πŸ“–

Ruth 1: In the Land of Moab

Original Publication Date
October 1, 2016
Updated
Oct 25, 2022 3:22 AM
Tags
Chapter StudyRuthWomenMoabBoazRelationshipsFamine
Bible References
Ruth 1
Status
Done
πŸ“
Table of Contents
πŸ“…
This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on June 1, 2015 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

The first chapter of Ruth gives us the backstory of how Ruth ends up in Israel gleaning fields, which centers around a family from Bethlehem-judah, who leave Israel during a famine. This family consists of Elimelech, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. It is through this family that Ruth winds up in the land of Judah.

Joining the Family

During the famine in the land of Judah, Elimelech moves his family to Moab. After his death, Elimelech's sons take wives amongst the Moabite women. Chilion marries a woman named Orpah and Mahlon marries Ruth.[1][2] The families are together for 10 years before Mahlon and Chilion join their father in death. This leaves all three women (Orpah, Ruth, and Naomi) as widows.

Naomi's Perspective

Naomi hears that theΒ LordΒ has returned to Israel and is giving the Israelites "bread" to end the famine. This was the word spreading in Moab about the magnificence of Israel's God who was delivering them from famine. This inspires Naomi to return to her home. She suggests her daughter-in-laws return to their respective homes as well.

The love for their mother-in-law shows in that both women weep when she tries to bid them farewell. We see that this must have been a tightly knit family from the reactions. Initially both Orpah and Ruth declare that they will return to Judah with Naomi. It does not seem like many of the families today, who would go through extreme lengths to get rid of their in-laws. When we marry and acquire in-laws, we should be willing to stick it out with them the same way Ruth and Orpah were with Naomi.

Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
image

Naomi, however, was against the two women joining her. Knowing that the Israelites were not supposed to marry Moabites, Naomi blames the deaths and her fate on the fact that she allowed her sons to marry Moabite women and suggests that God is against her. It is possible Naomi expected the Israelites in Judah to ostracize the two women and was looking out for their best interest in refusing their offer.

Another reason Naomi lists is their prospects for husbands.Β Levirate[6] marriagesΒ were popular during this time period, but Naomi didn't have any more sons for the women to marry. Note that if the women were 20 years old when they married Naomi's sons, which is probably a bit old for the time period, they would have been 30 at the time of their husband's death. It was much more likely that Ruth and Orpah were teens at the time of their marriage and in their mid to late 20's at the time of their husband's deaths.[3][4] We also see a possible reason for the closeness of these women to Naomi; she would have been like a real mother to them if they had been teenagers when they married into the family. Either way, this is quite young to be a widow or single for the rest of your life, hence Naomi's urging that they go back to their own homes and find new husbands.

Ruth's Determination

Orpah is eventually persuaded to return to her family, but Ruth is determined to stay with Naomi. Ruth boldly declares that she will not leave Naomi; her declaration is so powerful that Naomi simply stops talkingβ€”she can't argue with Ruth's vow. Unable to deter Ruth, Naomi sets out for her hometown of Bethlehem with company. The two women return to the city during the barley harvest, which explains why later on we see Ruth gleaning barley.

16 And Ruth said, Intreat 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:Β 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

Upon their arrival, the people recognize Naomi and call her by name. Naomi shuns her name, however, and asks that the people call her Mara. The name Naomi means "pleasant,"[5] something Naomi certainly was not feeling. Instead she wishes to be called a name that means "bitter,"[5] what she actually feels.

Relating to Today

In this chapter we see a great contrast between the two women. Naomi is quite sullen and bitter; her outlook on the world is negative. Ruth on the other hand is much younger and still views the world with optimism. Each of us goes through trials in life and we each have the option to react like Naomi or like Ruth. The older we become, the easier it is to react the way Naomi did.

A personal example is in the similar issue of finding a spouse. When I was in middle school and high school, I had an abundance of hope that (1) I would become popular and (2) new students (specifically male students) would pop up at my school so that (3) I would find that special someone. While my attitude had changed slightly in college, I still felt very hopeful that "the one" was lurking around the corner. The peak of this optimism came sometime during my Master's degree. Since the age of 25 it has become much easier to fall into Naomi's rut and believe I won't meet anyone.

