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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ruth 1:22

 

 

So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Adam Clarke Commentary

In the beginning of barley harvest - This was in the beginning of spring, for the barley harvest began immediately after the passover, and that feast was held on the 15th of the month Nisan, which corresponds nearly with our March.

The Targum says, "They came to Beth-lehem on that day in which the children of Israel began to mow the sheaf of barley which was to be waved before the Lord." This circumstance is the more distinctly marked, because of Ruth's gleaning, mentioned in the succeeding chapter.

1. The native, the amiable simplicity, in which the story of the preceding chapter is told, is a proof of its genuineness. There are several sympathetic circumstances recorded here which no forger could have invented. There is too much of nature to admit any thing of art.

2. On the marriage of Orpah and Ruth, and the wish of Naomi that they might find rest in the house of their husbands, there are some pious and sensible observations in Mr. Ness's History and Mystery of the Book of Ruth, from which I shall lay the following extract before my readers: -

"A married estate is a state of rest; so it is called here, and in Rth 3:1. Hence marriage is called portus juventutis, the port or haven of young people; whose affections, while unmarried, are continually floating or tossed to and fro, like a ship upon the waters, till they come into this happy harbour. There is a natural propension in most persons towards nuptial communion, as all created beings have a natural tendency towards their proper center, (leve sursum, et grave deorsum), and are restless out of it, so the rabbins say, Requiret vir costam suam, et requiret femina sedem suam, 'The man is restless while he misses his rib that was taken out of his side; and the woman is restless till she get under the man's arm, from whence she was taken.' O! look up to God then, ye unmarried ones, and cry with good Naomi, The Lord grant me rest for my roving affections in the house of some good consort, that I may live in peace and plenty, with content and comfort all my days. Know that your marriage is, of all your civil affairs, of the greatest importance, having an influence upon your whole life. It is either your making or marring in this world; 'tis like a stratagem in war, wherein a miscarriage cannot be recalled when we will, for we marry for life. I am thine, and thou art mine, brevis quidem cantiuncula est, 'is a short song;' sed longum habet epiphonema, 'but it hath a long undersong.' So an error here is irrecoverable; you have need of Argus's hundred eyes to look withal before you leap."

This is good advice; but who among the persons concerned will have grace enough to take it?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ruth-1.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Ruth 1:22

So Naomi returned, and Ruth.

