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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 1:15

 

 

Then she said, "Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law."

Adam Clarke Commentary

Gone back - unto her gods - They were probably both idolaters, their having been proselytes is an unfounded conjecture. Chemosh was the grand idol of the Moabites. The conversion of Ruth probably commenced at this time.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-1.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ruth 1:15

Thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods.

Backsliding

1. The backslidings of such as set out fair, and do begin well, is a sore temptation to young converts and proselytes. It was no less to the very disciples themselves (John 6:66-67). Thus it was also an occasion of stumbling unto the primitive Christians to behold the backslidings of two such forward professors as Hymenaeus and Philetus had been; insomuch that the apostle saith to them, “Nevertheless the foundation” (of God’s election) “standeth sure; the Lord knoweth them that are His,” etc. As the multitude of sinners cannot give any patronage to the evil ways of sin, so neither can the paucity of saints put any disgrace or disparagement upon the good ways of God.

2. Some forward followers of the only true and living God may apostatise from thence to embrace the vanities of the Gentiles.

3. That love to the ways and worship of God is a sincere love which doth undergo trials and temptations, yet bears up against all: godly Ruth rides out the storm against wind and tide of both the sister’s pattern and the mother’s precept. (C. Ness.)

The painful separation

Nothing can be more encouraging to the Christian heart than to see the young setting out to seek the Lord. It is a beautiful exercise and exhibition of youth. Never do the morning hours appear so bright or so promising. We cannot suspect the sincerity of any, and therefore we encourage them to press forward. We have seen these youthful travellers going with Naomi out of the place where they dwelt, on the way to return unto the land of Judah. For a time they travel together happily and affectionately. There is a line which divides Moab from Judah. This is a painful but an inevitable crisis. The two sisters must separate. There is just such a line in our soul’s history where similar entire separation must take place. The awakened mind sees its own sinfulness and need, acknowledges the darkness and emptiness of the Moab in which it has dwelt, and truly feels the importance of those blessed offers which the gospel proclaims. The Holy Spirit has taught the sinner the guiltiness and wretchedness of his past life. He knows, he sees, he feels the truth. But he does not love the truth. He does not embrace and choose it for his own, his portion for ever. If he would really do this, all would be well. His heart he cannot, will not, give to Christ. Anything else he will do. But nothing else will avail him anything. Poor Orpah! How often have I seen young travellers to eternity stopping just where you stop; hesitating just where you hesitate. Nothing more can be done for you where you are. There is Moab. You have tried that, and found it empty and unhappy. There is Judah. All its provisions and offers are before you, and brought for your acceptance. Never will you be sorry if you take your portion there. Here are Naomi and Ruth. They are journeying to the land which the Lord hath promised them. Soon they will be far from you, out of your sight. Then you will mourn over the separation which you foolishly made. You may go back to Moab, and bury yourself in its sins and follies. But you will find no peace or happiness there. Your conscience will never again allow you to rest. Orpah goes “back to her people and her gods.” This is a most important fact in her history. She does not, cannot remain where they part. That is a place most unnatural and unattractive. No; she goes back, while Ruth and Naomi go forward. The separation grows wider every hour. This is a most affecting illustration. The awakened and convinced mind can never abide at the line where a Saviour is refused. There is no permanency in such a state of mind. There is no home for the soul there. You go back. It may be to self-indulgence, dissipation, and sensual delights. It may be to giddiness, frivolity, and empty, cheerless mirth. It may be to business, covetousness, and unceasing occupation. It may be to infidelity and assumed unbelief and argument. It may be to open hostility and persecution of the gospel, and those who love it. It may be to absolute and dreadful hardness of heart. But to whatever it shall be, you still go back. The worst opposers of the gospel we ever meet are those who once were almost Christians. But you say you will hereafter return to Christ. You cannot do this but by His own Spirit. And that Spirit you have driven far from you. There is a spring that returneth in creation when the winter has gone. But you have buried the sacred seed of your soul’s welfare beneath a winter which knows no coming spring. You will mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed. But it will be with a worldly sorrow which worketh death, and not with a godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation. This is the fearful prospect in your return with Orpah. (S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

