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Ruth 1:9 "May the
grant that you may
each in the
house of her
husband." Then she
kissed them, and they
lifted up their
GWT: May the LORD repay each of you so that you may find
security in a home with a husband." When she kissed them goodbye, they
began to cry loudly
KJV: The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in
the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up
their voice, and wept.
NLT: May the LORD bless you with the security of another
marriage." Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Jehovah doth grant to you, and find ye
rest each in the house of her husband;' and she kisseth them, and they
lift up their voice and weep.
Septuagint: The Lord grant you that ye may find rest each of you
in the house of her husband: and she kissed them; and they lifted up
their voice, and wept
REFERENCES ON RUTH 1
Jamieson, F, B
Keil and Delitzsch
J Vernon McGee
Our Daily Bread
Ruth 1:1-5 The Distress and the Removal
Ruth 1:6-18 The Decision to
Ruth 1:19-21 The Damage and the
Ruth 1:1-22 An Example Of A Steadfast Life
Ruth 1:1-7 Three Tombstones In A Washpot
Ruth 1:6-18 Three Widows In A Washpot
Ruth 1:19-22 Coming Home The Hard Way
Ruth 1:1 Story,
Ruth 1:6-18 Three Women
Ruth 1: Devotional Commentary
On Levirate Marriage in
Ruth 1:11 So Right, Yet So Wrong
Ruth divided into 26
Ruth The Kinsman Redeemer
Ruth 1: Net
Always For Us
Ruth 1: Teaching Notes
Ruth 1: Sweet and Bitter Providence
Ruth 1:6-18 Audio Lectures w/ notes
The Book of Ruth
Ruth: The Romance of
Two to Get Ready: The Story of
Boaz & Ruth
Ruth 1: Ruth Returning
Ruth 1:1-22: A Tale of Two
Ruth 1:1-2:23 The Greatness of Gratitude
MAY THE LORD GRANT THAT YOU
MAY FIND REST EACH IN THE HOUSE OF HER HUSBAND: (Ru 3:1-
where "rest" related to the Hebrew word translated "security" - see
"May the Lord give each of you security in the home of a new husband!"
"And may he bless you with another happy marriage" (TLB - Ed note: one
wonders how we know the first was "happy"?),
"Yahweh grant that you may each find happiness with a husband!" (NJB)
"The Lord grant that you may find a home and rest, each in the house
of her husband!" (Amplified
"May the LORD grant each of you a husband and a home in which you will
find rest" (NAB)
"May the Lord repay each of you so that you may find security in a
home with a husband." (GWT)
"And may the LORD make it possible for each of you to marry again
and have a home" (TEV)
Again Naomi offers a prayer of blessing or benediction. "Jehovah grant
you that ye may find a resting-place, each one in the house of her
husband," i.e., that they may both be happily married again. Naomi
describes marriage as a place of "rest" which summarizes all
the qualities of an ideal marriage in which a godly woman can find
strength, security, material well-being and love.
(menuchah) means resting place (where repose and rest from
tiredness, with a focus on the space occupied) or quiet and is used in
several ways to denote places where peace, quiet, and trust are
present. The Hebrew root signifies not only absence of movement but
being settled in a particular place. It often refers to security (as
would be provided in marriage).
- 21x in OT - Ge 49:15; Nu 10:33; Dt. 12:9; Jdg 20:43; Ru 1:9; 2Sa
14:17; 1Ki 8:56; 1Chr 22:9; 28:2; Ps 23:2; 95:11; 132:8, 14; Isa
11:10; 28:12; 32:18; 66:1; Je 45:3; 51:59; Mic 2:10; Zech 9:1. NAS
renders it omforting(1), permanent(1), place(1), place of rest(1),
quartermaster*(1), quiet(1), rest(8), resting(1), resting place(7),
invariably conveys the idea of relief, for example David's thirst (He
makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
fatigue (He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary,"
And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen. Isa. 28:12), hostile
nations ("Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people
Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of
all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. 1Ki
8:56), and sorrow ('You said, "Ah, woe is me! For the LORD has added
sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning and have found no
rest."' Jer. 45:3). In the present context note that the rest is
in the sphere of marriage, "in the home of another husband".
translates menuchah with the Greek noun anapausis (372)
which conveys the idea of refreshing or of giving rest and
permitting one to cease from labour in order to recover and collect
strength. Anapausis is the most frequent Greek word used to
translate Sabbath rest.