The young convert

Little was Naomi aware of the treasure she was bringing to Israel or of the honour which was in store for Ruth. She says, “The Lord hath brought me back empty.” And it was so, so far as she was herself concerned. But the Lord had brought back with her one whom all generations should call blessed; one who was to be a mother of the promised Messiah, the anointed Saviour of Israel. We are now to contemplate her admission to Israel. The young convert’s entrance among the people of God. We cannot enter upon such a view without stopping for a moment to think of the happiness of Naomi in such a companion. How great was the privilege to her to bring back with her own return so precious a soul to the Lord of hosts! What an unspeakable joy it is to a Christian parent to be attended by his children in the heavenly path! “So they two went together until they came to Bethlehem.” I cannot conceive a greater blessing in social life than when we can say this of father and son, of mother and daughter. This is a bond which must long outlast every other one; and a treasure of enjoyment which must remain when every other one has failed. How such companionship in religion relieves the sorrows of the road! How it multiplies the joys of the way ! The mother and the daughter take sweet counsel together on their journey. Naomi has much to tell, Ruth has much to ask, in reference to the new home to which they are returning together. Their mutual prayers and encouragements are full of advantage. The blending of the varied experience of the two becomes helpful to both. The despondency of age is animated by the joyful anticipations of youth. The effervescence of youth is moderated by the experience and soberness of age. “So they went together.” Unity of feeling, unity of interest, unity of hope, bind them together. They have fellowship one with another. But while Ruth took sweet counsel with Naomi her thoughts and feelings were still in a great degree peculiar to herself and completely her own. To her every prospect is hopeful, and her imagination loves to stray through all the anticipations which are presented to her youthful mind. The young Christian truly living and walking in Christ rejoices in the hopes which a Saviour gives; is encouraged, ardent, and delighted in looking forward over the way in which the great Captain of salvation is leading the sons of God. “I see no trials or sorrows in it.” Thus would Ruth have said. She could have no feeling but unmingled pleasure in the prospect of the journey she had undertaken. Delightful encouragements arise in her mind which overwhelm all possible regrets or fears. How many hopes and plans cluster around Bethlehem and Judah! She knows not what the Lord has prepared for her. It has not entered into her youthful heart to conceive the actual blessings which are laid up in store for her there. But she knows that all must be well and happy for her under the shadow of His wings in whom she has come to put her trust. Nothing is in your way. You may do all things through Christ that strengtheneth you, and be made more than conquerors in Him. She comes with a deep sense of her own unworthiness. But this is silenced by her conscious desire and choice. The young convert knows and feels his guilt. But he needs not, and does not, stop to sit clown under the mere dominion of grief for the past. He has his new work to do. He must press forward in it. And the cloud will pass away and leave him in the sunshine of his Saviour’s love, to finish and perfect it. But the perseverance of Ruth furnishes us with another most important example. “They went together until they came to Bethlehem.” There is no fact which gives the Church more peculiar joy in the coming of young converts to Christ than their habitual perseverance. They are the ones who “hold fast the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end.” The most fruitful, faithful Christians are habitually those who begin the earliest. The time of Ruth’s arrival at Bethlehem was most significant.” They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” The barley harvest of Palestine was in the early spring. The barley was sown after the autumnal rains, in the month of October, and the harvest was in the month of April. It was a time of special joy, the first spring-gathering of their annual fruits. The harvest is always employed as an illustration of satisfaction and joy. “They joy before Thee, according to the joy of harvest.” And is it not always a scene of rejoicing when the sinner returns? The harvest was a time of opening abundance. No wants or poverty were pressing now. There is thus bread enough and to spare in the Saviour’s house. And when the sinner finds a shelter there he finds all his needs supplied. His soul has abundance of all things which it desireth. No more encouraging time could there have been for Ruth’s first acquaintance with Israel. Every aspect of the land was promising and prosperous. The sight of plenty crowned every prospect. And she sees her new home clothed with every attraction. Is it not always so when we first come to the feet of Jesus and find our peace and acceptance there? Now we seem to live for the first time. There is reality, happiness, satisfaction here. We have found Him whom our soul loveth, and we have found everything we want in Him. The barley harvest was the time of the Passover. Thus this young convert from the Gentiles comes as the first-fruits of a Gentile harvest to be gathered, and is welcomed with Israel as a partaker of the paschal feast. Happy are we in welcoming our youthful friends giving evidence of their new birth for God and their living faith in Jesus to the table of the Lord. Happy is the house the first-fruits of which are thus consecrated and sanctified to be the Lord’s for ever. (S. H. Tyng, D. D.)
.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Ruth 1:22". 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 Naomi returned,.... Aben, Ezra thinks this is to be understood of her returning at another time; but it is only an observation of the writer of this history, to excite the attention of the reader to this remarkable event, and particularly to what follows:

and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter in law with her, which returned out of the country of Moab; to Bethlehem, the birth place of the Messiah, and who was to spring from her a Gentile; and which, that it might be the more carefully remarked, she is called a Moabitess, and said to return out of the country of Moab:

and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest; which began on the second day of the feast of unleavened bread, on the "sixteenth" of Nisan, which answers to our March, and part of April, when they offered the sheaf of the firstfruits to the Lord, and then, and not till then, might they begin their harvest; see Gill on Leviticus 23:10; see Gill on Leviticus 23:14, hence the Targum here is,"they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the day of the passover, and on that day the children of Israel began to reap the wave sheaf, which was of barley.'So the Egyptians and Phoenicians, near neighbours of the Jews, went about cutting down their barley as soon as the cuckoo was heard, which was the same time of the year; hence the comedianF14Aristoph. in Avibus, p. 565. calls that bird the king of Egypt and Phoenicia. This circumstance is observed for the sake of the following account in the next chapter.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ruth-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of i barley harvest.

