The Book of Ruth, Part 3: Insistent Devotion

In this episode we explore a difference in Orpah and Ruth, learning a key point that may have inspired Ruth to accompany Naomi at all costs.

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Ruth 1:7 (NET) Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your motherʼs home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me.For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”
Ruth 1:14 Again they wept loudly. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. 15 So Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!” 16 But Ruth replied, “Stop urging me to abandon you! For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I do not keep my promise! Only death will be able to separate me from you!”

The Book of Ruth, Part 2: The Levirate Marriage

In this episode we continue our study in the fascinating book of Ruth, learning a bit more of the back story and some of the motivation of why Orpah and Ruth might have wanted to accompany Naomi back to Bethlehem.

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Today’s scriptures are:

Ruth 1:7 (NET) Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your motherʼs home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again.Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me.For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”Deuteronomy 25:5 (NET) If brothers live together and one of them dies without having a son, the dead manʼs wife must not remarry someone outside the family. Instead, her late husbandʼs brother must go to her, marry her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 6 Then the first son she bears will continue the name of the dead brother, thus preventing his name from being blotted out of Israel. 7 But if the man does not want to marry his brotherʼs widow, then she must go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husbandʼs brother refuses to preserve his brotherʼs name in Israel; he is unwilling to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to me!” 8 Then the elders of his city must summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying, “I donʼt want to marry her,” 9 then his sister-in-law must approach him in view of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. She will then respond, “Thus may it be done to any man who does not maintain his brotherʼs family line!” 10 His family name will be referred to in Israel as “the family of the one whose sandal was removed.”

The Book of Ruth, Part 1: Background and Introduction

The book of Ruth is a fascinating book of the Bible that contains many facets worth exploring. Over the next several weeks we’re going to do just that. Today we’ll spend a bit of time setting the stage for the rest of the story though.

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Today’s verses are:Ruth 1:1 (NET) 1 During the time of the judges there was a famine in the land of Judah. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner in the region of Moab, along with his wife and two sons. 2 (Now the manʼs name was Elimelech, his wife was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were of the clan of Ephrath from Bethlehem in Judah.) They entered the region of Moab and settled there. 3 Sometime later Naomiʼs husband Elimelech died, so she and her two sons were left alone. 4 So her sons married Moabite women. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.) And they continued to live there about ten years. 5 Then Naomiʼs two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. So the woman was left all alone – bereaved of her two children as well as her husband! 6 So she decided to return home from the region of Moab, accompanied by her daughters-in-law, because while she was living in Moab she had heard that the Lord had shown concern for his people, reversing the famine by providing abundant crops.

Deuteronomy 23:3 (NET) An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so, 4 for they did not meet you with food and water on the way as you came from Egypt, and furthermore, they hired Balaam son of Beor of Pethor in Aram Naharaim to curse you.