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Ruth 1:6: Then she
arose with her
that she might
return from the
Moab, for she
heard in the
Moab that the
Then she arose with
her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab:
for she had heard in the country of Moab how that Jehovah had visited
his people in giving them bread.
and her daughters-in-law got ready to go back from the country of
Moab, for news had come to her in the country of Moab that the Lord,
in mercy for his people, had given them food.
CEV: When Naomi heard that the LORD had
given his people a good harvest, she and her two daughters-in-law got
ready to leave Moab and go to Judah. As they were on their way there,
and her daughters-in-law started on the way back from the country of
Moab. (While they were still in Moab she heard that the LORD had come
to help his people and give them food. (GWT)
arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the
country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the
LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
NIV: When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid
of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her
daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. (NIV
And she riseth, she and her daughters-in-law, and turneth back from
the fields of Moab, for she hath heard in the fields of Moab that God
hath looked after His people, --to give to them bread.
artous (Click here
for explanation of
abbreviations in parentheses after each verb)
Septuagint: And she rose up and her two daughters-in-law, and they returned
out of the country of Moab, for she heard in the country of Moab
that the Lord had visited his people to give them bread.
THEN SHE AROSE:
(quwm/qum) from a root word which describes the physical action
or rising up or standing as the result of rising up.
same phrase was used to describe David's arising and moving on after his
first son's death...
"But when David saw that his
servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was
dead; so David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said,
"He is dead. So David arose (6965)
(quwm/qum) from the ground, washed, anointed himself,
and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and
worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they
set food before him and he ate." (2Sa 12:19, 20).
Jehovah had "surely seen the affliction of" (cf
Ex 3:7 3:8) Naomi and so moves heaven and earth (rain, sun, fruitful
grain harvest) to inspire Naomi to move on.
There is a time when we
must choose to RISE UP and lay hold of what we have been laid hold of by Christ
for. we must forget
"what lies behind and (reach) forward to
what lies ahead...(pressing) on toward the goal for the prize of
the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (see note
We must make a decision of our
imperative - an command to
be carried out even with a sense of urgency) the hands (the
author has just given a lengthy discourse on divine discipline which is
not joyful at the moment we are experiencing it) that are weak and the knees that are
feeble, and make straight paths for (our) feet" (Heb 12:12,13-note).
Run Naomi run to
Keeping God and learn by your experience the truth that
"no good thing...
from those who walk uprightly"..."for the LORD God is a sun and
shield. Jehovah gives grace and glory." (Ps 84:11-note)
"grace is sufficient for you
(Naomi and for you dear reader), for (His)
dunamis is perfected in (our) weakness"..."when (we
are) weak, then (we are) strong." (2Cor 12:9, 10)
How important it is for us to look expectantly for the hand of the LORD in every event
in our life. He is in the process
of training up His children to full maturity, that we "may share His
holiness" (Heb 12:10, 11-note)
and be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Ro 8:29-note), the Perfecter
(Finisher) of the race of life (He 12:2-note).
So keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as you
"walk through the valley of the shadow of death" (Ps 23:4-note),
as your dreams die and all earthly hope seems lost. Recall to your mind
God's promise of His faithfulness (Lam 3:21, 22, 23, 24) even when the
clouds seem to hide Him. That's when faith walks out and takes God at
His Word (Heb 11:6-note)
and is enabled to see "Him Who is unseen" (Heb 11:27).
"God is in the heavens. He does
whatever He pleases" (Ps 115:3-note)
exercising His sovereignty, orchestrating events behind the scenes and
all the while allowing each individual free will to make the decisions
that determine destiny.
Naomi's decision would indeed
determine the destiny of Ruth and of many who would come after her. Let
us thank God that she arose from her grieving and moved toward God,
although had she chosen not to do so, God's purpose of raising up a
Redeemer would not have been thwarted (Job 42:2)
(Study the "Attributes
Matthew Henry calls our attention to
good affection Naomi bore to the land of Israel" specifically noting
that "Though she could not stay in it while the famine lasted,
she would not stay out of it when the famine ceased. Though the
country of Moab had afforded her shelter and supply in a time of need,
yet she did not intend it should be her rest for ever"
for as Henry rightly observes "no land should be that but the holy
land, in which the sanctuary of God was, of which He had said, "This is
My resting place for ever and ever" (Ps 132:14-note,
NIV) Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of her two sons.