Orpah

I. Orpah was a Moabitish woman--had been married to one of the sons of Elimelech--and was now a widow. She had been brought up amid the absurdities and impurities and superstitions of idolatry. But her connection with an Israelitish family was a great advantage to her, and ought to have been improved by her, to the benefit of her soul, and deemed a peculiar privilege and blessing. Oh, then, let us associate with those who live for another world whose spirit and words and conduct diffuse the savour of heaven, and are calculated to keep God and eternity in our minds.

II. Orpah possessed many natural excellences, which made her lovely and amiable, though still lacking that new heart and that devotedness to God without which no man can be saved.

1. Orpah acted well in the character of a wife.

2. Orpah conducted herself with kindness and tenderness and affection towards her mother-in-law, Naomi, also.

3. Another valuable feature, which we cannot view but with great interest, in the character of Orpah, was her intention to accompany Naomi to the land of Judah. It is well to see hopeful beginnings--to see the careless aroused, the indifferent in some degree alarmed about their sins, and paying more attention than before to the welfare of their souls. It is well to see the profane putting on the decencies of morality, and renouncing their vile habits and pursuits. It is well, we say, to see these hopeful signs. But, alas! they often disappoint our fondest hopes.

III. Orpah’s fatal deficiency, She only began her march to Canaan--her resolution failed--she persevered not, but returned to her own land! Naomi wished not to prevent either Ruth or Orpah from accompanying her to Canaan, but from doing so for her sake. She had no earthly inducement to hold out to them. If they came, she wished them to come from religious considerations alone. If we take up the cause of God from any but spiritual motives--if we attach ourselves to the cause and people of God from earthly views, our religion is hateful in heaven. The “loaves and fishes” are to have nothing to do with our pursuit of Christ, but the attractions of His grace--the privilege of serving Him, and a supreme desire to be His--His alone--His for ever.

1. Orpah forsook the cause of God--she returned to her people. Their maxims and their habits, after all, were more congenial with her mind. Woe awaits those who are kept from “following the Lord fully” from regard to earthly connections and associates.

2. Orpah forsook the cause of God with great reluctance. Agrippa-like, she was almost persuaded to go with her to the land of Judah, yet, though with many misgivings, she retraced her steps to her own country, and saw her no more. Now, with the view of inducing these wavering characters, who are thus daily withstanding the convictions of their own minds--who return to Moab, but with many tears--to hasten out of their present condition, we beg to say a few words concerning their danger. It is a great mercy to have our minds in the smallest degree impressed with Divine things, and awakened to the importance of the things which accompany salvation. It is a mercy to be made to feel some measure of anxiety about our never-dying souls and their everlasting welfare. It is the Holy Ghost striving with us, and bidding us to consider our peril while yet it may be avoided. With the view of urging these characters to a speedy determination to be altogether on the Lord’s side, we beg to add a few remarks likewise concerning their present folly. When man neglects to follow the admonitions of his conscience, he deprives himself of all comfort. He cannot enjoy inward tranquillity in this state. There is something within him constantly telling him that his end cannot be desirable if a radical spiritual change does not take place in him. He cannot have real joy in this condition. If your religion resembles that of Orpah, give God no rest till the weight of your transgression drives you to the Saviour, and a believing view of His matchless love constrains you to devote your persons and your talents to His service and glory. (John Hughes.)

Orpah and Ruth

I. Family sorrows.

1. Want.

2. Separation.

3. Death.

II. Family errors.

1. Preference of worldly comfort before religious privileges.

2. Formation of worldly connections.

III. Family attachments.

1. Their power. The amiableness of Naomi has so attached these idolaters to her that they are willing to forsake even their own mother.

