Ruth 1

** We find in this book excellent examples of faith, piety,

patience, humility, industry, and loving-kindness, in the common

events of life. Also we see the special care which God's

providence take of our smallest concerns, encouraging us to full

trust therein. We may view this book as a beautiful, because

natural representation of human life; as a curious detail of

important facts; and as a part of the plan of redemption.

* Elimelech and his sons die in the land of Moab. (1-5) Naomi

returns home. (6-14) Orpah stays behind, but Ruth goes with

Naomi. (15-18) They come to Bethlehem. (19-22)

1-5 Elimelech's care to provide for his family, was not to be

blamed; but his removal into the country of Moab could not be

justified. And the removal ended in the wasting of his family.

It is folly to think of escaping that cross, which, being laid

in our way, we ought to take up. Changing our place seldom is

mending it. Those who bring young people into bad acquaintance,

and take them out of the way of public ordinances, thought they

may think them well-principled, and armed against temptation,

know not what will be the end. It does not appear that the women

the sons of Elimelech married, were proselyted to the Jewish

religion. Earthly trials or enjoyments are of short continuance.

Death continually removes those of every age and situation, and

mars all our outward comforts: we cannot too strongly prefer

those advantages which shall last for ever.
6-14 Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of her

two sons. When death comes into a family, it ought to reform

what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may

be made dear. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith and

piety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It is

very proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thus

part in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughters

from going with her, when she might save them from the idolatry

of Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God of

Israel? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they went

with her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Those

that take upon them a profession of religion only to oblige

their friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts of

small value. If they did come with her, she would have them make

it their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count the

cost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession of

religion. And more desire "rest in the house of a husband," or

some wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest to

which Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they will

depart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow.
15-18 See Ruth's resolution, and her good affection to Naomi.

Orpah was loth to part from her; yet she did not love her well

enough to leave Moab for her sake. Thus, many have a value and

affection for Christ, yet come short of salvation by him,

because they will not forsake other things for him. They love

him, yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but

love other things better. Ruth is an example of the grace of

God, inclining the soul to choose the better part. Naomi could

desire no more than the solemn declaration Ruth made. See the

power of resolution; it silences temptation. Those that go in

religious ways without a stedfast mind, stand like a door half

open, which invites a thief; but resolution shuts and bolts the

door, resists the devil and forces him to flee.
19-22 Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem. Afflictions will make

great and surprising changes in a little time. May God, by his

grace, fit us for all such changes, especially the great

change!, Naomi signifies "pleasant," or "amiable;" Mara,

"bitter," or "bitterness." She was now a woman of a sorrowful

spirit. She had come home empty, poor, a widow and childless.

But there is a fulness for believers of which they never can be

emptied; a good part which shall not be taken from those who

have it. The cup of affliction is a "bitter" cup, but she owns

that the affliction came from God. It well becomes us to have

our hearts humbled under humbling providences. It is not

affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does us

good.
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