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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 1:14

 

 

And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law - The Septuagint add, Και επεστρεψεν εις τον λαον αυτης, And returned to her own people. The Vulgate, Syrian, and Arabic, are to the same purpose.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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).


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ruth-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ruth 1:14

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.

Orpah’s defection

I. Worldly respects are great hindrances in the course of godliness. The world keepeth from the entertaining of the truth (Matthew 22:5); it hindereth in the receiving of it.

II. An unsound heart may for a time make a fair show in the way to Canaan, but yet turn back at the last, as Orpah doth here. And this is by reason, first, of certain motions of religion, which maketh them in general to approve of the same; holding this, that it is a good thing to be religious, and that none can find fault with a man for that. Further, the working of the Word, moving the heart in some sort to entertain it. And, lastly, the desire of praise and good esteem with men: these will make hollow hearts to set on a while to heavenward, but shall not be able to enter.

III. Such as want soundness towards God for religion may yet have otherwise commendable parts in them. For Orpah is commended for a kind wife, as well as Ruth by Naomi, and for a kind daughter-in-law (verse 8); and she showed good humanity in going on the way with her mother-in-law, yea, a good natural affection in weeping so at parting. (R. Bernhard.)

Orpah; or, the mere professor

An onlooker not able to discover the difference between Orpah and Ruth so far. The crisis has come. Both had made professions (verse 10). Here the difference is made apparent.

I. We learn that it is possible to go a long way towards Christianity and yet not to be a Christian. To be born, educated, and dwell in Christian households, these are great blessings, but do not constitute or make a Christian. It will not do to be almost, we must be altogether, decided for Christ. The cup that is almost sound will not hold water. The ship that is almost whole will not weather the storm. Feelings, sentiment, profession are all good if they spring from a living faith in Jesus Christ; without this they are worse than worthless.

II. We learn that it is possible to deceive ourselves, and to think that all is right when in truth all is wrong with our souls. Hardly possible that Orpah played the conscious hypocrite. She meant what she did when she became a proselyte--did not deliberately act a part. Feeling and sentiment (love for her husband) blinded her eyes. Love to God, which she had thought supreme in her heart, subordinate to the love of Moab. This often so with men; they are not hypocrites, they are self-deceivers. Education, circumstances, the force of influences around them, produce an emotional religion which they mistake for vital godliness. They hear with joy like the “stony-ground hearers.”

III. We learn that our religion will not profit us at all unless it be characterised by perseverance to the end. Improvement: Is our profession a mere profession or the fruit of a living faith? Brought by circumstances to the boundary-line between life and death, have we stopped there? The Bible full of such instances. Felix trembled; Balaam prophesied; Herod heard gladly; Judas sat at the sacramental table with our Lord! Whatever we do, we must not stop short of conversion; if we do, we perish. (Aubrey C. Price, B. A.)

A good word for Orpah

The others did not greatly blame her, and we, for our part, may not reproach her. It is unnecessary to suppose that in returning to her kinsfolk and settling down to the tasks that offered in her mother’s house she was guilty of despising truth and love and renouncing the best. We may reasonably imagine her henceforth bearing witness for a higher morality, and affirming the goodness of the Hebrew religion among her friends and acquaintances. Ruth goes where affection and duty lead her; but for Orpah too it may be claimed that in love and duty she goes back. She is not one who says, “Moab has done nothing for me; Moab has no claim upon me; I am free to leave my country; I am under no debt to my people.” We shall not take her as a type of selfishness, worldliness, or backsliding, this Moabite woman. Let us rather believe that she knew of those at home who needed the help she could give, and that with the thought of least hazard to herself mingled one of the duty she owed to others. (R. A. Watson, M. A.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 1:14". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ruth-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again,.... Not being able to bear the thought of parting, or that they must be obliged to it:

and Orpah kissed her mother in law; gave her the parting kiss, as the JewsF5Bereshit Rabba, sect. 70. fol. 62. 4. Shemot, sect. 5. fol. 94. 4. call it; and which was used by other peopleF6"----discedens oscula nulla dedi". Ovid. ep. 3. ver. 14. ; but not without affection to her, and took her leave of her, as her kiss testified, since it must be so; and being moved by her reasons, and having a greater inclination to her own country than Ruth had; of the kiss at parting, see Genesis 31:28.

but Ruth clave unto her; hung about her, would not part from her, but cleaved unto her in body and mind; forsaking her own people, and her father's house; neither the thought of them, nor of her native country, nor of not having an husband, or any likelihood of it, nor of poverty and distress, had any manner of influence upon her, but determined she was to go and abide with her.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah f kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

(f) When she took leave and departed.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ruth-1.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

At these dissuasive words the daughters-in-law broke out into loud weeping again ( תּשּׂנה with the א dropped for תּשּׂאנה , Ruth 1:9), and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, and took leave of her to return to her mother's house; but Ruth clung to her ( דּבק as in Genesis 2:24), forsaking her father and mother to go with Naomi into the land of Judah (vid., Ruth 2:11).


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/ruth-1.html. 1854-1889.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

What a striking evidence is here, in these two character's, of the wonderful difference between nature and grace. While both Orpah and Ruth felt the tender affections, and were melted at Naomi's discourse, with one it operated no further than the momentary impulse, but like the early cloud, or morning dew, Soon vanished away; with the other it fastened like a nail, in a sure place. And thus, Reader, is the effects of the blessed gospel of Jesus, in all the congregations where the word is preached every Lord's day. It may affect, it may strike the mind of all, and even carnal men, like the wayside hearers, may receive the word with seeming joy; but some, like Orpah, will kiss and depart; and others, like Ruth, without the kiss, will feel their souls cleaving unto it. So that the same word is to some a savour of' life unto life; and to others a savour of death unto death. Reader! it is a grand and important question, In which class are you found?


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-1.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

Kissed — Departed from her with a kiss. Bade her farewell for ever. She loved Naomi, but she did not love her so well, as to quit her country for her sake. Thus many have a value for Christ, and yet come short of salvation by him, because they cannot find in their hearts, to forsake other things for him. They love him, and yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but love other things better.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 1:14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

Ver. 14. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again.] As loath to part, for the old love’s sake. Tears are no sign of an effeminate spirit, witness David, Paul, Peter, &c. Seneca, though a Stoic, saith, Flendum, non plorandum; men may weep, but not wail.

