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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 1:16

 

 

But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And Ruth said - A more perfect surrender was never made of friendly feelings to a friend: I will not leave thee - I will follow thee: I will lodge where thou lodgest - take the same fare with which thou meetest; thy people shall be my people - I most cheerfully abandon my own country, and determine to end my days in thine. I will also henceforth have no god but thy God, and be joined with thee in worship, as I am in affection and consanguinity. I will cleave unto thee even unto death; die where thou diest; and be buried, if possible, in the same grave. This was a most extraordinary attachment, and evidently without any secular motive.

The Targum adds several things to this conversation between Naomi and Ruth. I shall subjoin them: "And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee," for I desire to become a proselyte. And Naomi said, We are commanded to keep the Sabbath and other holy days; and on it not to travel more than two thousand cubits. And Ruth said, "Whither thou goest, I will go." And Naomi said, We are commanded not to lodge with the Gentiles. Ruth answered, "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge." And Naomi said, We are commanded to observe the one hundred and thirteen precepts. Ruth answered, What thy people observe, that will I observe; as if they had been my people of old. And Naomi said, We are commanded not to worship with any strange worship. Ruth answered, "Thy God shall be my God." Naomi said, We have four kinds of capital punishment for criminals; stoning, burning, beheading, and hanging. Ruth answered, "In whatsoever manner thou diest, I will die." Naomi said, We have a house of burial. Ruth answered, "And there will I be buried."

It is very likely that some such conversation as this took place between the elders and those who were becoming proselytes. This verse is famous among those who strive to divine by the Bible. I should relate the particulars, but am afraid they might lead to a continuance of the practice. In my youth I have seen it done, and was then terrified.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-1.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee,.... Do not make use of any arguments to persuade me to go back: or "do not meet me", or "be against me"F8על תפגעי בי "ne occurras mihi", Vatablus, Rambachius; "ne obstes me", Tigurine version; "ne adverseris mihi", V. L. Drusius; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. ; do not meet me with objections, or be in my way, or an hinderance to me, in going along with thee; do not be against it, for to be against that was to be against her inclination, desires, and resolutions, and against her interest:

for whither thou goest I will go: let the country she was going to be what it would, though unknown to her, and though she should never see her own country any more:

and where thou lodgest I will lodge; though in ever so mean a cottage, or under the open air:

thy people shall be my people; whom I shall choose to dwell among, and converse with; whose religion, laws, and customs she should readily comply with, having heard much of them, their wisdom, goodness, and piety, of which she had a specimen and an example in Naomi, and by whom she judged of the rest:

and thy God my God; not Chemosh, nor Baalpeor, nor other gods of the Moabites, be they what they will, but Jehovah, the God of Naomi, and of the people of Israel. So a soul that is truly brought to Christ affectionately loves him, and heartily cleaves unto him, resolves in the strength of divine grace to follow him, the Lamb, whithersoever he goes or directs; and is desirous to have communion with none but him, and that he also would not be as a wayfaring man, that tarries but a night; his people are the excellent of the earth, whom to converse with is all his delight and pleasure; and Christ's God is his God, and his Father is his Father: and, in a word, he determines to have no other Saviour but him, and to walk in all his commands and ordinances.


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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.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-1.html. 1999.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE CHARM OF CHARACTER

‘Intreat me not to leave thee.’

Ruth 1:16

Now, this chapter illustrates:—

I. A noble influence.—Observe the contrast. Here is Naomi bidding Ruth go home. To go with Naomi means to share her poverty and loneliness; probably to be without the shelter of a married woman’s home—which then was almost more than life. To go with Naomi means leaving her own people to dwell among strangers of another religion, and of a hostile race. And Naomi loves her daughter too well not to set all this before her; so, sacrificing her own wish, she bids Ruth go. But while her words speak thus, her life, her love, her character have so won upon Ruth’s heart that she will not heed the words which would send her away, but bursts out with impetuous haste, ‘Intreat me not’ … The language of the life has proved mightier than the language of the lip. Now, what was there in Naomi to make her so attractive and winning? Well, names were significant in those days, and as ‘Naomi’ meant ‘the lovely, gracious, or pleasant one,’ I think we shall not err in supposing that the name indicated a sunny disposition and pleasant bearing, which made its owner ‘lovely’ in the best of senses. She had the kindly spirit and loving temper that win the trust and affection of others. But, on the other hand, she was steadfast to principle, and did not forsake the God of her fathers in a heathen land. Not that she was a bigot; her sons’ heathen wives found in her a true mother, but they knew Whom she worshipped.

There are two blunders, into one of which most are apt to fall. Some mistake bigotry for firmness, and fancy that wrathful denunciation of others is a proof of boldness in the truth. Others mistake a mild indifference for charity, and think to prove their catholicity by affecting an equal regard for all religions alike. Both extremes are wrong. The right spirit is that which combines firmness and charity. Our faith in God should make us true to conviction: our knowledge of ourselves and our liability to err should teach us to think charitably of our fellow-men. And so it is in a character like this of Naomi that we find the secret of an attractive life. Consistency, charity, and the charm of kindly grace—if only we blended these three in ourselves, many would be like Ruth, the Moabitess, and gladly accompany us to the Canaan above. Are we making it easier or harder for others to say, ‘Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God?’

