in
existence, of persons who are added to a group already existing, or who
are attached to an individual, to whom they henceforth belong.
Deuteronomy 13:17 "Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall
cling to (Lxx use the verb
hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show
mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as
He has sworn to your fathers,
Deuteronomy 28:21 "The LORD will make the pestilence cling to
(Lxx use the verb
proskollao) you until
He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it.
Deuteronomy 28:60 "He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you
were afraid, and they will cling to (Lxx uses the root verb
Deuteronomy 30:20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and
by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your
days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your
fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
Joshua 22:5 "Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law
which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your
God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast
to (lxx = proskeimai = to lie near, adjacent to, joined to, abiding
among) Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Joshua 23:8 "But you are to cling to (Lxx use the verb
proskollao) the LORD your God, as you have done
to this day.
Joshua 23:12 "For if you ever go back and cling to (Lxx uses
prostithemi meaning to add to something that is already in
existence) the rest of these nations,
these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you
associate with them and they with you,
Judges 18:22 When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah,
the men who were in the houses near Micah's house assembled and overtook
the sons of Dan.
Judges 20:42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel
toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them
while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of
45 The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon,
but they caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them at Gidom
and killed 2,000 of them.
Ruth 1:14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah
kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Ruth 2:8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, "Listen carefully, my daughter. Do
not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this
one, but stay here with my maids.
21 Then Ruth the Moabitess said, "Furthermore, he said to me, 'You
should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my
23 So she stayed close by the maids of Boaz in order to glean until the
end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she lived with her
1 Samuel 14:22 When all the men of Israel who had hidden themselves in
the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines had fled, even
they also pursued them closely in the battle.
1 Samuel 31:2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the
Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of
2 Samuel 1:6 The young man who told him said, "By chance I happened to
be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And
behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely.
2 Samuel 20:2 So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and
followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah remained
steadfast to (Lxx uses the root verb
kollao) their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 23:10 He arose and struck the Philistines until his hand was
weary and clung to (Lxx use the verb
the sword, and the LORD brought about a great victory that day; and the
people returned after him only to strip the slain.
1 Kings 11:2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the
sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, nor shall they
associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after
their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love.
Comment: One of the saddest
verses in the Bible in my opinion! The wisest man doing the most foolish
thing! The Lxx uses the root verb
indicating Solomon "stuck like glue" to these foreign women and their
idolatrous gods turned his heart from the living God. Wow! If this could
happen to Solomon, it could happen to any of us! Remember 1Cor
2 Kings 3:3 Nevertheless, he clung to (Lxx uses the root verb
kollao) the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.
2 Kings 5:27 "Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling
to (Lxx uses the root verb
you and to your descendants forever." So he went out from his presence a
leper as white as snow.
2 Kings 18:6 For he clung to (Lxx uses the root verb
the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His
commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.
1 Chronicles 10:2 The Philistines closely pursued Saul and his sons, and
the Philistines struck down Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons
Job 19:20 "My bone clings to my skin and my flesh, And I have escaped
only by the skin of my teeth.
Job 29:10 The voice of the nobles was hushed, And their tongue stuck to
Job 31:7 "If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart followed my
eyes, Or if any spot has stuck to (Lxx uses the root verb
kollao) my hands,
Job 38:38 When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick
Job 41:17 "They are joined (Lxx use the verb
proskollao) one to another; They clasp each other and
cannot be separated.
Job 41:23 "The folds of his flesh are joined (Lxx uses
the root verb
kollao) together, Firm on him and
Psalm 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue
cleaves to (Lxx uses the root verb
my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.
Psalm 44:25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves
to (Lxx uses the root verb
Psalm 63:8 My soul clings to (Lxx uses the root verb
You; Your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 101:3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the
work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip
(Lxx uses the root verb
kollao) on me.
Psalm 102:5 Because of the loudness of my groaning My bones cling to
(Lxx uses the root verb
Psalm 119:25 My soul cleaves to (Lxx uses the root verb
the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:31 I cling to (Lxx uses the root verb
Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!
Psalm 137:6 May my tongue cling to (Lxx uses the root verb
the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt
Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a
friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Jeremiah 13:11 'For as the waistband clings to (Lxx uses
the root verb
kollao) the waist of a man, so I
made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling
to (Lxx uses the root verb
Me,' declares the LORD, 'that they might be for Me a people, for renown,
for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.'
Jeremiah 42:16 then the sword, which you are afraid of, will overtake
you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine, about which you are
anxious, will follow closely after you there in Egypt, and you will die
Lamentations 4:4 The tongue of the infant cleaves (Lxx uses
the root verb
kollao) To the roof of its
mouth because of thirst; The little ones ask for bread, But no one
breaks it for them.