(i) Which was in the month of Nisan, that is, part March and part April.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/ruth-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in the beginning of barley harvest — corresponding to the end of our March.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/ruth-1.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

All souls, both Jew and Gentile, when brought home to the Lord, will always find it a harvest-day whenever they return. This day (saith Jesus to Zacchaeus, in the day of his conversion) is salvation come to this house. Luke 19:9. Oh! precious day, when the Lord makes the sinner willing in the day of his power. Psalms 110:3.

REFLECTIONS

PAUSE, my soul, in the review of what is written in this Chapter, and see what reference it bears to thy spiritual state And circumstances. Is there not, by nature, a famine induced in the land to all the fathers race of Adam, when, before the soul is quickened to the use of any of its spiritual faculties, it neither feels the sense of its lost and famished state, nor hath any spiritual appetite to the bread of life, which came down from heaven? And hast not thou, my soul, like Elimelech and all his household, left the land of bread to seek among the husks of the world the gratification of thy sensual appetite?

Oh! thou merciful Lord God, how gracious hast thou been to my soul, when hedging up my way, and inducing disappointment and afflictions in the creature, thou hast again inclined my heart to return to the Lord God of my salvation! Oh! how gracious hath it been in thee, Lord, to visit thy people again with spiritual sustenance, when by sin and disobedience we had called forth a dearth of such rich provisions! Shall I not hasten back to my Father's house, convinced, as I am, that the world, like Moab, affords no resting place to dwell in. Shall any persuasions of others, or fears of my own, keep me from this purpose? Dearest Jesus! to whom shall I go but to thee, thou art both the bread of life, and thou only hast the words of eternal life; thou art the very Bethlehem of thy people, and in thee I shall find enough to live upon forever! Like Ruth, may it be my most determined resolution, to go where thou goest, and to know nothing among men but thee. I would forget my own people, and my father's house, and both in life and in death, desire none in comparison of thee. And though my flesh and my heart faileth, yet thou art and wilt be the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/ruth-1.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Ver. 22. So Naomi returned, &c.] So Jews and Gentiles walk to heaven together.

In the beginning of barley harvest.] In the beginning of the passover, saith the Chaldee Paraphrast, taking the fittest opportunity both for soul and body.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ruth-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ruth 1:22. They came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley-harvest The Chaldee paraphrast thus explains these words: "They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the passover, on the day that the children of Israel began to mow the sheaf which was to be waved, which was of barley." See Leviticus 23:10-11.

REFLECTIONS.—On now they travelled, and sweetly, no doubt, beguiled the tedious way in such discourse as might confirm Ruth's holy purpose, and comfort them together, in hope of God's blessing upon them. On their arrival at Beth-lehem notice is taken,

1. Of the reception they met with. Collecting together on the rumour of her return, the women, who remembered her former beauty and affluence, and now beheld her wrinkles and poverty, some perhaps in pity, some in scorn and upbraiding, and some in surprise, said, Is this Naomi? Note; (1.) Age and wrinkles make strange alterations in the fairest face. It is a silly thing to be vain of what is so fading. (2.) They who have any feelings of humanity, and much more those who have the bowels of Christ, will seek compassionately to alleviate the sorrows of the miserable. (3.) They, who have carried themselves most humbly in prosperity, will be most regarded in adversity.

2. Her name reminded her of her former condition; she wishes, therefore, for one more befitting her circumstances: Call me Mara, bitterness. She went out full of earthly comforts, with husband and children; but now returns a childless widow: yet, not murmuring at the afflictive providence, she sees and acknowledges God's hand, receives the correction, and submits to his will, as holy, just, and good. Note; (1.) It is a blessed sign of a soul devoted to God, when, in humbling providences, the spirit is brought down to the condition. (2.) Though, under affliction, God permits us to complain, he forbids us to murmur. (3.) When God afflicts us, it is not only no more than we deserve, but he knows it is what we need; and therefore whom he loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

3. The harvest was just begun, Providence so ordering it for the sake of the events which were to follow. Note; The most minute circumstances of our lives are directed by an over-ruling wisdom.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ruth-1.html. 1801-1803.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab, and they came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of the barley harvest.’

