What does Ruth 1:8 mean?
ESV: But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each of you to her mother 's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
NIV: Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.
NASB: But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go, return each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
CSB: Naomi said to them, "Each of you go back to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you as you have shown to the dead and to me.
NLT: But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me.
KJV: 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.
NKJV: And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
Verse Commentary:
Naomi and her daughters-in-law have been making the arduous trek from Moab on the east side of the Dead Sea to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:1–7). The details of the events and the women's motivations are unclear. Orpah and Ruth are Moabites. Their husbands, Naomi's sons, have died. They are free to return to their birth-families and seek out other husbands who can give them security and a family. Why did they start to come with Naomi, and why does she try to turn them around? Perhaps the closer Naomi gets to Israel, the more she realizes how difficult life will be for pagan, widowed, Moabite women to live in Israel. And, as a widow herself, there is nothing Naomi can do to protect them.

"Kindly" is from the Hebrew word hesed. Hesed means "loyalty, reliability, kindness, compassion." It is the predominant quality of God that characterizes the covenants He made with the Israelites (Genesis 39:21; Exodus 15:13; Psalm 36:5). Scholars suggest Naomi uses the statement "May the LORD deal kindly with you" as a formal declaration, ending a relationship. Naomi is releasing the women from all obligation to her.

Hesed, sometimes translated as "steadfast love" or "lovingkindness" is a major theme in Ruth's story. Soon, Ruth will remark on Boaz's similar expression of kindness (Ruth 2:13), Naomi will admit God has been kind (Ruth 2:20), and Boaz will honor Ruth's kindness to Naomi (Ruth 3:10). God shows His lovingkindness and covenant faithfulness directly and through the kindness of those who fear Him.
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 10:04:08 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.