When death comes into a family, it ought to reform what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter
to us, that heaven may be made dear."
WITH HER DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW THAT SHE MIGHT RETURN
(turn back) FROM THE LAND OF MOAB:
"she turneth back from the fields of Moab" (YLT)
she and her daughters-in-law got ready to go back from the country of
The word for "her daughters-in-law" is literally "her brides" or the
brides of her sons. "Land of Moab" is more accurately the "fields of
Moab". It's interesting that in the fields of Moab where
the grain was grown that Naomi learned there was food in the fields of Israel.
is the Hebrew verb shub which conveys the basic meaning of movement, spatially or spiritually
and is variously translated turn back, restore and repent.
Scripture is replete with picturesque idioms emphasizing man's responsibility
in repentance -
"incline your heart unto the Lord
your God" (Josh 24:23)
yourselves to the LORD & remove the foreskins of your heart" (Jer
your heart from evil O Jerusalem, that you may be saved. How long
will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you?" (Jer 4:14)
"break up your fallow ground (usually
cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season),
for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on
you" (Hos 10:12).
the central role of our heart. All these expressions of man's
pictured in the Hebrew verb shub which combines the two requisites of
repentance -- turn
from evil and turn to God and to good. However lest we forget that even
repentance is a gift of His grace, we need to be mindful
"think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance
and patience" for it is "the kindness of God leads
(us) to repentance" (Ro 2:4-note)
Repenters always find God has the
welcome mat out.
Is it possible for someone who has
dwelt in a "distant land" for many years to come home again? The
answer is always "yes". Speaking to rebellious Israel God
"though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white
as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."
wandered away from God? (And which of us can honestly say "Not me, no
never"!) Do you think you been away too long? Do you fear His response
if you were to return now?
Take heart for Jesus Who is
yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Heb 13:8-note)
"the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out." (John
Even as God was leading Naomi back , He had affirmed to Jacob
I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back
(shub) to this land for I will not leave you until I have done what I
have promised you." (Genesis 28:15)
In both Naomi's and Jacob's "returns" God was working out His
sovereign purpose of redemption.
Bible Knowledge Commentary observes
is a key word in Ruth. Hebrew forms of this word are used several times
in this first chapter. Here is an apt illustration of repentance.
Naomi reversed the direction she and her husband had taken. She turned
away from Moab and the errors of the past. She turned her back on the
tragic graves of her loved ones and headed back to Judah, her homeland."
J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible knowledge
commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).
To where was Naomi returning?
To Israel. To her God. To her people.
Have circumstances occurred in
your life that have caused you to meander off the path and into "Moab"?
Will you "remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent
and do the deeds you did at first"? (Rev 2:5-note)
by what transpired in the next 3 chapters in Naomi's life, you can be
"confident...that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until
the day of Christ Jesus." (Php 1:6-note)
every person ever born was at one time in the "land of Moab",
helplessly mired in sin, engaged in idolatrous practices and at
continual enmity with the
Almighty (Ro 5:6, 8, 10-notes
Today in the Word
A book recently tackled one of life's
minor puzzles--how do homing pigeons find their way home? The answer
seems to be: we're not sure. One theory is that young pigeons develop an
""odor map"" by smelling odors that are carried to their homes on the
winds from various directions. Another theory is that the birds use the
earth's magnetic field to determine course and position. Whatever
technique homing pigeons use, their instincts are uncanny. They always
finish their journeys in the right place...The Bible is filled with
stories of people who did and of those who did not finish well. They
have much to teach us....The story of Ruth gets us off to a great start.
This young woman from Moab definitely finished well. She became the
great-grandmother of David. Ruth's name is on a short list of women
singled out for special mention in the genealogy of Jesus. She was part
of the Savior's royal bloodline and is therefore a background figure in
the Christmas story. (Today
in the Word)
FOR SHE HAD HEARD IN THE LAND OF MOAB THAT THE LORD HAD VISITED
(Ge 21:1; 50:25; Ex 3:16; 4:31; 1Sa 2:21; Lk 1:68; 19:44; 1Pe 2:12-note):
This is the first mention of God's
covenant Name, Jehovah (I Am) in a way that clearly acknowledges He is
sovereign and in control of the affairs of both individuals and nations.