The most famous
use of anapausis is by Jesus in his invitation to...
to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest
(anapauo = related verb).
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble
in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST
(anapausis) FOR YOUR SOULS."
The word "rest"
in the present
("in the house of her husband") pictures the godly marriage as if it
"port or haven of young people, whose affections while unmarried are
continually floating and tossed to and fro like a ship upon the
waters, till they come into this happy harbour. There is a natural
propensity in most persons towards nuptial communion, as all created
beings have a natural tendency to their proper centre, and are
restless out of it." (Ness)
God has intended
that your marriage be a source of rest.
Is yours? Dear reader may
the LORD grant that it be so!
The concept of
rest also conveys the
idea of security found in a godly marriage. See the later
discussion of "rest" (where we see related Hebrew
word - manowach - Ru 3:1-note) where we find that Naomi
becomes part of the answer to her own prayer!
Illustrated Manners and Customs notes that...
When a young woman went to live
with her husband’s family, she did not give up all rights in her own
family. If her husband died and there were no more brothers-in-law for
her to marry, she might return to her father’s house. That is exactly
what Naomi encouraged her daughters-in-law to do, and Orpah followed
her suggestion (Ruth 1:8-18)...The
death of a husband always has far-reaching consequences for his
family. For people of biblical times this was true as well. After a
period of mourning, the widowed wife might follow one of several
courses of action. If she was childless, she was, according to the
levirate law (note), expected to continue living with her husband’s family
(Deut. 25:5, 6, 7, 8,9, 10-Keil
and Delitzsch). She was to marry one of her husband’s brothers or a
near kinsman. If these men were not available, she was free to marry
outside the clan (Ruth 1:9). (Packer,
J., Tenney, M. C., & White, W. Nelson's Illustrated Manners and
Customs of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
comments on "rest in marriage" --
"If it is to be wished that wives may find rest in the houses of their
husbands, it must be the duty of husbands to do what they can to
procure them rest, not only by endeavoring to provide for them what
is necessary for their subsistence and comfortable accommodation, but
by such a kind behaviour as will promote their satisfaction and
comfort. Men and women may have affluence without rest, and rest
without affluence. But let women also contribute to procure rest for
themselves by frugality, by industry, by such behaviour to their
husbands as will merit constant returns of kindness."
THEN SHE KISSED THEM & THEY
LIFTED UP THEIR VOICES & WEPT: (Ge 27:27; 29:11; 45:15;
shown is evidence of the real relationship of love between Naomi and
I think Naomi
often gets what we would refer to today as a "bad rap" but careful
observation shows that she exhibits several traits of a woman of
"moral excellence" (2Pe 1:5-note):
First, we see that she held fast her allegiance to the one true
and living God in the midst of surrounding gross idolatry (for example
Moabite idol worship sometimes included child sacrifice - see
Chemosh), even holding
fast in the face of her bitterness! She believed in the One God, YHWH
(Jehovah) and recognized His sovereignty over all the tragedies she
Naomi exercised a godly influence on others who knew her most
intimately, those of her own household which is where godliness is
most often shown to be the sure thing or a sham (cp 1Ti 3:4, 12, Titus
1:6). The two
daughter-in-laws had seen her godly character long enough to know it
she denied herself for the good of others. Some (like
Warren Wiersbe see his comment below
in Ru 1:11) say Naomi's encouragement to the daughter-in-laws to return
to their idolatrous gods was an ungodly action. Although that is
possible, I think self denial and putting others before oneself is
more in view - It would have been an advantage to Naomi to have these
two strong, active young women with her to work for her in her old
age. But a settlement would be easier for them (being alien Moabites)
in their own land than in Judah. So she begged them return, and was
willing to go home alone. Read the text for yourself and decide which
attitude you think Naomi exhibited. Also remember to keep the entire
context of the book in mind as you evaluate Naomi's motives.
