Ruth Chapter One – Time of Apostasy



Book of Ruth Chapter One – Time of

Now it came to pass in the
days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain
man of Bethlehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his
wife, and his two sons.

 In this first text, we find time,
structure and status.  History places the
time of the Judges to have been from 1254 – 1104 BC (TIME).  Israel’s structure during this time was, the
Judges ruled Israel, as regent’s for God, and Jehovah was their King.  The status of this relationship, between
Israel and God is made evident by comparing the situation in the land to Deuteronomy
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe
to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that
all these
shall come upon thee
, and overtake thee:  16 Cursed shalt thou be in the
city, and cursed shalt thou be
in the field.  17 Cursed shall be thy basket
and thy store.

17 And then the Lord‘s wrath be kindled against
you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield
not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord
giveth you.

since the text clearly states, that there was famine in the land, we can infer
a time of apostasy against God.  A time
when the established relationship between God and His people had been
compromised, and a severance from the Covenant between the Master and His
children, leading to the misfortunes that befell upon Israel.

2 And the name of the man was Elimelech,
and the name of his wife
Naomi, and the name of his two
sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites (Judeans) of Bethlehemjudah (Bethlehem of
Judah). And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

Note:  In this text, we find the status of Elimelech
and Naomi, toward Jehovah.  It is clearly
expressed in the
Deuteronomy 29:28 28 And the Lord rooted them out of
their land
in anger, and in
wrath, and in great indignation, and
cast them into another land, as it is this day. 

Here we see that
Elimelech and Naomi are in great rebellion, and
mistrust, against God, enough to cause them to leave Bethlehem of Judea,
and relocate in the Pagan province of Moab. 
Their state of enmity against the Elohim went so deep that it affected
the future choices they made, and created a self-inflicted curse upon Elimelech
and Naomi, and later their children.

3 And Elimelech Naomi’s
husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

Elimelech, who knowingly
placed himself in harm’s way, by rejecting the security of God’s commandments
and statutes, finally confronts the consequences of sin, he dies.  
Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the
gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

4 And they took them wives of
the women of Moab; the name of the one was 
Orpah (Turned Back-Back of Neck), and the name of the other Ruth (Compassion for the Misery of another): and they dwelled
there about
ten years.

5 And Mahlon (destruction) and Chilion (sickness) died also both of them; and
the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

Note:  These texts clearly show how the poor
decisions of Elimelech and Naomi would eventually have an influence on their
children.  Mahlon (married Ruth) and
Chilion (married Orpha) would continue the enmity against God, by marrying two
pagan women of Moab.  The belief system
of these pagans would further cause a division between Naomi, Mahlon, Chilion
and the
Great I am.  The fault for this transgression against God
lies not with the ignorant Moabite women, but rather with the
compromising Judeans,
particularly Naomi for allowing compromise in her home.  Since Naomi and her sons resolved in Moab for
10 years, there were at least 30 mandatory events that her sons intentionally
missed, ones which they were required to partake of in Shiloh (An act of Omission). 
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of
the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to
go after other gods to serve them.
  Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy
males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the
feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of
tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Naomi was guilty for
allowing paganism in her home, and her sons were guilty of knowingly bringing
it in.  Additionally, both were guilty of
not adhering (omission) to the Commandments or Statutes that the Lord had
created.  This animosity against the
Almighty, increased the curse against them, and there were consequences to be felt.
Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally
yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
The children of Israel were warned not to take as wives, the women of
the Gentiles, and that such unions would lead the men of Israel into
Deuteronomy 28:36 36 The Lord shall
bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which
neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods,
wood and stone.
  Here we
find Children of Israel, of the tribe of Judah, who have forsaken their King, residing
in a foreign land, Moab.  Here we find
them compromising their faith, and rejecting the warnings that God gave them,
to preserve them.  Therefore, we find
willing participants who place themselves under the governance of another
(SATAN), which leads them to worship pagan gods.  Mahlon and Chilion would also face the
consequences of their treason, they would die young, and leave their wives
without children.  This would leave Naomi
without an inheritance. 
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of
thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

6 Then she (Naomi) arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the
country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had
visited his people in giving them bread.

Note:  This text shows a change in the relationship
between God and the Children of Israel, for now we find an end to the curse of
famine.  Therefore, we find and can infer
that there had been a revival in the land. 
Deuteronomy 28:9 The Lord shall
establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou
shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in
his ways.
Judeans had become aware of the consequences of their decisions and returned to
the Covenant, and the Lord forgave their transgressions, and reestablished
them.  Just as He (Christ) reestablishes
His children today.

