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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 1:19

 

 

So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, "Is this Naomi?"

Adam Clarke Commentary

All the city was moved about them - It appears that Naomi was not only well known, but highly respected also at Bethlehem; a proof that Elimelech was of high consideration in that place.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ruth-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ruth 1:19

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem.

Constancy

I. That they are to be admitted into our fellowship whom we find to be constant in a good course, and true lovers of goodness, whatsoever they were before. Naomi thus admits of Ruth, no doubt, with great comfort. Thus Paul alloweth of Mark (2 Timothy 4:11), though before he had refused him (Acts 15:38), and willeth others to entertain him (Colossians 4:10-11).

II. That God leaveth not His in distress, or altogether comfortless. Naomi went out with husband and children, and lost them; she returneth not alone, but God sent her one to accompany her and to comfort her.

III. That a true resolution will show itself in a full execution. She resolved to go with Naomi, and so she did, till she came to Bethlehem. By this may we learn to know the difference between solid resolutions and sudden flashes, raw and undigested purposes, between true resolutions and such as be made in show, but in substance prove nothing so, never seen in the effects.

IV. In this their travel to Canaan, and therein to Bethlehem, note three things: their unity, fervency, and constancy. They went together lovingly, they ceased not to go on, they did not linger, they took no by-paths, neither forgat they whither they were going, till they came unto Bethlehem in Canaan. As these thus went to Canaan, so should we unto the spiritual Canaan and heavenly Bethlehem; we must go in unity (1 Corinthians 1:10), and be of one heart (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; Acts 2:46; Acts 4:24), in a godly fervency (Romans 12:11; Titus 2:14; Ezekiel 3:14), as Elijah, Nehemiah, the angel of Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-2), and as our Saviour, whom the zeal of God’s house had eaten up. And we must go in a constant spirit, and not be weary of well-doing, for “he that continueth to the end shall be saved.” (B. Bernard.)

True friendship

1. Such is the faithfulness of our heavenly Father to all His children, that He never fails nor forsakes them; but when one comfort faileth them, He findeth out another for them. The loss of one relation is made up out of God’s fulness by raising up another.

2. There be but few friends that are true friends. Here be but two together.

3. Such are fast and faithful friends indeed that accompany each other to the worship of God--to Bethlehem. Many there be that do accompany each other to Bethaven, or house of wickedness, to play-houses, and places of revelling, etc. This is rather a betraying than a befriending one another. A carnal friend is but a spiritual enemy, who advised the ruin of his soul for the recovery of his body (2 Samuel 13:3). The truest friendship is to save and deliver a friend from the greatest evil, which is sin; but to tempt any to it, and to tolerate them in it, is not the part of a true friend, but of a real enemy.

4. ‘Tis matter of astonishing admiration to hear of, and be eye-witnesses of, the great afflictions that do befall some persons, both great and good.

