וַיְהִי בִּימֵי שְׁפֹט הַשֹּׁפְטִים וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה לָגוּר בִּשְׂדֵי מוֹאָב הוּא 1:1
וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּשְׁנֵי בָנָיו׃
Ruth 1:1 And it was in the days of judging of the judges, that a famine was in the land, and a man
went from Bethlehem of Judah to sojourn in the plains of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
The time of the judges extended over about two hundred to three hundred years after Joshua’s death. The violence, corruption, and lawlessness of that period is contrasted here with an idyllic picture of daily life in Judah. The story of Ruth, simple and short as it is, is assumed to have many historical, spiritual, and political undertones. That may be true, but I believe the compelling reason for its inclusion in the bible is that it provides the genealogy of David at the very end of the last chapter. Because of this, we can assume the book was not written during the period it describes but later, after David’s appearance, although we cannot say how long after.
וְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ אֱלִימֶלֶךְ וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ נָעֳמִי וְשֵׁם שְׁנֵי־בָנָיו מַחְלוֹן וְכִלְיוֹן אֶפְרָתִים מִבֵּית לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה 1:2
וַיָּבֹאוּ שְׂדֵי־מוֹאָב וַיִּהְיוּ־שָׁם׃
Ruth 1:2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife was Naomi, and the
name of his two sons Machlon and Chilion, Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. And they came
to the plains of Moab and remained there.
As I have already mentioned, names in the bible can hold significance and portent. Whether that is true here or not, I cannot say. The name Elimelech can mean my God is King. As the man dies in the next verse, there is little that can be said about the name, other than it may convey an unusual love for the Lord. The name Naomi means my delight. The name Machlon means sick, and this name may have some significance, as we will soon see. The name Chilion means pining, and its significance, if any, must remain a mystery.
וַיָּמָת אֱלִימֶלֶךְ אִישׁ נָעֳמִי וַתִּשָּׁאֵר הִיא וּשְׁנֵי בָנֶיהָ׃ 1:3
Ruth 1:3 Then Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died and she remained, and her two sons.
וַיִּשְׂאוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים מֹאֲבִיּוֹת שֵׁם הָאַחַת עָרְפָּה וְשֵׁם הַשֵּׁנִית רוּת וַיֵּשְׁבוּ שָׁם כְּעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים׃ 1:4
Ruth 1:4 And they took for themselves Moabite wives. The name of one was Orpah, and the name
of the other was Ruth. And they dwelled there about ten years.
The name Orpah means gazelle and Ruth means friendship. We know from Chapter 4 which son married which woman, but Chapter 4 offers us a bit of a surprise. Sons are typically mentioned in the order of their birth and their wives are often named in the same order. However, in Chapter 4 we learn that Machlon married Ruth and Chilion married Orpah.
וַיָּמוּתוּ גַם־שְׁנֵיהֶם מַחְלוֹן וְכִלְיוֹן וַתִּשָּׁאֵר הָאִשָּׁה מִשְּׁנֵי יְלָדֶיהָ וּמֵאִישָׁהּ׃ 1:5
Ruth 1:5 Then both of them, Machlon and Chilion, also died, so the woman survived longer than
her two children or her husband.
וַתָּקָם הִיא וְכַלֹּתֶיהָ וַתָּשָׁב מִשְּׂדֵי מוֹאָב כִּי שָׁמְעָה בִּשְׂדֵה מוֹאָב כִּי־פָקַד יְהוָה אֶת־עַמּוֹ לָתֵת 1:6
Ruth 1:6 Now she arose, with her daughters-in-law, and turned from the plains of Moab, when she
heard in the field of Moab that the Lord had observed His people to provide bread for them.
וַתֵּצֵא מִן־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה־שָׁמָּה וּשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ עִמָּהּ וַתֵּלַכְנָה בַדֶּרֶךְ לָשׁוּב אֶל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה׃ 1:7
Ruth 1:7 So she departed from the place where she had been, with her two daughters-in-law with
her, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ (יַעֲשֶׂה) [יַעַשׂ] יְהוָה עִםָּכֶם חֶסֶד כַּאֲשֶׁר 1:8
עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם־הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי׃
Ruth 1:8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return, each to the house of her mother. May the Lord deal with you as kindly as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
The word in the parentheses, having a heh suffix, may be misspelled. The presumed correction is in the brackets.
יִתֵּן יְהוָה לָכֶם וּמְצֶאןָ מְנוּחָה אִשָּׁה בֵּית אִישָׁהּ וַתִּשַּׁק לָהֶן וַתִּשֶּׂאנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה׃ 1:9
Ruth 1:9 May the Lord grant to you that you may find a resting place, each, a house of her
husband.” And she gave them a kiss, and they raised their voice and wept.
וַתֹּאמַרְנָה־לָּהּ כִּי־אִתָּךְ נָשׁוּב לְעַמֵּךְ׃ 1:10
Ruth 1:10 And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לָמָּה תֵלַכְנָה עִמִּי הַעוֹד־לִי בָנִים בְּמֵעַי וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לַאֲנָשִׁים׃ 1:11
Ruth 1:11 And Naomi said, “Return, my daughters! Why should you come with me? Do I still
have sons in my womb that might be as husbands for you?”
