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IN the days of one of the judges, when the judges ruled, there came a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem Juda, went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.

Ver. 1.  Of one.  Heb. "And it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled."  H.

 

--- The and shews the connection with the former book.  C.

 

--- Land.  Chal. adds, "of Israel," (M.) while the less fertile country of Moab had abundance.  God thus punished the idolatry of his people.  Some say the famine lasted ten years; but this is uncertain, though Noemi continued so long out of the country, v. 4.  Salien.


RUTH

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This Book is called Ruth, from the name of the person whose history is here recorded; who, being a Gentile, became a convert to the true faith, and marrying Booz, the great-grandfather of David, was one of those from whom Christ sprang according to the flesh, and an illustrious figure of the Gentile church.  It is thought this book was written by the prophet Samuel.  Ch.

 

--- The Holy Ghost chose that the genealogy of David, and of the Messias, should be thus more clearly ascertained.  Theodoret.

 

--- Christ proceeded from the Gentiles, as well as from the Jews, and his grace is given to both.  W.

 

--- Send forth, 0 Lord, the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from Petra.  Isai. xvi.  This was the capital city of Arabia Petrea, where Ruth is supposed to have lived, (Tostat) being, according to the Chal. &c. the daughter of Eglon, king of Moab.  The Jews also pretend that Booz was the same person as Abesan, the judge.  But it is by no means certain to what period this history belongs.  Usher places it under Samgar, about 120 years after Josue.  C.

 

--- Salien believes that the famine, which obliged Elimelech to leave Bethlehem, happened under Abimelech, and that Noemi returned in the 7th year of Thola, A.C. 1243. This event certainly took place under some of the judges; so that we may consider this book as an appendix to the preceding, like the last chapters, (Judg. xvii. &c.  H.) and a preface to the history of the kings.  C.



Bethlehem

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. C. --- That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165. --- Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem. Ch.

2 He was named Elimelech, and his wife, Noemi: and his two sons, the one Mahalon, and the other Chelion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Juda. And entering into the country of Moab, they abode there.

Ver. 2.  Elimelech.  Josephus and others read erroneously, Abimelech.  He was probably called also Jokim.  1 Par. iv. 22.

 

--- Ephrathites.  This title often designates people of the tribe of Ephraim; (Judg. xii. 5.  1 K. i. 2,) but here it means those of Ephrata, which is also called Bethlehem of Juda, about five or six miles south of Jerusalem.  Gen. xxxv. 19.  Mic. v. 2.  C.



Bethlehem

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. C. --- That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165. --- Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem. Ch.

3 And Elimelech the husband of Noemi died: and she remained with her sons. 4 And they took wives of the women of Moab, of which one was called Orpha, and the other Ruth. And they dwelt there ten years.

Ver. 4.  Ruth was the wife of Mahalon; (C. iv. 10,) and signifies one "well watered, (M.) or inebriated," &c.  H.

 

--- The sons of Noemi were excused by necessity in marrying idolaters, though they ought to have done their best to convert them.  The Chaldee greatly condemns their marriage, and thinks that their death was in punishment of their prevarication.  Deut. vii. 3. and xx. 11.  C.

 

--- Salien is of the same opinion.  So various have always been the sentiments of people on this head!  H.  See Serarius, q. 11.




5 And they both died, to wit, Mahalon and Chelion: and the woman was left alone, having lost both her sons and her husband. 6 And she arose to go from the land of Moab to her own country with both her daughters in law: for she had heard that the Lord had looked upon his people, and had given them food.


7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place of her sojournment, with both her daughters in law: and being now in the way to return into the land of Juda,


8 She said to them: Go ye home to your mothers: the Lord deal mercifully with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.

Ver. 8.  Mothers, who had separate apartments from the men.  C.

 

--- Me.  They had behaved with great respect and love towards their husbands, and towards Noemi, whom they even wish to accompany.  M.

 

--- The pronouns in this, and verses 9, 11, 13, and 19, are surprisingly corrupted in Heb. being masculine or feminine, where we should expect the contrary.  Kennicott.


9 May he grant you to find rest in the houses of the husbands which you shall take. And she kissed them. And they lifted up their voice and began to weep,

Ver. 9.  Take.  She proposes marriage to them, as a state more suitable to their years, (H.) and wishes that they may experience none of its solicitudes, (1 Cor. vii. 28,) but be constantly protected by their husbands.  Widows are exposed to many difficulties.  M.


