*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Ruth 1:1-5 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Ruth 1:1
  • Ruth 1:2
  • Ruth 1:3
  • Ruth 1:4
  • Ruth 1:5

Elimelech moved his family to Moab due to a famine, while there he and his sons died leaving their widows behind.

The setting for the book of Ruth takes place during the time when the judges governed. That means the events in Ruth occurred during the book of Judges (approximately 1000 years before Christ’s incarnation), prior to Israel having kings. The passage notes that there was a famine in the land. This will be an important backdrop for the ensuing story. The famine is named as the cause for a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah deciding to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.

Bethlehem is located in Israel west of the Dead Sea near Jerusalem. Moab was located to the east of the Dead Sea, roughly 60 miles from Bethlehem. Today, it is a part of modern Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of the incestuous affair of Lot (see Genesis 19). Moses delivered Deuteronomy to Israel while on the Plains of Moab about 400 years prior to the time of the Judges.

In ancient times, and even today, famines cause people to migrate. The famine was so severe that they remained there in Moab for ten years. While in Moab, things did not go well for Naomi. While away from her homeland, her husband Elimelech and two sons die. Naomi is left with only two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Mahlon and Chilion had taken for themselves Moabite women as wives.

The name Naomi means “pleasant.”

Biblical Text

1 Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2 The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. 3 Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. 4 They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. 5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.

Check out our other commentaries:

  • Amos 5:10-13 meaning

    Amos once again accuses Israel of practicing injustice, which violates His covenant with Israel. For this reason, God will judge His covenant people.......
  • Matthew 18:11-14 meaning

    In the context of showing how much these little ones mean to Jesus and His Father, Jesus shares that the very reason He came as......
  • 2 Timothy 1:3-7 meaning

    Paul does not want Timothy to shrink back from following in his footsteps, even if it will lead to imprisonment and death, as it will......
  • Hebrews 7:1-3 meaning

    The Pauline Author starts out by explaining the great priesthood of Melchizedek as a reflection of the priesthood of Jesus.......
  • Daniel 3:3-7 meaning

    Nebuchadnezzar unveils his statue of gold to his sub-rulers. When music plays, everyone is commanded to bow and worship the statue. Anyone who breaks this......