7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was,
and her two daughters
in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto
the land of Judah.

Note:  Here, Naomi (Pleasantness) realizes that she has nothing.  She has no inheritance, for she has no male
husband, or male heir, because her husband and two sons were dead, and left no
male children.  She understands that to
remain in Moab was to become an untouchable.  Her choices had led her to the consequences,
and she is left wanting.  She decides to
return to Bethlehem of Judea, since things have gotten better there, and the
same law which her and her family had rejected, could be the source of her
Leviticus 23:22
And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not
make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither
shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the
and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 28:29 29 And the Levite, (because he hath no
part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the
widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and
be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of
thine hand which thou doest.

So what is the motivation
of Naomi in returning to
Bethlehem (Bread Basket),
is it because of repentance, or self-preservation?  She is willing to
use the law that God had created to protect her, as a means of having
others preserve her. She places the her responsibility on others.  What type of love is this, Filos, Eros, Agape
or Hedonism?  Remember, later Naomi
changes her name to
Mara, which means
bitterness.  Which of these types of love
could bitterness best reflect?  Naomi,
once again lacks bread, first in Judea, now in Moab. 

8 And Naomi said unto her two
daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly
with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

9 The LORD grant you that ye
may find rest, each of
 in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and
they lifted up their voice, and wept.

10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee
unto thy people.

Note:  These texts clearly show that Naomi asks her
daughters-in-laws to return to their mothers, severing the
created between them and Naomi thru marriage. Naomi then
encourages Orpha and Ruth to find another husband, one who would be responsible
for them, again deferring her responsibilities to another.  Naomi hopes that God will grant them solace
(rest), and that they will be blessed in these new relationships with Pagan
men.  Initially, both Orpha and Ruth are
insistent upon remaining with Naomi and preserving the
family ties.  Does Naomi’s character
seen to reflect the character of the Mother-in-laws we find in fairy tales?

11 And Naomi said, Turn again,
my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there
yet any more sons
in my womb, that they may be your husbands?

Note:  Naomi’s first plea for Orpha and Ruth to
return their mothers in Moab has failed. 
Therefore, Naomi gives and additional reason why it would be better for
them to go back,
Naomi has nothing to offer them.  Naomi can not offer them security, a home, or a family, since she
has no sons.  This is the second plea for
Orpha and Ruth to break the familial bond, it fails.

12 Turn again,
my daughters, go your
; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have
hope, if I
should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;

Note:  Here Naomi emphasizes her case, stating that
even if she would become pregnant that night, the child she bares would not be
able, or perhaps not willing to accept either Orpha or Ruth as a wife.  She has no way of giving them what they need,
or she cannot guarantee that it would happen. 
This is the third plea for Orpha and Ruth to break the familial bond, it

13 Would ye
tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having
husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the
hand of the LORD is gone out against me

Note:  Here we witness a change in the tone of
Naomi’s suggestion.  Before she was
expressing that it would be
better for Orpha and
Ruth to return to Moab, and she gave many reasons, three.  Now she clearly states that to follow her
(Naomi) to Bethlehem would be
worse for Orpha and
Ruth.  The tone goes from one of concern,
to one of fear.  Imagine, why would it be
worse for Orpha and Ruth, to become residents of the Promise land, the land
protected by Jehovah Himself, the land now flowing with milk and honey?  Is it truly worse for Orpha and Ruth, or
worse for Naomi?  Here Naomi clearly
blames God for what she is experiencing, she has not formed in her heart a
sense of repentance, but harbors only malice and anger toward God.  This is a much different state that Judah
finds herself in, having experience revival. 
Should Naomi be returning to Judah in her present state?  Could it be that Naomi refuses to accept
responsibility for her sins against God? 
Remember, that she allowed pagan woman to marry her sons, and paganism
influenced the home.  Here is the fourth
plea for Orpha and Ruth to return, this time with fear as the motivator, it

14 And they
lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but
Ruth clave unto her.

Note:  Here we see that Naomi’s relentless persuasion
finally works, but it only affects Orpha. 
Here we see that Orpha has finally been convinced to return to her
mother’s house and continue in her Pagan ways. 
Orpha kisses her mother-in-law farewell, but Ruth refuses to let
go.  Orpha accepts Naomi’s release of
duty that existed thru law. 

