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FROM THE FIFTH LONDON EDITION, WITH THE AUTHOR'S LAST CORRECTIONS
VOL. II. HISTORICAL
PUBLISHED BY CROCKER AND BREWSTER,
47 WASHINGTON STREET.
THIS book is a kind of appendix to that of Judges, and an introduction to the subsequent histoy: and it is most probable, that it was written by Samuel, after he had anointed David to be king. Ruth, a Moabitess, having been married to the son of Elimelech, of the tribe of Judah; after the death of her husband and father-in-law, accompanied Naomi, her mother-in-law, into the land of Israel, from love to her, and to true religion: there she was married to Boaz, a near kinsman, and thus brought into the line of David, and consequently of Christ the Son of David. The chief events occurred at Beth-lehem, the city of David; whose genealogy from Pharez, the son of Judah, concludes the book, and is attested by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke. It is not easy to fix the Chronology of these events: they occurred in the days when the judges ruled; but there is no evidence to determine exactly under which of them.-The narrative itself is very interesting and instructive. It shews the condescending providential care of God to the minutest concerns of his people: and the circumstance of a Moabitess becoming an ancestor of Christ, seems to have been a pre-intimation of the calling of the Gentiles into his church.
B. C. 1322.
B. C. 1322. Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-juElimelech induced by famine to sojourn in Moab dies there, 1-3. dah: and they came into the country of
His two sons, having married women of Moab, die without children; and Naomi, Elimelech's widow, prepares to return to Israel, 4-6. Orpah and Ruth, her daughters-in-law, propose to accompany her; she dissuades them, and Orpah returns back,
7-14. Ruth determines to go with her, 15-18. They arrive
at Beth-lehem, and Naomi answers the inquiries of her neighbors, 19-22.
TOW it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land: and a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and a Judg. 2:16.
* Heb. judged.
b Gen. 12:10. 26:1. 43:1. Lev. 26:19. Deut. 28:23,24,38. 2 Sam. 21:1. 1 Kings 17:1-12. 18:2. 2 Kings 8:1,2. Ps. 105:
16. 107:34. Jer. 14:1. Ez. 14:
c Judg. 17:8. 19:1,2.
having perhaps been children of a weakly constitution.
CHAP. I. V. 1, 2. Elimelech seems to have been blameable, in removing from the ordinan- V. 4, 5. There is no reason to think, that ces and people of God. The famine was not so either Orpah or Ruth was proselyted to the reextreme but that others could endure it; and heligion of Israel, before marriage; and conseevidently was a person of property, and not likely to want the necessaries of life, though Jewish traditions of his rank and dignity are entitled to little credit. (Note, 19-21.) Probably, he thought that he could live better and at less expense in the land of Moab, than in Canaan; but it terminated in the empoverishing and wasting of his family.-"Elimelech signifies my God a king, and "Mahlon" and "Chilion" seem to denote sickness and consumption; they
quently Mahlon and Chilion directly violated the divine law; for which some think their premature death without children was a punishment. (Lev. 20:20,21.) But their marriage with Moabitish women was the natural effect of Elimelech's conduct, in bringing them acquainted with the women of Moab, and removing them to a distance from the worshippers of God. Thus they settled among idolaters; and had they left children, there would have been
6 Then she arose with her daughters-||*I should have an husband also to-night, in-law, that she might return from the and should also bear sons; country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab, how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her: and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
13 Would yet tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters: for tit grieveth me much for your sakes, that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and a Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law, P Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with law you, as ye have dealt with the dead, unto and with me.
9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them: and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters; why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if
great danger of their being incorporated among them. (Notes, Gen. 13:10-12. 14:12. 19:1, 14, 26,31-38.) Probably Elimelech died soon after he came into the land of Moab, and his two sons followed him before ten years were expired; but it does not appear, how long after their marriage this took place.