10 And to say: We will go on with thee to thy people. 11 But she answered them: Return, my daughters: why come ye with me? have I any more sons in my womb, that you may hope for husbands of me?

Ver. 11.  Of me.  Hence it appears that the Rabbins are under a mistake, when they say that those children who are born after the death of their brothers, are not obliged to take their widows.


12 Return again, my daughters, and go your ways: for I am now spent with age, and not fit for wedlock. Although I might conceive this night, and bear children,
13 If you would wait till they were grown up, and come to man's estate, you would be old women before you marry. Do not so, my daughters, I beseech you: for I am grieved the more for your distress, and the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.

Ver. 13.  Marry.  Heb. "would you stay for them from having husbands!"


14 And they lifted up their voice, and began to weep again: Orpha kissed her mother in law and returned: Ruth stuck close to her mother in law.

Ver. 14.  And returned, is not expressed in Heb.  But the Sept. have, "and she returned to her people."  H..


15 And Noemi said to her: Behold thy kinswoman is returned to her people, and to her gods, go thou with her.

Ver. 15.  To her gods, &c.  Noemi did not mean to persuade Ruth to return to the false gods she had formerly worshipped; but by this manner of speech, insinuated to her, that if she would go with her, she must renounce her false gods, and turn to the Lord, the God of Israel.  Ch.

 

--- She wished to try her constancy.  Salien.

 

--- Most infer from this passage, that Orpha was never converted, or that she relapsed.

 

--- Her gods, may indeed be rendered in the singular, "god."  But what god was peculiar to her and the Moabites, but Chamos!  C.

 

--- Noemi might well fear that Orpha would give way to the superstition of her countrymen, to which she had been addicted, even though she might have made profession of serving the true God, while she lived with her.  H.


16 She answered: Be not against me, to desire that I should leave thee and depart: for whithersoever thou shalt go, I will go: and where thou shalt dwell, I also will dwell. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

Noemi And her Daughter-In-Law

Noemi And her Daughter-In-Law

She answered: Be not against me, to desire that I should leave thee and depart: for whithersoever thou shalt go, I will go: and where thou shalt dwell, I also will dwell. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Ruth And Noemi Leave Moab

Ruth And Noemi Leave Moab

She answered: Be not against me, to desire that I should leave thee and depart: for whithersoever thou shalt go, I will go: and where thou shalt dwell, I also will dwell. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

17 The land that shall receive thee dying, in the same will I die: and there will I be buried. The Lord do so and so to me, and add more also, if aught but death part me and thee.

Ver. 17.  The Lord do so and so, &c.  A form of swearing usual in the history of the Old Testament, by which the person wished such and such evils to fall upon them, if they did not do what they said.  Ch. 

 

 

--- It is not certain that they expressed what particular evils.  C.

 

--- They might be willing to undergo any punishment, if they should transgress.  H.

 

--- The pagans used a similar form of imprecation.  3 K. xix.  4 K.  xx. 10.  C.


18 Then Noemi, seeing that Ruth was steadfastly determined to go with her, would not be against it, nor persuade her any more to return to her friends: 19 So they went together and came to Bethlehem. And when they were come into the city, the report was quickly spread among all: and the women said: This is that Noemi.

Ver. 19.  That Noemi.  This exclamation might proceed either from surprise, or from contempt.  M.



Bethlehem

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. C. --- That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165. --- Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem. Ch.

20 But she said to them: Call me not Noemi, (that is, beautiful,) but call me Mara, (that is, bitter,) for the Almighty hath quite filled me with bitterness.

Ver. 20.  That is. The explanations are added by S. Jerom.  H.

 

--- Noemi had formerly a husband and two sons, with great riches, of which she was now deprived. W.




21 I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me back empty. Why then do you call me Noemi, whom the Lord hath humbled and the Almighty hath afflicted?

Ver. 21.  Almighty.  Heb. Sadai, ("the self-sufficient) hath afflicted."


22 So Noemi came with Ruth the Moabitess her daughter in law, from the land of her sojournment: and returned into Bethlehem, in the beginning of the barley harvest.

Ver. 22.  Harvest.  About the month of Nisan, or our March (C.) and April.  M.



Bethlehem

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. C. --- That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165. --- Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem. Ch.

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