Ruth 1:10 And they
said to her, "No, but we will
return with you to your
GWT: They said to her, "We are going back with you to your
KJV: And they said unto her,
Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
Young's Literal: And
they say to her, 'Surely with thee we go back to thy people.'
sou kai eipan (3PAAI) aute meta sou epistrephomen (1PPAI)
eis ton laon sou
Septuagint: And they said
to her, We will return with thee to thy people
AND THEY SAID TO HER "NO BUT
WE WILL SURELY RETURN WITH YOU TO YOUR PEOPLE:
(kiy) means indeed, surely, truly and is marker of emphasis which
strengthens what follows and is thus almost equivalent to a positive
assurance. Their declaration reminds one of a time to come in the
future when God's hand of blessing is again clearly on the Jews.
Zechariah describes this time specifically stating that
in those days ten men from all the nations (gentiles) will
grasp the garment of a Jew saying, "Let us go with you, for
we have heard that God is with you. (Zech 8:23)
commenting on Orpah's promise says that
Purposes and promises that proceed from passion, and not from
principle, do soon dwindle away into nothing. Thus did Orpah’s, who
said with that son in the parable, “I will, sir'; and he did not go."
(Mt 21:28, 29 30) So here, it is certain we will return with thee, was
enough uncertain. It is a maxim (a general truth, fundamental
principle, or rule of conduct), second thoughts are better than first,
but Orpah’s first were better than her second; her purposes and
promises do dwindle away and vanish into smoke.
The bright morning does not always shine into the perfect day; the
sweetest spring-bud of promise does not always ripen into precious
fruit. The seed that was cast on stony ground grew rapidly up, but
withered in a moment. Orpah’s decision was the decision of impulsive
feeling, of filial affection; it was strong suddenly, it grew up in an
instant, and in an instant it perished; and she resolved to forsake
Ruth and Naomi, and return to her gods, her people, and her country.
Are they being too hard on Orpah? Or was
Orpah simply obeying the wishes of her mother-in-law? Someone has well
said we will all be surprised some day when we see who is and who is
not in heaven!
What does this say
about Ruth who proved her promise? Ruth sought to go with Naomi because
of loyalty to her and her God.
She counted the cost of possibly never having a husband. She put
other's interest before her own (Php 2:3, 4, 5 -see notes
5). She had the attitude
Ruth 1:11 But
Why should you
go with me? Have I
sons in my
womb, that they may be your
GWT: But Naomi said, "Go back, my
daughters. Why should you go with me? Do I have any more sons in my
womb who could be your husbands? (GWT)
But Naomi said, "My daughters, go back to your own homes. Why do you
want to go with me? I cannot give birth to more sons to give you new
And Naomi said, Turn again,
my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in
my womb, that they may be your husbands?
But Naomi replied, "Why should you go on with me? Can I still give
birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: And Naomi saith, 'Turn back, my daughters; why do ye go with me?
are there yet to me sons in my bowels that they have been to you for
eipen (3SAAI) Noemin
Septuagint: And Noemin
said, Return now, my daughters; and why do ye go with me? have I
yet sons in my womb to be your husbands
BUT NAOMI SAID "RETURN MY
DAUGHTERS WHY SHOULD YOU GO WITH ME?:
Warren Wiersbe in my opinion is a
bit hard on Naomi (see note
Ruth 1:9) commenting that
it was right for Naomi to go to Bethlehem, where the true and living
God was worshiped, then it was right for Orpah and Ruth to accompany
her. Naomi should have said to them what Moses said to his
father-in-law, “Come thou with us, and we will do thee good; for the
Lord has spoken good concerning Israel” (Nu 10:29). Instead, Naomi tried to influence
the two women to go back to their families and their false gods."