(Ru 1:13, 21, 2:20, 4:12, 13, 14, 15- see notes
What is so beautiful about Ruthís story is that it never loses sight of
Jehovah, Whose covenant love assures the culmination of this short story
and of all history exactly as He has purposed. As you take time to
linger and meditate on this narrative jewel, you will find the presence
of the "Author and Perfecter" radiating forth from every verse and your
faith will be encouraged to hold fast to the One Who is "I Am".
God is not a
"genie" but He is truly the great I Am. He is anything and everything
we will ever
need no matter how dark our circumstances or how hopeless our outlook.
The key is to glance at your circumstances but gaze at your God, and
your "uplook" will change the perspective of your "outlook"!
Naomi may have felt like God had
dealt bitterly but she still sought His face even in the midst of her
dark despair! What a challenging lesson for us all. Even when we are feeling hopeless,
we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on our circumstances. Then we need
to behave according to what
He leads us to do. In this case He was leading Naomi to return to home and
ultimately to her
Kinsman-Redeemer. She may have been
emotionally downtrodden but she
retained her hope in God. Paul experiencing suffering chose a similar
know Whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to keep
that which I have entrusted to Him until that day". (2Ti 1:12-note)
God's people need to
learn from the
"perseverance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope!" (Ro
When Naomi was finding life bleak, Ruth chose to stand by her
mother-in-law rather than leave her to face the journey into
the future all alone. Ruth's steadfast commitment to
Naomi was God's provision to enable her to endure. Naomi was discovering
the glorious truth that
"No temptation (test) has overtaken
you but such as is common to man and God is faithful, Who will not allow
you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation (test) will provide the way of escape also, that you
may be able to endure it (not that you may be able to
"escape it"!)." (1Corinthians 10:13-note)
God's provision of bread in Israel and Ruth in Moab provided
of escape for Naomi. And He will do the same for you in your hour of
testing. Beloved, trust in
with all your heart and don't lean on your own ways in your hour of
means primarily to pay attention to or to observe with care or interest.
For example Moses gives us a record of the faithfulness and power of God
in keeping His promise and providing an heir miraculously through Sarah: ...
"Then (always ask -
when is "then"?) the LORD took note (paqad)
of Sarah as He had said (when God gives a promise beloved, He keeps it!), and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised
(note repetition for emphasis = "He had said" ~ "He had promised")."
Again in Genesis as Joseph is
about to fall asleep, to the very end firmly trusting in God to
carry out His promise (to bring them back to Canaan - a promise God
fulfilled 4 centuries later in the exodus) and thus declaring to his
"I am about to die, but God will
surely take care (paqad - NIV = "surely come to your aid")
of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on
oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. Then Joseph made the sons of
Israel swear, saying, "God will surely take care take care (paqad
- NIV = "surely come to your aid", "doth certainly inspect you" YLT,
"will surely visit you", NKJV) of you, and you shall carry my bones up
from here." (Genesis 50:24, 25)
mean to visit for good or for evil. The visit was for good in the
and is paraphrased with this meaning by the NIV which renders it
"the LORD (Jehovah)
had come to the aid of His people"
David cried out
"Remember me, O LORD, in Thy favor
toward Thy people.
Visit (paqad) me with
Thy salvation." (Ps 106:4-note)
In sum, paqad conveys the idea that Jehovah directs His
attention to His people, inquires into their state and is thus informed
and able to take steps to meet their need. God was not deaf or blind
to Naomi's suffering, even as He had not been deaf to the groaning of
Israel oppressed under the cruel hand of Pharaoh, for as Moses writes
was concerned (paqad) about the sons of Israel and...He had seen their
affliction" (Exodus 4:31)
About the same time that "Jehovah visited
His people" in
Bethlehem, another barren downcast Hebrew woman had a "visit"
(paqad) Hannah and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two
daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD."
The Greek verb used by the
(LXX) to translate
episkeptomai (see word study)
(1980) (epi =
upon + skťptomai = looking at or paying attention to) which has
the idea of going to see with the goal of relieving distress, sickness
or bondage. The verb often described the visiting of the sick and in the
NT almost exclusively refers to a visitation for good. The idea is to
look upon one in distress with mercy, favor or regard.
James uses episkeptomai to
"define" real religion writing that...