2. Their weakness. The case of Orpah may teach us that an attachment to religious people is not religion; nor can it, of itself, produce religion in the heart.

IV. Family mercies.

1. The return of moderate prosperity.

2. Converting grace bestowed upon an idolater. (Homilist.)

The danger of religious indifference

A family perished, not long ago, by a fire in their own house. They were not consumed by the flames, but suffocated by the smoke. No blaze was visible at all, nor could any alarming sign of fire be discovered from the street, and yet death came as effectually upon them as if they had been burned to ashes. Thus is sin fatal in its consequences, few being destroyed by outrageous forms of it, flaming up with lurid glare, but multitudes perishing by the stifling smoke of indifference and spiritual slumber. (J. H. Norton.)

Unto her people, and unto her gods

When Christian set out from the City of Destruction, he too, for a short part of his journey, was attended by two companions: the first indeed, Obstinate, only went with him in order to try and bring him back to what he considered wiser courses, but the other, Pliable, was absolutely sincere in his desire to reach the Celestial City.” I intend to go along with this good man,” he said, “and to cast in my lot with him”; he might have availed himself of the words of sincerely-meant devotion in which Orpah joined with Ruth, and have declared, “Surely I will return with thee unto thy people.” Yet, as we know, when the pilgrims, “being heedless,” fell into the Slough of Despondency, poor Pliable, his virtuous intentions notwithstanding, “gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire, on that side of the Slough which was next to his own house. So away he went, and Christian saw him no more.” There are one or two particulars in which the behaviour of Orpah was not unlike that of well meaning Pliable. To begin with, there can be no question but that she had a sincere affection and regard for Naomi, and would genuinely have liked to spend the remainder of her days in her society; but the attachment was purely personal, and in all such friendships there is a breaking point, a limit to the extent to which others are prepared to follow us. For it is only us whom they are following, and our path may lead us into circumstances more trying than they are prepared to undergo whose hearts are not buoyed up by the hope which animates our own. Another somewhat sad reflection respecting the history of Orpah springs from the fact that she actually started for the better land, and indeed went some considerable way on the journey. The thought of those fellow-travellers of ours who set out so cheerily with us and yet failed after all to persevere is one of the saddest that comes into our memory when we review our pilgrimage. We call to mind their fervour, their enthusiasm, their kindly interest; we shall never forget how our heart sank within us when they announced their intention of turning back. And in the case of Orpah our feelings are the more regretful because we bear in mind that she was full of the best possible resolutions of going further still. “Surely,” she said, no less earnestly than did Ruth herself, “Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.” But, as we have already noticed, the desire in her mind was to be, as she put it, “with thee “; it was the personal element in her relation to Naomi which, however charming in itself, constituted the weakness of her position--it was on this rock that her frail vessel was wrecked at last. Further, if Orpah’s decision pains us, can we remain unmoved at Orpah’s tears? She is quite clear in her own mind that she can go no further; she will leave no inconsiderable portion of her heart behind her when she says farewell to Naomi; she lifted up her voice and wept; she lifted up her voice and wept again. Alas for the impotence of tears! The question for each to ask himself is not, What have I felt? but, What have I done? Orpah loved Naomi dearly, and wept bitterly at the prospect of parting from her, but returned to her people and her gods nevertheless. And here we must pause to inquire how far Naomi was to blame for the failure of Orpah. We recognise the honesty with which the older woman points out to her companions the sacrifice which they will be called upon to make if they elect to go further with her. She must have known, she evidently did know, that by turning back Orpah was losing her reversionary interest in the property of her deceased husband, yet we do not find Naomi telling her of this. Warn people by all means that life in the kingdom of heaven is the life of a servant and a soldier, but tell them too that their entry into the kingdom has made them inheritors of a possession greater and more real than anything than the world can offer, and which it would be the most fearful madness to throw away. Love had brought Orpah a long way towards the land of Judah: might not a little affectionate entreaty have brought her further still? It is important that before passing away from the story of Orpah we should try to realise what it was that she lost by turning back. And with the inheritance, redeemed as it was by Boaz, Orpah had also lost the honour--Ruth’s chiefest glory in the ages yet to come--of being the ancestress of David and of the Messiah. Of all the promises to Abraham, that upon which in all probability the patriarch set the greatest store was God’s pledge that in him all the nations of the world should be blessed. To be an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven is in itself a marvel of grace, the true meaning of which we shall never fully know here, but to have it in one’s power to bring redemption within the reach of others, surely this is an infinitely greater marvel still. God offers us salvation as the satisfaction of the needs of our own heart; but He also offers it to us in order that we may be qualified as the possessors of it to work with Him in plucking from the burning those who are the bondsmen of Satan and of sin. What answer shall we give to Him that speaketh? (H. A. Hall, B. D.)