HAVE I YET SONS IN MY WOMB
THAT THEY MAY BE YOUR HUSBANDS: (Ge 38:11; Dt 25:5)
Naomi is alluding to the
law of levirate marriage discussed in more detail below (click
Expositors Bible Commentary
adds that this law
"provides for the marriage of a
childless widow to a brother-in-law. If the daughters-in-law went with
Naomi, as foreigners there would be little or no hope for them of
remarriage and homes of their own. Naomi reminded them that she was
not pregnant with sons who, as the younger brothers of Mahlon and Kilion, would be obligated to marry their widowed sisters-in-law
according to the levirate law. Naomi's rebuke of their offer was not
harsh but considerate. Observe her tender address: "my daughters." Her
unselfish placing of her daughters-in-law's welfare above her own
shows her noble character." (Gaebelein,
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books:
Go, for I
hope, if I should
GWT: Go back, my daughters. Go, because
I am too old to get married again. If I said that I still have
hope.... And if I had a husband tonight.... And even if I gave birth
to sons (GWT)
Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an
husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband
also to night, and should also bear sons
NET: Go back, my
daughters! Go! For I am too old to get married again. Suppose I were to
say, ‘I have hope!’ Suppose I got married this very night and had sons (NET
No, my daughters, return to your parents' homes, for I am too old to
marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married
tonight and bear sons, then what? (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: Turn back, my daughters, go, for I
am too aged to be to a husband; though I had said, There is for me
hope, also, I have been to-night to a husband, and also I have borne
Septuagint: Turn now, my
daughters, for I am too old to be married: for I said, Suppose I
were married, and should bear sons
RETURN MY DAUGHTERS! GO FOR
I AM TOO OLD TO HAVE A HUSBAND: (Ge 17:17; 1Ti 5:9)
back, my daughters! Go! For I am too old to get married again." (NET)
Naomi continues to explain why Ruth
and Orpah should depart to their people - she is too old to have a son
or sons that they could marry and perpetuate the line of Elimelech.
Even if she could find a husband and if she were still able to
bear sons (there are a lot of "ifs" in her declaration), the daughters
in law would have to wait too long to marry them.
IF I SAID I HAVE
"And even if I could offer any hopes" (NAB)
if I thought there was still hope"
even if it were possible"
"Suppose I were to say, ‘I have hope!"
Trapp comments that...
Without having a husband, she doth not once think of having children,
as many wantons and light-skirts do; making themselves whores, and
their children bastards, and all for satisfying the rage of present
lust, though after they repent with grief and shame.
Blessed Hope) (tiqvah) first translated "cord" referring to the ''cord
of this SCARLET THREAD" (Jos 2:18,21) that Rahab was to hang out of
her window so that she and her household would be spared death when
Jericho fell. The root means to wait or to look for with
IF I SHOULD EVEN HAVE A
HUSBAND TONIGHT AND ALSO BEAR SONS:
"But even if I had
another husband tonight and if I had more sons, it wouldn't help!"
"I were to get married tonight
and bear sons, then what?"
Ruth 1:13 would you
until they were
grown? Would you
daughters; for it is
harder for me
than for you, for the
hand of the
forth against me."
BBE: Would you keep
yourselves till they were old enough? would you keep from having
husbands for them? No, my daughters; but I am very sad for you that
the hand of the Lord is against me.
GWT: would you wait until they grew up
and stay single just for them? No, my daughters. My bitterness is much
worse than yours because the LORD has sent me so much trouble." (GWT)
Would you wait until the babies were grown into men? Would you live
for so many years without husbands? Don't do this thing. My life is
much too sad for you to share. This is because the Lord is against
KJV: Would ye tarry for them till
they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my
daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the
LORD is gone out against me.
NET: Would you wait until
they were grown? Would you remain unmarried all that time? No, my
daughters, you must not come with me. For you should not have to
experience my intense suffering. After all, the Lord has attacked me (NET
NJB: would you be prepared
to wait for them until they were grown up? Would you refuse to marry
for their sake? No, daughters, I am bitterly sorry for your sakes that
the hand of Yahweh should have been raised against me
NLT: Would you wait for them to grow up
and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters!
Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD
himself has caused me to suffer." (NLT
- Tyndale House)
TEV: would you wait until
they had grown up? Would this keep you from marrying someone else? No,
my daughters, you know that's impossible. The LORD has turned against
me, and I feel very sorry for you."
Young's Lit: for them do ye wait till that they grow up? for them do ye shut
yourselves up, not to be to a husband? nay, my daughters,
for more bitter to me than to you, for the hand of Jehovah hath gone
out against me.'
Septuagint: would ye wait for them till they should be grown? or would ye
refrain from being married for their sakes? Not so, my daughters; for
I am grieved for you, that the hand of the Lord has gone forth against
WOULD YOU THEREFORE WAIT UNTIL
THEY WERE GROWN?:
"Would you wait until the
babies were grown into men?" (ICB)
you then wait and deprive yourselves of husbands until those sons grew
keep yourselves till they were old enough?"