Fortunately, we are not doomed to stay in a bitter mood forever; even Naomi cheers up by the end of the book. What we need is the ability to recognize this slump and pull ourselves out of it. Whether we are down about potential mates or our job or something else all together, we know that God has promised to take care of us, to provide for us, and to be our rock. Why then should we allow bitterness to cloud our view of the future? The story of Ruth proves that when one door closes, God opens another door for us.

References and Footnotes

  1. Ruth 1:4
  2. Ruth 4:10
  3. West, Jim. "Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs".Β Quartz Hill School of Theology. 2016
  4. Lemos, Tracey M. "Weddings and Marriage Traditions in Ancient Israel".Β Society of Biblical Literature. 2016
  5. Holman Bible Publishers.Β Holman KJV Study Bible. pg. 460. 2016
  6. Levirate marriage is when the brother or next kinsman of a man was obliged to marry his widow (particularly if she had not borne children yet).

Back to

overview

Other Pages to View

Related Studies

4 views

Related Studies

Related Podcasts

Related Experiences

Related History

πŸ“–
Isaiah 15-16: Moab
IsaiahChapter StudyProphecyMoabCaptivity
πŸ“–
Isaiah 4: Judgment of Israel (Pt. 3)
IsaiahChapter StudyWomenRelationshipsJerusalemSymbolismProphecy
πŸ“–
Isaiah 3: Judgment of Israel (Pt. 2)
IsaiahChapter StudyFalse Deities and ProphetsWomenProphecyJudgement
πŸ“–
Numbers 25: Idolatry & Israel
NumbersChapter StudyFalse Deities and ProphetsMoabRelationships
πŸ“–
Numbers 22-24: Balak, Balaam, and the Talking Donkey
NumbersChapter StudyMoabAnimalsMessianic ProphecyProphecyFalse Deities and Prophets
πŸ“–
Numbers 20-21: The Journey Continues
NumbersChapter StudyEdomCanaanSymbolismMoab
πŸ“–
Numbers 10-12: From Sinai to Paran
NumbersChapter StudyMosesAaronMiriamEthiopiaRelationshipsFood and Diet
πŸ“–
1 Samuel 25: Samuel’s Death and David’s Wives
1 SamuelChapter StudyAbigailRelationshipsWomenDavidSamuelMichal
πŸ“–
1 Samuel 18-27: Saul Tries to Kill David
1 SamuelChapter StudyJonathanRelationshipsSaulDavidPhilistineMurderMichal
πŸ“–
1 Samuel 16: David is Anointed
1 SamuelChapter StudySaulDavidSamuelRelationships
πŸ“–
1 Samuel 8-10: A King for Israel
1 SamuelChapter StudyRelationshipsProphecySaulLeadership
πŸ“–
Ezra 9-10: Confessions of Sin
EzraChapter StudyRelationships
πŸ“–
1 Samuel 1-3: Introducing Samuel
1 SamuelChapter StudyPriesthoodHannahWomenIntercessory PrayerSamuel
πŸ“–
Deuteronomy 5-26: The Second Address (Part 3)
DeuteronomyChapter StudyTithesRelationshipsServants and SlavesSexual AssaultWomenCommandments
πŸ“–
Deuteronomy 1-4: The First Address
DeuteronomyChapter StudyMoabAmmonFalse Deities and ProphetsCommandmentsMosesJoshuaRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ“
Homosexuality in the Bible
LeviticusSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRelationshipsLawCommandmentsLove
πŸ“–
Leviticus 21-22: More on Priests
LeviticusChapter StudyPriesthoodLeviRelationships
πŸ“–
Nehemiah 3: Rebuilding the Wall
NehemiahChapter StudyJerusalemWomenMessianic Prophecy
πŸ“–
Esther 6&7: Victory
EstherChapter StudyWomenPersia
πŸ“–
Esther 3-5: The Threat to the Jews
EstherChapter StudyWomenFastingRacismGenocide
πŸ“–
Esther 2: The Rise of Queen Esther
EstherChapter StudyBenjaminWomenPersia
πŸ‘€
The Unnamed Concubine
Character StudyJudgesWomenSexual Assault
πŸ“–
Judges 19-21: A Call to War
JudgesChapter StudySexual AssaultWomenLeviBenjamin
πŸ“–
Judges 13-16: Samson