5. God works wonderful changes in persons, families, cities, countries and kingdoms. (C. Ness.)

The backslider’s return

Naomi had wandered. But Naomi might return. God had not cast her away. He will never cast away those who truly love Him. He calls them back again to true repentance. He heals their backslidings and loves them freely. Then, like Peter, they may strengthen their brethren. They have an experience of human infirmity which they had not before. They know the dangers and temptations which surround the Christian’s path. They can comfort others with the consolations wherewith they are comforted of God. But the backslider must return with total self-renunciation. Thus Naomi even renounces her right to her former name. “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” They said, “Is this Naomi?” “Yes, I was Naomi when I was contented and happy in the house, and among the people of God. I was Naomi when we took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company. How foolish was I thus to wander from His holy ways! Call me not Naomi now. I have no right to that name. All was pleasant then. But the remembrance is bitterness now. Call me Mara. Let me come back as the poorest of the poor, sorrowful, and self-condemned.” The backslider feels no claim to a former Christian character. He is compelled to say, “Call me not a Christian. I have forfeited that blessed name. Call me a sinner, the chief of sinners. But as such, suffer me to return again to God. ‘I am no more worthy to be called a son; make me as one of Thy hired servants.’” The backslider must come back with conscious emptiness. He has nothing to bring; nothing to offer. Naomi says, “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” How true is this! What can you bring back from your wanderings in Moab but the bitter remembrance of your folly? Nothing but sadness can come from a careless backsliding from God. And so far as your own acts and conduct are concerned, you must return to Him with perfect emptiness. If Divine grace and long-suffering shall receive you--if the Holy Spirit shall consent to restore you, and lead you back to the mercy-seat, once more accepted--it will be all as a free gift to the chief of sinners. Yet how precious is the expression, “The Lord hath brought me back”! Yes, though I am empty, and have nothing; though I am vile in His sight, and “mine own clothes abhor me,” though I was worthy of His rejection and His wrath, yet He did not leave me in my sin, nor suffer me, unpardoned, to perish. But I come back empty. Everything has failed me except the loving-kindness and mercy of my God. No condition can be more humbling than this. Let this work of the Holy Spirit have free course in you. Do not attempt the least justification of yourselves. Speak not, think not, of any temptation that led you astray, or of the influence of any companions, or of the want of watchfulness of any friends, or of the unfaithfulness of others in instructing and warning you, or of the example and habits of others in the social circle in which you live, as the least extenuation of your own guilt. Oh, no! You have no one to blame but yourself. You have been tempted only because you were drawn away by your own lust. Yet, while the backslider himself mourns, others rejoice over him. “It came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them; and they said, Is this Naomi?” Her friends had not forgotten her. They gather around her again with delight. All Bethlehem rejoices; Naomi’s poverty and wanderings are forgotten. She has herself returned, and this is enough. The poor prodigal had hardly time to say, “Father, I have sinned,” before his father buries his voice in his own bosom, and lifts up a sound of joy which completely drowns the accents of the wanderer’s grief. Oh, what a song of praise does his restoration awaken! Heaven and earth unite to say, over the returning wanderer, “Is this Naomi?” Is this the wanderer? This the captive that we thought was lost? This the giddy child that was bent to backsliding, and fled from all restraint? Sing, O heavens, for the Lord hath done it. Shout, ye lower parts of the earth, for the Lord hath blotted out as a thick cloud their transgressions, and as a cloud their sins! (S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

All the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?--

The changes wrought by time

Ten years ago she left, but is not forgotten. The story of her battle with poverty and consequent emigration are well remembered. But what a change! This bent form and aspect of despair tell a pitiful tale. Time and sorrow have wrought their cruel work. Ten years, and such troubles as hers leave terrible marks behind at her time of life. Wrinkles, grey hairs, and feebleness of body soon reveal themselves. Care makes men and women grow old very fast. We look twice--thrice, at the acquaintance of former years, before we believe our eyes. “Is this Naomi?” That means, where are the husband and the sons? It is no vulgar curiosity that prompts the inquiry. Women who knew Naomi well, and attended her wedding, are there; men, too, who were intimate friends of Elimelech; young men also, who as boys often played with the dead lads Mahlon and Chillon, all eagerly repeat the question to each other as they cluster round the two poor, travel-stained, weeping women. It is a bitter hour. The wounds are opened afresh. For no questions cut so keenly as those which remind us of beloved ones who have passed into the shadow of death. (Wm. Braden.)

The changes of life

I. Here is a returning pilgrim. Home has been but a tent life, and the curtains have been rent by sorrow and death. She tells us the old, old story. Here have we no continuing city. Bethlehem--home! Oh! that strange longing to live through the closing years in the country places where we were born! It is a common instinct.

II. Here is a godly pilgrim. Travel-worn and weary, with sandled feet, she is coming to a city sanctified by the faith of her fathers. “Is this Naomi?” If there is not so much of what the world calls beauty in her face, there is character there, experience there. The young Christian starting on his pilgrimage is cheerful enough. He goes forth full of enterprise and hope. Do not be surprised if in after-years you ask, “Is this Naomi?” How careful, how anxious, how dependent on God alone!