II. A wise resolve.—(a) Ruth had made up her mind to seek the best Society. We are made for society; we all want a people of our own—a little world which will help us to realise ourselves by contact with others. An isolated life is unnatural. But society may be a blessing or a curse. ‘Tell me with whom thou walkest, and I will tell thee who thou art,’ say the Spaniards; and our own English proverb amounts to the same thing—‘A man is known by his friends.’ ‘He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.’ The evil influences of wicked society will dry up all the best springs of your life, and deaden your finest susceptibilities. But true friendship ever blesses and ennobles the friends. Such is the influence of all good company, and it was therefore a wise resolve on the part of Ruth to adopt as her people the nation which worshipped God.

(b) Ruth had made up her mind to seek the true worship. She came of a heathen race, and so the acceptance of Naomi’s God was a renunciation of idolatry, and a turning to the one Lord of Hosts who made heaven and earth. It was a wise and noble resolve. Well, we are not idolaters, and we are not so foolish as to give any credence to the fantastic mythologies of heathen lands. And yet we may be worshippers of false gods, and believers in a heathen creed. For what is belief? It is not an opinion; it is the faith we live by. And what is worship? It is not bowing the knee, and bending the head in a religious service; it is the heart’s homage to what you deem of worth. And so our belief and worship do not always coincide with our professions. What is your god—in whom you believe, and whom you worship? Respectability? Pleasure? Power? Money? Or do you set far above all that is earthly, Him who is Lord of all and King of men? Do you regard His favour as life, and His displeasure as making success a mockery, riches a curse, the praise of men as a millstone about your neck? The Lord is not your God until He is thus enthroned in your heart, and supreme in your life. Have you made Ruth’s resolve your own?

Illustrations

(1) ‘The interest here is more domestic than national, and its charm gathers round the personal fortunes of two poor and lonely widows. But directly these are brought into line with this Divine purpose they become radiant with beauty and interest. The character of Ruth is one of the sweetest in literature. Nor is that of Naomi hardly inferior. The value of the little book is enhanced by its position between the warlike Books of Judges and Samuel. Its talk of fields and home and children, of rural customs and of human loves, are not the less beautiful because it also enshrines the fact that Gentile blood mingles with that of the chosen people, and that at length, through this Moabitess, comes the fulfilment of the promised Messiah. In Christ Jesus the middle wall of partition is broken down.’

(2) ‘An ancient Persian seer once told this parable: “One day a friend put into my hands a piece of scented clay. I took it, and said to it, ‘What art thou? Art thou musk? for I am charmed with thy fragrance.’ It answered, ‘I was a mean piece of clay, but I was some time in company with the rose, and the fragrance of my sweet companion was communicated to me, and I became what I am. Otherwise I should only be a bit of clay as I seem!’”’

(3) ‘It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us? Is our heart fixed upon Jesus, is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master’s sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt’s treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed. Orpah is heard of no more: in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the King of kings.’


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/ruth-1.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 1:16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, [or] to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people [shall be] my people, and thy God my God:

Ver. 16. Intreat me not.] Or, Be not troublesome to me by thy dissuasions; hinder me not from bearing thee company. She was unchangeably resolved. So was that martyr (a) who said, The heavens shall sooner fall, than I will forsake my profession. I will follow the Lamb wheresoever he goeth. The hop in its growing windeth itself about the pole, and always followeth the course of the sun from east to west, so that it can by no means be drawn to the contrary, but chooseth rather to break than yield.


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

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-1.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I renounce those idols which my sister hath returned to, and I wilt worship no other God but thine, who is indeed the only true God.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ruth-1.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. Entreat me not to leave thee — Nothing in all the range of literature can surpass the beauty and tenderness of Ruth’s reply to Naomi, contained in this and the following verse. The Chaldee Paraphrase puts the passage in the following form: “And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave and return from following after thee, for I desire to become a proselyte. Said Naomi, We are commanded to observe the Sabbath and good days, in not travelling more than two thousand cubits. Said Ruth, To every place whither thou goest I will go. Said Naomi, We are commanded not to lodge with the Gentiles. Said Ruth, Wheresoever thou lodgest I will lodge. Said Naomi, We are commanded to keep six hundred and thirteen precepts.

Said Ruth, What thy people keep I will keep, as if they were my people from of old until now. Said Naomi, We are commanded not to worship with a strange worship. Said Ruth, Thy God shall himself be my God. Said Naomi, We have four kinds of capital punishment for criminals: stoning, burning, beheading, and hanging. Said Ruth, In whatever way thou diest I will die. Said Naomi, We have a house of burial. Said Ruth, And there will I be buried.” Blessed are the human ties that lead us to God and heaven!


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

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-1.html. 1874-1909.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) Intreat me not.—Ruth’s nobleness is proof against all. The intensity of her feeling comes out all the more strongly now that she pleads alone: “I will undertake with thee the toilsome journey, I will lodge with thee however hardly, I will venture among a strange people, and will worship a new god.”


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

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Ruth
A more perfect surrender of friendly feelings to a friend was never made. This was a most extraordinary and disinterested attachment.
Intreat me not
or, Be not against me. to leave.
2 Kings 2:2-6; Luke 24:28,29; Acts 21:13
whither
2 Samuel 15:21; Matthew 8:19; John 13:37; Revelation 14:4
thy people
2:11,12; Psalms 45:10; Isaiah 14:1
thy God
Joshua 24:18; Daniel 2:47; 3:29; 4:37; Hosea 13:4; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 1:9

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

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 1:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-1.html.

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