This is pure and undefiled religion
in the sight of our God and Father, to visit (episkeptomai)
orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by
the world. (James 1:27-note)
For example, in Luke we find
"Zacharias...filled with the Holy Spirit
(prophesying)..."Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has
(episkeptomai) us and accomplished redemption
- word study) (how? by
sending a Kinsman-Redeemer!) for His people, and has raised up
a horn of salvation (Messiah) for us in the house of David (a
descendent from the line of Boaz and Ruth) His servant...78
Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on
high shall visit
(Luke 1:67, 68, 69, 78)
What a fascinating parallel between Luke and Ruth, where God's
draws Naomi back to Bethlehem where Jehovah would accomplish redemption for Ruth and place her in the line of
the Redeemer of Israel and all mankind. Naomi had eyes to
recognize and a heart to respond to the "Lord's
and was rewarded.
Centuries later Israel is recompensed for failure to
Luke recording Jesus' "Triumphal Entry" into Jerusalem...
"And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying "If you had known in this day, (the
specific day = see comment below) even you, the things
which make for peace! (See comment below - when a king entered a city on
a donkey it was for peace! A white horse signified war = see Messiah's
return Rev 19:11f-note)
But now they have been hidden from your eyes. "For the days shall come
upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround
you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you (Jerusalem) to the
ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one
stone upon another (this prophecy fulfilled in 70AD with Roman
destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple), because you did not recognize
the time of your
(Luke 19:41, 42, 43, 44)
Comment: Daniel 9:25,
clearly predicted the visitation of the Messiah to Jerusalem, and there
is good support for the fact that Daniel's prophecy specified the exact
day the Messiah entered Jerusalem on "Psalm Sunday" mounted on a donkey
being welcomed by the cry from the multitudes of "Blessed is the King
Who comes in the name of the Lord", quoting Ps 118:6-note.
In 1894 Sir
Robert Anderson in his monumental
The Coming Prince
- click book, [independently confirmed by the study of
Dallas Theological Seminary professor Dr Harold Hoehner in 1976]
calculated from Da 9:25, 26-note that following the decree to rebuild
Jerusalem in 445BC in Neh 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 until Messiah, the Prince was
177,880 days which coincided with the very day Jesus entered Jerusalem
-- Palm Sunday -- riding on a donkey fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of
Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and
endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt,
the foal of a donkey." -- Zech 9:9
Finally Peter reminds us that the certainty of the Lord's "visitation"
should motivate godly behavior, exhorting saints to
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in
which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good
deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of
(the related noun episkope, used for public office of an overseer and
gives us our English "Episcopal" ) (1Pe 2:12-note)
found some 127 times and is used almost exclusively
to describe a visitation for good or looking toward someone with a view
to benefiting him. The psalmist for example prays...
Remember me, O LORD, in Thy favor
toward Thy people;
Visit (episkeptomai in the
me with Thy salvation, (Ps 106:4-note)
IN GIVING THEM FOOD:
(Ge 28:20; 48:15; Ex 16:4-6; Ps 104:14;15-note
Pr 30:8; Isa 55:10; Mt 6:11-note;
This explains how Jehovah
visited or came to the aid of His people.
Solomon writes that
water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land." (Pr
God is restocking the "house of
Bread" with "food"
(lechem) or bread.
We once again see God's
causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of
man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth...food which
sustains man's heart."
As the psalmist records
"The eyes of all look to Thee, and Thou dost
give them their food in due time." (Ps 145:15-note)
The return of physical prosperity
foreshadowed the reality of a coming
spiritual prosperity through the line of David in the person of Christ.
The Chaldee Targum speculates without any Scriptural support that the
news of this visitation was conveyed by the mouth of an angel. In the
ancient world news was carried to a largely by caravan traders,
mariners, and other travelers but exactly how Naomi
knew the text does not say. The point is that when God wants us to know
something, He will find a way to convey His message, even if he has to
make a dumb donkey speak! (cf 2Pe 2:16-note)
The sovereignty of God permeates
the pages of Ruth:
1) actually for good (Ru
2:12, 4:12, 13, 14 -notes
2) perceived by Naomi for bad
(Ru 1:13, 21- notes
3) in the context of
prayer/blessing (Ru 1:8, 9, 17, 2:4, 12, 20, 3:10, 13, 4:11 - notes
God, at last,
returned in mercy to His people; for, though He contend long, He will
not contend always. As the judgment of oppression, under which they
often groaned in the time of the judges, still came to an end, after a
while, when God had raised them up a deliverer, so here the judgment of
famine: At length God graciously visited his people in giving them
bread. Plenty is God's gift, and it is His visitation which by
bread, the staff of life, holds our souls in life. Though this mercy be
the more striking when it comes after famine, yet if we have constantly
enjoyed it, and never knew what famine meant, we are not to think it the
J Vernon McGee draws an interesting
parallel with the story of the prodigal son commenting that now Naomi
to return home. Itís interesting. The prodigal family and the prodigal
son will long for the fatherís house. And if they donít long for the
fatherís house, they just donít happen to be the children of the father.