And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law.] For a final farewell. Kαταφιλειν ουκ εστι φιλειν, saith Philo. Apostates betray Christ with a kiss: temporaries forsake him, and embrace this present world. So did Jehu, Judas, Demas, Henry IV of France, once Bonus orbi, afterwards Orbus boni, as one wittily anagrammatised his name Borbonius.

But Ruth clave unto her.] Heb., Was glued unto her, as a wife to her husband, inseparably. [Genesis 2:24 Matthew 19:5] "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." [1 Corinthians 6:17]


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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ruth 1:14. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law Houbigant reads here after the LXX, and returned to her people.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ruth-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, i.e. departed from with a kiss, as the manner was, Genesis 31:28 1 Kings 19:20.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ruth-1.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clove to her.’

Then they all again wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and returned to her home as Naomi had suggested. We must in this recognise the strong pressure that Naomi had put on both of them. It was not that Orpah had not really been willing to go with Naomi. She had been willing. But she had paid heed to the word of Naomi. Ruth, however, was having none of it. She was determined to remain with her mother-in-law. The word ‘clove’ is a strong one.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law — The last sad kiss of a tearful separation; after which she, unlike Ruth, turned back again to her people and her gods. The great deity of the Moabites was Chemosh. Numbers 21:29; Judges 11:24.

But Ruth clave unto her — She would not leave nor forsake her. It was not merely because of a tender affection for her mother in law that she clung to her, but also a yearning desire to know more of the God and land of Israel. Compare Ruth 2:11-12. Like Martha and Mary of New Testament history. Orpah and Ruth represent two different types of character. Orpah’s home attachments, and desire to find rest in another husband’s house, control and limit her life-influence and action. Ruth’s loftier spirit discerns in the God of Israel the fountain of a purer religion than the Moabitish idolatry affords, and gladly forsakes father and mother and sister and native land to identify herself in any way with the people of Jehovah. Thus it is that, in some decisive moment, every soul that attains salvation makes its choice, by which it adopts the true Jehovah as its portion. It abandons all the former idolatries of its life, and becomes a true worshipper of the true God.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-1.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Ruth 1:14. Kissed — Departed from her with a kiss. Bade her farewell for ever. She loved Naomi; but she did not love her so well as to quit her country for her sake. Thus many have a value for Christ, and yet come short of salvation by him, because they cannot find in their hearts to forsake other things for him. They love him, and yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but love other things better.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/ruth-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

And returned, is not expressed in Hebrew. But the Septuagint have, "and she returned to her people." (Haydock).


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-1.html. 1859.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) Kissed.—Orpah, though unwilling to leave her mother-in-law, and though warmly attached to her, still thinks of the hardships of the journey, of the hardships when the journey is done; and the comforts of home detain her.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
Orpah
Genesis 31:28,55; 1 Kings 19:20; Matthew 10:37; 19:22; Mark 10:21,22; 2 Timothy 4:10
but Ruth
The LXX. add, [kai epestrepsen eis ton laon autes] "and returned to her own people." The Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic are to the same purpose. It seems a very natural addition, and agrees with the assertion in the next verse; and is accordingly adopted by Houbigant as a part of the text.
Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; Isaiah 14:1; Zechariah 8:23; Matthew 16:24; John 6:66-69; Acts 17:34; Hebrews 10:39

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-1.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—And they lifted up their voice and wept again "exceedingly" (Dr. Cassel), "still more" (Luther). As in E.V. (Lange). (See on Rth .) Much affected with the tender things Naomi had said (M. Henry) (cf. Gen 29:11). And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law ( και επεστρεψεν εις τον λαον αυτης), [and returned to her own people] (LXX.). So Vulgate, Arabic, Syriac. Unquestionably found in their MSS (Bp. Horsley). So Dathe, Houbig, Booth. Not so Wright. Lange supplies, "and turned back." As it stands, the sentence seems incomplete. Buxtorf contends, however, that the return is implied in the act of kissing. Naomi's kiss (Rth 1:9) evidently meant "return," and so Orpah's may be understood to say "farewell." The last sad kiss of a tearful separation (Steele and Terry).

But Ruth clave unto her, followed her (LXX.), stayed by her (Luther). Her person was, as it were, glued unto Naomi, as the force of the Hebrew words is (Bernard). In Psalms 63, the same word is rendered "followeth hard." No fresh demonstration of affection, but she clave, etc., not merely because of a tender affection for her mother-in-law, but also a yearning desire to know more of the God and land of Israel (Steele and Terry). The conversion of Ruth probably commenced at this time (A. Clarke). She had been a proselyte before (Rambachius, Aben Ezra). Ruth (see Intro., par. 4, 5; and Crit. and Exeg. Notes on Rth ). In his genealogy of our Lord, St. Matthew inscribes the name of only four women—Thamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba [literally only three are mentioned by name, and these three are foreigners (Kitto), Bathsheba being designated as "her of Urias"]; and among these four, Ruth easily holds the pre-eminence (Cox). Thamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba, were all women of dubious virtue (Cox). Ruth is, in some respects, one of the most interesting female characters of the Bible (Kitto).

Theme.—THE CRISIS AND THE CONTRAST ONCE AGAIN

"‘Twixt two worlds, like a star, life shines;

A little star with fading light;

Above, o'erbending day; beneath,

The deep abyss of endless night.

And who shall hymn its praise aright,

If it enfold eternal bliss?

What notes express the funeral dirge,

If it the future crowning miss?"—B.

And they lifted up their voice and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her.

Insensibility in certain circumstances is not fortitude; it is savageness and stupidity, or something worse (Toller). Their tears here their ornament and their honour. Both wept again (cf. Rth ); alike in the signs of their affection, not so in the actions which follow. Probably Orpah's grief was the more demonstrative (Rth 1:10), especially so now. Note. (a) That all outward sorrow giveth not certain witness of the soundness of the heart (Bernard). Saul's weeping to David (1Sa 24:16). Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, in his tears a deep dissembler (Jer 41:6-8). (b) The difference between mere kindness of manner and self-sacrificing love most vividly depicted here (Speaker's Com.).

"And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law,"—the customary salutation in saying farewell. Previously Naomi had kissed Orpah (Rth ). They parted possibly without a word. Too much overcome to speak, the natural and usual sign of affection comes in to say that which words cannot.

"Oh! when the heart is full; when bitter thoughts

Come crowding thickly up for utterance,

… The poor, common words of courtesy

Are such a very mockery."—Willis.