Ezekiel 3:26 "Moreover, I will make your tongue stick (Lxx =
sundeo = bind together) to the roof of
your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes
them, for they are a rebellious house.
Ezekiel 29:4 "I will put hooks in your jaws And make the fish of your
rivers cling to(Lxx use the verb
proskollao) your scales. And I will bring you up out of the midst of
your rivers, And all the fish of your rivers will cling to your scales.
From Our Daily Bread...
THE first girl I ever kissed in public was named Ruth. Several hundred
people watched as the Zeeland High School junior play reached the romantic
moment between the leading man and woman. After the performance this
comment filtered back to me from someone in the audience:
"That was rather a
The biblical book of Ruth, however,
is anything but cool. The love and loyalty Ruth displayed for her
mother-in-law, Naomi, bathes the story with warmth and tenderness. And the
beauty of this Old Testament narrative is all the more striking set
against the background of the time of the judges when moral debris
cluttered the landscape of Israel's early life in Canaan.
Ruth's love for her mother-in-law is only part of this love story,
however. Boaz, Naomi's relative, exercises his right as kinsman-redeemer
and takes Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 3-4). He brings into focus our
Redeemer, Jesus, who purchases us with His blood, takes us into His
family, and surrounds us with His unfailing love.
As objects of Christ's redeeming love, we sinners should never be reserved
about expressing our love to Him. May it never be said of us in our
relationship to Jesus that our love is cold and mechanical.- D J De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
C H Spurgeon...
Orpah kissed her mother in law;
but Ruth clave unto her
Both of them had an affection for
Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of
Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each
of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for
ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends. At first both of
them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord’s people;
but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a
respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and
went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave
herself up to the God of her mother in law. It is
thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another
to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss
of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving
to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and
holiness, is not so small a matter.
How stands the case with us, is our heart fixed upon Jesus, is the
sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted
the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the
Master’s sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for
Egypt’s treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed.
Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her
life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in
heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the
King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ’s sake
can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be
who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back
unto the world. O that this morning we may not be content with the form
of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah’s kiss, but may the Holy
Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus.
(Spurgeon, C. H. Morning and evening) (See also Surgeon's sermon on
Ruth 1:16: Deciding for God)
Ruth 1:15 Then she
back to her
people and her
KJV: And she said, Behold, thy
sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return
thou after thy sister in law.
NLT: "See," Naomi said to her, "your
sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should
do the same." (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: And she saith, 'Lo, thy sister-in-law hath turned back unto her
people, and unto her god, turn thou back after thy sister-in-law.'
Septuagint: And Noemin
said to Ruth, Behold, thy sister-in-law has returned to her
people and to her gods; turn now thou also after thy
SHE SAID BEHOLD YOUR SISTER-IN-LAW HAS GONE BACK:
(Ps 36:3; 125:5; Zeph 1:6; Mt 13:20;21 Heb 10:38; 1Jn 2:19)
Orpah may well be an OT example of
on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears
the word, and immediately receives it with joy yet he has no firm root
in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution
arises because of the word, immediately he falls away." (Mt 13:20;21)
The writer of Hebrews adds
MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. (see
And finally John writes
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had
been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in
order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. (1Jn 2:19)
TO HER PEOPLE AND HER GODS:
Note not "god" but "gods" indicating
the Orpah's polytheistic paganism practiced in Moab with the
Chemosh being the chief Moabite false "deity", one
so vile that its "worship" was associated with child sacrifice (2Ki
which God says was tantamount to sacrificing one's children "to the
demons." (Ps 106:37)
Up to this point in the narrative, one
might have assumed that both daughters had forsaken idolatry and become
Yahweh worshipers. Now however it seems clear that Oprah's choice of homeland is a choice
for her "gods" and not the one true, living God. Set against the background of Orpah’s choice,
the courage and beauty of Ruth’s declaration is all the more
poignant. Naomi's assessment is that Orpah has returned to idolatry
(cf Nu 21:29). As Orpah goes back, she walks off the pages of
Scripture into silence and into oblivion, never to heard from again.
One ship sails East
And another West,
By the selfsame winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails,
And not the gales,
That tells them the way to go!
Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of Time,
As we voyage along through life;
'Tis the set of the soul
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife!
McGee, Ruth and Esther: Women of faith
AFTER YOUR SISTER-IN-LAW:
(Jos 24:15;19 2Sa 15:19;20 2Ki 2:2; Lk 14:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
"You should do the same"
home, too; follow your sister–in–law"
This is the third time Naomi
commands Ruth to return to her people!