The parting-place

Where was it that Orpah parted from her companions? She went with them some way, possibly a great way, but at last they reached a point in the journey which was geographically, so to speak, one of decision, one beyond which no one could pass without committing herself to new things and a new life, and at this point Orpah made up her mind to return. What more likely than that this point was the river itself, which if they adopted the southern route would form the boundary between Moab and the land of Judah? The river flows still, and each pilgrim has to make up his mind whether or not he shall cross it. There, then, flows the river: shall we cross? Sometimes it seems to us to be the river of surrender. Can I give myself wholly and unreservedly to God? And can I give up, or consent to His taking from me, whatever is contrary to His will and therefore to my happiness, love it as I may? Sometimes the river is one of confession. We have travelled thus far without our life or our relation to the world being appreciably affected or altered, and God, who is infinitely tender in His dealing with the returning soul, often postpones the necessity of or the occasion for a definite confession of our allegiance to Him until we are strong enough to make it. Yet sooner or later the river has to be crossed, and the more definitely the confession is made the better it always is for the soul. And sometimes the river is that of a consistent life.” I would not shrink from throwing in my lot with that of the people of God,” says many an one, “if I could only hope to lead a consistent life: I will make no profession unless I can carry it out, and I fail to see how under my circumstances that can be possible.” Certainly God requires that those who follow Him shall follow Him fully, as Caleb did, but God asks no one to lead the life of faith in his own strength or trusting to his own resources. A new life lies before you; but to enable you to live it, God offers you new strength. (H. A. Hall, B. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 1:15". 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 she said,.... That is, Naomi to Ruth, after Orpah was gone:

behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods; meaning Orpah, who was the wife of her husband's brother, as the word used signifies; she was not only on the road turning back to her own country and people, but to the gods thereof, Baalpeor or Priapus, and Chemosh, Numbers 21:29 from whence Aben Ezra concludes, that she had been a proselyte to the true religion, and had renounced the gods of her nation, and retained the same profession while her husband lived, and unto this time, and now apostatized, since she is said to go back to her gods; and in this he is followed by some Christian interpretersF7Clericus & Rambachius. , and not without reason:

return thou after thy sister in law: this she said, not that in good earnest she desired her to return, at least to her former religion, only relates, though not as approving of, the conduct of her sister, rather as upbraiding it; but to try her sincerity and steadfastness, when such an instance and example was before her.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: g return thou after thy sister in law.

(g) No persuasion can convince them to turn back from God, if he has chosen them to be his.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ruth-1.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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.

This verse throws a light upon the real design Naomi had in view in all her discourse, when seemingly persuading her daughters-in-law to go back. For when she talked of the gods to which Orpah was returned, nothing can more decidedly shew how much she desired Ruth to follow the true God of Israel; however it might at first view appear that she recommended Ruth to follow her example.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-1.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

To her gods — Those that forsake the communion of saints, will certainly break off their communion with God. This she saith, to try Ruth's sincerity and constancy, and that she might intimate to her, that if she went with her, she must embrace the true religion.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 1:15 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.