Note. (a) An evidence here that affection survives a difference of opinion (Dr. Cumming). Separation, even on the most vital points of religion, does not necessarily mean alienation of heart; just as distance, either in time or space, does not necessarily affect true love. The adoption of a false religion must not deaden affection, or break up the courtesies of social intercourse (Dr. Cumming). (b) Farewell may be spoken and received, even when we think it spoken unwisely, without anger. No dispute here, no bitter feeling in the mind of either. (c) Second remonstrances may succeed where previously our entreaties and persuasion have met with apparent failure. This is true whether for good or for evil.

We have here again (cf. on Rth )—

I. A marked and strong contrast. Orpah going back in tears, perhaps in despair (cf. Mat ); Ruth going forward in resolute self-sacrifice, though from the human side without hope; the one to the pleasures and delights of the past; the other, true to the little light already given, onward to a better future.

(1) Points to an underlying though unseen difference in character and faith. Orpah preferred the sensuous to the spiritual; Ruth, the unseen to all she knew as lying behind her in Moab (cf. Rth ). Orpah sought rest in the "house of a husband;" Ruth, rest with the Israel of God. Orpah could not easily understand the force of a great moral or intellectual obligation (Cumming); Ruth determined to follow love wherever it might lead her. In Orpah we have nature in its most hopeful aspect; in Ruth we begin to see the dawnings of grace. Note. Where and how a child of sense differs from a child of the Spirit. ( α) In the want of steadfastness, ( β) In clinging to self after all in the decisive moments of life. ( γ) In love of the world behind when the final hour of choice has come. (Cf. on Rth 1:10, div. II.)

(2) Suggests a very common contrast between natural gifts and grace. The one makes a man, the other a Christian. Orpah's religion was passion; Ruth's, principle. Orpah's illustrates mere profession; Ruth's, decision for God. Orpah the type of the beautiful, affectionate, fair, but frail ones of this world. Much that is good, only the touch of the defiler is there. Ruth the representative of the noble, enduring, and self-sacrificing spirit God only can bestow.

We have here—

II. A final separation. Brought about by natural causes, but involving spiritual and even eternal issues. (See on Rth , div. III.; also p. 57.) Onward with Naomi means Godward, and so heavenward. Like Abraham, Ruth becomes through her fidelity "heir of the promises," and ancestress of a long line of kings, ending in the Shiloh that was to come. What does backward mean? And yet all depends upon the choice of the moment. A painful but inevitable crisis (Tyng). They have dwelt together, suffered together, journeyed side by side. Yet now they must separate, and here they have come to the decisive point. Their paths lie apart. For the future, their aims, direction, the issues of their lives, wide as the poles asunder.

Note. (a) A time like this in the soul's history. The sinner comes to a point where he must either go forward and confess, or backward and deny, the hope which is in Christ Jesus. He stands, like Orpah, irresolute, deciding now for and now against. But sooner or later the irrevocable decision comes, and all the future hangs upon that.

(b) A time like this in the history of all human friendships. A separation as certain, and as final; if not before, then in that great day when the sheep are divided from the goats (Mat ).

(1) Often brought about by religious influences in this world. The Ruths go forward to new and holier companionships; the Orpahs back again to the sinful associations of Moab.

(2) Sometimes by outward circumstances, the exigencies of human life, and the providential leadings of God.

"There is no union here of hearts

That finds not here an end."

IMPROVEMENT.—Learn

(1) the necessity for an instant and wise decision in these critical moments;

(2) That the plausible choice, like Orpah's, is not always the wise one;

(3) That all connexions, all enjoyments, all worldly pursuits, should give place, as with Ruth, to the sweet and endearing influences which draw us towards God.

Fuller on this (condensed):—

These words contain two general parts;

(1) A blazing meteor falling down out of the air;

(2) A fixed star fairly shining in the heaven.

That thou mayest finally persevere observe these four rules—

I. Utterly renounce all sufficiency in thyself. Who but a madman will nowadays warrant the paper shields of his own strength, that knows that Adam's complete armour of original integrity was shot through in Paradise?

II. Place all thy confidence on the undeserved mercy of God. Perseverance cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor as yet from the south; but God suffereth one to fall, and holdeth up another. The temple of Solomon had two pillars; one called Jacin ("The Lord will stablish"), the other Boaz ("In Him is strength"). So every Christian—the temple of the Holy Ghost—is principally holden up by these two pillars, God's power and will to support him. Wherefore in every distress let us cry out to God, as the disciples did to our Saviour in the midst of a tempest, "Help, Master, or else we perish!"

III. Use all those means which God hath chalked out for the increase of grace in thee; as prayer, meditation, reverent receiving the sacraments, accompanying with God's children, reading, hearing the word, etc.

IV. Always preserve in thyself an awful fear lest thou shouldest fall away from God. Fear to fall, and assurance to stand, are two sisters; and though Cain said he was not his "brother's keeper," sure I am that this fear doth watch and guard her sister assurance. Faulus est gradus certitudinis, quantus sollicitudinis: they that have much of this fear have much certainty; they that have little, little certainty; they that have none, have none at all. It is said in building, that those chimneys which shake most and give way to the wind will stand the longest: the moral in divinity is true; those Christians that shiver for fear by sins to fall away may be observed most courageous to persist in piety.

IMPROVEMENT.—Let us therefore "work out our salvation with fear and trembling:" ever trembling, lest we should be cast to hell; ever triumphing that we shall come to heaven: ever fearful, lest we should fall; ever certain that we shall stand: ever careful, lest we should be damned; ever cheerful that we shall be saved.

"Look at that sad group of three tearful widowed women standing in the highway debating this question, Shall we say farewell or not? Is it not a scene for any painter? No, not for any painter, but for one whose soul can sympathise with womanly grief. and whose hand has skill enough to portray that pathetic mingling of sorrow and love. How he would sketch the varied expressions in those faces! Naomi with eyes full of eager entreaty, and lips quivering with pain; Orpah moved to weeping, yet perplexed, wondering what decision to make, and casting a glance ever and anon back on the road they have come; Ruth standing, grasping her mother's hand with unwavering resolve in every line of her face and attitude. It is a sacred moment, an hour of suspense, on which depends a future that no prophet's eye hath discerned."—Braden.

"We have [here] a very striking and instructive instance of the distinction between mere amiableness of natural temper and religious principle. Forming your opinion of them from the whole of the former part of the history, you see nothing to choose between them. Both of them appear to great advantage, most amiable and well-disposed young women; excellent wives, and kind and affectionate daughters-in-law. But when put to the test, you see the difference. Orpah appears to have had every natural excellence that Ruth possessed, but it was not grafted on religious principles. Ruth was not only as amiable as her sister-in-law, but knowledge of the true God appears to have reached her heart.… The one was a lovely heathen, the other what we should call in this day an amiable Christian.… Orpah was like the young man whom Jesus loved for his amiable qualities, but who went away sorrowful; Ruth was like Mary, who chose the better part, that could not be taken away from her."—T. N. Toller.