"it would be weary waiting"
(sabar) signifies to wait or to hope and
expresses confidence that a
beneficial event will occur.
Sabar - 6x in OT - Ruth
1:13; Esther 9:1; Ps. 104:27; 119:166; 145:15; Isa. 38:18. NAS renders
it hope(2), hoped(1), look to (1), wait(2).
Sabar also implies a dependent trust and
relationship in the object of the hope. For example, the psalmist
expresses that dependent trust writing "I
hope for Thy salvation O LORD" (Ps 119:166-note)
a phrase which clearly points to and will be fulfilled in the Messiah.
the Greek verb (prosdechomai
word study) used to
translated sabar pictures one having an earnestly expectant
attitude of looking forward to something. For example...
[prosdechomai] the blessed Hope and the appearing of the glory of our
great God and Savior, Christ Jesus (Titus 2:13-note).
Naomi's point is that there is no hope for a male
offspring from her womb to fulfill the role of kinsman redeemer
for Ruth and Orpah. Naomi's statement would appear to be sufficiently
negative to discourage any normal red blooded female of child bearing
WOULD YOU THEREFORE REFRAIN
FROM MARRYING? NO MY DAUGHTERS
you keep from having husbands for them? No, my daughters"
"Would you live for so many years without husbands? Don't do
this thing." (ICB)
FOR IT IS HARDER FOR ME THAN
FOR YOU FOR THE HAND OF THE LORD HAS GONE FORTH AGAINST ME:
(Dt 2:15; Judges 2:15; 1Sa 5:11; Job 19:21; Ps 32:4; 38:2; 39:9 10)
"My life is much
too sad for you to share. This is because the Lord is against me!"
"I am bitterly sorry for
your sakes that the hand of Yahweh should have been raised against me"
I am very sad for you that the hand of the Lord is against me." (BBE)
bitterness is much worse than yours because the LORD has sent me so
"for I am
in much more bitterness than you; for the hand of Jehovah is gone out
grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out
are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has
caused me to suffer"
"The Lord's hand is stretched out against me"
"the Lord has attacked me" (NET)
Naomi explains that her
situation is more bitter than that of her daughter in laws for they
were young enough to remarry and find security and happiness in Moab.
Ultimately Naomi believed that her bitter state was a direct result of
chastisement by Jehovah. Naomi knows that the tragic events that had
transpired were not by chance but that in control of a sovereign God
Who does as He pleases and knows is best.
Young's Literal is indeed more literal in this case as it translates
the two Hebrew words as "more bitter", where the Hebrew word meod
speaks of abundance or that which is great. Indeed her losses and
subsequent suffering were great.
(3966) is the Hebrew "marar" which is related to the name
Naomi wants the other Bethlehemites to call her (Ru 1:20-note).
15x in NAS - Gen. 49:23; Exod. 1:14; 23:21; Ruth 1:13, 20; 1 Sam.
30:6; 2 Ki. 4:27; Job 27:2; Isa. 22:4; 24:9; 38:17; Lam. 1:4; Dan.
8:7; 11:11; Zech. 12:10
The NIV picks up
this meaning with the rendering
"It is more bitter
for me than for you,
because the Lord's hand has gone out against me!".
Marar is always with man as subject, never God. This
root plus its various derivatives appear not surprisingly more
frequently in Job than in any other OT book [10x]. Marar is used to
describe the bitter weeping (2x) in (Zech 12:10) when the Lord pours out
on the remnant of Israel a spirit of grace and supplication when He
The hand of the LORD -
Naomi's expression "the
hand of the LORD"
(phrase found 38x in Scripture in NAS - Ex 9:3; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 4:24;
22:31; Jdg. 2:15; Ru 1:13; 1Sa 5:6, 9; 7:13; 12:15; 2Sa 24:14; 1Ki.