This scene reminds one of the dying words of Joshua who called for a
"choose for yourselves today whom you will serve:
whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the
River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but
as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Jos 24:15)
Jesus call to discipleship echoes a similar demand
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and
wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own
life, he cannot be My disciple." (Lk 14:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32,
Ruth 1:16 But
said, "Do not
urge me to
leave you or
following you; for
go, I will
lodge, I will
people shall be my
people, and your
BBE: But Ruth said, Give
up requesting me to go away from you, or to go back without you: for
where you go I will go; and where you take your rest I will take my
rest; your people will be my people, and your God my God.
GWT: But Ruth answered, "Don't force me
to leave you. Don't make me turn back from following 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. (GWT)
KJV: And Ruth said, Entreat me
not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither
thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy
people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
NLT: But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to
leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever
you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
And Ruth saith, 'Urge me not to leave thee -- to turn back from after
thee; for whither thou goest I go, and where thou lodgest I lodge; thy
people is my people, and thy God my God.
Septuagint: And Ruth
said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following
thee; for whithersoever thou goest, I will go, and wheresoever
thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and
thy God my God
BUT RUTH SAID DO NOT URGE
TO LEAVE OR TURN BACK:
(2Ki 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Lk 24:28;29 Acts 21:13)
ask me to abandon or forsake you!"
urging me to abandon you and to leave you!"
"Do not urge me to desert you by turning away from you"
not press me to leave you and to stop going with you"
"Don't force me to leave you. Don't make me turn back from
following you" (GWT).
But Ruth - A dramatic
contrast marking a change in direction of her life from godless,
hopeless, pagan Gentile to one grafted into Israel and eventually in
the lineage of the Messiah. Whenever you observe a "but" (or other
words associated with contrast, such as yet, nevertheless, on the
other hand, etc) pause and ask what is the author contrasting? (See
more discussion of
There are over 4000 uses of this little conjunction "but" in the Bible
and all of them are important. Howard Hendricks adds that...
contrasts are always important in
Scripture. They indicate a change of direction. ...What does the word
but force me to do? To go back to the preceding
context... The flip side of comparison is contrast—things that are
unlike. We could say that in Bible study, as in love, opposites
attract. At least, they attract the eye of the observant reader. There
are several ways the biblical writers signify contrast. The word
but is a clue that a change of direction is coming. (Living
by the Book. Chicago: Moody Press)
Vance Havner quipped that
a good woman is the best thing on earth. Women were last at the cross
and first at the open tomb. The church owes a debt to her faithful
women which she can never estimate, to say nothing of the debt we owe
in our homes to godly wives and mothers.
Individuals who were converted from
an idolatrous Gentile background include such major figures as Abram
(Genesis 12), Naaman the leper (2Kings 5:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,
16, 17, 18, 19), Rahab (Jos 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, See especially Scarlet Thread in Jos 2:18,
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24), Ruth (Ru 1:16, 17, 18), and the sailors on board the
ship from Joppa to Tarshish (Jonah 1:16). Examples of national or
corporate conversion include Judah in the time of Asa (2Chr 14:2, 3, 4;
15:12, 13, 14, 15) and the city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10).
ENTREAT ME NOT TO LEAVE
by Fanny Crosby
Entreat me not to leave thee,
My heart goes with thee now;
Why turn my footsteps homeward?
No friend so dear as thou!
Thy heart has borne my sorrow,
And I have wept for thine;
And now how can I leave thee?
Oh, let thy lot be mine.
Entreat me not to leave thee,
Entreat me not to leave thee,
Or to return from following after thee;
For where thou goest I will go,
And where thou lodgest I will lodge;
Thy people shall be my people,
And thy God my God,
Thy people shall be my people,
And thy God my God.
I’ll follow where thou leadest;
My love will cling to thee;
And where thy head is pillowed,
My nightly rest shall be;
Thy birthplace and thy kindred
I’ll cherish like my own;
Thy God shall be my refuge,
I’ll worship at His throne.
Where death’s cold hand shall find thee,
There let my eyelids close,
And, in the grave beside thee,
This mortal frame repose:
Oh, do not now entreat me;
No friend so dear as thou;
My heart would break in anguish
If I should leave thee now.