"It might be said with a certain degree of truth, that the same cause induced Orpah to go, and Ruth to remain—the fact, namely, that Naomi had no longer either son or husband. The one wished to become a wife again, the other to remain a daughter. Few among the natural children of men are as kind and good as Orpah; but a love like that of Ruth has scarcely entered the thoughts of poets. Antigone dies for the love of her brother; but the life which awaits Ruth was more painful than death. Alcestis sacrifices herself for her husband, and Sigune persistently continues in a solitary cell, with the corpse of her lover whom she had driven into battle, until she dies; but Ruth goes to a foreign land, and chooses poverty, not for a husband or a lover, but for the mother of him who long since was torn away from her. She refuses to leave her for the very reason that she is poor, old, and childless. Naomi, having lost her sons, shall not on that account lose her daughters also. Rather than leave her to suffer alone, Ruth will starve with her or beg for her. Here is love for the dead and the living, surpassing that of Alcestis and Sigune. That Ruth docs for her mother-in-law, what as the highest filial love the poet invents for Antigone, when he represents her as not leaving her blind father, is in actual life almost unexampled. Nor would it be easy to find an instance of a deeper conflict than that which love had to sustain on this occasion. The foundation of it was laid when Elimelech left his people in order not to share their woes. It was rendered inevitable when, against the law of Israel, his sons took wives of the daughters of Moab. It broke out when the men died. Their love for their Israelitish husbands had made the women strangers in their native land; and the love of Naomi for her Moabitish daughters made her doubly childless in Israel. Nationality, laws, and customs were about to separate mother and daughter-in-law. But as love had united them, so also love alone has power to solve the conflict, but only such a love as Ruth's. Orpah escaped the struggle by returning to Moab; Ruth ends it by going with Naomi."—Lange.

"Longing for knowledge,

Thirsting for truth,

Loving fair virtue,

Saying like Ruth,

‘I will go with thee,

Thine shall be mine;'

Friendships it may chance

Leaving behind;

New worlds shall open,

Bright with a sheen,

Decked with a glory,

Eyes have not seen;

Clearer the sunshine,

Lighter the shade,

Daily and hourly

O'er life's way made.

True to thine own self,

True to thy God,

Treading the pathway

Good men have trod;

All the past for thee

Worketh amain,

All the past in thee

Liveth again;

All that is worthy,

All that is true,

In thy right deed

Liveth anew;

And unborn blessings

Springing from thine,

Gladden the morrow,

Make it divine."—B.

"Nature in its highest endowments and improvements is infinitely below grace. There are some believers in Christ whose natural tempers are never refined to such a degree as we might expect from their religious principles; yet they shall dwell for ever in the regions of love. There are other men whose natural tempers are affectionate and humane. Perhaps they are improved by all the advantages of a polite and learned education. Thus they acquire an uncommon degree of respectability in the world, and yet continue destitute of faith in Christ and love to God. With all their attainments they are still in a miserable condition. The love and esteem of men will not secure them from the wrath of that God whose service they neglect, and whose Son, the only Saviour, they despise,"—Lawson.

"Like Martha and Mary of New Testament history, Orpah and Ruth represent two different types of character. Orpah's home attachments, and desire to find rest in another husband's house, control and limit her life influence and action. Ruth's loftier spirit discerns in the God of Israel the fountain of a purer religion than the Moabitish idolatry affords, and she gladly forsakes father and mother, and sister, and native land, to identify herself in any way with the people of Jehovah."—Steele and Terry.

"Some habits and practices of godly men may be easily counterfeited. Yet I think that there are certain virtues of God's children which are perfectly inimitable. To bear ‘reproach for Christ,' and to suffer wrong patiently, is to my mind very much like ‘the root' in practical godliness.… See there a young man who has risked losing his situation because he will not conceal his attachment to Christ. Such as these are sometimes brought into great straits. They do not see any precept that plainly says, ‘Thou shalt do this,' or ‘Thou shalt do that.' But they find they must do one thing or the other. They make their choice, and it is against their worldly interest, but it is done for the love they bear to a Saviour's name. Little faith takes a strong grip. Oh! I cannot doubt the root of the matter is found in them."—Spurgeon.

Theme.—THE FAILURE OF A MERELY EARTHLY AFFECTION

"Oh heart of ours! so weak and poor,

That nothing there can long endure;

And so their hurts find shameful cure,—

While every sadder, wiser thought,

Each holier aim which sorrow brought,

Fades quite away, and comes to nought."—Trench.

"Thy soul shall have her earthy freight,

And custom lie upon thee with a weight,

Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life."—Wordsworth.

And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law [and went back to her own people, LXX.].

A little entreaty will serve to move nature to be good unto itself (Bishop Hall). So with Orpah. No other persuasions have been used but worldly reasons taken from marriage. She that even now, for the love of people and mother-in-law, would go as far as the farthest, for the cogitation of a heathen husband forsaketh both God and people and mother and sister (Topsell). Alas for human nature, for here is the type! Men follow the higher and nobler instincts of the heart for awhile; but how often is it that afterwards inducements of worldly prosperity or comfort come in to turn them aside, and to lead them back to the world! And alas, too, for the fickleness of our best resolutions (cf. Rth ), if unaided by Divine grace!

See here, then—

I. An instance of instability and inconstancy. Orpah a reed shaken with the wind (Braden).

(1) She must have been untrue to her convictions. Men do not go so far as this towards the true Israel, without seeing enough to encourage them in still going forward. We may pity, but pity must not warp the judgment. We may even excuse in some measure. But the true reason of such "returns" found in the apostle's words, "They went out from us," etc. (1Jn ).

(2) She certainly was untrue to her affections. And untrue to the lower love, how could she be true to the higher hope of Israel? (cf. 1Jn .) Seeking the things that were her own, she left behind her the things that were Christ's (Php 2:21).

Note with such—(a) A change of mind evidently underlies this outward change of purpose. Man in himself fickle as the wind, especially in those things which concern his best welfare. "Ye did run well," etc. (Gal )—a common and necessary exhortation always.