III. Here is an ancestral pilgrim. Ancestor of whom? Turn to Matthew 1:5, and you will find in the genealogy of our Lord the name of Ruth. Do you see in the blue distance One coming from the judgment hall? Do you hear the wild cry of the mob, “Away with Him! away with Him! Crucify Him! crucify Him”? Come near and gaze. Behold the Man! As the reapers asked, “Is this Naomi?” so we ask, “Is this Jesus?” Is this He whose sweet face lay in the manger? Is this He who passed the angels at heaven’s high gate, and came to earth, saying “Lo! I come to do Thy will, O God”? Yes I Bowed, bruised, broken for us. The same Saviour, who now endures the Cross, despising the shame. Well may we wonder and adore!

IV. Here is a provided-for pilgrim. Back to Bethlehem, but how to live? how to find the roof-tree that should shelter again? She knew the Eternal’s name, “Jehovah-jireh,” the Lord will provide. So it ever is. Trust in the Lord and you shall never want any good thing. Believe still in your Saviour, and provided for you will be all weapons of fence, all means of consolation, all prosperity that shall not harm your soul. As the snows hide flowers even in the Alps, so beneath all our separations and sorrows there are still plants of the Lord, peace and hope, and joy and rest, in Him. Blessed indeed shall we be if we can rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (W. M. Statham.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 1:19". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/ruth-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem,.... Went on their way directly till they came to it, without lingering or staying by the way, at least not unnecessarily, and not for any time; and they kept together, though Ruth was a younger woman, and could have gone faster, yet she kept company with her ancient mother, and was no doubt very much edified and instructed by her pious conversation; and it seems that they were alone, only they two; for as they had no camels nor asses to ride on, but were obliged to travel on foot, so they had no servants to wait upon them, and assist them in their journey, such were their mean circumstances:

and it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem; had entered the city, and were seen by some that formerly had known Naomi, or at least to whom she made herself known:

that all the city was moved about them; the news of their arrival was soon spread throughout the place, and the whole city rang of it; so the Septuagint version, "all the city sounded"; it was all the talk every where, it was in everybody's mouth, that Naomi, who had been so long out of the land, and thought to be dead, and it was not expected she would never return again, was now come; and this drew a great concourse of people in a tumultuous manner, as the word signifies, to see her; and as it may denote a corporeal motion of them, so the inward moving and working of their passions about her; some having pity and compassion on her to see such a change in her person and circumstances; others treating her with scorn and contempt, and upbraiding her for leaving her native place, and not content to share the common affliction of her people, intimating that she was rightly treated for going out of the land at such a time into a strange country; and others were glad to see their old neighbour again, who had always behaved well among them; so the Syriac and Arabic versions, "all the city rejoiced"; many no doubt knew her not, and would be asking questions about her, and others answering them, which is commonly the case of a crowd of people on such an occasion:

and they said, is this Naomi? that is, the women of the place said so, for the word is feminine; and perhaps they were chiefly women that gathered about her, and put this question in a way of admiration; is this Naomi that was so beautiful, and used to look so pleasant and comely, and now so wrinkled and sorrowful, who used to dress so well, and now in so mean an habit! that used to be attended with maidens to wait on her, and now alone! for, as Aben Ezra observes, this shows that Elimelech and Naomi were great personages in Bethlehem formerly, people of rank and figure, or otherwise there would not have been such a concourse of people upon her coming, and such inquiries made and questions put, had she been formerly a poor woman.


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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 1:19". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was h moved about them, and they said, [Is] this Naomi?

(h) By which it appears that she was of a great family of good reputation.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ruth-1.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

Such is the surprise whenever a sinner is brought home to Jesus! It excites the wonder and astonishment of man, in beholding the mighty change wrought by sovereign grace. And as we are told that angels rejoice in heaven over the recovery of every poor sinner from the power of sin And Satan to the living God, think, Reader, What a moving of the heavenly city is there above, when Jesus brings home a soul that he hath rescued from Moab, of the wanderers from Bethlehem? Is there anything yet more surprising? Yes! how astonished shall you and I look in upon ourselves, and all around, if God in his infinite mercy, and from the riches of his inexhaustible grace, should bring us home from those regions of sin we now inhabit, to surround the throne of God and the Lamb!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-1.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

Is this — Is this she that formerly lived in so much plenty and honour? How marvelously is her condition changed?