FOR WHERE YOU GO, I WILL GO (2Sa
15:21; Mt 8:19; Jn 13:37; Rev 14:4):
In effect, Ruth was forsaking
all that she had ever known to follow the one true God. She was
following in the footsteps of Abraham, who had forsaken his family and
his homeland in response to God’s command (Ge 12:1, 2, 3, 4, He 11:8,
9 -see notes
Although not as famous,
Scripture records the commitment of another foreigner named Ittai
the Gittite a Philistine was in a group of 600 men from Gath who had
come to the side of David in Jerusalem. As King David fled Jerusalem,
this group of 600 marched by David who then addressed Ittai saying
will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are
a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place. You came only
yesterday, and shall I today make you wander with us, while I go where
I will? Return and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with
you." And here although the context is not the same, we see Ittai's
loyalty to David for he "answered the king and said, "As the LORD
lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king
may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will
be." Therefore David said to Ittai, "Go and pass over." So Ittai the
Gittite passed over with all his men and all the little ones (their
families) who were with him." (2Sa 15:19, 20, 21, 22)
Later when David organized and
numbered the army at Mahanaim, Ittai was given command of a third part
of the force, and seems to have enjoyed equal rank with Joab and
Abishai (2Sa 18:2,5,12).
Compare Ruth's famous commitment with Peter's
"Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay
down my life for You." (Jn 13:37)
Peter however momentarily shrank back (Mt
26:75), but did eventually follow through, tradition teaching that he
was crucified upside down (cf
WHERE YOU LODGE, I WILL LODGE:
Every place you go, I will go. Every place you live, I will live (ICB)
where you take your rest I will take my rest (BBE)
She did not know if she was
going to a cottage or if she would even have a place to lay her head,
so total was her sweet surrender. This is reminiscent of Jesus' reply
to those professed a desire to follow Him.
A certain scribe came and said to Him "Teacher, I will follow You
wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and
the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay
His head. (Mt 8:19, 20)
Ruth was willing to follow Naomi wherever it led!
YOUR PEOPLE SHALL BE MY PEOPLE:
(Ruth 2:11; 12 Ps 45:10; Isa 14:1)
As Boaz reiterates in the next
chapter, Ruth "left (her) father and (her) mother and
the land of (her) birth, and came to a people that (she)
did not previously know" (Ru 2:11-note)
and sought refuge under the wings of "the LORD, the God of Israel"
Boaz's declaration implies that Ruth's parents were still alive,
making her commitment to the "Chosen People" even more striking.
Ruth as a foreigner or “sojourner” was entitled to certain privileges such as the right to glean the harvest fields (Lv
However, Ruth was not simply a foreigner, but a Moabite and the Law stated that no Moabite could “enter the assembly of the Lord...forever” (Dt
23:3) because of what the Moabites had done to Israel
during the wilderness journey (Nu 22-25;
Nu 31:15, 16).
Moabites were so abhorred that Jews were forbidden even to
“seek their peace (or) their prosperity” (Dt. 23:6).
Whether she was aware of this is unknown.
her thoughts go farther than simple
association with Israel; she identifies herself with the people,
whatever their state might be, in order to belong to the God of
Israel, the true God who does not change: “Thy people shall be my
people, and thy God my God.”
YOUR GOD, MY GOD:
(Jos 24:18; Da 2:47; 3:29; 4:37; Ho 13:4; 2Co 6:16;17, 18, 1Th 1:9-note)
Thy God, my God - Ruth makes this confession
during the days of the judges when the majority of the "chosen people"
chose to forsake the living God and cleave to dead idols.
Ruth's affirmation is similar to the picture of repentance among the Thessalonians who
heard the gospel
For they themselves report about us (Paul, Silvanus, Timothy 1Th 1:1)
what kind of a reception we had with you and how you turned to
God from idols to serve a living and true God (1Th 1:9-note)
Ruth's action of turning from the idols
of Moab and unto Jehovah is an excellent illustration of the meaning of
genuine Biblical repentance (click
It has been well said that faith is not
only believing in spite of evidence but obeying in spite of the consequence.