שֹׁבְנָה בְנֹתַי לֵכְןָ כִּי זָקַנְתִּי מִהְיוֹת לְאִישׁ כִּי אָמַרְתִּי יֶשׁ־לִי תִקְוָה גַּם הָיִיתִי הַלַּיְלָה לְאִישׁ וְגַם יָלַדְתִּי 1:12
Ruth 1:12 “Return, my daughters, go! For I am too old to become a man's. If I said there is hope
for me, indeed I became a man's tonight, and even bore sons.”
הֲלָהֵן תְּשַׂבֵּרְנָה עַד אֲשֶׁר יִגְדָּלוּ הֲלָהֵן תֵּעָגֵנָה לְבִלְתִּי הֱיוֹת לְאִישׁ אַל בְּנֹתַי כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם 1:13
כִּי־יָצְאָה בִי יַד־יְהוָה׃
Ruth 1:13 “Would you then wait until the time that they had grown up? Would you shut
yourselves up for this to not be a man's? Do not, my daughters, for I have too much bitterness on
your behalf because the ‘hand’ of the Lord has come forth against me.”
וַתִּשֶּׂנָה קוֹלָן וַתִּבְכֶּינָה עוֹד וַתִּשַּׁק עָרְפָּה לַחֲמוֹתָהּ וְרוּת דָּבְקָה בָּהּ׃ 1:14
Ruth 1:14 So they lifted up their voices and wept again. Then Orpah gave a kiss to her mother-in
-law, but Ruth clung to her.
וַתֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה שָׁבָה יְבִמְתֵּךְ אֶל־עַמָּהּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶיהָ שׁוּבִי אַחֲרֵי יְבִמְתֵּךְ׃ 1:15
Ruth 1:15 Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her gods.
Return after your sister-in-law.”
וַתֹּאמֶר רוּת אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִי לְעָזְבֵךְ לָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרָיִךְ כִּי אֶל־אֲשֶׁר תֵּלְכִי אֵלֵךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁר תָּלִינִי אָלִין 1:16
עַמֵּךְ עַמִּי וֵאלֹהַיִךְ אֱלֹהָי׃
Ruth 1:16 But Ruth said, “Do not plead with me to forsake you, to turn away from following you.
For wherever you may go, I will go, and wherein you may lodge, I will lodge. Your people are my
people, and your God is my God.” [Return to Ruth 4:22]
בַּאֲשֶׁר תָּמוּתִי אָמוּת וְשָׁם אֶקָּבֵר כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה לִי וְכֹה יֹסִיף כִּי הַמָּוֶת יַפְרִיד בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵךְ׃ 1:17
Ruth 1:17 “Wherein you may die, I will die, and there I shall be buried. May the Lord do thus to me and do so even more, but that only death would cause separation between me and you.”
וַתֵּרֶא כִּי־מִתְאַמֶּצֶת הִיא לָלֶכֶת אִתָּהּ וַתֶּחְדַּל לְדַבֵּר אֵלֶיהָ׃ 1:18
Ruth 1:18 When she realized how adamant she was to go with her, then she gave up speaking to
וַתֵּלַכְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶם עַד־בֹּאָנָה בֵּית לָחֶם וַיְהִי כְּבֹאָנָה בֵּית לֶחֶם וַתֵּהֹם כָּל־הָעִיר עֲלֵיהֶן וַתֹּאמַרְנָה 1:19
Ruth 1:19 And the two of them proceeded until they entered Bethlehem, and it happened as they
entered Bethlehem, that the entire city was astir over them, and they said, “Is this Naomi?”
וַתֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶן אַל־תִּקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי קְרֶאןָ לִי מָרָא כִּי־הֵמַר שַׁדַּי לִי מְאֹד׃ 1:20
Ruth 1:20 And she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Marah, for how very bitter the
Almighty has been to me.”
The name Marah means bitterness. By the way, the name should be spelled with a heh at the end of it.
אֲנִי מְלֵאָה הָלַכְתִּי וְרֵיקָם הֱשִׁיבַנִי יְהוָה לָמָּה תִקְרֶאנָה לִי נָעֳמִי וַיהוָה עָנָה בִי וְשַׁדַּי הֵרַע לִי׃ 1:21
Ruth 1:21 “I left full but the Lord has returned me empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has done harm to me?”
A faint echo of some of the words of Job? Could that be the reason the Song of Songs was placed between Job and Ruth?
וַתָּשָׁב נָעֳמִי וְרוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה כַלָּתָהּ עִמָּהּ הַשָּׁבָה מִשְּׂדֵי מוֹאָב וְהֵמָּה בָּאוּ בֵּית לֶחֶם בִּתְחִלַּת קְצִיר 1:22
Ruth 1:22 Thus Naomi returned, and Ruth, the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who
returned from the plains of Moab. And they entered Bethlehem at the beginning of the harvesting
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