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The Book of RUTH.

INTRODUCTION.

THIS is an Appendix to the Book of Judges ; and takes ita

. title from the person whose story is principally related in it, namely, Ruth, who left her country and relations out of regard to the God of Israel. It was probably written by Samuel, as it brings the history of Israel down to his time. It contains the genealogy of David from Judah, and is in part designed to prove that Christ came out of that tribe, according to Jacob's prophecy.

CHAP. I.

In which is an account of Ruth being brought into the land of

Canaan.

IN OW it came to pass in the days when the Judges

ruled, about the time of Gideon, (Judges vi. 3.) that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth

lehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and 2 his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man (was]

Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethle

hemjudah.* And they came into the country of Moab, and 3 continued there. And Elimelech Naomi's husband died ; 4, and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them

wives of the women of Moab, which it was not lawful for them to do, unless they were proselytes to the Jewish religion :

the name of the one (was] Orpah, and the name of the other 5 Ruth : and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mah

lon and Chilion died also both of them ; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband, in a melancholy condidition, in a country of strangers ; she had lost her husband,

ker sons, and her estate, and was left to the wide world. 6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might

return from the country of Moab : for she had heard in the country of Moab, how that the LORD had visited his people

• Bethlehem is called Ephratha, on account of its extraordinary fruitfulness ; it signifies the house of bread; but now famine was there.

in giving them bread. Phis shows Naomi's affection for the

land of Israel, that she returned when the famine was over. 7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was,

and her two daughters in law with her.; and they went on 8 the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said

unto her two daughters in law, when they had gone part of the way with her, Go, return each to her mother's house ; and she gave them her blessing, saying, The LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me ; the Lord

be good to you, as you have been good wives to my sons, and 9 good daughters to me. The LORD grant you that ye may find

rest, each [of you) in the house of her husband ; she wishes them happily settled again, and free from those incumbrances

and troubles to which widows are exposed. Then she kissed 10 them ; and they lifted up their voice and wept. And they

said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy peo

ple. They were grieved to part with her, and resolved to ac. Il company her to Bethlehem. And Naomi said, Turn again, my

daughters : Why will ye go with me? Care] 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] I

should have an husband also to night, and should also bear 13 sons ; 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. Thus she endeavours to persuade them to return ; she was never likely to marry and have more sons, who might, according to the law, marry their brother's wives : and she was grieved that she was

reduced to so low a condition that she was not able to do any 14 thing for them, if they were to go with her. And they lifted up

their voice, and wept again ; they were in great trouble, doubt. ing whether they should go with her, or part from her; and

Orpah kissed her mother in law, took her leave, and returned ; 15 but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in

law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods : return thou after thy sister in law. Naomi would have her think of and deliberate on the consequences, and not go merely out of

regard to her, who, being poor, could not help her, and might 16 800n die and leave her. And Ruth said, Entreat me not to

leave thee, [or] to return from following after thee, as I am fully determined to do it ; for whither thou goest, I will go ; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge ; I will risk my fortune, and be content in any condition with thee : thy people [shall be) my people, and thy God my God. A noble and elegant addres8 ; which shows that she acted on the best principles, rèm solving to embrace the Jewish religion, and take Jehovah for her

17 God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buri

ed : the LORD do so to me, and more also, [if aught] but death part thee and me. She not only resolved that nothing but death should part them, and that she would lie in the same grave, but this she confirmed by a solemn asseveration ; think

of what imprecation you please, and the Lord do it to me, and 18 more, if I am not sincere and resolute. When she saw that

she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speak

ing unto her ; she was satisfied ; and undoubtedly was glad of 19 her company and converse. So they two went until they came

to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come

to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and 20 they said, [ls] this Naomi ?* And she said unto them, Call

me not Naomi, that is, pleasant, but call me Mara, bitter or

sorrowful : for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with 21 me. I went out full, had money, a husband, and sons, and the

LORD hath brought me home again empty, deprived of all ; why (then) call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified

against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me ? owning the 22 hand and justice of God in her afflictions. 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 Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest, about the time of the passover, this is mentioned as an introduction to the following story.

REFLECTIONS.

1. TTTHEN people forsake the post of duty, it is no won

VV der that they meet with afflictions. Elimelech's removal to Moab, was a very wrong step. Had he been in distress, he might have mortgaged his lands, and his brethren by the law · of God were obliged to relieve him. But by the expression in

v. 21, guing out full, it seems to be intimated that he was not in distress. If he had been so, he might have endured it as well as his brethren ; if not, he might have gone to some other tribe, and not to Moab. To distrust God, and go over to idolaters, was very wrong, and God remarkably punished the family : he and his sons died, and died childless too. It is a dangerous thing, be. cause it is displeasing to God, to forsake the station in which Providence hath placed us, because there are some inconveniences in it ; it shows an unstable mind, and a distrust of Providence.