Ruth and Esther point the way to that kind of dynamic and exciting
faith and all believers do well to emulate their excellent example. True faith is
not based on empirical evidence but on divine assurance (He 11:1-note)
and ''is the gift of God'' (Ep 2:8-note)
characterize Ruth's words this way:
Put the sweet figure of the
Moabitess beside the heroes of the Book of Judges, and we feel the
contrast. But is there anything in its pages more truly heroic than
her deed, as she turned her back on the blue hills of Moab, and chose
the joyless lot of the widowed companion of a widow aged and poor, in
a land of strangers, the enemies of her country and its gods? It is
easier far to rush on the spears of the foe, amid the whirl and
excitement of battle, than to choose with open eyes so dreary a
lifelong path. The gentleness of a true woman covers a courage of the
patient, silent sort, which, in its meek steadfastness, is nobler than
the contempt of personal danger, which is vulgarly called bravery. It
is harder to endure than to strike. The supreme type of heroic, as of
all, virtue is Jesus Christ, whose gentleness was the velvet glove on
the iron hand of an inflexible will. Of that best kind of heroes there
are few brighter examples, even in the annals of the Church which
numbers its virgin martyrs by the score, than this sweet figure of
Ruth, as the eager vow comes from her young lips, which had already
tasted sorrow, and were ready to drink its bitterest cup at the call
of duty. She may well teach us to rectify our judgments, and to
recognise the quiet heroism of many a modest life of uncomplaining
suffering. Her example has a special message to women, and exhorts
them to see to it that, in the cultivation of the so-called womanly
excellence of gentleness, they do not let it run into weakness, nor,
on the other hand, aim at strength, to the loss of meekness. The
yielding birch tree, the 'lady of the woods,' bends in all its elastic
branches and tossing ringlets of foliage to the wind; but it stands
upright after storms that level oaks and pines. God's strength is
gentle strength, and ours is like His when it is meek and lowly,
like that of the 'strong Son of God.'...
How many hearts, since Ruth spoke
her vow, have found in it the words that fitted their love best! How
often they have been repeated by quivering lips, and heard as music by
loving ears! How solemn, and even awful, is that perennial freshness
of words which came hot and broken by tears, from lips that have long
ago mouldered into dust! What has made them thus 'enduring for ever,'
is that they express most purely the self-sacrifice which is essential
to all noble love. The very inmost longing of love is to give itself
away to the object beloved. It is not so much a desire to acquire as
to bestow, or, rather, the antithesis of giving and receiving melts
into one action which has a twofold motion,--one outwards, to give;
one inwards, to receive. To love is to give one's self away, therefore
all lesser givings are its food and delight; and, when Ruth threw
herself on Naomi's withered breast, and sobbed out her passionate
resolve, she was speaking the eternal language of love, and claiming
Naomi for her own, in the very act of giving herself to Naomi, Human
love should be the parent of all self-sacrificing as of all heroic
virtues; and in our homes we do not live in love, as we ought, unless
it leads us to the daily exercise of self-suppression and surrender,
which is not felt to be loss but the natural expression of our love,
which it would be a crime against it, and a pain to ourselves, to
withhold. If Ruth's temper lived in our families, they would be true
'houses of God' and 'gates of heaven.' (Click)
How did Ruth know Naomi's God
("your God")? Clearly Naomi’s relationship with
God had had an impact on Ruth. The application is clear --
Can people look at your life, as Ruth looked at Naomi’s, and say
"I want your God to be my God!"?
Our trust in God, and turning
towards Him in tough times (as exemplified by Naomi who still
blesses/prays for them in the name of Jehovah - Ru 1:8, 9), will often be the very thing that draws
others to the Lord. Let’s be the kind of persons who draw others to
us, and through our friendship, to our God.
Spurgeon draws out this application
was a very brave, outspoken confession of faith. Please to notice that
it was made by a woman, a young woman, a poor woman, a widow woman,
and a foreigner. Remembering all that, I should think there is no
condition of gentleness, or of obscurity, or of poverty, or of sorrow,
which should prevent anybody from making an open confession of
allegiance to God when faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has been
exercised. If that is your experience, then whoever you may be, you
will find an opportunity, somewhere or other, of declaring that you
are on the Lord’s side."
(Click Surgeon's sermon on
Ruth 1:16: Deciding for God)
Looking at these events from a slightly different light, the events
suggest that ten years of Naomi’s "compromise" in Moab was
not accompanied by Ruth confessing the God of Israel. Yet as soon as Naomi says,
"I’m going back to the God of Israel and put my fate in His hands"
Ruth stands with her. Do you see an application to your own life? If
we think we will persuade our friends or
relatives to come to Jesus by our compromise, we are mistaken. We may be very
sincere, albeit sincerely mistaken. Only a Spirit emboldened stand for Jesus
is what we must exhibit.
"Ah! you will never win any soul
to the right by a compromise with the wrong. It is decision for Christ
and his truth that has the greatest power in the family, and the
greatest power in the world, too."
Do you have unsaved family members?
Most of us do.
The important lesson is to remember that you should not try to coerce or coax them into the
kingdom by a watered down or compromised "Christian"
message. Don't make the word of
Christ, the word of the Cross void (empty) of its life giving power (1Cor
Maclaren adds that...