Note. (b) The necessity for a decision is the signal for a retrograde movement (M. Timson). They begin to go backward precisely as they begin to understand what is really involved in going forward. So with those who followed Christ (Joh ). When they heard that discipleship meant faith in Him (ib. 63), and a Divine power working in themselves (ib. 65), they stumbled at the saying, and "walked no more with Him." They "went back," as Orpah did. Such minds will go a certain length in positive duty, and yet always draw back from a really decisive act (M. Timson).

Note. (c) In some feeble way there will be an exhibition of actual love for the course which is nevertheless renounced (M. Timson). Orpah wept, and Judas bitterly repented. The vision of things divine haunts them even as they return into the darkness they have chosen (M. Timson). And inspiration sends after them the solemn words of warning, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Heb ). Notice then the perilous position of those who stand in the critical moments of life—on the boundary-line of God's Israel, and yet with love to the Moab behind hidden in the heart. Orpah the type of a mind half awakened to the things of God (M. Timson).

See here—

II. An illustration of apostacy. Orpah neither cold nor hot, like the Laodicean church (Macgowan). Puts her hand to the plough, but looks back again; and such are unworthy the kingdom of heaven. Like Judas with Christ, she is loving enough to kiss, but not to cleave to Naomi.

Notice as significant—This going back

(1) her own choice,

(2) deliberately made,

(3) respectfully expressed,

(4) freely and finally carried out (1Jn ).

So with many to-day. They forsake the world apparently; join themselves to God's people; travel towards the heavenly Jerusalem; seemingly profit in religion, but they have no stability, "no root in themselves," as the gospel expresses it (Mat ). Easy Christianity, half-hearted Christianity, external Christianity apostatizes, and well it may! Without vital change, men return to the world, to their old state and ways (Heb 3:12). They return speedily, and as certainly as Orpah went back to Moab (Joh 6:66). And this in the face of all their protestations (Rth 1:10).

Note. (a) Professions are like bills; you judge their worth by the names they bear, the firms by which they are issued (Braden). (b) What is soon ripe is soon rotten (M. Henry).

See here—

III. An illustration of the causes and consequences of apostacy.

(1) The causes. With Orpah the reasons for this return to be found (a) in her inclinations. Hence she is easily persuaded to yield to these. She prefers her pagan connections, after all, to the privileges of the house of Israel. Puts her country, her kindred, and her god [Chemosh] before all else. Eve lost Paradise for an apple, and the Gadarenes will lose Christ rather than their swine (Bernard). Such is man's choice naturally. A warp in the nature, a proneness to meaner things. (b) In her supposed interests. She went as far as consisted with her hope of carnal enjoyment (Macgowan). But when the prospect of a husband in Israel was for ever put aside (Rth ), then she returned to Moab, where there still might be hope (Rth 1:8-9). Note. An inability to deny herself the key to this "going back." Orpah like many now, who are almost but not altogether Christians. They follow Christ to a great length, but cannot forsake all for Him; are willing to part with much, but not with everything; go as far with Him as costs no pain and calls for no complete self-denial, but stumble at a daily "cross-bearing," and that following Him through good and evil report which He demands (cf. Luk 14:26; Jas 4:4; 1Jn 2:15, etc.). (c) In the threatened inconveniences. Orpah a type of those who have a sensitive hatred to suffering (Braden).

(2) Its consequences. She "goes back," and the separation becomes wider every hour. So an awakened and convinced mind can never abide at the line where a Saviour is refused (Tyng). No permanency in that state. She goes back to her own people. So apostates return to the old companionships and associations of the past; to the haunts of dissipation and delight (2Pe ); to the folly and frivolity of the past (2Ti 4:10); to covetousness and ever-increasing greed (2Pe 2:15-16); to unbelief and hardness of heart (2Ti 2:17); to open hostility and hatred of the truth (ibid.). She goes back to her god. Chemosh preferred to Jehovah—a being without existence, having eyes and yet seeing not (Isaiah 44), to the Lord of heaven and earth. Note. Apostates begin in the spirit, but end in the flesh (Lawson). How true the apostle's words of such, "The latter end is worse with them than the beginning" (2Pe 2:20).

LESSONS.—

(1) We are not easily to entertain men as sincere, because they have made a fair show in religion for a time (Bernard).

(2) An amiable temper or an affectionate behaviour will not compensate for perseverance in the heavenward calling. Being almost a Christian never conducted any man to heaven (Macgowan).

(3) Those who at first were forward in religion, may afterwards altogether fall away (Fuller). Asa possibly an illustration of this (2Ch ). Note. Many leave Christ with a kiss, who would shrink from betraying Him as Judas did.

Price on this (condensed):—

Theme.—ORPAH, OR THE MERE PROFESSOR

An onlooker not able to discover the difference between Orpah and Ruth so far. Begins to appear now. The crisis has come. Both had made professions (Rth ). Here the difference is made apparent.

I. We learn that it is possible to go a long way towards Christianity, and yet not to be a Christian. To be born, educated, and dwell in Christian house-holds, these are great blessings, but do not constitute or make a Christian. It will not do to be almost, we must be altogether, decided for Christ. The cup that is almost sound will not hold water. The ship that is almost whole will not weather the storm. To be almost a son is to be a bastard. To be almost a Christian is to be almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be altogether damned. Nothing will save us short of being in Christ. Feelings, sentiment, profession, are all good if they spring from a living faith in Jesus Christ; without this they are worse than worthless.

II. We learn that it is possible to deceive ourselves, and to think that all is right, when in truth all is wrong with our souls. Hardly possible that Orpah played the conscious hypocrite. She meant what she did when she became a proselyte—did not deliberately act a part. Feeling and sentiment [love for her husband] blinded her eyes. Now that which looked like principle proves itself passion. Discovers that she had deceived herself. Love to God, which she had thought supreme in her heart, subordinate to the love of Moab.

This often so with men; they are not hypocrites, they are self-deceivers. Education, circumstances, the force of influences around them, produced an emotional religion which they mistake for vital godliness. They hear with joy like the "stony-ground hearers." We do such an injustice, if when we see them going back we point the finger of scorn, and cry "hypocrite."

III. We learn that our religion will not profit us at all unless it be characterized by perseverance to the end. Orpah stands with Jehu, Judas, Demas, Hymenæus, Alexander, and Philetus—Beacon lights! Their word to us is this, "Beware!" No grace, however bright and precious, will take us to heaven without perseverance. Language cannot adequately set forth the misery of the man who apostatizes. The latter end of that man is worse than the beginning (2Pe ). Conscience becomes hardened, etc.