They who go out of the way to avoid a cross, will very probably meet with one much more heavy and grievous, and perhaps with death ; and there is no outrunning that.

* An ancient version renders it, the whole city rejoiced. She was a pious woman, well beloved, and formerly of great reputation among them; they were glad to see her again; but appearing in a mean habit, and her countenance being greatly altered by years and trouble. they could scarce believe her to be the same person, and cried out, Is this Naomi

2. Here is an amiable example for mothers and daughters in law, how to behave to each other. These are relations in which there are perhaps more differences and contentions, than in any other; and therefore caution is very proper. Naomi had been a kind, friendly mother to her daughters in law, and tender of their comfort and interest ; and they showed great respect to her. Let those whom Providence has brought into this relation, guard against jealousy and suspicion, and any unbecoming carriage. Kindness is a winning quality ; and if persons are not beloved, it is generally, if not always, their own fault.

3. Ruth is a good pattern to all, and especially to young peo. ple, to be firm and resolute in their adherence to God and religion. Be willing to take the Lord for your God, your father, and ruler ; and his people for your people. Let them be your friends and companions ; associate with them, and continue among them ; and bind yourselves to this in the strongest manner. If sinners would persuade you against this, reject their solicitations with abhorrence. If others return to their sinful companions, be not you led away by them. Nay, if good men should lay any stumbling block in your way, and seem to discourage you, resolve, in divine strength, to break through all difficulties, and continue faithful to God, and in fellowship with his people, even unto death.. You cannot be too resolute and steadfast in what is so good. Be willing, like this pious young woman, to run any risk, or go through any hardship in this world, to save your immortal souls.

4. What a melancholy change may be quickly made in the circumstances of those who are most prosperous and happy ! What sorrow had this pious matron endured! the loss of her children, widowhood, poverty, and distress, in a strange country. She little expected this when she left the land of Canaan. Who can tell what circumstances a man shall be in ten years hence, yea, ten days? May we learn not to expect too much from this world ; but look for changes in life. Death will part us and our dearest friends. Let us then expect the parting moment, and beg of God to fit us for every change, especially our great change. And in order to this, let us observe,

5. That it becomes us to acknowledge the hand and justice of God in all the calamities of life. Naomi does this with a great deal of devotion ; the Lord hath brought me home ; the Lord hath testified against me ; the Almighty hath afflicted me. Such a sense of the hand of God in every thing that befalls us, will tend to humble us, to prevent our murmuring and complaining against him, and being fretful and peevish with those about us, and also to compose and satisfy our minds under the greatest evils. , Let us endeavour, with this good woman, to be humble and patient ; to bring our minds to our conditions ; and then it will be good for us to have been afflicted.

CHAP. II.

Here we have an account of Ruth's humility and industry ; the piety

and generosity of Boaz ; and Naomi's gratitude, and further advice to her daughter. 1 AND Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty

A man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech ; and his name (was) Boaz ; he was the grandson of Nahshon, prince of 2 the tribe of Judah. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi,

Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after [him,] · that is, after any person, in whose sight I shall find grace, op 3 favour. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she

went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers : and her hap or fortune was to light on a part of the field be. longing) unto Boaz, who [was) of the kindred of Elimelech. This seemed a casual thing, as she knew not whose field it was ;

but Providence directed her thither, as will appear in the sequel. 4 And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the

reapers, The LORD [be] with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. According to the piety and simplicity of

those times, he addressed them with this courteous and serious 5 salutation, which they devoutly returned. Then said Boaz unto

his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel [is] this? Seeing a stranger, he inquired who she was, of his stewe

ard, who was set over the labourers to see that they did their 6 work, to provide for them, and pay them their wages. And the

servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It

[is] the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of 7 the country of Moab : And she said, I pray you, let me glean,

and gather after the reapers among the sheaves ; he not only informed him who she was, but how diligent she had been ; and that she asked it as a favour to glean ; though she might have demanded it as a right, according to the law, Lev. xix. 9, 10. so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now,

that shetarried a little in the house, in the hovel or tent, to which 8 they retired in the heat of the day. Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter ? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens ; treating her with great civility, and desiring her to keep close to the maidens who gathered up corn after his reapers ;

and assuring her that his young men should not molest her. 9 [Let] thine eyes [be] on the field that they do reap, and go

thou after them : have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go

unto the vessels, and drink of [that] which the young men 10 have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to

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