We hear in Ruth's words also that
forsaking of all things which is an essential of all true religion. We
have said that it was difficult to separate, in the words, the effects
of love to Naomi from those of adoption of Naomi's faith. Apparently
Ruth's adhesion to the worship of Jehovah was originally due to her
love for her mother-in-law. It is in order to be one with her in all
things that she says, 'Thy God shall be my God.' And it was because
Jehovah was Naomi's God that Ruth chose Him for hers. But whatever the
origin of her faith, it was genuine and robust enough to bear the
strain of casting Chemosh and the gods of Moab behind her, and setting
herself with full purpose of heart to seek the Lord. Abandoning them
was digging an impassable gulf between herself and all her past, with
its friendships, loves, and habits. She is one of the first, and not
the least noble, of the long series of those who 'suffer the loss of
all things, and count them but dung, that they may win' God for their
dearest treasure. We have seen how, in her, human love wrought
self-sacrifice. But it was not human love alone that did it. The cord
that drew her was twisted of two strands, and her love to Naomi melted
into her love of Naomi's God. Blessed they who are drawn to the
knowledge and love of the fountain of all love in heaven by the
sweetness of the characters of His representatives in their homes, and
who feel that they have learned to know God by seeing Him in dear
ones, whose tenderness has revealed His, and whose gracious words have
spoken of His grace! If Ruth teaches us that we must give up all,
in order truly to follow the Lord, the way by which she came to her
religion may teach us how great are the possibilities, and
consequently the duties, of Christians to the members of their own
families. If we had more elder women like Naomi, we should have more
younger women like Ruth. (Bolding added) (Click)
Committed To Serve
Wherever you go, I will go; . .
. your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. —Ruth 1:16
The best-known words of Ruth are
most often heard at weddings, even though they were spoken by a
grieving young widow to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth said, "Wherever
you go, I will go; and
wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (see note
Ruth had no legal or cultural responsibility to Naomi, who also was a
widow and had no means of support. No one would have blamed Ruth for
staying with her own people in Moab where the chances of remarriage
Naomi even urged Ruth to stay, but Ruth was determined to go with her
to Judah, and to follow her God. Ruth's unselfish devotion was
considered worthy of praise. Boaz, Ruth's future husband, told her,
"It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your
mother-in-law since the death of your husband . . . . The Lord repay
your work" (Ru 2:11, 12-Ru2:11;
Promises spoken at a wedding are full of hope and meaning, but Ruth's
words have survived the centuries because of her unwavering commitment
to God and a person in need. She points us to the value of loving
sacrifice for the Lord, and to His rich blessing on all who give
themselves unselfishly to others. —David C. McCasland (Our
Daily Bread - Committed To Serve)
Searching to know
life's true meaning?
You'll find it in only one way:
Serving the Lord with commitment
And living for others each day. —Branon
A life filled with love for the Lord
and for others is a fulfilling
Choices (Ruth 1:11-18) - A friend once told me:
"Joe, I’ve come to realize that my life is not made by the dreams that
I dream but by the choices that I make."note).
mother-in-law Naomi told them they should go home. She didn’t want
them to feel any obligation to her, in spite of the fact that her loss
was far greater. She had lost her own husband and both of her sons.
Count on it: You will have plenty of choices in life. And usually they
boil down to a choice between "What do I want?" and "What’s best for
After their husbands died, Ruth and Orpah were faced with a strategic
choice (Ru 1:11-
Orpah and Ruth could either go home and start a new life, or stay with
Naomi to help her in a time of great need. They knew very well that
the latter choice would probably mean living in a foreign land as
widows for the rest of their lives, since few Jewish men would want to
marry a foreign woman.
Ruth chose to serve the needs of Naomi rather than to serve herself.
Orpah chose to leave Naomi for what she thought would be a better
life. Ruth went on to play a significant role in Jewish history and
became an ancestor of Jesus (Mt 1:5). (Our
Daily Bread - Choices)
Make the best choice. Choose to serve others. —Joe Stowell
When we’re involved in serving
And meeting others’ needs,
We’re imitating Jesus
In thoughts and words and deeds. —Fitzhugh
Serve God by serving others.
Thy people shall
be my people, and thy God my
The Book of Ruth stands in striking
contrast to the Book of Judges, and especially to the last five
chapters thereof. The story which it tells illustrates the truth that
God has never left Himself without witness. It is an idyll of
faith-fulness amid infidelity. It has, moreover, the value of being a
link in the chain of history, showing how God moved forward to the
central things of
His redeeming purpose through faithful souls. The choice of Ruth,
here recorded, in its devotion and in the very manner in which she
expressed it, has become enshrined in the heart of humanity. With
constant recurrence her language has been employed to express the
fidelity of love. The younger woman found her heart closely knit to
the older one, and she declined to be severed from her in the pathway
that lay before her, choosing to share whatever the future might have
in store for the one upon whom her love was set. While all this is
true, it does not touch the deepest note. It is patent that Ruth's
love for Naomi was created by the new faith which she had learned from
The deepest note in her
expression of devotion was: "Thy God, my God." It is a beautiful
illustration of how a quiet, strong fidelity to God produces faith in
Him on the part of others. Happy indeed are we, if our life is such as
to compel some soul to say, "Thy God shall be my God."