IMPROVEMENT.—Is our profession a mere profession or the fruit of a living faith? Brought by circumstances to the boundary-line between life and death, have we stopped there? The Bible full of such instances. Felix trembled; Balaam prophesied; Herod heard gladly; Judas sat at the sacramental table with our Lord! Whatever we do, we must not stop short of conversion; if we do, we perish. We must not be content with a mere outward reformation; we must seek that radical and entire change in the soul, of which the Holy Spirit is the author.

Bernard on this—

I. It is easy to make signs of love, but not to shew the true fruits of love.

II. Worldly respects are great hindrances in the course of godliness.

III. An unsound heart may for a time make a fair show in the way to Canaan, but yet turn back at the last.

IV. Such as want soundness towards God for religion, may yet have otherwise commondable parts in them.

"In the first half-awakened state of the mind, and before Christ has been seen in the vision of a true faith, to go away, or to cut oneself off from the human teacher and friend, is to cease from the spiritual good already attained. It may be that Orpah did not realize this at the time, or that she was but partially conscious of it; yet it was present, and the mightiest element in the question upon which she was called to decide. She was not the first, nor the last, who, in forsaking a friend, forsook also a true teacher and guide—one whose love would have been the guarantee of the quality of the higher influence exerted."—M. Timson.

"Is this she which even now was so promising in her words, and so passionate in her weeping? See how soon a forward professor may turn to a fearful apostate. Though she standeth or falleth to her own Master, yet, as the Psalmist saith, ‘I am horribly afraid for those that forsake Thy law' so have we just cause to suspect the fearful final estate of Orpah."—Fuller.

"Orpah had left her heart in Moab, with its follies, its frivolities, its amusements, its dissipations, its sights, festivals, and fêtes; its idol temples, shrines, and altars. Her heart was so full of these, that she could not detach it from them; and therefore she returned to her gods, her people, and her country."—Dr. Cumming.

"The bright morning does not always shine unto the perfect day; the sweetest spring-bud of promise does not always ripen into precious fruit. The seed that was cast on stony ground grew rapidly up, but withered in a moment. Orpah's decision was the decision of impulsive feeling, of filial affection; it was strong suddenly, it grew up in an instant, and in an instant it perished."—Dr. Cumming.

"On second thoughts her enthusiasm cooled down, I daresay she said within herself, ‘It was not enthusiasm—it was simply fanaticism, and I have now come to a better mind.' One would gather from the conduct of Orpah that she had feelings, not very deep affections, strongly rooted in her nature; pure passions, but not yet consolidated into fixed principles; resolutions that had no anchorage in her heart, no hold of her inmost and her deepest nature. She was vacillating, impulsive, very likely sentimental; her tears and smiles followed each other in rapid transition. She was easily swayed; the victim of feeling and momentary impulse; repenting at her leisure what she had accepted in a hurry."—Dr. Cumming.

"If the soul be not changed, though there may for awhile some religious colour appear in the man's face, he will at last return to his former habit."—(Spiritual Bee) Penn?

"I have somestimes seen a blazing comet much outshining other stars, and attracting the eyes of men to behold with wonder, which yet by its decay and vanishing awhile after hath appeared to have no true place among the stars, but in the lower region."—(Spiritual Bee) Penn?

"Gifts, affections without Christ.… They are the fair flowers and perfumes which only make more terrible the death-pyre."—Wadsworth.

"Men said to-day of one who sinned, ‘What may

This mean? What sudden madness overtook

His brain, that in a moment he forsook

The rectitude which until yesterday,

Had made his life a beacon by the way

To common men?' I answered, ‘We but look

On surfaces. Temptation never shook

One soul whose secret hidden forces lay

Firm centred in the right. The glacier bides

For ages white and still, and seems a part

Of the eternal Alps. But at its heart,

Each hour, some atom noiseless jars, and slides,

Until the avalanche falls with thundering weight.

God only knoweth the beginning's date.'"

Helen Hunt.

"They fall deepest into hell who fall backwards into hell."—Bunyan.

" καταφιλειν ουχ εστι φιλειν, saith Philo. Apostates betray Christ with a kiss, temporaries forsake Him, and embrace this present world."—Trapp.

"Faith is the champion of grace; but what is it worth if it faint and fail? Love is the nurse of grace; but what will it avail if it decline and wax cold? Humility is the adorner and beautifier of grace; but what will it profit if it continue not unto the end?"—A Puritan Divine.

"As the worst travelling is when the road is frozen after a thaw, so those are frequently the most hardened who have had some convictions, who have had some knowledge of the Gospel, and some religious affection, and have then relapsed into their natural hard-heartedness."—Arrowsmith.

"Every one is rather a Naomi to his own soul, to persuade it to stay still, and enjoy the delights of Moab, rather than to hazard our entertainment in Bethlehem. Will religion allow me this wild liberty of my actions, this loose mirth, these carnal pleasures?"—Bishop Hall.

"His heart he cannot, will not, give to Christ. Anything else he will do. But nothing else will avail him anything. He will be baptized. But baptism cannot save him. He will be confirmed. But that is not salvation. He will come to the table of the Lord. But there is no salvation for him there. He will fast and pray. He will toil and labour in his own self-righteous plans. He will try to cleanse the outside of the cup and platter, and resolve to work religions works. But all this is not salvation. And here he must separate from the people of God, though they have travelled long together. They must go on, and he will not."—Tyng.

"You have seen a ship out on the bay, swinging with the tide, and seeming as if it would follow it: and yet it cannot, for down beneath the water it is anchored. So many a soul sways towards heaven, but cannot ascend thither, because it is anchored to some secret sin.'"—Beecher.

"The soul's birthright is not cast away by a momentary weakness or folly,—one act such as this before us may decide the woful transaction, but a hundred minor actions and thousands of thoughts of wrong have gone before it to make it possible.… Temptation. when it comes upon a man well-grounded, leaves him as the wave leaves the rock over which it has rolled; but when principles are already undermined, a trivial temptation, a single wave, is often enough to complete the ruin."—H. Wonnacott.

Theme.—THE CONSTANCY OF A DIVINELY-KINDLED LOVE

"True friends, like ivy and the wall it props,

Both stand together, or together fall."—Die. of Poetic Illustrations.

"Without a murmur I dismiss

My former dreams of earthly bliss;

My joy, my consolation this.

Each hour to cling to Thee."—Mrs. Elliot.

But Ruth clave to her.