18:46; 2Ki. 3:15; 1Chr. 21:13; Ezra 7:6, 28; Job 12:9; Ps 75:8;
118:15, 16; Pr 21:1; Isa. 19:16; 25:10; 41:20; 62:3; 66:14; Jer. 51:7;
Ezek. 1:3; 3:14, 22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1; Lk 1:66; Acts 11:21;
The hand of
(note the Net Bible's rather "aggressive" translation "the Lord has attacked me")
speaks of Naomi's acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God (see
for this phrase was a common
figure of speech
describing God's activity in
human affairs (see also
anthropomorphism). This description indicates that Naomi viewed her tragic
experiences as a sovereign act of God’s judgment. Note however that
even in her deep despair, she did not blame God or accuse God of doing something
wrong. What Naomi cannot see is that the hand of the LORD
will soon go out not against her but for
her (cp Ezra 7:9,10-note)! You may feel that the
hand of the Lord has gone out against you because of your
present adverse circumstances. But if you
will return to Him (cp Rev 2:4-note,
Rev 2:5-note) His hand will go out for you once
again! In the last book of the OT we see God's heart toward rebellious
Israel, a faithless wife, declaring to her to
Return to me, and I will return to you. (Mal 3:7, cp Jas 4:8, 2Chr
15:2, Dt 4:30, 31)
reader, this is the Father's heart of love and compassion.
= command to make this your priority now!
= allow this
to happen. Be willing to be humbled.)
under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you at the proper time
His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping
may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." (Ps
The hand of
the Lord has gone forth against me - There is justification for
Naomi's "theology" for during this same time period (the days of the Judges), Israel had forsaken
idols and consequently
the hand of the LORD
was against them for evil, as
the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they
were severely distressed.
Job in face of his unspeakable loss said "Pity me, pity me, O you
my friends, for the hand of God has struck me" (Job 19:21) which
was not totally accurate for God had given permission for
Satan to test him.
author has very skillfully and naturally introduced in this section is
the subject of levirate marriage which anticipates the
introduction of the nearest kinsman, the kinsman redeemer, in later
chapters. In Ruth 1 Naomi's narrative makes the outlook for "levirate
marriage" look virtually hopeless. Naomi's inability to provide a
son who could fulfill the obligation of levirate marriage leaves no
doubt that Ruth fully understood the consequences of going with Naomi
which makes all the more clear the self-denial and self-sacrifice
inherent in her decision described in the following verses.
Keil and Delitzsch on Deut
Levirate is from the Latin "levir"
which means a "husband’s brother" (or "brother in
law") and thus "levirate
marriage" refers to the Jewish custom which
dictated that when a husband died without leaving a
surviving son, the dead man's brother (or nearest
male relative) was allowed to receive (or purchase
[cf Ru 4:5-note])
his deceased brother’s (or relative's) property and manage it
for the widow, thereby keeping the family property and
possessions intact (cp Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke
20:29). If the deceased brother left no male
children, then the surviving brother was expected to take the
deceased’s widow in order to provide a male heir (something
Judah refused until Tamar tricked him - see Ge 38:1, 2, 3, 4,
5,6, 7, 8 , 9, 10). The
firstborn male would be considered the heir of the dead
brother's estate and was expected to continue the dead brother's
name (Dt 25:5,
If the brother (or the nearest relative) choose not to marry the
widow, she subjected him to gross insult (Dt 25:7, 8, 9, 10).
The purpose was the perpetuation of the dead brother's name,
because ff an Israelite died and left his widow without a son,
there was the danger that his name might perish and his property
pass out of the family.
To understand the Book of
Ruth, you must understand the law of Levirate Marriage. Ruth’s
husband Mahlon was dead and they had no children. The Levirate
law says that the dead husband’s brother can marry the woman
(his sister-in-law) and then the first born son would bear the
name of the dead husband and would also receive that man’s
inheritance (Dt. 25:6). The brother could not be forced to marry
this widow and could in fact refuse to marry her (Deut. 25:7, 8,
9, 10). Ruth’s dead husband had no other living brothers who
could marry her and Naomi was too old to give birth to a son who
would be able to marry Ruth. But even though there were no
living brothers, a close relative of Elimelech (Naomi's husband)
could also perform this function and in this way the name of
Ruth’s dead husband Mahlon (Ruth 4:10) would not become extinct.