V. 6-10. Perhaps Naomi had staid in Moab contrary to her inclination, from regard to her husband while he lived, and afterwards to her sons: and she was now encouraged to return into Canaan, by hearing that the Lord had visited the land with plenty; for it would have been very discouraging for a destitute widow to return home in a time of great scarcity. (Note, 19-21.)-She seems to have been a person of eminent faith and piety; and to have diligently instructed her daughters-in-law in true religion, which she recommended by her example. They both had a great affection for her, and at first purposed to go with her, notwithstanding her afflicted condition; though Orpah's resolution failed upon the trial. Their good behavior to their husbands, and to Naomi, likewise endeared them to her, and excited her affectionate wishes and fervent prayers for them; and they were all greatly distressed at the thoughts of parting.
V. 11-14. The custom of the surviving brother marrying the widow of the deceased, who had left no children, seems to have prevailed in other countries besides Israel; but no
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister-inis gone back unto her people, and her gods: return thou after thy sis
16 And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
17 Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught 'but death part thee and me.
Or, I were with an husband.
Heb. I have much bitterness. z Deut. 2:15. Judg. 2:15. 1 Sam. 5:11. Job 19:21. Ps. 32: 4. 38:2. 39:9,10,
a Gen. 31:28,55. 1 Kings 19:20. Matt. 10:37. 19:22. 2 Tim. 4: 10.
5 Deut. 4:4. 10:20. Prov. 17:17. 18:24. Is. 14:1. Zech. 8:23. Matt. 16:24. John 6:66-69. Acts 17:34. Feb. 10:39.
c Ps. 36:3. 125:5. Zeph. 1:6. Matt. 13:20,21. Heb. 10:38. 1 John 2:19.
d Judg. 11:24.
e Josh. 24:15. 2 Sam. 15:19,20. Luke 14:26-33.
Or, Be not against me. f 2 Kings 2:2,4,6. Acts 21:13. g 2 Sam. 15:21. Matt. 8:19. John 13:37. Rev. 14:4.
h 2:11,12. Ps. 45:10. Is. 14:1. i Josh. 24:18. Dan. 2:47. 3.29. 4:37. Hos. 13:4. 2 Cor. 6:1618. 1 Thes. 1:9.
k 1 Sam. 3:17. 25:22. 2 Sam. 3:9,35. 19:13. 1 Kings 2:23. 19:2. 2010. 2 Kings 6:31. 1 Acts 11:23. 20:24.
prospect of a settlement according to it, could possibly be held out by Naomi to her daughters in-law. She therefore expressed great concern at the afflictions with which God had visited her, because she was deprived of all power to help them: and she intimated, that if they were not disposed to accompany her out of disinterested love to God, and to the people of Israel, she could hold out no other inducement. Upon this Orpah, not being prepared to venture all consequences, and renounce all her worldly prospects for the sake of religion, returned back to her country, her relations, and her gods, though with reluctance and tokens of affection for Naomi. (Marg. Ref. a—c.)
V. 15. Naomi was doubtless very far from desiring that Ruth should return: but she intended to make trial of her sincerity, and to lead her to consider how she could bear poverty and hardship, for the sake of the God of Is rael; that if she were not in earnest, and only induced by affection for her, and some general convictions, it might now be discovered; or that she might set out with steady determination of mind, and entire dependence on the grace of God. (18. Notes, Josh. 24:15-19. Luke 14:25-33.)
V. 16, 17. The example and instructions of Naomi seem to have given Ruth the most favorable opinion of the character and religion of the Israelites, so that she desired to have her lot with them at any rate: and for the sake of
18 When she saw that she fastly minded to go with her, left speaking unto her.
was sted-||mighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. then she 21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
19 So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the city was moved about them; and they said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said unto them, Call me not + Naomi, call me Mara: for 4 the Al
this, she was willing to renounce all her connexions and prospects in the land of Moab, and to embrace hardship and penury in a strange country. (Notes, Josh. 2:4-6,8-11.) She was also determined to cleave to Naomi, however destitute and afflicted, until death separated them. For her sincerity in this profession she called the LORD to witness, and to multiply her troubles if she did not fulfil this solemn engagement. Thus she renounced idolatry, and became a worshipper and servant of the living God, and "counted all but loss" for the sake of his favor and salvation; and her subsequent conduct proved that her faith was genuine and her profession sincere. (Notes, 2 Sam. 15:18-22. 1 Chr. 12:16-18. John 6:66-71.)