The prodigal son will never be happy in the pigpen. He just wasnít made
for a pigpen. He hasnít the nature of a pig...So
eventually this family must go home. Finally Naomi says sheís going back
to Bethlehem-Judah." (McGee,
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Some practical thoughts
regarding these events:
would have died in Moab had God not intervened. If God choose not to
arrest and arouse us, we all would perish in "Moab".
However, Jehovah speaks sending "awakening providences",
sometimes as affliction and loss and sometimes in the form of His
unmerited goodness. In both situations it is the kindness of God which
leads us to repentance (Ro 2:4-note).
Dear reader, are you still in "Moab" having never lived in
"Bethlehem", having never responded to His call to repent
and in danger of dying in "Moab" and entering into the
"eternal fire" (Mt 25:41, cf 2Thes 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 1:10)?
Dearly beloved saint, have you wandered off the "highway of holiness"
(Isa 35:8) to "Moab"
where you are practicing idolatry that you know God despises and which
He must discipline? Is God speaking to you through your circumstances?
Good news from the LORDís land comes to the awakened wanderer. Are you
listening? Will you repent and walk in the light dear one? (1Jn 1:7 1:8
God so loved those in "Moab" that He gave
"He gave His
only begotten Son (as our Kinsman-Redeemer), that whoever
believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (Jn
Let His lovingkindness which is new
every morning awaken in your heart an attitude of gratitude and
"Many think they must first feel much, and mourn much, and
suffer much, before they can hope to go back in peace to God. But why?
Will your suffering save you? Will your multiplied tears add anything to
a Saviourís worth? Is your dwelling on fire? And must you wait until you
are scorched with the flames before you can escape in safety? Have you
mistaken your road in journeying? And can you recover your lost steps
the better by delay or hesitation or fruitless grief? Nay. You want all
the time for actual pursuit. You have none to waste. Turn! Turn! fly!
Fly! ĎTis madness to defer. Naomi goes to no other part of Moab, to no
other land of idolatry. She goes directly back to the land of Judah.
This is a blessed example. How many go from one broken cistern to
another!" But all these
efforts are vain. Edom or Babylon are no better than Moab. No. You must
fly to Bethlehem at once. Now is the accepted time. This is the day of
SO SHE DEPARTED FROM THE PLACE WHERE SHE WAS: (2Ki
places the date of these events at about 1100BC.
What is "the
place where she was"? It was a dreary "place" was it not?
Multiplied losses - lost husband, lost sons, lost dreams, lost hopes
of ever raising a family, etc. Naomi could have stayed at "the
place where she was" but upon hearing about the work of Jehovah,
she made a choice. Our losses may or may not be of the same magnitude
and/or the same character as those of Naomi, but the principle remains
the same. We each have a choice - we can choose to move back to "the
land" of God's promises or we can stay in the "miry clay of Moab".
Beloved, if you find yourself in "Moab" today, run to His word, filled
with magnificent and precious promises, and you will find that His
arms are open and His promises are "yea and amen" in Christ Jesus. So
run to Him dear suffering, afflicted saint. He will succour your soul.
Depart "from the place where you are" and return into the arms of the
Lover of your soul.
(yatsa) "movement away" from some point. It is a very common
Hebrew verb and means to go out as from a particular locality or from
the presence of a person.
is what is referred to in
Bible study as a
term of conclusion. Here "so" would
equate with "Therefore" or "for this reason".
Whenever you see a term of conclusion stop and ask why is it "there
for"? Why did she depart? Because she had "heard".
give us all ears to hear His voice in our darkest distress so that we might journey back into the light and the joy of the Lord.
How Naomi's response sets her apart from so many others!