Ver. 15. Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back.] A great temptation to Ruth - [Hebrews 11:37, "they were tempted"} - as it was likewise to the disciples, when many fell off; {John 6:66] to the primitive Christians, when Hymenaeus and Philetus made defection; [2 Timothy 2:17] to Galeacius, when forsaken of all.

And unto her gods.] Her devil gods, Baalpeor, Chemosh, Milchom, &c. In finita deorum lerna ad triginta millia Hesiodi tempore excreverat. The Chinese are said to have a hundred thousand.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ruth 1:15. Thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods It is not by any means a just consequence from hence, that Orpah had never been proselyted to the Jewish religion. The contrary is a much more natural deduction; for if she had not once left them, she could not have returned to them. Ruth continued steadfast to the faith that she had embraced; Orpah returned back to Moab and to Chemosh. They who consider the friendless and forlorn state of Naomi, will not wonder much at her solicitude that her daughters should remain in their own country, and amidst their friends; where, doubtless, they might have continued to profess the true religion had they been inclined to do so. That state of Naomi, however, adds great lustre to the piety and filial affection of Ruth.

REFLECTIONS.—Naomi, having heard that plenty was again restored to Israel,

1. Resolves to return to her own country. Moab was now a land of sorrow to her; every object around her renewed the bitter remembrance of her losses, and no comforter was near, who, with discourse of holy resignation to Israel's God, could alleviate her griefs. Note; (1.) They, who are compelled for a time to dwell among those who are strangers to God, ought to embrace the first moment of liberty to return to God's people and ordinances. (2.) Change of place is often a useful assistant in calming the griefs which are exasperated by the sight of objects that remind us of those who are taken from us. (3.) When God afflicts, it is good to examine whether something in us has not brought his rod upon us. (4.) It is even a mercy to have this land of our sojourning embittered to us, that we may be more weaned from earth, and have our conversation in heaven.

2. Her daughters accompany her to the borders of Moab; and there Naomi with tender affection intends to dismiss them, praying God to give them a comfortable settlement, each in the house of her husband; and acknowledging, to their great commendation, the affection that they had shewn to the living and the dead, as good wives and dutiful daughters. They kiss, embrace, then burst into a flood of tears, the involuntary effusion of tenderness, which cannot bear the heart-breaking separation from those we love. Note; (1.) When friends part in prayer, they may comfortably hope, either in time or eternity, to meet in praise. (2.) They, who conscientiously fulfil their relative duties in life, will have the comfort of it in a parting hour. (3.) Though the parting of tender and affectionate friends is painful, it is a kind of pleasing pain, of which we wish not to be insensible.

3. Unable to support the thought of parting, they both resolve to accompany her; but Naomi, fearful lest they should afterwards repent the hasty resolution, and perhaps to try whether they had any desire after the worship of the God of Israel as their motive, seeks to dissuade, and advises them to weigh the matter well before they determined. They could hope for nothing with her. God's afflicting hand was upon her, her circumstances distressed, and no provision for them in Beth-lehem, which grieved her more for their sakes than her own. Such a remonstrance produced a fresh torrent of tears. Orpah, though affectionately attached to Naomi, discouraged now by the difficulties, kisses her, and returns. Ruth, more determined, refuses to go back, and resolves to cleave to her. Note; (1.) Hasty resolutions are easily broken. (2.) Tender hearts can better bear want themselves, than see those whom they love exposed to it. (3.) They who would follow Christ ought first to count the cost. (4.) Many say, I will go with thee, who, on the first difficulties, turn back, and walk no more with Jesus. (5.) The difficulties of the way will bind the faithful soul closer to the Saviour.