JudgesChapter StudyRelationshipsSamsonWomenPhilistineOaths and VowsDan
πŸ“–
Judges 4-5: Deborah, Jael, and Barak
JudgesChapter StudyDeborahWomenLeadership
πŸ“–
Judges 3: Othniel and Ehud
JudgesChapter StudyCanaanFalse Deities and ProphetsRelationshipsCaptivityBenjaminMoabAmalakites
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 11-12: David and Bathsheba
2 SamuelChapter StudyRelationshipsAdulteryJudgementDavidMurder
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 5-10: David’s Military Success
2 SamuelChapter StudyDavidRelationshipsMessianic Prophecy
πŸ‘€
David
Character StudyRuth1 Samuel2 Samuel1 Kings2 Kings1 Chronicles2 ChroniclesPsalms
πŸ“–
2 Samuel 13-19: Absalom’s Coup
Chapter Study2 SamuelDavidRelationshipsTamarWomenSexual ImoralitySexual AssaultRepentance and Forgiveness
πŸ‘€
Tamar, daughter of David
Character StudyTamarWomenSexual Assault2 Samuel
πŸ“
Why β€˜The Bride of Christ’ is the Perfect Description
RelationshipsRevelationMessiahProphecy
πŸ“–
Acts 16: Timothy Was Biracial…Sort Of
ActsChapter StudyTimothyGenealogyCircumcisionPaulWomenBaptism
πŸ‘€
Dinah
Character StudyGenesisWomenSexual AssaultDinahJacobLeahLeviSimeonYouTube
πŸ“–
Acts 12: Peter, Rhoda, and Herod
ActsChapter StudyWomenPeterPersecutionRomeHolidayPassover
❓
Would You Rather?: Fatherly Treatment
Would You RatherEdomJacobJosephGenesisRelationshipsTheft
❓
Would You Rather?: Marriage vs. Singleness
Would You RatherRelationshipsLoveRepentance and ForgivenessHoseaPaul
❓
Would You Rather?: Rahab vs. Mary
Would You RatherRahabMary & JosephWomen
πŸ“–
Genesis 37-50: The 12 Tribes of Israel
GenesisChapter StudyJosephBenjaminLeviJudahRuebenSimeonZebulunIssacharGadDanManassehEphraimAsherNaphtaliRepentance and ForgivenessFamineEgyptWomenSexual ImoralityGenealogyIncestTamarDreams and Visions
πŸ“–
Genesis 27-36: Jacob & Esau, Two Nations
GenesisChapter StudyWomenJacobLeahEdomRachelTithesFalse Deities and ProphetsDinahSexual AssaultCircumcisionLeviSimeonGenocideTheft
πŸ“–
Genesis 11-23: Abraham and the Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah
GenesisChapter StudyAbrahamSarahJudgementLotHagarIshmaelCircumcisionSexual ImoralityIsaacMoab
πŸ“
Honor Thy Mother and Father
CommandmentsLawRelationshipsHamDeuteronomyExodus
πŸ“–
Exodus 14-17: Leaving Egypt
ExodusChapter StudyEgyptPhilistineMosesMiriamWomenWildernessWaterAmalakitesNames of GodFire
πŸ‘€
Who Was Jezebel?
JezebelCharacter StudyWomenRacism1 Kings2 KingsRevelationYouTube
πŸ‘€
The Life of Leah
LeahJacobGenesisRelationshipsLeviJudahZebulunIssacharDinahSimeonRuebenCharacter StudyRachel
πŸ‘€
Mediate Like Abigail
Abigail1 SamuelDavidCharacter StudyWomenYouTube
πŸ“–
Esther 1: The Demise of a Queen
WomenEstherPersiaChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 4: The Legacy
RuthChapter StudyWomenBoazMessiahRahabTamarGenealogy
πŸ“–
Ruth 3: The Redeeming Relative
RelationshipsBoazRuthChapter Study
πŸ“–
Ruth 2: The Fields of Boaz
PovertyRelationshipsBoazRuthChapter StudyAllegoryMessiah
πŸ“
The Creation and Purpose of Women
WomenEveGenesisGarden of EdenYouTube
πŸ“
Does Feminism Align With Biblical Principles?
Featured TopicWomenSexual AssaultProverbs
πŸ™πŸ½
PSALMS to God is a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel that discusses many topics and issues, always keeping YHWH as the anchor. Hosea 4:6 says β€œMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”—here, the aim is to always ask questions and study to find the answers. You can keep up with new content by signing up for the weekly newsletter.
image