Naomi had, with her husband, deserted from within the sphere of the covenant, because there had been famine in the land, But now when she returned it was to discover a plentiful barley harvest, while she herself was empty. No wonder that in the bitterness of the experience she wanted to change her name. But what she did not as yet realise was the treasure that she had brought with her, Ruth the Moabitess from whose descendants would be born Israel’s greatest king, (and whose even greater ‘son’ would be the Saviour of the world).

“Ruth the Moabitess.” This is the first time that this description has been applied to Ruth and it will occur fairly regularly from now on (Ruth 2:2; Ruth 2:21; Ruth 4:5; Ruth 4:10. Compare also Ruth 2:6; Ruth 2:11). The author is stressing her Moabite ancestry in spite of the fact that she had become a part of an Israelite family and a Yahwist. This suggests that one of his aims is to bring out how such a foreigner who converts to YHWH can find acceptance in the covenant community to such an extent that YHWH will use her to produce Israel’s great king, David.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/ruth-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

22. The beginning of barley harvest — April is the month in which the barley harvest is chiefly gathered in, although it begins earlier in some parts of Palestine and later in others. The mention of the harvest at the time of Naomi’s return contrasts suggestively with the notice of the famine which was the occasion of her emigration.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ruth-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

E. Hope for the future1:22

This summary sentence not only concludes chapter1but also prepares the reader for the remaining scenes of the story. Naomi had left Bethlehem pleasant (Heb. na"em) but returned bitter ( Ruth 1:20). She had left with Elimelech, one source of blessing in her life, but returned with Ruth , who would become another source of blessing for her. She had left during a famine, but she returned to Bethlehem (lit. house of bread, the place of blessing) at the beginning of harvest. This is probably a reference to the barley harvest, which began the harvest season in Israel. [Note: Keil and Delitzsch, p476.]

Throughout the book the writer frequently referred to Ruth as "Ruth the Moabitess" ( Ruth 1:22; Ruth 2:2; Ruth 2:6; Ruth 2:21; Ruth 4:5; Ruth 4:10). This is one way in which he drew attention to the fact that God used even a non-Israelite, from an enemy nation, to bring blessing to Israel. The key to her being this source of blessing emerges in the first chapter. It was her faith in Yahweh and her commitment to His people. Throughout human history this has always been the key to God using people as His channels of blessing. It is not their origins or backgrounds but their faith in and commitment to Yahweh and others that make them usable.

Warren Wiersbe saw three common mistakes that people make in this chapter: trying to run from our problems ( Ruth 1:1-5), trying to hide our mistakes ( Ruth 1:6-18), and blaming God for our trials ( Ruth 1:19-22). [Note: Wiersbe, p182.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ruth-1.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Harvest. About the month of Nisan, or our March (Calmet) and April. (Menochius)


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ruth-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the Moabitess. So called five times. In Deuteronomy 23:3, it is masculine, and does not affect Ruth.

barley harvest. Therefore at the Passover.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "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 Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

In the beginning of barley harvest - corresponding to the end of our April.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "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

(22) Barley-harvest.—God had restored plenty to His people, and the wayfarers thus arrive to witness and receive their share of the blessing. The barley harvest was the earliest (Exodus 9:31-32), and would ordinarily fall about the end of April.

II.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ruth-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
in the beginning
At the beginning of Spring; for the barley harvest began immediately after the passover, and that festival was held on the 15th of Nisan, corresponding nearly with our March.
2:23; Exodus 9:31,32; 2 Samuel 21:9

