Chapter 2



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(Ruth 1:1,2)  Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled [1380-1050 B.C.], that there was a famine in the land [a famine of food symbolizing a famine of the Word of God]. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn [lodge] in the country of Moab [a bad (evil) decision], he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech [my God is King], and the name of his wife Naomi [pleasant], and the name of his two sons Mahlon [sickly] and Chilion [pining: failing (wasting away)], Ephrathites [fruitfulness (CONTRAST); another name for Bethlehem] of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.


(Ruth 1:3-5)  And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left [remained], and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah [stiff-necked], and the name of the other Ruth [friendship]: and they dwelled there [in Moab] about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left [remained] of her two sons and her husband.

1.       King James Bible Commentary: The two sons “took them wives of the women of Moab,” probably indicating that they contracted marriages on their own initiative. Nothing in the passage indicates Naomi’s [nor Elimelech’s] involvement in arranging for these marriages. Jewish commentators unanimously view this passage as a silent protest against intermarriage. Although the law did not directly prohibit marriage to a Moabite [as it did to a Canaanite: Deut 7:3], there was a prohibition against admitting Moabites into the congregation of Israel and the offspring of a marriage with a Moabite was not to be admitted to the congregation until the tenth generation (Deut 23:3), indicating the purpose of the ten generations genealogy which closes the book [of Ruth].

2.       (2 Cor 6:14-18)  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship [interaction] hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion [intercourse] hath light with darkness? And what concord [harmony] hath Christ with Belial? or what part [portion] hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement [accord] hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

3.       Commentary: The head of the household, Elimelech (my God is King), died shortly after the family settled in Moab, symbolically indicating the absence of God. Naomi symbolizes the apostasy of Israel during the time of the book of Judges, sliding down ever deeper into the poverty of despair as a result of the disregard of God’s authority and leadership. After Elimelech’s death, Naomi’s two sons who had been born in Israel, Mahlon and Chilion (Heb: sickly and pining – for lack of nourishing food, representing appropriate fruit of the spiritual/physical famine then prevalent in Israel) no longer submitted themselves to the Law. Why not? First, their family had voluntarily come out from under the restraining protective covering of the land of Israel (Mom), and secondly (presumably consequentially), the restraining protective covering of their father (Dad) was involuntarily “taken out of the way” (2 Thes 2:7). Therefore the two sons were uncovered, self-directed and proud, reveling in the nakedness of their sins (skins) before God and brazenly “took them wives of the women of Moab.” However, wives Orpah and Ruth were both Gentiles and unbelievers, and bore no fruit (a dead-end) for their husbands, or for the Lord.

4.       Commentary: Please note that by the loss of her husband (a type of God), the life-style of Naomi (a type of Israel) was greatly diminished both spiritually and physically, and that by the later loss of her two sons, she was much further decreased to the point of destitute poverty in all aspects of her life. This process of Naomi’s progressive loss of coverings may be likened to that of God harvesting the good seed by stripping away, piece by piece, the protective chaff covering (her husband and her two sons) off an ear of corn (wheat) until only the humble seed remains (“left” vv. 3,5), and that seed becomes unreservedly exposed, completely open to God’s direction and influence. God does that to us; He takes us down to the lowest point of our life, stripping us of our internal self-dependence, pride, and our external dependence on anyone or anything other than Him, that we may arise in sincere humility and come to Him, only. “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous [intolerant of unfaithfulness or rivalry], is a jealous God:” (Exo 34:14).


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