As noted the Levirate Law sets up the scene for this nearest
relative in Ruth 2-4. As we learn, the nearest kinsman was not
Boaz but a nameless man who refused to redeem Ruth and carry on
the family name. The nearest relative's refusal opened the door
for Boaz to carry out the function of the Kinsman-Redeemer.
This practice of Levirate
Marriage was alluded by the Sadducees in their question aimed at
“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a
man dies, having no children, his brother as next of kin shall
marry his wife, and raise up an offspring to his brother.’ “Now
there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and
died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother...
(Mt 22:24, 25)
If the brother would
not agree to do this, then the widow went to the elders of the
city and announced this fact. He was called before the elders
and given an opportunity to confirm his unwillingness. If he
persisted in his refusal, the widow removed one of his sandals
and spat in his face. From then on he was known by a name of
reproach because of his unwillingness to perpetuate his
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
KJV Bible Commentary
adds this note regarding Levirate Marriage...
The spiritual and physical
heritage was given to Abraham and his seed (Ge 12:1, 2, 3).
Therefore, it was necessary to produce children to carry on the
promise of God. Hence, the family would preserve its name and
spiritual heritage by having a son who would perpetuate the
family line. Israel sometimes applied this law to the childless
couple, or at other times to the situation of a couple who had
only a daughter. This law has its greatest human application
in the story of Ruth, the Moabitess. After the death of her
Israelite husband, Ruth married another Israelite named Boaz,
her deceased husband’s closest kinsman. When he applied this law
and raised up a son by Ruth, he perpetuated the line of the
Messiah (Ruth 4:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22; cf. Mt 1:1, 2, 3,4,
5).... If a man refused to become the kinsman-redeemer, the
widow was to bring him before the town magistrates at the city
gate. She was to loose his shoe from off his foot, symbolic of
the exchange of property. By tradition, a person walked over his
property to assert his ownership. Therefore, exchanging shoes
was symbolic of exchanging property. When the man refused to
raise up his brother’s kin, she took his shoe, which was
symbolic of his losing the inheritance. He was thus deprived of
a position which he ought to have had via receiving the
inheritance of the deceased brother.
E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L.
Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson
Jamieson, F, B
This usage existed before the
age of Moses (Ge 38:8). But the Mosaic law rendered the custom
obligatory (Mt 22:25) on younger brothers, or the nearest
kinsman, to marry the widow (Ru 4:4), by associating the natural
desire of perpetuating a brother’s name with the preservation of
property in the Hebrew families and tribes. If the younger
brother declined to comply with the law, the widow brought her
claim before the authorities of the place at a public assembly
(the gate of the city); and he having declared his refusal, she
was ordered to loose the thong of his shoe—a sign of
degradation—following up that act by spitting on the ground—the
strongest expression of ignominy and contempt among Eastern
people. The shoe was kept by the magistrate as an evidence of
the transaction, and the parties separated.
><> ><> ><>
Always For Us
- Our Daily Bread - Naomi, her husband, and their two sons left
Israel and moved to Moab because of a famine (Ru 1:1, 2-see notes
1:2). One son
married Ruth, the other married Orpah. Eventually Naomi's husband and
sons died (Ru 1:3, 5-notes
1:5), so she decided to
return to Israel. But she felt that her daughters-in-law would be
better off staying in Moab (Ru 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 -see notes
13). She tried to
dissuade them from going with her by saying, "No, my daughters; for it
grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone
out against me!" (Ru 1:13-note).
Was Naomi right in her thinking about God? Perhaps the family had
displayed a lack of faith by moving to pagan Moab, but God certainly
was not against her. He proved this by wonderfully providing for her
and Ruth after they returned to Israel. (Read the rest of the
You may be unemployed, terminally ill, have a disabled child, or care
for a loved one with Alzheimer's. God hasn't promised to keep us from
such problems. But He has proven that He is always "for us" as
Christians by what He did through Jesus (Ro 5:8, 9 -see notes
Nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love (Ro 8:35, 36,
37, 38, 39-see notes
Ro 8:35; 36; 37; 38; 39).
The Lord is never "against us," not even when He chastens us (He
He is always for us! —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Our God is always
there for us—
Receiving every prayer,
Delighting in our words of praise,
Responding with His care. —Sper
The One who died to save you will never be against you.
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