15 And she
said, Behold, thy
sister in law is gone back unto her
people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

Note:  Here Naomi finds herself perplexed.  Why has Ruth not responded to Naomi’s
insistence?  Why does Ruth not severe the
familial bond
created thru law.  Why won’t Ruth give Naomi that which she
desires, freedom from responsibility and the ability to forget her sin, and its
consequences.  The answer lies in the daughter-in-law’s
perception of their relationship with Naomi. 
This fifth plea is directed only at Ruth, and it fails. 

16 And Ruth
said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to
return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall
 my people, and thy God my God:

Note:  Ruth begs Naomi not to force her to leave, or
to keep her from maintaining the familial bond with her.  Ruth rejects her release by Naomi, from her legal
duty, and rather reaffirms her commitment to remaining in a bond with her.  Her commitment to Ruth not only includes the duties
of a daughter-in-law, but a complete transformation in customs and
worship.  Ruth knew that her manner of
worship would not be acceptable in Judah, she would need to give up being a
Moabitess, and become a Jew.  Could this
be what Naomi is trying to hide from the people of Judah?  Would they become aware of Naomi’s sins
against God and reject her, and leave her alone and empty?

17 Where thou
diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more
also, if
 but death part thee and me.

We can clearly see that Orpha has a different perception of her
relationship with Naomi, then that of Ruth. 
Both Orpha and Ruth love Naomi, but one still perceives herself as a daughter-in-law, and when she is released, she
is willing to return to the home of her mother, but Ruth’s heart holds Naomi as
her mother, and she sees herself as a daughter,
not a daughter-in-law.  Orpha’s loyalty
to Naomi is based on law, when Naomi releases her from her duty, she accepts
her release.  Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi is
not based on law.  Her devotion to Naomi
does not end with the death of her husband, or the release of duty by
Naomi.  Ruth’s devotion to Naomi is not
based on the law or the customs, but rather something greater. 

Deuteronomy 15:16-17 16 And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away
from thee;
he loveth thee and thine house
, because he is well with thee;
17 Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear
unto the door, and he
shall be thy servant
for ever
. And also unto thy
maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
  At the year of Jubilee, all servants were to
be released from their duty to their masters, but they had a choice to accept
or reject the release. 
Ruth is willing to undergo any change and suffer any consequence to
remain with the one she loves.  This type of devotion, selfless love (Agape),
is what is required of every Jew or Christian, according to Jewish Law and customs.  So, between Ruth and Naomi, who is the true
Jew?  Naomi seems to be more concerned
with herself (Hedonism) and whether she will be accepted, so that the customs
and law of Judah will take care of her. 
Ruth is acting in a selfless manner, concerned for the one she loves,
more that her own benefit, willing to face all perils, not with Naomi, but for

18 When she saw
that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Note:  When Naomi realized that Ruth would not be
swayed, she stopped trying to convince her. 
The text states that Naomi stopped speaking unto her, could this be out
of worry for herself and Ruth, or out of anger toward Ruth?

19 So they two
went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to
Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

20 And she said
unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me
Mara (Bitterness): for the
Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

Note:  Naomi tells the people of Bethlehem not to
call her Pleasantness, but rather to call her Bitterness.  She then claims that it was Jehovah that had
caused her troubles.  Again, this does
not reflect a repentance filled heart, but rather a resentful one.  One with enmity toward God.  She has returned to Judah, but she is not a

21 I went out
full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing
the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Note:  Naomi did not go out full, she needed bread,
there was famine in Judah and now there is famine in her home.  Naomi returns to Judah in the state of famine
and blames God for her troubles.  She
believes that it is the Almighty that testifies against her, and not the Law,
which she broke, and continues to break. 

 Revelation 3:17 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and
increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art
wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

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.


We start with Bethlehem of Judea in a
state of Apostasy, suffering the consequences of being separated from God.  She finds herself in a famine, but not just a
famine of food, but also a famine of Spirit. 
Over time, those in Judah, realize the reason for their suffering is
their betrayal against God, and not the vengeance of God. 

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
.   Judah then repents and is restored to her
rightful position with God. 

Naomi differs from Israel.  When she finds herself in sufferance, she
runs away from it, does not address it, makes excuses for it, and blames God
for it.

As Christian we bear a choice.  Since we are sinners, at some point we must decide,
either to follow the example of Judah, or the manner of Naomi. 

This beautiful story is all about
restoration.  Ruth makes a complete
change of heart to be restored, and eventually thru Ruth and Boaz, Naomi is
restored.  This is similar for us, in
that thru the decedent of Ruth and Boaz all mankind can be restored.  Therefore, salvation is not just of the Jews,
but to the Gentile who believes and receives, the most precious Christ, our
Lord Jesus.









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