Many hear of the good things God is doing in the lives of others, and
only wish they could have some of it - instead of actually setting out
to receive it! Naomi could have stayed in Moab all of her life wishing
things were different, but she did something to receive what God had
to give her. It is also noteworthy that Naomi repeats a familiar
pattern of behavior of the patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, both of whom
had left their homeland because of famine, and both of whom returned when food
Mills adds that this
scene painted before our eyes is of a pathetic trio, stricken with
poverty and grief, facing the frightening desert mountain wastes of
Moab alone, beckoned on only by trust in Yahweh, Israelís God, and
the hope that the proceeds from Elimelechís property might alleviate
their desperate circumstances." (Mills, M. - Ruth: A study guide
to the book of Ruth, 1999)
From later events indicating
that Naomi had a practical understanding of the concept of the
Kinsman-Redeemer, one can assume that Naomi also had a good
understanding of Deuteronomy and so must have known that she could
expect to receive the humane treatment that Israelite law accorded to
aliens and widows. Moses for example had written that
alien, the orphan and the widow
who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order
that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand
which you do. (Deut 14:29)
AND HER TWO DAUGHTER IN
LAWS WITH HER AND THEY WENT ON THE WAY TO RETURN:
(Ru 1:10, 14-note
(shub) describes movement back to the point of departure or reversal
of direction. This same Hebrew verb is used in Ru 4:15
note) where God
is referred to as
"a Restorer (Shub) of life". (cf Ps 23:3-note
[shub] my soul")
David uses shub to describe the restorative power of the Word
of God writing...
The law of the LORD is perfect
("complete" comprehensive, all-sided so as to cover all aspects of
some thing, conveys the idea of integrity), restoring (shub)
the soul (Psalm 19:7-note)
uses an interesting Greek verb, epistrepho (1994)
(from epŪ = motion toward + strťpho = turn) to translate
uses epistrepho some
416 times to convey the ideas of restore, return or repent, any or all
of these ideas being compatible with Naomi's "return".
Epistrepho literally means a change of direction and figuratively
also refers to such a change which conveys the idea of repentance or
the change of one's mind. For example epistrepho is used by
Paul to describe the formerly pagan worshipping Thessalonians who...
turned to (epistrepho) God
from idols to serve a living and true God (1Th 1:9-note)
In Naomi's case epistrepho could reflect simply a literal
turning back toward her home country, although in the context of the
story, this point in time clearly marks a decisive moment which we
discover has significant spiritual implications.
Dear reader, perhaps you have
wandered off to "Moab" and need to make a definite decision to return
to "Bethlehem" and "Bethlehem's greatest Son", the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rest assured He is waiting for you to "Return to Bethlehem", as He so
poignantly taught in the story of the Prodigal Son, who in a critical
moment made the right decision to return declaring...
'I will get up and go to my father,
and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in
your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as
one of your hired men." And he got up and came to his father. But
while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt
compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him." (Luke
15:18, 19, 20)
Clearly the two daughter-in-laws saw something
in Naomi - perhaps her piety - and were persuaded to go along with her to Bethlehem.
Whatever they saw in Naomi, it attracted them.
Do others look at my life and
desire to come along on the journey? Is
my walk with the Lord
something that makes others say, "I want that also!"
They had begun their return
to the House of Bread (Bethlehem) and the Land of Praise Jehovah
(Judah). This is
a good journey for us all to begin when circumstances appear humanly
If you feel like Naomi in a foreign land with no hope, a good place to
begin your journey is by retracing your steps back into the presence
of the Almighty, even like the busy church at Ephesus to whom Jesus
'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love
(doctrinal orthodoxy had degenerated into mechanical orthodoxy - the
fires of their love had grown cold). (1)
imperative - keep on
remembering - forgetfulness is frequently the initial cause of
spiritual decline) therefore from where you have fallen, and (2)
- do this now! It's
urgent!) and (3) do (aorist
- do them now!) the deeds you did at first (and this
your repentance is genuine) or else I am coming to you, and will
remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent."
Begin your journey back by
remembering how you felt when the Spirit wooed you and you fell in
love with Jesus.
There's a bit of "prone to wander" in all of us, but God's covenant
love remains available to the all who would repent (Acts 3:19, 20) and
who would seek Him diligently (Heb 11:6-note)
with a whole heart. Let us return (Hos 6:1) to our God if we have
strayed. He is not there to condemn us but to comfort us even as the
father welcomed home his prodigal son. (Luke 15:20, 21).
TO THE LAND OF JUDAH:
is derived from Leah's reaction to her bearing Jacob his third son,
Moses writing that Leah
again and bore a son and said "This time I will praise Yahweh"
Therefore she named him Judah...."
