Ruth 1:6 MEANING

Ruth 1:6
(6) That she might return.--Literally, and she returned. Clearly, therefore, the three women actually began the journey; and when the start has been made. Naomi urges her companions to return. Then, as with Pliable in the Pilgrim's Progress, so with Orpah: the dangers and difficulties of the way were too much for her affection.

The Lord had visited His people.--The famine had ceased, and Naomi's heart yearns for the old home. Perhaps, too, the scenes where everything reminded her of her husband and sons, filled her with sadness (for it would appear that she set out immediately after her sons' death), and perhaps, too, her conscience smote her for distrusting the mercies of the God of Israel.

Verse 6. - Then - the conjunction in Hebrew is the common generic copulative and - she arose. She had been sitting, as it were, where her husband had settled, and she now rose up to depart (see ver. 4). She, and her daughters-in, law. The word for "her daughters-in-law -" כַּלּתֶיהָ - is literally "her brides," that is, the brides of her sons. That she might return - an admirable rendering into English idiom. The phrase in the original is simply "and she returned," that is, "and she began to 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. Or, more literally, "for she heard in the country of Moab that Jehovah" - or, rather, "Yahveh," or, as Epiphanius gives it, Ἰαβέ - "had visited his people to give them bread." There is no warrant, however, and no need, to add, with the Chaldee Targumist, that the news was conveyed by the mouth of an angel. And the representation is not that Yahveh, in giving, bread to his people, had thereby visited them; it is that he hid visited them" to give them bread. The word פָקַד, rendered visited, is quite peculiar, with no analogue in English, German, Greek, or Latin. Yahveh had directed his attention to his people, and had, so to speak, made inquisition into their state, and had hence taken steps to give them bread (see Exodus 3:16; Exodus 4:31). They had already got it, or, as the Septuagint translates, they had got loaves (ἀρτοῦς). The Vulgate translates it meats (eseas). It is assumed in the tidings that the seasons and their products, and all beneficent influences in nature, belong to Yahveh. It is likewise assumed that the Hebrews were his people, albeit not in such a sense as to secure for them more "bread" and "milk and honey" than other peoples enjoyed. Their chief prerogatives were spiritual and moral. They were his Messianic people. That is the key to unlock the secret of the whole Old Testament Scriptures.

1:6-14 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. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith and piety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It is very proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thus part in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughters from going with her, when she might save them from the idolatry of Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God of Israel? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they went with her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Those that take upon them a profession of religion only to oblige their friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts of small value. If they did come with her, she would have them make it their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count the cost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession of religion. And more desire rest in the house of a husband, or some wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest to which Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they will depart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow.Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab,.... After the death of her two sons, and having heard of the ceasing of the famine in Israel, she had a desire to go into her own country, where she would have better opportunities of serving the Lord; and having no heart to stay in Moab, an idolatrous country, where she had lost her husband, and her two sons; and therefore prepared for her journey, and set forward, and her two daughters-in-law with her, to accompany her some part of the way; for it does not appear to be their intention, at least at first setting out, to go with her into the land of Canaan; and therefore it is only said, that they arose

that she might return, &c.

for she had heard in the country of Moab: which was near the land of Israel, the borders of it reaching to the salt sea; the Targum says she heard it by the mouth of an angel, but it is highly probable it was by common fame:

that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread; that he had been kind and gracious to the people of Israel, by granting them plenty of provisions; which might be their happy case after Gideon had vanquished the Midianites, who came yearly, and destroyed and carried off the fruits of the earth, which had caused a famine; see Judges 6:3. It seems as if the famine had continued ten years, see Ruth 1:4 nor need this be thought incredible, since there was a famine in Lydia, which lasted eighteen years (b).

(b) Herodot Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 94.

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