This is what Naomi had done for
Ruth. This result is never obtained by the witness of the lips, save
as that is vindicated and reinforced by the witness of life. (Morgan,
G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
Ruth 1:17 "Where
die, I will
there I will be
Thus may the
do to me, and
if anything but
parts you and me."
GWT: Wherever you die, I will die, and I
will be buried there with you. May the LORD strike me down if anything
but death separates you and me!" (GWT)
And where you die, I will die. And there I will be buried. I ask the
Lord to punish me terribly if I do not keep this promise: Only death
will separate us. (ICB:
KJV: Where thou diest, will I
die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also,
if ought but death part thee and me.
NLT: I will die where you die and will
be buried there. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything
but death to separate us!" (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Where thou diest I die, and there I am buried; thus doth Jehovah to
me, and thus doth He add -- for death itself doth part between me and
Septuagint: And wherever
thou die, I will die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do
so to me, and more also, if I leave thee, for death only shall
divide between me and thee
WHERE YOU DIE I WILL DIE
THERE I WILL BE BURIED:
Ruth is identifying totally with
Naomi, which is a perfect picture of covenant wherein two become one
and co-mingle their lives. But remember that commitment comes with a
THUS MAY THE LORD DO TO ME AND WORSE IF ANYTHING BUT DEATH PARTS YOU AND ME:
“thus the Lord will do to me and thus he will add—certainly death
will separate me and you.” (NET)
ask the Lord to punish me terribly if I do not keep this promise: Only
death will separate us"
LORD do to me and worse
is a familiar oath formula (1Sa 3:17; 25:22; 2Sa 3:9;35 19:13;
1Ki 2:23; 19:2; 20:10; 2Ki 6:31). The speaker calls for a terrible
fate to befall someone if the oath is not fulfilled. Ruth therefore
pronounces a curse upon herself, elevating the preceding promise to a
formal, unconditional level. If she is not faithful to her promise,
she agrees to become an object of divine judgment. (Acts 20:24)
name of God,
Jehovah, for the first and only time in this
self-imprecation. Her commitment of no separation even by death
may refer to the Israelite custom of burying members of the same
family in a family tomb.
Ruth is a good Old Testament illustration of total surrender similar
to that seen with the Apostle Paul who said
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all
things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ
One lesson from this section is that the people of God are spiritually
defined. Ruth is a daughter of Moab, an "unnatural branch"
(Ro 11:20, 21-note,
Ro 11:22, 23, 24 -note)
and yet becomes an
heir of the righteousness which is according to
faith. (He 11:7-note,
cp Ga 3:7, 29, Ro 4:11-note,
Paul emphasized that
he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that
which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly;
and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by
the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Ro 2:28,
Devotional from Today in the
One of the most delightful and
endearing stories in the last decade is Driving Miss Daisy. It’s the
story of a friendship that develops over a twenty-to thirty-year
period between a man and a woman. What makes the story so touching is
that this is a totally improbable relationship! Hoke Colburn is a
chauffeur; Daisy Werthan is a woman who does not want a chauffeur. He
is black; she is white. He is poor; she is wealthy. He is a Christian;
she is Jewish. He is illiterate; she is educated and well-read. He is
warm and friendly; she is cold and
He is “the hired help”; she is “the boss.” And yet by the end of the
story, Miss Daisy says, “Hoke, you’re my best friend.”
We may be
tempted to dismiss such an unlikely friendship as mere fantasy; yet
the Scriptures show us that such relationships are possible. Consider
the Old Testament book of Ruth. Despite cultural, religious and
generational differences, despite economic hardship, tragedy, and the
age-old “in-law” factor, these two women--Ruth and Naomi--developed a
close relationship marked by genuine concern. A number of factors
contribute to their closeness.
First, they spent a lot of time
together (Ru 1:4-note). Good relationships always take time to develop.
Second, their relationship was marked by a vital spirituality (Ru 1:6,
8, 9, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, see
It is even possible that Naomi led Ruth to faith in Yahweh! (Today
in the Word)
Ruth 1:18 When she
saw that she was
go with her, she
no more to her.