The Scriptures are seminally brief (Lynch). A phrase here expresses a love and heroism which has seldom been equalled and never excelled in human history. "Ruth clave to her." The force of the Hebrew word is to be knit as man and wife inseparably (Bernard) [cf. Gen ; Mat 19:5, where the word is used in this connection]. So Onesiphorus clung the more closely and tenderly to Paul, when Phygellus and Hermogenes, with all who were in Asia, turned from him in the hour of his distress (2Ti 1:15-16).

Note. (a) The heart has reasons which the reason does not comprehend (Pascal). Who can explain, much less justify at the time, a sublime and self-sacrificing choice like Ruth's? All outward appearances are against it,—the choice would not be heroic were it otherwise.

(b) But a deathless love such as this has always in the end proved its own vindication. So when the soul cleaves to Christ, it is influenced by motives which the understanding but imperfectly estimates, and which the carnal mind fails altogether to comprehend. The Saviour Himself offers the true explanation, that "wisdom is justified of her children" (Mat ). Yet in this is the real test as to whether we walk by faith or by sight. If you would believe, you must crucify that question, "Why?" (Luther).

(c) Every theory which fails to appreciate that man is a spiritual being, influenced in other ways than mere external ones, must inevitably misread and misinterpret human life. If this life is all, what profit in self-denial, what promptings towards virtue, that can seriously command our attention for a moment? On the sceptical theory, Ruth's choice a mere impulse, and not even her after-success and prosperity can redeem it from the charge of folly. And yet what heart fails to estimate the incomparable superiority of Ruth to Orpah? The heroic in history, that which men have admired and loved in all ages, that which has made human progress possible, and left a halo of glory around the past, is mirrored here. That which is best in human fiction finds its counterpart; that which is noblest in life, its image and semblance. And all is explained and accounted for if we see in Ruth one chosen out of a far country, and from among a strange people, that she might become an Israelite indeed—one yielding to the Divine impulses, and listening to the Divine voice, though unable as yet to interpret its full meaning. "Forget also thine own people and thy father's house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty; for He is thy Lord: and worship thou Him" (Psa ).

We have here—

I. The choice of true love. Orpah's stone of stumbling and self-denial seen as a jewel flashing with heaven's own light to Ruth. Naomi so precious in her person and influences as to be clung to, be the consequences what they may. The choice a kindred one to that of Moses in its faith and self-sacrifice. (Choosing rather to suffer affliction, etc., Heb .) Can we be far wrong in seeing in both the same underlying religious convictions, as coming in to decide the choice? If so, it is a mistake to say that love for Naomi merely led her to become a Jewish proselyte. Note. (d) Love may be spiritual and God-given, and yet perfectly natural in its way of development.

Notice of this choice,

(1) That it was not that of impulse, but of conviction. Nothing can shake her resolution. The love that has brought her so far with Naomi kept her steadfast now, and to an affection like hers decision becomes more and more easy. Note. (a) Affections are the great deciding influences in life. Hence Paul says, "Set your affections," etc. (Col ). And (b) The supreme affection is the great central power in human life. Everything else responds as by a law of gravitation to that. Hence, if it be toward Moab and the world, as with Orpah, everything around us will lead us backward; if it be towards the hope of Israel and God, onward and forward as with Ruth.

(2) That it was not the influence of mere sentiment or excitement. The choice made with a full determining to abide by it, come weal or come woe, for ever (Price). She had counted the cost. Probably, as a Moabitess, she might have to bear cold looks and harsh treatment (Price). Significant that she was called afterwards Ruth the Moabitess (cf. Rth ; Rth 2:12, etc.), the designation of an alien and one outside the covenant. Note. Steadfastness essential to the formation and manifestation of a religious character (Toller). Piety must be such as to stand the test of time.

(3) That it was not biased by any selfish hope. The same gloomy prospect before her which had deterred Orpah from going forward. But like that one who cried out "so much the more" because of discouragements, Ruth clave to Naomi the more steadfastly, in spite of threatened affliction and seeming opposition. Seems to say, "Be the sacrifice ever so great, I am ready to make it; I shall delight in making it" (Simeon). Note. (a) A true and steadfast convert to Israel follows very naturally in one who has stood such a testing of the natural affections. (b) The portion of Israel and of Christ not a barren choice, though it may look so for the present. Such are to receive "a hundredfold" (Mat ). The promise literally fulfilled in the case of Ruth.

We have here—

II. An instance of more than filial piety. Almost as marvellous in what it leaves as in what it clings to. She realizes, doubtless, a keen sense of her mother-in-law's forlorn condition; but only the more vividly to become conscious of Naomi's worth and her own duty. Her natural affections are to be seen as an open door leading towards faith and God. Note. (a) The next degree unto godliness is the love of goodness (Bishop Hall). He is in a fair way to grace, that can value it (ibid.). (b) There are circumstances in which we are called to stand to certain people in the place of God (Braden). Parents have to do so to their children. They have to learn of us before they can learn of Him (ibid.).

See here

(1) The expulsive power of a new affection. Transforms her whole nature, changes the tenor of her whole life. Love is a marvellous magician (Braden). Note. (a) It is not what we take up, but what we give up, which makes us rich (Beecher). Only with renunciation life, properly speaking, can be said to begin (Carlyle). Mark, too, (b) The higher good can only be gained by the sacrifice of the lower (M. Timson).

See here then

(2) A sacrifice almost unequalled in its severity. The old nature against her, the force of habit, and all the early associations of the past. Yet love triumphs over all. Put to the trying alternative, either to forsake her mother-in-law and the hope of Israel, or all that was behind her in Moab, she does not hesitate for a moment. The religious aspect of the question comes in here. This alone could justify her leaving her own mother for a comparative stranger. Remember what Moab was, and in this higher aspect Ruth's choice is completely vindicated.

III. An illustration of the entire surrender of ourselves to God. We have a final separation from Moab, and a complete devotion to Naomi. So David clave to the sanctuary (Psa ). So Paul to Christ (Php 3:7-9), and to the way of salvation. "This one thing I do," he said (ibid. 13).

See what a real determination for God and religion is (cf. 16). It does not consist in rash promises, in hasty resolutions, in transient feelings, however strong, but in what the Scriptures call "a full purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord," a fixedness of soul upon matured conviction (Toller). To this Barnabas exhorted the Christians at Antioch (Act ). Note. (a) To know Christ truly is to need Him eternally. Whoever has tasted Him can never again live without Him (Lange). No going back to the "beggarly elements of the world" then! (b) Only those who are cleansed by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost will cleare to Christ and His believing Church in the dark and clouded day of adversity (Macgowan).