Ness adds a note to ponder:
house of worldly correction is to Godís people a school of heavenly
instruction. Naomiís crosses and losses she met with in Moab made her
soul to sit loose from that cursed country, and to long for Canaanó
that blessed land of promise. Godís rod hath a voice (Micah 6:9),and
now Naomiís ear was open to hear the instruction of it (Job
36:8, 9, 10;Micah 2:10). It is a rich mercy when affliction brings us
from worse to better, from Moab to Canaan, further off from sin and
nearer to God. 2.
Godly souls should lead
convincing lives. Such and so amiable was the conversation of godly
Naomi in the eyes of those two daughters of Moab that it convinced
them both ó to love her and her people, and to go along with her out
of their own native country unto her land. Plato saith, "If moral
virtue could be beheld with mortal eyes, it would attract all hearts
to be enamoured with it." How much more, then, would theological
virtue or supernatural grace do so?
3. Every heart should hanker
heavenward, as Naomi did homeward from Moab to Canaan." (Biblical
Ruth 1:8 And
said to her
each of you to her
house. May the
kindly with you as you have
dealt with the
dead and with me.
Young's Literal: And Naomi saith to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go,
turn back, each to the house of her mother; Jehovah doth with you
kindness as ye have done with the dead, and with me;
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back! Each of you
should go back to your mother's home. May the LORD be as kind to you
as you were to me and to our loved ones who have died
Septuagint: And Noemin said to her daughter-in-law, Go now, return
each to the house of her mother: the Lord deal mercifully with you, as
ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
AND NAOMI SAID
TO HER TWO DAUGHTER IN LAWS GO, RETURN EACH OF YOU TO HER MOTHER'S
(Jos 24:15-28; Lk 14:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33)
back! Each of you should go back to your mother's home"
"Don't you want to
go back home to your own mothers?"
By all common sense, this was the wise thing to do. Orpah and Ruth had
stronger family ties in Moab than they did with Naomi, so it made
sense for them to stay in Moab instead of going to a new land - Israel
- with Naomi.
MAY THE LORD DEAL KINDLY WITH YOU AS YOU HAVE DEALT WITH THE DEAD
AND WITH ME:
(Php 4:18, 4:19 2Ti 1:16, 1:17, 1:18) (Ruth 1:5-note;
"Jehovah deal kindly with
you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me"
"May the Lord
show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to the dead and
to me" (NET)
the Lord be good to you as you have been good to the dead and to me:"
"You were kind to
my husband and sons, and you have always been kind to me. I pray that
the LORD will be just as kind to you"
"May the LORD be
as good to you as you have been to me and to those who have died"
"May the LORD be
as kind to you as you were to me and to our loved ones who have died"
"You have been very kind to me and to my sons who are now
dead. I hope the Lord will also be kind to you in the same way"
"And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your
husbands and to me" (NLT)
discourse in this verse takes the form of a prayer. Note
that despite Naomi's distressed state, prayer was part of her everyday language!
This is as it should be for all of God's children who pray "without ceasing"
as part of their daily conversation, praying while sitting, standing,
walking; praying silently, out loud, for others, with others, in short
keeping the "receiver off the hook" and praying whenever the
opportunity presents itself.
In Moab, Naomi prayed to the one true God, the God of Israel, for
geography is no barrier to prayer. Prayer when parting with friends is a good practice.
with the Ephesian elders for the last time "knelt down and prayed with
them all." (Acts 20:36)
Naomi prays specifically that God would deal with the two Moabite
widows as they had benevolently dealt with her family --
are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." (Mt 5:7-note).
Naomi is saying in essence "Ruth, Orpah. You have shown kindness. May
God show you kindness in turn." Paul would add
"Do not be deceived,
God is not mocked; for whatever a man (woman) sows, this he
(she) will also reap...in due time we shall reap if we do
not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do
good to all men (women), and especially to those who are of the
household of the faith." (Gal 6:7,6:9 10)
What harvest are you going to reap as a result of your thoughts, words
and deeds this week? For example, David choose to show kindness (hesed -see below) to
Mephibosheth because of the kindness shown to him by Mephibosheth's
dead father, Jonathan, saying
"Do not fear, for I will surely show kindness (hesed) to you for
the sake of your father Jonathan, and will restore to you all the land
of your grandfather Saul; and you shall eat at my table regularly."