Copyright Statement
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 1:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ruth-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 1:19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, [Is] this Naomi?

Ver. 19. So they two went until they came to Bethlehem.] Thus God never forsaketh his, Will not forsake even if forsaked { Non deserit etiam si deserat.} but when one comfort faileth, findeth them out another; as when Sarah died, Rebekah came in her room. Yea, God himself stood by Paul when all men forsook him. [2 Timothy 4:16]

So they two.] Amicitia sit inter binos, qui sunt veri; et bonos, qui sunt pauci.

And it came to pass.] See on Ruth 1:1

That all the city was moved about them.] Which showeth that Naomi had been of quality and good account among them.

And they said.] The women said; for the word is of the feminine gender. These women afterwards spake very comfortably to her, as now they do compassionately, saying,

Is this Naomi?] Alas! what a change is in her! O quantum haec (Niobe) Naomi, Naomi mutatur ab illa! Fuimus Troes.


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-1.html. 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 279

THE CHANGES MADE BY TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCES

Ruth 1:19. It came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

TO seek the applause of man is wrong: but to merit it, is most desirable. A man of worthless character creates no respect in the minds of others; so that, if ill befall him, he finds but little sympathy in the bosoms of those around him: whereas a good man under misfortune, excites a general commiseration; and every one takes a lively interest in his affairs. This is beautifully exemplified in the history before us. Naomi was certainly a woman of piety, and much esteemed. In a season of dearth she had left her country with her husband and sons; and, after ten years’ absence, she returned in a bereaved and destitute condition, having lost her husband and her two sons, and having no attendant but a daughter-in-law, as poor and destitute as herself. Yet, behold, she no sooner reaches the place of her former abode, than the whole city is moved with her misfortunes, every one feeling for her as for a sister, and with tender concern exclaiming, “Is this Naomi?”

The circumstance here recorded will lead me to shew you,

I. What changes take place in life—

This is altogether a changing scene; every day bringing with it something new, to elevate or depress our minds. Some changes are of a favourable nature, such as the growth of our children in wisdom and stature; the advancement of our friends in wealth and honour; and, above all, the conversion of the gay and dissipated to the knowledge of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. These things sometimes occur so suddenly and beyond our expectation, that we scarcely know how to credit them; and we are ready to ask, with pleasing surprise, Is this Naomi, whom I remember not long since under such different circumstances?

But it is rather of afflictive changes that our text leads us to speak: and we shall notice them,

1. In relation to temporal matters—

[What effects are wrought by disease or accident in the space of only a few days, we all are well aware. The person who but as yesterday was flourishing in health, vigour, beauty, is become enfeebled, emaciated, yea, a mass of deformity, so that you exclaim, with almost incredulous surprise, Is this Naomi? Nor are changes less quickly made in the outward circumstances of men, one day living in affluence and all the splendour of wealth; the next, reduced to penury and shame. The age in which we live has been fruitful in such examples, princes and nobles having taken refuge, and found subsistence from the hands of charity, in our happy isle [Note: During the French Revolution.]; and, since that period, multitudes of our most opulent merchants having fallen from the highest pinnacle of grandeur to insignificance and want. Nor is it uncommon to behold a man, who by his talents has commanded universal admiration, brought, through disorder or through age, to a state of more than infantine fatuity; so that he can be no longer recognised but as a wreck and ruin of the former man.

The circumstances of Naomi lead me to mention yet another change, namely, that of family bereavements. We have seen persons in the full enjoyment of domestic happiness, with children, numerous, healthy, playful, the joy and delight of their parents, by successive strokes brought to a state of widowhood and desolation. Behold the disconsolate widow, “weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not;” and because the husband, who was her stay and her support, is either languishing on a bed of sickness, or wrested from her by resistless death! In a word, see Job encircled with his family, and in the fullest possession of all that the world could give him: Ah! how fallen! how destitute! What a complete picture of human misery, and of the vanity of all sublunary good!]

