What does Ruth 1:13 mean?
ESV: would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me."
NIV: would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!"
NASB: would you therefore wait until they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; for it is much more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has come out against me.'
CSB: would you be willing to wait for them to grow up? Would you restrain yourselves from remarrying? No, my daughters, my life is much too bitter for you to share, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me."
NLT: Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.'
KJV: 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.
NKJV: would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!”
Verse Commentary:
Scholars compare Naomi's troubles to the experiences of Job. Both lose their livelihood and their children. Both know God has at least allowed it, both seem to suspect He has deliberately caused it. And both are convinced they've done nothing to deserve it (Job 1:13–22; 9:20–21; Ruth 1:20–21). Neither Naomi nor Job were being punished for sin, nor were they suffering the natural consequences of some unwise decision (Proverbs 1:31; 11:29).

Naomi is additionally heartbroken because God's actions against her have hurt her daughters-in-law. She has resolved to return home to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1–5), but she realizes Israel is no place for two young Moabite widows. They can either live with her or find husbands and have a good life. As much as she loves them, she does not want them to join her in her unavoidable poverty and hardship (Ruth 1:6–10).

At first, the women refuse to leave, but Naomi has a convincing argument. There is no chance that she can have more sons for Orpah and Ruth to marry. First, she's too old. Second, who would marry her so that she could even try? Finally, even if she got married that very night and gave birth to sons nine months later, would Orpah and Ruth wait until the boys were old enough to marry? It's much better if they separate now (Ruth 1:11–12).

Naomi's view of God is tragic. She thinks His hand—His authority and power—has "gone out against" her. In her mind, God has intentionally, directly acted to harm her, as He would to punish someone in rebellion (Exodus 9:3; Deuteronomy 2:15; Judges 2:15). She's even further grieved to think that the two women she loves most have been caught in the crossfire.

Eventually, Orpah sees her point and returns home (Ruth 1:8, 14). Ruth, however, stays. She hears Naomi's lament against God, but has lived with the family and probably suspects this can't be the whole story. She loves Naomi enough that she will disavow her own people and call herself an Israelite. She will even abandon her gods and claim Yahweh (Ruth 1:16–17).
Verse Context:
Ruth 1:6–14 records Naomi receiving good news: the famine in Bethlehem is over. She and her family fled to Moab ten years prior. Now, her husband and sons are gone, but she has two loving daughters-in-law. At first, they accompany her. Yet Naomi becomes convinced their arrangement cannot work. Orpah and Ruth can live with her in poverty, or they can find rest in a new family. After a persuasive argument, Orpah tearfully agrees to leave, but Ruth stays. Naomi is bitter now, but Ruth will prove to be everything the mourning widow needs.
Chapter Summary:
Ruth 1 depicts how a person can feel "starved" for things other than food. Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, flee a famine in Bethlehem and settle in Moab where there is plenty of food and their sons find devoted wives. Within ten years, however, Naomi's husband and sons are dead. When she hears Judah has food again, she prepares to return as an old, bitter widow. One daughter-in-law, Ruth, insists on accompanying her. On the surface, a young Moabite widow in Israel would be the last person who could help, but God honors Ruth's lovingkindness and eventually uses her to restore Naomi's hope and future.
Chapter Context:
Ruth chapter 1 introduces the tumultuous life of a Jewish woman in the era of the judges (Judges 2:16–19). The Israelites have entered the Promised Land but have only half-heartedly pursued God's command to drive out the depraved Canaanites. Too often, they rejected God for foreign idols. God responds with war and famine. In the face of one such famine in Judah, Elimelech and Naomi take their two sons and flee to Moab. After ten years, when the famine is lifted, Naomi returns to Bethlehem with all that is left of her family: one daughter-in-law. They encounter Boaz, whose character is explained more in chapter 2.
Book Summary:
Though set in a time of violence and tragedy, the book of Ruth tells one of Scripture’s most uplifting stories. Naomi, an Israelite, leaves her home during a famine. While away, in Moab, her husband and sons die. Naomi convinces one of her Moabite daughters-in-law to leave her and seek a new life. The other, Ruth, refuses, declaring her love and loyalty to Naomi. When the pair return to Israel, they encounter Boaz. This man is both kind and moral; his treatment of Ruth secures Naomi’s future and becomes part of king David’s ancestry.
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