4. To make the last essay of Ruth's determined purpose, Naomi again urges her to return, and pleads her sister's example, who was returned to her people and her gods. But Ruth was fixed, and her choice unalterable. She begs her mother to desist from dissuading her. "Though the place be distant, and the country unknown, I will go with thee; if thy lodging be a cottage, I seek no better covering; thy people shall be my people, in their manners, customs, and religion; and thy God, my God, renouncing every abomination of Moab, and owning Israel's God alone: Never will I quit thee; on the same spot our dying eyes shall close, and in the same grave our kindred dust shall mingle, and make the clods of the valley sweeter by the union." Such is her purpose; and, to prevent farther entreaty, she binds her soul by a solemn vow, never but by death to part from her. Note; (1.) Nothing will be able to separate the faithful heart from Jesus; no, not death itself. (2.) They are truly our enemies who seek to turn us back from God and godliness. (3.) When we give up our hearts to God, and choose our portion among God's poor people, then in life or death we shall surrender ourselves up to be disposed of by him as shall please him, content in every station, and welcoming every cross.

5. Naomi, satisfied now, attempts no more to dissuade her: happy, no doubt, to hear her daughter's pious choice; and glad, amidst every distress, to bring her to the worship of Israel's God, and to the communion of his people.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". 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

Unto her people, and unto her gods; which she saith, partly, to try Ruth’s sincerity and constancy; partly, that by upbraiding Orpah with her idolatry she might consequently turn her from it; and partly, that she might intimate to her, that if she went with her, she must embrace the true God and religion.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". 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 she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people, and to her god. Return you after your sister-in-law.’

Naomi pointed out to Ruth that her sister-in-law had taken her advice and had gone back to her people ‘and to her god’ (the Moabite god Chemosh). And she urges Ruth to do the same. Naomi recognised that she had sent Orpah back to the worship of Chemosh, and it is clear that the writer wants us to see that Naomi was in a poor spiritual condition. Her concern was for the physical needs of her daughters-in-law not their spiritual needs. Both Orpah and Ruth might have been lost to Yahwism.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-1.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Ruth 1:15. Is gone back to her people and to her gods — By this it appears, if Orpah had been a proselyte to the Jewish religion, she afterward apostatized. Those that forsake the communion of saints will certainly break off their communion with God. Return thou after thy sister-in-law — This she said to try Ruth’s sincerity and constancy, and in order that she might intimate to her that if she went with her she must be firm in her attachment to the true religion.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/ruth-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

To her gods, &c. Noemi did not mean to persuade Ruth to return to the false gods she had formerly worshipped; but by this manner of speech, insinuated to her, that if she would go with her, she must renounce her false gods, and turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. (Challoner) --- She wished to try her constancy. (Salien) --- Most infer from this passage, that Orpha was never converted, or that she relapsed. --- Her gods, may indeed be rendered in the singular, "god." But what god was peculiar to her and the Moabites, but Chamos! (Calmet) --- Noemi might well fear that Orpha would give way to the superstition of her countrymen, to which she had been addicted, even though she might have made profession of serving the true God, while she lived with her. (Haydock).


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-1.html. 1859.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) Naomi, now armed with a fresh argument, urges Ruth to follow her sister-in-law’s example.

Her gods.—Naomi doubtless views the Moabite idols as realities, whose power is, however, confined to the land of Moab. She is not sufficiently enlightened in her religion to see in the Lord more than the God of Israel.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
gone back
Psalms 36:3; 125:5; Zephaniah 1:6; Matthew 13:20,21; Hebrews 10:38; 1 John 2:19
and unto
They were probably both idolaters at this time. That they were proselytes is an unfounded conjecture; and the conversion of Ruth now only commenced.
her gods
Judges 11:24
return
Joshua 24:15,19; 2 Samuel 15:19,20; 2 Kings 2:2; Luke 14:26-33; 24:28