2. In relation to spiritual concerns—

[The most distressing sight is that of one who once was hopeful as to the concerns of his soul, but has “left off to behave himself wisely,” and launched forth into all manner of dissipation: or, if a more pitiable object can present itself to our view, it is that of one, who, after attaining an eminence in the Christian life, has fallen into a state of wilful and habitual sin, and brought public disgrace upon his holy profession. David will here naturally occur to our minds. Look at him: “Is this David?” the man so abhorrent of evil, that he would not suffer a person who should utter a falsehood to dwell in his sight? Ah! how fallen! how unlike this murderer is to “the sweet singer of Israel,” “the man after God’s own heart!” And Solomon, too; Is this Solomon? that perfection of wisdom, whom all proclaimed as the wisest of the human race, now so infatuated, as to seek his happiness in a number of wives and concubines; and so impious, as both to gratify them, and to unite with them, in the most abominable idolatries [Note: 1 Kings 11:1-10]? Is this Solomon? I say: Who can believe it?

But must we go back to those distant ages for instances of human frailty and depravity? Would to God that they were of such rare occurrence, that none had ever arisen in our own remembrance. But wherever the Gospel is preached, instances will be found of persons who “ran well for a season only,” and who, though they “began in the Spirit, have ended in the flesh.” Look at any such persons now, and see how unlike they are to their former selves! “How is the gold become dim, and the most fine gold changed!”]

But, that we may duly improve these occurrences, let us consider,

II. What feelings the contemplation of them should inspire—

We should not be uninterested spectators of such events: they should excite in us,

1. Sympathy—

[In no case should we exult over fallen greatness. We read, indeed, of the triumphant utterance of joy at the fall of the Babylonish monarch, agreeably to the predictions respecting him [Note: Isaiah 14:4-11. Almost this whole passage should be cited.] — — — And similar exultation was felt at the destruction of Jerusalem; as it is said: “All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth [Note: Lamentations 2:15.]?” But though these gloryings were permitted by God for the punishment of his enemies, they are not recorded for our imitation. We, like our blessed Lord, should weep over the desolations even of our bitterest enemies [Note: Luke 19:41-42.]. We should “bear one another’s burthens, and so fulfil the law of Christ [Note: Galatians 6:2.].” The sight of misery, wheresoever it is found, should call forth our tenderest sympathy, and cause us to “weep with them that weep [Note: Romans 12:15.].” This is particularly suggested by the conduct of the people at Bethlehem: “The whole city was moved” at the sight of this poor widow, whom they had not seen for the space of ten years; and one sentiment of compassion filled all ranks of people, saying, “Is this Naomi?” So let it be with us, whether we be able to relieve the sufferer, or not. The very feeling of compassion will be pleasing to our God; and will assimilate us to that blessed Saviour, who pitied us in our low estate, and “who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be rich [Note: 2 Corinthians 8:9.].”]

2. Contentment—

[In such a changeable world as this, what is there for us to covet? Shall we desire riches? How soon do “they make themselves wings, and fly away [Note: Proverbs 23:5.]!” Shall we affect honour? How soon may our Hosannahs be turned into, “Crucify him, crucify him!” As for pleasure, of whatever land, so vain is it all, that “even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness [Note: Proverbs 14:13.].” Indeed, the whole world, even if we could possess it all, is but “vanity and vexation of spirit.” If we “have wives, our true wisdom is to be as though we had none; if we weep, to be as though we wept not; or, if we rejoice, as though we rejoiced not: if we buy, to be as though we possessed not; and, if we use this world, as not abusing it: because the fashion of this world passeth away [Note: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.].” If changes of the most calamitous nature occur, we should remember, that “nothing has happened to us but what is common to man,” and nothing but what may issue either in our temporal or eternal good. There are not wanting instances of the deepest reverses being themselves reversed: for Job’s prosperity, after his distresses, far exceeded any thing that he had enjoyed in his earlier life [Note: Job 42:10-16.]. Naomi, too, found, in the issue, that she had no reason to “adopt the name of Mara [Note: ver. 20.]:” for her subsequent connexion with Boaz soon dissipated all her sorrows, so that she could “put off her sackcloth and gird her with gladness.” But, if this should not be the case, we may well be satisfied that “tribulation worketh patience, and experience and hope,” and that our light and momentary afflictions work out “for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.].” In the view, then, of all these things, we should “learn, in whatsoever state we are, therewith to be content: we should be equally ready to be abased or to abound, and to be instructed everywhere, and in all things, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need [Note: Philippians 4:11-12.].”]

