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Ruth 1:6-14

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Ruth 1:6
  • Ruth 1:7
  • Ruth 1:8
  • Ruth 1:9
  • Ruth 1:10
  • Ruth 1:11
  • Ruth 1:12
  • Ruth 1:13
  • Ruth 1:14

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.

 


Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to return to their home so that they may find Moabite husbands. Orpah leaves but Ruth stays.

From Naomi’s human perspective, both her present and future life seems to be hopeless. After leaving one’s homeland, when things do not turn out well, it’s natural to think about returning home, losing loved ones in death magnified her discouragement. Naomi heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food.  News reached her that the Lord had lifted the famine so she desires to return to Israel. So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. Judah is the name of the tribal area in which Bethlehem was located.

Being older, Naomi found little hope of ever remarrying. Yet, unselfishly, she doesn’t want her dilemma to be an impediment for her daughters-in-law to remarry and have a brighter future than hers. So Naomi exhorts her daughters-in law to go, return each of you to her mother’s house. Naomi gives them a blessing, saying may the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. It seems clear that her daughters-in-law have treated her very well. Naomi now wishes to treat them well, seeking their financial security. She encourages them to remarry, saying may the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.

Then Naomi kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

Naomi argues practicalities. They need their own husband and family. That was necessary for protection and sustenance in an agrarian economy and a time prior to machinery. Naomi can’t raise sons for them. Even if she did would they wait until they were grown?  Orpah relented and returned to Moab, but Ruth clung to her.

Biblical Text

6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the land of Moab, for she had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food. 7 So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 May the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, but we will surely return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Return, my daughters. Why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Return, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is harder for me than for you, for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.” 14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

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