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-1.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—And she [Naomi] said, Behold thy sister-in-law, i.e., wife of a husband's brother; no English word exactly answering to the original Hebrew. The same word is rendered brother's wife (Deu ; Deu 25:9), being the feminine of that rendered (ib. 7) husband's brother (Speaker's Com.). Unto her gods [god]. "And to her god" (Luther's Bible). The singular is to be preferred (Lange). Adam Clarke thinks that both Orpah and Ruth had been idolaters so far. With Ruth, however, a leaning towards the God of Israel and His laws (Keil). Wright argues from these words that Naomi viewed idolatry without serious disfavour, at least as practised by others. This held upon insufficient data. Naomi's words do not necessarily contain any recognition of the Moabitish deity, or indicate (as Wright suggests) that she was possibly led astray by the false idea that Jehovah was only the God of Israel (Lange). Was Jephthah then (Jud 11:21; Jud 11:24) similarly led astray.' (Lange.)

Return thou. Serious in her intentions, sincere in her advice (Keil). Perhaps said merely to prove Ruth's constancy (Speaker's Com.). (Cf. Jos .; 2Ki 2:2-6). Spoken that it might be made clear whether she would adhere steadfastly to the God of Israel (Seb. Schmidt). Not that she desired her to return, but to try her sincerity (Gill). She had simply the earthly prosperity of her mother-in-law in her mind (Keil, Carpzoe).

Theme.—THE THIRD AND LAST TRIAL OF AFFECTION

"What though the world unfaithful prove,

And earthly friends and joys remove?

With sure and certain hope of love,

Still would I cling to thee."—Mrs. Elliot.

And she [Naomi] said, Behold thy sister-in-law is gone back.… Return thou, etc.

How sad is the history of a return to Moab (Tyng), both in its effects and in its influences! With Orpah, to go back to her people was to return to her gods. And yet how pregnant with meaning! Evident now that Orpah had mistaken a mere momentary feeling (cf. Rth ) for something deeper and more lasting. Evident, too, that Naomi's suspicions and surmises were correct. Note. (a) The "return" justifies the tests (Rth 1:8-9; Rth 1:11-13). Very naturally, also, it leads to this final trial of Ruth's affection and steadfastness. Naomi anxious still; fears lest even now cleaving to her should be the result of a rash, unthinking choice; dreads a future apostate in a present convert. Could not really intend to persuade her beloved daughter to return to the service of Chemosh (Lawson). Said of those of whom the world was not worthy, "they were tempted" (Heb 11:37). So here. Note. (b) The trial is by no means intended to justify the "return." In the present case, disobedience a virtue (Macgowan). When Christ said to Judas, "What thou doest do quickly," He by no means authorised Judas to execute his wicked designs (Lawson). Orpah doubtless went back to Naomi's grief (Lawson).

I. See where the strength of this last trial lay. An unfavourable example lends its weight to worldly disadvantages (M. Timson). These heavy enough before; now Ruth is to see one she loves turning away from Naomi, and lending her influence to lead her backwards. Orpah has "gone back," too, although she cherished as warm an affection for Naomi as any a mother-in-law could expect. Note. (a) Example has a mighty influence, especially the example of those who are dear to us. Christ felt it to be so in that moment when the last link between Himself and His half-hearted followers was severed, and He turned to the rest with the question, Will ye also go away? (Joh .) A scriptural doctrine, that because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Mat 24:12). Note. (b) The castle seems almost won where one-half the soldiers are overcome (Lawson). Orpah has yielded, and yet for all this Ruth stands steadfast.

II. See in what lies its meaning and purpose. It evidently settled the questions at issue once and for ever. Decision comes as the result of conflict. Distrust of one's own judgment the most terrible spectre to fight (M. Timson). Especially so when the example of those we respect is adverse to our decisions. This mastered, however, the rest is easy.

LESSONS.

(1) The falls of some may justly bring others into trial (Bernard).

(2) Not the length or fury of the conflict which is important, but its results.

(3) The folly of apostacy must not damp but rather invigorate our zeal.