A. Thomson adds that the kindness
of the two girls likely reflected the kindness
of Naomi, adding that
"We often make for ourselves the beds we are
to lie upon, and we may be certain that there would be more Ruths in
the world if there were more Naomis. But how blessed when it can thus
be said of us, that we have dealt kindly with the deadĒ! We should
make it our habitual and earnest aim so to behave ourselves towards
our kindred that, should we be called to stand beside their open
graves, this would be the testimony of others and of our own
consciences. But we must not forget that there is an important sense
in which we may prove our undying love for the dead by our kindness to
the living. Those two young widows expressed their affection for their
departed husbands by their thoughtful attentions to Naomi. They loved
her for her own sake, but they loved her doubly for their sakes.
Religion, indeed, warrants us to think of our friends beyond the grave
as still living, though absent. Davidís nobly generous spirit rejoiced
that he could still reach his departed Jonathan in lavishing respect
and kindness upon Jonathanís only surviving son, Mephibosheth. And
this sentiment reaches its highest possible point of sublimity, and
becomes, as it were, transfigured, when we show kindness to another
because he belongs to Christ. In this way we can still reach Him in
His members, and anoint His blessed feet with our precious ointment
and wash them with our tears. That poor sufferer whom you relieved by
your benefactions and soothed by your sympathy was a disguised Christ.
Even the cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a
disciple is to be remembered by Him on another day."
is the important Hebrew word "hesed" which is used over
200 times in the OT and most often translated as "lovingkindness".
- Gen. 19:19; 20:13; 21:23; 24:12, 14, 27, 49; 32:10; 39:21; 40:14;
47:29; Exod. 15:13; 20:6; 34:6f; Num. 14:18f; Deut. 5:10; 7:9, 12;
Jos. 2:12, 14; Jdg. 1:24; 8:35; Ruth 1:8; 2:20; 1 Sam. 20:8, 14f; 2
Sam. 2:6; 7:15; 15:20; 16:17; 22:51; 1 Ki. 3:6; 8:23; 20:31; 1 Chr.
16:34, 41; 17:13; 2 Chr. 1:8; 5:13; 6:14, 42; 7:3, 6; 20:21; 32:32;
35:26; Ezr. 3:11; 7:28; 9:9; Neh. 1:5; 9:17, 32; 13:14, 22; Est. 2:9;
Job 10:12; 37:13; Ps. 5:7; 6:4; 13:5; 17:7; 18:50; 21:7; 23:6; 25:6f,
10; 26:3; 31:7, 16, 21; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 36:5, 7, 10; 40:10f;
42:8; 44:26; 48:9; 51:1; 52:1, 8; 57:3, 10; 59:10, 16f; 61:7; 62:12;
63:3; 66:20; 69:13, 16; 77:8; 85:7, 10; 86:5, 13, 15; 88:11; 89:1f,
14, 24, 28, 33, 49; 90:14; 92:2; 94:18; 98:3; 100:5; 101:1; 103:4, 8,
11, 17; 106:1, 7, 45; 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43; 108:4; 109:12, 16, 21,
26; 115:1; 117:2; 118:1ff, 29; 119:41, 64, 76, 88, 124, 149, 159;
130:7; 136:1ff; 138:2, 8; 143:8, 12; 144:2; 145:8; 147:11; Prov.
11:17; 16:6; 20:6, 28; 21:21; Isa. 16:5; 40:6; 54:8, 10; 55:3; 57:1;
63:7; Jer. 2:2; 9:24; 16:5; 31:3; 32:18; 33:11; Lam. 3:22, 32; Dan.
1:9; 9:4; Hos. 2:19; 6:4, 6; Joel 2:13; Jon. 2:8; 4:2; Mic. 7:18, 20
Hesed expresses both Godís
loyalty to His covenant and His love for
His people along with a faithfulness to keep His promises. The basic idea
of hesed conveys the performance of acts of kindness,
love or mercy to someone.
Alec Motyer has
described God's hesed or covenant love as
ďcombining the warmth of Godís
fellowship with the security of Godís faithfulness.Ē
Huey adds that
"hesed encompasses deeds of mercy performed by a more powerful party for
the benefit of the weaker one."
An act of hesed presupposes the existence of a relationship between
the parties involved. Where no formal relationship has previously been
recognized, the person exercising hesed has chosen to treat the
recipient as if such a relationship did exist. Naomi thus expressed the
prayerful wish that Jehovahís lovingkindness would cover her
daughters-in-law, who as Moabites were outside of His covenant with
As the story unfolds we see that
the foreigner Ruth displayed this godly loyal love (hesed) to
Boaz in turn showed the same noble quality toward Ruth.
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