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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Ruth 1

 

 

Verse 1

In the days when the Judges ruled - “Judged.” This note of time, like that in Rth 4:7 ; Judges 18:1; Judges 17:6, indicates that this Book was written after the rule of the judges had ceased. The genealogy Rth 4:17-22 points to the time of David as the earliest when the Book of Ruth could have been written.

A famine - Caused probably by one of the hostile invasions recorded in the Book of Judges. Most of the Jewish commentators, from the mention of Bethlehem, and the resemblance of the names Boaz and Ibzan, refer this history to the judge Ibzan Judges 12:8, but without probability.

The country of Moab - Here, and in Rth 1:2 , Rth 1:22 ; Rth 4:3 , literally, “the field” or “fields.” As the same word is elsewhere used of the territory of Moab, of the Amalekites, of Edom, and of the Philistines, it would seem to be a term pointedly used with reference to a foreign country, not the country of the speaker, or writer; and to have been specially applied to Moab.


Verse 4

Marriages of Israelites with women of Ammon or Moab are nowhere in the Law expressly forbidden, as were marriages with the women of Canaan Deuteronomy 7:1-3. In the days of Nehemiah the special law Deuteronomy 23:3-6 was interpreted as forbidding them, and as excluding the children of such marriages from the congregation of Israel Nehemiah 13:1-3. Probably the marriages of Mahlon and Chilion would be justified by necessity, living as they were in a foreign land. Ruth was the wife of the older brother, Mahlon Rth 4:10 .


Verse 8

Accompanying their mother-in-law to the borders of their own land would probably be an act of Oriental courtesy. Naomi with no less courtesy presses them to return. The mention of the mother‘s house, which the separation of the women‘s house or tent from that of the men facilitates, is natural in her mouth, and has more tenderness in it than father‘s house would have had; it does not imply the death of their fathers Rth 2:11 .


Verses 11-13

See marginal references and notes. The Levirate law probably existed among the Moabites, and in Israel extended beyond the brother in the strict sense, and applied to the nearest relations, since Boaz was only the kinsman of Elimelech Rth 3:12 .


Verse 14

The kiss at parting as well as at meeting is the customary friendly and respectful salutation in the East. The difference between mere kindness of manner and self-sacrificing love is most vividly depicted in the words and conduct of the two women. Ruth‘s determination is stedfast to cast in her lot with the people of the Lord (compare the marginal references and Matthew 15:22-28).


Verse 19

And they said - i. e. the women of Bethlehem said. “They” in the Hebrew is feminine.


Verse 20

See the margin. Similar allusions to the meaning of names are seen in Genesis 27:36; Jeremiah 20:3.

The Almighty - שׁדי shadday (see the Genesis 17:1 note). The name “Almighty” is almost unique to the Pentateuch and to the Book of Job. It occurs twice in the Psalms, and four times in the Prophets.


Verse 21

The Lord hath testified against me - The phrase is very commonly applied to a man who gives witness concerning (usually against) another in a court of justice Exodus 20:16; 2 Samuel 1:16; Isaiah 3:9. Naomi in the bitterness of her spirit complains that the Lord Himself turned against her, and was bringing her sins up for judgment.

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ruth 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ruth-1.html. 1870.

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