Fuller on this (condensed):—

Examples of others set before our eyes are very potent and prevalent arguments to make us follow and imitate them, whether they be good examples—so the forwardness of the Corinthians to relieve the Jews provoked many—or whether they be bad—so the dissembling of Peter at Antioch drew Barnabas and others into the same fault. But those examples, of all others, are most forcible with us which are set by such who are near to us by kindred, or gracious with us in friendship, or great over as in power.

USE [Lesson] I. Let men in eminent places, as magistrates, ministers, fathers, masters, and the like (seeing that others love to dance after their pipe, to sing after their tune, to tread after their track), endeavour to propound themselves patterns of piety and religion to those that be under them.

II. When we see any good example propounded unto us, let us strive with all possible speed to imitate it.… Follow not the adultery of David, but follow the chastity of Joseph; follow not the dissembling of Peter, but follow the sincerity of Nathanael; follow not the testiness of Jonah, but follow the meekness of Moses; follow not the apostacy of Orpah, but follow the perseverance of Ruth.

III. When any bad example is presented unto us, let us decline and detest it, though the men be never so many or so dear to us. Imitate Micaiah (1 Kings 22).… Yea, but one may say, "What if I find in the Scripture an action recorded whose doer is known to have been a godly and gracious man, may I not, without any further doubt or scruple, follow the same?" … The Holy Spirit hath not set these sins down with an intent they should be followed; but first to show the frailty of His dearest saints when He leaves them to themselves; as also to comfort us when we fall into grievous sins, when we see that as heinous offences of God's servants stand upon the record in the Scriptures.

"Oh, Orpah, Orpah! that thou hadst been wise, at least in this thy day, to think of the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hidden from thy eyes.… And could we know her history, we should doubtless find in it many a sorrowful and weeping hour as she thought of these friends of her youth whom she was to see no more.… It is the history we have seen in the child of the world over and over again. You may renounce the Saviour, and walk with Him no more. You may go back to Moab, and bury yourself in its sins and follies. But you will find no peace or happiness there. Your conscience will never again allow you to rest."—Tyng.

"Worldliness is not living in the world, possessing the world, using the world; worldliness is pursuing the world which is, to the forgetfulness and exclusion of that which is to come; it is a sacrificing of the future to the present, the enjoying of earth's mess of pottage at the loss of the heavenly birthright."—II. Wonnacott.

"Where the heart is indeed influenced by sovereign grace, and drawn by the eternal Father, opposition will only serve to inflame our love and zeal, as oil cast into the fire serves only to increase its ardour instead of extinguishing the flame."—Macgowan.

"Still Naomi proves the spirit of Ruth. ‘Your sister has gone back to her people and her gods. If you mean ever to go back, now is your best time to go. Think well of what you give up, and of what you may encounter in accompanying me. Much as I would love to have you to go with me, I do not wish you hereafter to feel disappointed or grieved on my account. Remember, I have nothing to offer you. If you go with me, it must be as a partner of my griefs and wants.' Thus God often proves the young disciple with new trials. He sends the east wind upon the young trees of His planting, not to weaken or destroy, but to give greater strength and endurance for the time to come."—Tyng.

"Adam was soon drawn by Eve; Rehoboam's heart was easily led after the advice of his familiars; the women of Judah by their husbands easily fell to idolatry."—Bernard.

"This is Naomi's last trial of Ruth; and these words show plainly all was to try her, because she telleth Ruth of Orpah's going back, not only to her people, but also to her gods, which Naomi, a good woman, could not but hate, and could not so ill respect Ruth, and show so great coldness in religion and honour of the true God, as to dissuade Ruth from the same God of truth to return unto idols."—Bernard.

"The Saviour Himself cared not so much to be followed by the crowd, as to be served and loved by the few. Let the promiscuous multitude be gone, so that the handful left prove faithful and worthy! And even these He tries again and again. Strong enough to deny Himself of every faint-hearted and faithless disciple, and yet tender enough to weep after every such denial and desertion, it is so He speaks those pregnant and searching words of His to every one of us, Will ye also go away?"—B.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Ruth 1:15". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/ruth-1.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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