V. 19-21. Naomi had probably lived in affluence, and been much respected: her neigh-|| bors were therefore greatly surprised to see her return home, so altered in her circumstances and appearance; for she and Ruth seem to have travelled on foot, without any attendants, all the property which Elimelech had taken with him having been spent.-"Naomi" signifies pleasant, and "Mara," bitter. She humbly considered her afflictions as coming from the Lord's hand upon her and her family, for sin. For thus "the LORD testified against her, and the Almighty afflicted her." Perhaps she considered herself as guilty, in not having left Moab immediately on the death of her band.
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Beth-lehem in "the beginning of barley-harvest.
r Job 6:4. 19:6. Ps. 73:14. 88:15. | t Job 10:17. 13:26. 16:8. Mal.3:5.
s 1 Sam. 2:7,8. Job 1:21.
house of God, and brought acquainted with persons of no religion, or of a false religion, it cannot be expected, but that they will conform to their ways, and have their portion with them living and dying. Better would it be to be pinched with poverty, and worn down with labor, in the Lord's land, than to live in luxury and ease by hazarding such consequences. (Notes, Ps. 37:3,16,17.) For our earthly trials or enjoyments are of short continuance; death is continually removing those of every age and situation, suddenly breaking in upon the most endeared unions, and marring all our outward comforts: we cannot therefore too decidedly prefer those advantages which shall endure for ever, that we may be ready for every separating stroke. If however, we be constrained to dwell for a season in places of temptation, we should retire when the necessity ceases; and consider every rebuke in Providence, as a call to us, to "come out and be separate" from the workers of iniquity.-When "the Lord visits his people in giving them bread," they ought to be content and thankful, though they have not abundance of silver and gold: and the assurance, that he will supply the real necessities of his true servants, should encourage us cheerfully to cast our lot among them. In every situation and relation in life, especially among such as are strangers to the truths of the gospel, behus-lievers should aim to "adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." (Note, Tit. 2:9, 10.) And when they behave with prudence, integrity, meekness, and kindness; when they well perform the duties of relative life, and No judgment can be formed from mere out-shew attention to the temporal comfort, and ward circumstances, whether we have, or have compassion for the sufferings, of those around not, "found favor with God;" for whom he loves them; and when they commend what is right in he often chastens for their profit, and leaves his the moral and relative conduct of those who enemies to be hardened in prosperity.-Afflic-are not acquainted with spiritual things; they tions should be submitted to as the Lord's rebuke, and they call on us, as by the voice of the Lord, to exercise repentance, and seek forgiveness: (Notes, Am. 4:6-13. Mic. 6:9.) for every endeavor, by carnal policy, to evade correction, will eventually entangle us in greater difficulties.-Those who, by inconveniences or hardships, are easily induced to change their sitnations, seldom prosper in this world; and prove that they do not understand the real causes of their uneasiness. For the displeasure of God, and the pride and impatience of our hearts, cannot be avoided by change of place or situation; and while these remain, they will produce misery whithersoever we remove. But when we are tempted to quit the ordinances of God, and the communion of his people, out of secular motives, we should remember Lot and Sodom. In such measures our children and families are deeply concerned; for if they are estranged from the servants and
win much upon them, and render them more disposed to take in good part any endeavors made to do good to their souls. And thus, (beside the comfort of domestic harmony, which cannot easily be valued too highly,) the Lord often blesses such conduct, as the means of bringing those who were ignorant, careless, or prejudiced, to inquire after his truth and salvation; while the contrary behavior of too many professors of the gospel, forms a grand objection against it in the minds of thousands and tens of thousands.-Many feel an affection for such believers as have been kind to them, and entertain favorable sentiments of religion, who are not decided in renouncing all their worldly pleasures, connexions, and prospects, and joining themselves to the poor and despised people of God, for the sake of Christ and his salvation. They more desire "rest in the house of a husband," or in some worldly settlement or satis. faction, than that rest to which Jesus invites