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ruth-1.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—Which returned out of the country [territories or fields] of Moab. The description by which Ruth was commonly designated [cf. Rth ]. (Speaker's Com.). As the same expression occurs at Rth 4:3, in connexion with Naomi, it may be supposed that it became customary to speak of Naomi and Ruth as "the returned from Moab," or, as we should say popularly, "the returned Moabites" (Lange). Here the phrase applies to Ruth, as at Rth 2:6, but in Rth 4:3 to Naomi (Keil). Dr. Cassel translates, "And so Naomi was returned home, and Ruth, the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her [who accompanied her] after [or on] her departure from the fields of Moab." And she desired to return with her [that is, with Naomi] with the whole heart; and they came from the land of Moab, etc. (Syr.). The Douay, following the Vulgate, trans., "So Naomi came with Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, from the land of her sojourning" [from the land of her pilgrimage (Wyeliffe)]. Aben Ezra thinks this to be understood of her returning at another time (Gill). In the beginning of barley harvest. The harvest as a whole commenced with the barley harvest (Keil). The beginning of spring, for the barley harvest began immediately after the passover, and that feast was held on the 15th of the month Nisan. which corresponded with our March (A. Clarke). They came to Bethlehem on that day in which the children of Israel began to mow the sheaf of barley which was to be waved before the Lord (Targum). The firstfruits of the barley harvest were. as we know, presented at the passover, before which it was not lawful to begin the harvest (Kitto). In the next chapter (Rth 2:23) it is related that Ruth gleaned "until the end of barley and of wheat harvest." This book was therefore appointed by the ancient Hebrew Church to be read in the synagogues at the feast of weeks or Pentecost, when the wheat harvest began (Wordsworth) [cf. Intro., p. 1, par. 2]. They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of the barley harvest. Opens the way for the further course of the history (Keil). Explains the narrative in the next chapter. Keil questions whether the Bethlehem mentioned in connexion with Ibzan in Jud 12:8-10 is the Bethlehem of the text, as Josephus affirms.

Rth

Theme.—THE WANDERER HOME AGAIN

"I still had hopes, my long vexations past,

Here to return, and die at home at last."—Goldsmith.

"We leave

Our home in youth—no matter to what end—

Study, or strife, or pleasure, or what not;

And coming back in few short years, we find

All as we left it outside: …

But lift that latehet,—all is changed as doom."—Bailey.

So Naomi returned … and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of the barley harvest.

This first chapter of the book of Ruth is in itself a perfect poem, as well as an epitome of human life and a parable of the soul's pilgrimage. The theme is that of "the wanderers." It has its prologue in the famine, and its epilogue in the return. Blow follows blow until the catastrophe is complete in the death of all who left the land of promise, save one. Then out of the dark night of sorrow hope is born and the return begins. Love lights up the picture, a love surpassing the ordinary and usual love of woman, and the chastened spirit bows at last, not to fate, but God. It is a poem complete in itself, rich with contrasting lights and shadows, and as Goethe has well said, "the loveliest thing in the shape of an epic or idyl which has come to us." Penned by inspiration, it has no equal and no second.

See here then, in conclusion,

I. The wanderer home again. The most friendless of human beings has a country which he admires and extols (Sydney Smith). The greatest wanderer, some place dear above all else which he thinks of as home. Even the prodigal, sitting in the far country among the swine, remembers he has a "father's house," and turns longingly towards it. So with Naomi. [For the return, see on Rth , pp. 32-36, and on Rth 1:19; Rth 1:21.] Note. (a) The home ties the strongest, the home claims the most binding in human life. True friendship as well as true religion centres there. Bethlehem was Naomi's proper place, and the whole scope of the narrative is to show that in leaving it she had gone out of the way of God's providences, as well as of His ordinances. (b) Christian love begins its work at home. Christian manhood shows its best there, and the circle of genial influence spreads and widens from that centre.

II. Home again in a fortunate way. Led of God; for she recognizes that the Lord had brought her home again (Rth ). Naomi's extremity was God's opportunity. So with David (1 Samuel 23). The statement of the text made in order to intimate that the help of God did not tarry long (Lange). Note. (a) When God leads, it is not ours to linger. Beware of by-paths and idle goings, keep straight on (Bernard). These came from Moab to Bethlehem; they had no idle vagaries that we read of. Old Naomi desired to see her country, and young Ruth was not wantonly disposed, but constantly kept her company (Bernard). (b) They arrive safely, whom God conducts. He neither slumbereth nor sleepeth. He led Israel through the wilderness for forty years, and landed them safely in Canaan at last. So always in lawful journeys, so especially in the heavenward one. Only let us see to it that we are of the same mind as Moses, "If Thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence" (Exo 33:15), and all our journeyings must come to a prosperous issue.

