What does Ruth 1:7 mean?
ESV: So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
NIV: With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
NASB: So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
CSB: She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.
NLT: With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
Verse Commentary:
An Israelite widow living in Moab, Naomi, has heard that the famine in Bethlehem is over. She decides to return home. Her two daughters-in-law, widows of Naomi's late sons, go with her (Ruth 1:4–6).

Orpah and Ruth, Naomi's daughters-in-law, clearly love her deeply. In modern times, societies emphasize the individual over the clan. This makes it harder to understand the close relationship between a woman and her husband's relatives one would find in ancient cultures. At first, it seems perfectly reasonable to Orpah and Ruth to stay with Naomi. As they approach Bethlehem, however, it seems Naomi realizes that these young, unprotected Moabitesses will face hardship and even danger in Israel. They will be seen as outsiders, even enemies (Numbers 22:1—25:5; 31:16), unlikely to find husbands on their own, at risk from cruel men and with no other family to rely on.

Naomi makes the hard choice to tell them to return to their birth-families so they can find new husbands who will care for them (Ruth 1:8–13).

The details many Western readers would prefer are not given; they're not important to the story. We don't know where in Moab Naomi and her husband Elimelech settled. Nor do we know what route Naomi and her daughters-in-law take to Bethlehem. They may go south, around the southern shore of the Dead Sea, cross the Jordan, and make the long trek north to Bethlehem, just a few miles south of Jerusalem. Or they may travel north and cross near Jericho.

Judah is the tribe controlling the territory surrounding Bethlehem. It is the largest tribe of Israel, other than Manasseh, and hosts the future capital, Jerusalem. Prominent descendants of Judah include David, Solomon, and Jesus. Bethlehem of Judah distinguishes it from the Bethlehem in Zebulun.
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.
Accessed 6/18/2024 8:42:56 PM
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