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Ruth 1:15-22

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Ruth 1:15
  • Ruth 1:16
  • Ruth 1:17
  • Ruth 1:18
  • Ruth 1:19
  • Ruth 1:20
  • Ruth 1:21
  • Ruth 1:22

The book of Ruth follows the story of a Moabite woman named Ruth who marries an Israelite man who later dies, leaving her a widow with few resources. While the easy route would have been to return to her family and find a Moabite husband, Ruth commits to remain with her Israelite mother-in-law and joins her on the journey back to her home in Israel. Ruth is a model of courage and character, as she continually works to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. Boaz, a relation of Ruth’s late husband, enters the scene and provides for Ruth, taking note of her character and care for her mother-in-law.

 

Ruth is an incredible example to us as someone who forsook an old life for a new one, lived courageously and faithfully, and was greatly rewarded in the end.

 

The book of Ruth also presents the idea of a kinsman-redeemer, a close relative or relationship that is able to provide immense, immeasurable benefits to another person. Boaz serves as a kinsman-redeemer, and also sacrifices for the benefit of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. Boaz and Ruth are both rewarded for their faithful service by being the great grandparents of King David. That places them in the direct lineage of  Jesus Christ, who serves as a kinsman-redeemer for all of mankind.

 

Ruth is ultimately an example of a godly wife (Ephesians 5:22-24) and also of the relationship all believers should have with Christ. She was virtuous and faithful while serving others. She was subject to Boaz and submitted herself to his leadership. Boaz also made a great sacrifice which provided immeasurable benefit to Ruth. This kind of marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ. Christ is our leader and ultimately our redeemer and savior, who sacrificed himself for us. Our faithfulness to him is for our good. Just as Ruth’s sacrifices and faithfulness to Boaz resulted in him acting as her kinsman-redeemer and providing her great reward, so our faithfulness and submission to Christ will result in our reward (Revelation 3:21).


Chapter 1 revolves around the tragic circumstances and heartache experienced by a woman from Bethlehem named Naomi. She travels with her extended family to Moab since there is a famine in the land of Israel. While in Moab, her husband and sons die. One of her daughter-in-laws returns to her relatives to start a new life while one daughter-in-law, Ruth, remains with Naomi no matter what.

 


Ruth commits to following Naomi wherever she goes and following her God. She returns to Bethlehem with Naomi.

Naomi now finds herself without a husband, and without any sons to care for her. One Moabite daughter-in-law decides to return to her family in Moab while Ruth chooses to remain with her. Ruth states to Naomi Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me. This is quite an amazing statement of commitment.

Naomi relentedwhen she saw that she was determined to go with her.

Naomi and Ruth completed walking the journey of sixty or so miles from Moab until they came to Bethlehem. It seems clear that Bethlehem is a small village because when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them. Two women showing up in town was big news. Although it had been ten years, since Naomi’s departure, she was still remembered. Again, this indicates the village was small without much change. The women said, “Is this Naomi?”  

Naomi replied to the question by making a play on the meaning of her name. She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. Instead of continuing to go by the name Naomi that means “pleasant,” she now wants to be called Mara with the meaning of “bitter.”

Naomi does not try to hide her loss. She tells the village women that she went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Naomi attributes her calamity to God, saying the Almighty has afflicted me.

Naomi chose to return to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Biblical Text

15 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” 18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

19 So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

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