GWT: When Naomi saw that Ruth was
determined to go with her, she ended the conversation. (GWT)
KJV: When she saw that she was
stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
Young's Literal: And she seeth that she is strengthening herself to go with her, and
she ceaseth to speak unto her;
Septuagint: And Noemin
seeing that she was determined to go with her, ceased to speak
to her any more
WHEN SHE SAW THAT
SHE WAS DETERMINED: (Acts 21:14)
"She had made herself strong"
"she is strengthening herself
to go with her" (Young's Literal)
"she persisted in,"
"strong in her purpose"
"had made up her mind"
"she was steadfastly minded" (KJV)
The Hebrew verb
means to stiffen one's self firmly upon a thing which
pictures Ruth as strong in her resolve and steadfast in her
determination not to go back to her own country, but to go forward
with Naomi to the degree that
nothing could move her from her firm purpose of mind.
Paul when he had
all things as loss in view of the surpassing value of
knowing Christ Jesus" (see note
determined "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and
reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for
the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (see notes
Women and men of strength of character are people of determination and
focus. May we all be challenged and motivated by their godly examples to
In a devotional
Our Daily Bread
Oh, that men
would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness --Psalm 107:8-note
One of the most beautiful confessions of love in all of
literature is the one Ruth made to Naomi. In vowing to return to
Israel with her, Ruth pledged, "Wherever you go, I will go; and
wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my
people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and
there will I be buried" (see note
But suppose Naomi had said to herself, "Ruth's just a gold
digger. What she really wants is to get into Israel to marry a
wealthy Hebrew. I'm just her passport in."
If Naomi had doubted Ruth's good intentions and rejected her
kindness, she would have lost out on blessings she never could
But that's exactly what we do when we fail to trust God's
goodness. We stop believing He will do what is best for us. And
as the saying goes, once the well is poisoned, all the water is
James 1:16, 17-notes states, "Do not be deceived . . . . Every perfect
gift is from above, and comes down from the Father." Once we
doubt God's goodness, some of His best gifts--like trials that
help us to mature--will seem like bad ones.
Don't doubt God's goodness and poison the wellspring of blessing
He has for you. --H W Robinson
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
of God's goodness, His faithfulness too,
Leave no room for doubting and fear;
His Word is the Water of Life pure and true,
Refreshing and cooling and clear. --Hess
We poison the well
when we don't think well of God's goodness.
Johnstown Flood - Your
people shall be my people, and your God, my God. —Ruth 1:16
On May 31, 1889, a massive
rainstorm filled Lake Conemaugh in Pennsylvania until its dam finally
gave way. A wall of water 40 feet high traveling at 40 mph rushed down
the valley toward the town of Johnstown. The torrent picked up
buildings, animals, and human beings and sent them crashing down the
spillway. When the lake had emptied itself, debris covered 30 acres,
and 2,209 people were dead.
At first, stunned by the loss of property and loved ones, survivors
felt hopeless. But later, community leaders gave speeches about how
local industry and homes could be rebuilt. This acted like a healing
balm, and the survivors energetically got to work. Johnstown was
rebuilt and today is a thriving town with a population of
The Bible tells us that when Naomi despaired over the loss of her
husband and sons, her daughter-in-law Ruth refused to leave her.
Instead, Ruth focused on God, her relationships, and the future. God
rewarded her faith by providing for them and making Ruth an ancestor
of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5-16).
After a tragic loss, we should look at the resources and relationships
that remain and trust God to use them. This can inspire the hope of
rebuilding a new life. — Dennis Fisher (Our
Daily Bread - Johnstown Flood)
Beyond the losses of this life
That cause us to despair
New hope is born within our heart
Because our God is there. —D. De Haan
No one is hopeless whose hope is in God.
Spurgeon applies these truths
"O you dear young friends who
want to be Christians, how glad we are when we see that you are
steadfastly minded to go with the people of God! There are so many who
are quickly hot and quickly cold,—soon excited towards good things,
and almost as speedily their ardor cools, and they go back into the
world. Do ask the Lord to make you steadfastly minded. This is one of
the best frames of mind for any of us to be in."
TO GO WITH HER SHE SAID NO MORE TO HER:
ended the conversation."
"she stopped urging her" (NIV)
The Hebrew means “she
ceased speaking to her” not implying that Naomi was completely
silent but that she stopped trying to convince her to go back to Moab.
Biblical Illustrator suggest an
application regarding Naomi's actions:
"After proof and trial made
of their fidelity we are to trust our brethren, without any further
suspicion. Not to try before we trust is want of wisdom; not to trust
after we have tried is want of charity. The goldsmith must purify the
dross and ore from the gold, but he must be wary lest he makes waste
of good metal if over-curious in too often refining. We may search and
sound the sincerity of our brethren, but after good experience made of
their uprightness we must take heed lest by continual sifting and
proving them we offend a weak Christian."
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