III. Home again at a fortunate time. At the time of the barley harvest (see Crit. and Exeget. Notes). When there was at least gleaning to yield them sustenance, and the summer before them. In the beginning of the passover, saith the Chaldee Paraphrast, taking the fittest opportunity both for soul and body (Trapp). Here we see the providence of God, in ordering and disposing the journey of Naomi, to end it in the most convenient time. Had she come before harvest, she would have been straitened for means to maintain herself; if after harvest, Ruth had lost all those occasions which paved the way to her future advancement. God therefore, who ordered her going, concludes her journey in the beginning of harvest (Fuller). Note. There is a fulness and fitness of time for every event (Macgowan). The redemption from Egypt; the coming of Shiloh when the sceptre was departing from Judah; the soul's conversion; deliverance from affliction, etc. (ibid). God's time is always the best time.

IMPROVEMENT.—(a) When the heart is truly repentant, past error and sin, the humiliating experiences which have left their scars upon our inmost souls, may become to us blessed monitors urging us onward in the path that God has appointed. (b) Like the wounded hart, the bruised and troubled spirit turns homeward in its last extremity, if perchance it be only to die there.

"Tender and dear memories cluster around many a spot: none so sacred, so hallowed as this; for once again she is standing in the place consecrated by a thousand memories of the sacred dead. Returns like these ought to be significant of rest and privileges restored, as well as of new consecration to God; and this, although the past has been a barren past of worldly compromise and spiritual deadness."—B.

"There is a latter as well as a former rain in spiritual things; covenant mercies to be manifested in our declining years, as well as in the days when the kingdom of heaven was but newly entered. Our youth may have been given in part to folly, the more reason that old age should be consecrated unmistakably to God. And perhaps we, like Naomi, shall best find the Protector of our declining years in the Bethlehems of our youth.… Understand the meaning of this place to Naomi. No dreamy haze of mysticism rests upon it, no unreal sanctity. It is a place where the heart writes bitter things against itself, where the icy fountains of the great deep within break up, a place where the past seems a failure, and the future hopeless; and yet for all this it is a place where the winter time of the soul is ending, and the new summer life of prosperity begins to dawn."—B.

"The wandering of men from the perfect Home has brought with it degradation and scourging. Their return will be to find a Divine birthright restored in Christ."—Pulsford.

"Woe for my vine-clad home,

That it should ever be so dark to me,

With its bright threshold and its whispering tree,

That I should ever come,

Fearing the lonely echo of a tread

Beneath the roof-tree of my glorious dead!"

N. P. Willis.

"Perhaps this world of sorrows presents no sadder picture than that here brought before us—the return of a childless widow to the spot she had left a happy wife and mother."—Macartney.

"Thou needest not, then, sit down in weariness and hopelessness, whatever of earlier years thou hast lost, whatever grace thou hast forfeited; though thou hast been in a far country, far away in affections from him who loved thee; and wasting on his creatures,—nay, sacrificing on idol altars, with strange fire, the gifts which God gave thee that thou mightest be precious in His own sight."—Pusey.

"Landed property in Palestine is of very little value, except the possessor has the means of cultivating it; and as it was under the Jewish law unalienable, strangers could not purchase it. A landed proprietor might thus be reduced to beggary, and in times of general distress might long remain so. Such seems to have been the case with the family of Elimelech, and they were therefore forced to remain in Moab. Even upon the return of Naomi and Ruth, though the family property was still theirs, they were completely destitute. Their property was valueless, because they did not possess the means of cultivating it. This will serve to explain the peculiar position of Naomi and Ruth on their arrival in Bethlehem."—Kitto.

"Many a Swiss has sunk a martyr to his longing after home. The malady is commonly brought on by hearing the celebrated national air of the ‘Ranz des Vaches,' sung at an unexpected moment, or when under the influence of dejected feelings. Overcome with the recollections which it awakens, he sheds tears; and is only to be consoled by the prospects of immediately returning to that home, his exile from which he deplores. If unable to accomplish this wish of his heart, he sinks into a profound melancholy, which' not unfrequently terminates in disease and death."—Percy.

"It was the custom, and still may be, at the coronation of our sovereigns, that every peer of the realm should come forward, and placing his hand upon the crown, swear that he would maintain due allegiance to it in his own realm and upon his own estate. So true hearts give themselves to God—in that which is truly theirs, at least, He shall reign supreme."—B.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Ruth 1:22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/ruth-1.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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