3. Piety—

[This will never fail us. If we have much, it will sanctify our prosperity, and keep it from injuring our souls. If we have little, it will supply the lack of every thing. View the rich man in all his abundance, and Lazarus in all his destitution. The eye of sense will look with envy on the one that is revelling in plenty: the eye of faith will form a far different estimate, and congratulate the sufferer in the midst of all his distresses. The wealth of this world brings with it many cares and troubles: but “the blessing of God maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow with it [Note: Proverbs 10:22.].” Even whilst the two were here in this world, no doubt the poorer was the happier man. But at the moment of their departure hence, what different feelings would have been expressed, if they had still been subjected to the sight of man! Is this the rich man—now destitute of a drop of water to cool his tongue? Is this Lazarus—now in the bosom of Abraham, at the banquet of the Lord? So, then, shall it ere long be said of you, ye sons and daughters of affliction, if only ye improve your trials for the furtherance of your spiritual welfare. How soon shall all “your tears be wiped away from your eyes!” How soon shall “joy and gladness come forth to meet you; and sorrow and sighing flee away for ever!” “Be patient, then, unto the coming of your Lord:” and you shall soon find, that “the sufferings of this present life were not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us [Note: Romans 8:18.].”]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/ruth-1.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Is this she that formerly lived in so much plenty and honour? Oh how marvellously is her condition changed, that she is returned in this forlorn and desolate condition!


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". 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

So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came about, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the city was moved about them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”

The impression given is that they now proceeded alone (they two went) as they made their way towards Bethlehem. It would not be a pleasant journey for two women on their own. And when they arrived in the small town of Bethlehem word got around that Naomi was coming. Workers in the fields would have seen these two helpless women and had seemingly thought that they recognised Naomi. The result was that when the women entered the town the majority of its inhabitants were showing a deep interest in them, and were indeed asking whether this could possibly be Naomi, who had been away for so long.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

19. They came to Beth-lehem — The journey must have occupied several days. They knew not what awaited them. The future seemed full of darkness and sorrow, and they then little dreamed of the honours that were to crown their memory in the history of the chosen people.

All the city was moved about them — The Beth-lehemites beheld with emotion their grief and loneliness, and heard with sorrow the story of their sad bereavement. Their sad history, we may suppose, was for a time on every lip, and even a matter of interesting conversation among the elders and most honourable of the city. Ruth 2:11-12.

Is this Naomi — As though they had said, Has the once cheerful and pleasant wife of the honoured Elimelech come to this state of sorrow?


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-1.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

That Noemi. This exclamation might proceed either from surprise, or from contempt. (Menochius)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Beth-lehem = House of bread.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ruth-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

All the city was moved about them - the present condition of Naomi, a forlorn and desolate widow, presented so painful a contrast to the flourishing state of prosperity and domestic bliss in which she had been at her departure.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ruth-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(19) They went.—The journey for two women apparently alone was long and toilsome, and not free from danger. Two rivers, Arnon and Jordan, had to be forded or otherwise crossed; and the distance of actual journeying cannot have been less than fifty miles. Thus, weary and travel-stained, they reach Bethlehem, and neighbours, doubtless never looking to see Naomi again, are all astir with excitement. It would seem that though the news of the end of the famine had reached Naomi in Moab, news of her had not reached Bethlehem.

They said . . .—The Bethlehemite women, that is, for the verb is feminine. Grief and toil had doubtless made her look aged and worn.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?
all the city
From this it would appear that Naomi was not only well known, but also highly respected at Beth-lehem: a proof that Elimelech was of high consideration at that place.
Matthew 21:10; Isaiah 23:7; Lamentations 2:15

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 1:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-1.html.

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