IMPROVEMENT.—

(1) Away with all mere affection which kisses, but does not cleave to Christ! Clinging to Him is the only test of true love (John 15). All else counterfeit,—this the only conclusive sign that we are His.

(2) See too the necessity for decision. To make a beginning in the right direction is a great thing (Beecher).

(3) Learn also the power of resolution; it silences temptation. Those that go in religious ways without a steadfast mind stand like a door half open, which mocks a thief; but resolution shuts and bolts the door (Miniature Com.).

"Blessed is Ruth, who so clave to her aged mother-in-law that she would not leave her until death. For this reason, Scripture indeed has justly extolled her; but God has beatified her for ever. But He will judge, and in the resurrection condemn, all those wicked and ungodly daughters-in-law who deal out abuse and wrong to their parents-in-law, unmindful of the fact that they gave life and sustenance to their husbands.… If therefore thou lovest thy husband, O wife, then love them also who gave him being, and thus brought up a son for themselves and a husband for thee. Seek not to divide the son from his father or mother, lest thou fall into the condemnation of the Lord, in the day of awful inquest and judgment."—Origen.

"Neither self-interest, nor hope, nor vanity mix themselves up with this love. It is a purely moral and spiritual love, of which no other instance is on record. It is in fact the love of those whom God by His mercy has won for Himself, and who love God in their brethren. It is the evangelical love of the apostles, who loved Greeks and Franks, Persians and Sythians, as their own flesh and blood. Such love as this followed the steps of our Lord, and tarried where He was, Confession, martyrdom, prayer, and every brotherly thought or deed, spring from the love of the converted heart."—Lange.

"Love is above all, and when it prevails in us all, we shall all be lovely, and in love with God, and one with another."—Penn.

"Lead men through love to love. For love cultivates and preserves the true and the good by doctrine, life, prayer, watchfulness, and by a thousand other inventions of its inexhaustible genius."—Sailer (quoted in Lange).

"If moral virtue could be seen with mortal eyes, it would attract all hearts to it."—Plato.

"A spiritual relationship is never so close and so strong as when the persons are related also by strong natural sympathies.… Now and then it has happened that this harmony has been so strangely complete, that each has loved the other literally as his own soul, and felt indeed as though there were but one soul between them. The fact is, that the one spirit enters into and affects similar natures so similarly, that when either speaks out of his deepest life, he equally speaks the experience of the other. When these similars by nature are apprehended by the Second Adam, and the sweet life of eternity springs up in their hearts, the relation becomes one of unutterable endearment.… Every step of their spiritual progress relates them more and more essentially."—John Pulsford.

"'Twixt that, long fled, which gave us light,

And that which soon shall end in night,

There is a point no eye shall see,

But on it hangs eternity.

This is that moment—who can tell

Whether it leads to heaven or hell?

This is that moment—as we choose,

The immortal soul we save or lose.

Time past and time to come are not;

Time present is our only lot;

O God! henceforth our hearts incline

To seek no other love than Thine."

J. Montgomery.

"Think not too meanly of thy low estate;

Thou hast a choice; to choose is to create!

Remember whose the sacred lips that tell,

Angels approve thee when thy choice is well."

O. W. Holmes.

"A few forsake the throng, with lifted eyes,

Ask wealth of heaven, and gain the real prize—

Truth, wisdom, grace, and peace, like that above,

Sealed with His signet, whom they serve and love."

Anon.

"Blest with this followship divine,

Take what Thou wilt, I'll ne'er repine;

E'en as the branches to the vine,

My soul would cling to Thee.

Far from her home, fatigued, oppressed,

Here she has found her place of rest;

An exile still, yet not unblessed,

While she can cling to Thee."

Mrs. Elliot.

"A few years ago, and you were not; a few more, and on this stage of life you will be no more. Much has been done, much is yet to be done in the interval. You arc now at the outset of womanhood. Woman's duties, woman's strange and mixed destiny of suffering, feeling, and deep life, is beginning."—Robertson.

"They say that when the temperature has gone down below the freezing-point, water will remain apparently the same. and yet that it will congeal at a touch and in a moment. So with the changes and transitions in human character and life. They go on silently and invisibly, until sonic crisis in outward circumstances brings them suddenly to maturity."—B.

"Thus it is that in some decisive moment every soul that attains salvation makes its choice, by which it adopts the true Jehovah as its portion. It abandons all the former idolatries of its life, and becomes a true worshipper of the true God."—Steel and Terry.

"So a soul that is truly brought to Christ affectionately loves Him and heartily cleaves to Him, resolves in the strength of Divine grace to follow Him whithersoever He goes or directs, and is desirous of having communion with none but Him."—Gill.

"Ruth's attachment was worth ten thousand of Orpah's kisses. The young nobleman in the Gospel treated our Lord with high respect; but all this availed him nothing, for he would not sell his possessions at Christ's command, and become a follower of Jesus. Happy were the apostles who continued with Him in all His temptations. They left all, and followed Him. What they left was little; but that love which disposed them to leave all was highly valued by Him, and they received a hundredfold of recompence even in this world."—Lawson.

"The story of Ruth has shed a peaceful light over what else would be the accursed race of Moab. We strain our gaze to know something of the long line of the purple hills of Moab, which form the background at once of the history and of the geography of Palestine. It is a satisfaction to feel that there is one tender association which unites them with the familiar history and scenery of Judea—that from their recesses, across the deep gulf which separates the two regions, came the Gentile ancestress of David and the Messiah."—Stanley.

"Ruth is a prophecy, than which none could be more beautiful and engaging, of the entrance of the heathen world into the kingdom of God. She comes forth out of Moab, an idolatrous people, full of wantonness and sin, and is herself so tender and pure. In a land where dissolute sensuality formed one of the elements of idol worship, a woman appears as wife and daughter, chaste as the rose of spring, and unsurpassed in these relations by any other character in Holy Writ. Without living in Israel, she is first elevated, then won, by the life of Israel, as displayed in a foreign land. Amid surrounding enmity and jealousy toward Israel, she is capable of being formed and attracted through love."—Lange.

"What can you do, but faithfully and simply follow Him who has said, ‘Whosoever loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me'? You must go forth with Ruth, and leave those who, rejecting Jesus, will not go with you. You must follow the Lord fully, though you follow Him alone among your earthly connexions."—Tyng.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Ruth 1:14". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/ruth-1.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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