Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ruth 1:4

Ruth 1:4


And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

Hebrew OT

 4 וַיִּשְׂאוּ (and they took) לָהֶם (to them) נָשִׁים (wives) מֹאֲבִיֹּות (Moabitesses) שֵׁם (the name) הָאַחַת (of one) עָרְפָּה (Orpah) וְשֵׁם (and the name) הַשֵּׁנִית (of the other) רוּת (Ruth) וַיֵּשְׁבוּ (and the lived) שָׁם (there) כְּעֶשֶׂר (ten) שָׁנִים׃ (years)


Greek Septuagint

4καὶ (and) ἐλάβοσαν (they took) ἑαυτοῖς (to themselves) γυναῖκας (wives) μωαβίτιδας (Moabites) ὄνομα (the name) τῇ (of) μιᾷ (one) ορφα (Orphah) καὶ (and) ὄνομα (the name) τῇ (of the) δευτέρᾳ (second) ρουθ (Ruth) καὶ (and) κατῴκησαν (they dwelt) ἐκεῖ (there) ὡς (thus) δέκα (ten) ἔτη (years)


And they took them wives of the women of Moab

“They” referred here, is Naomi’s sons: Mahlon and Chilion.

There have been countless warnings in the Torah (the 5 books of Moses) against the taking of a wife that is not of the children of Israel. So Naomi bringing back Ruth to Israel (later in the chapter) must have looked very bad to a lot of her kinsfolk in Israel.

The Moabites were related to the Israelites, as they were the descendants of Lot. (see notes on Ruth 1:1)
Interestingly Barnes writes in his notes on the Bible: Marriages of Israelites with women of Ammon or Moab are nowhere in the Law expressly forbidden, as were marriages with the women of Canaan Deuteronomy 7:1-3. In the days of Nehemiah the special law Deuteronomy 23:3-6 was interpreted as forbidding them, and as excluding the children of such marriages from the congregation of Israel Nehemiah 13:1-3. Probably the marriages of Mahlon and Chilion would be justified by necessity, living as they were in a foreign land.

The name of the one was Orpah

According to Wikipedia: “Orpah, meaning "mane" or "gazelle", is from the root for "nape" or "back of the neck",

The following is another interesting article explaining the meaning of the name Orpah:

And the name of the other Ruth

The name Ruth probably means “Friend” or “Companion”

And they dwelled there about ten years

“About”… This word does not appear in the original Hebrew, instead there is a “Kaph” prefix, which is usually translated “as” or “thus”. The Greek Septuagint mirrors this by using ὡς (usually translated “thus”). 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ruth 1:3

Ruth 1:3


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

Greek Septuagint

3καὶ (and) ἀπέθανεν (he died) αβιμελεχ (Abimelech [or Elimelech])(the) ἀνὴρ (husband) τῆς (of) νωεμιν (Naomi) καὶ (and) κατελείφθη (she was left) αὐτὴ (her) καὶ (and) οἱ (the) δύο (two) υἱοὶ (sons) αὐτῆς (of her)

Hebrew OT

3 וַיָּמָת (and he died) אֱלִימֶלֶךְ (Elimelech) אִישׁ (the husband of) נָעֳמִי (Naomi) וַתִּשָּׁאֵר (and she was left) הִיא (she) וּשְׁנֵי (and the two) בָנֶיהָ׃ (of her sons)

And Elimelech Naomi's husband died

Elimelech means “My God is King”. Naomi means “pleasant”. (see notes on Ruth 1:2)

Interestingly, the Greek for Elimelech (Abimelech) means “My Father is King”. Notice that in the Lord’s Prayer God is called “Our Father”. And so we are led to believe that the concept of the peternal God is in no way a new concept.

Gill writes in his exposition: “According to Josephus (x), after he had dwelt in the land ten years, and had married his two sons to Moabitish women; but, as Alshech observes, the text shows that while he was living they were not married to them, but after his death; and it is said of them only that they dwelt there about ten years; so that it is most probable that their father died quickly after he came into the land of Moab: and she was left, and her two sons; in a strange land, she without a husband, and they without a father.” (

And she was left, and her two sons

Naomi was left alone with her two sons. Presumably Elimelech, before he died, bought a field in the land of Moab (he was a wealthy man, as we will find out in the proceeding chapters), and now that he is dead, it falls into the hands of his sons to keep and to work the land.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ruth 1:2

Ruth 1:2


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 of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.


Hebrew Bible

 2 וְשֵׁם (The name)   הָאִישׁ (of the man) אֱ‍לִימֶלֶךְ (Elimelech) וְשֵׁם (and the name) אִשְׁתֹּו (of his wife) נָעֳמִי (Naomi) וְשֵׁם (and the name) שְׁנֵי־בָנָיו (of his two sons) ׀ מַחְלֹון (Mahlon) וְכִלְיֹון (and Chillion) אֶפְרָתִים (Ephrathites) מִבֵּית (from Beth-) לֶחֶם (lehem) יְהוּדָה (Judah)  וַיָּבֹאוּ (entered) שְׂדֵי־מֹואָב (the land of Moab) וַיִּהְיוּ־שָׁם (and remained there)׃


Septuagint (Greek)

2καὶ ὄνομα τῷ ἀνδρὶ αβιμελεχ καὶ ὄνομα τῇ γυναικὶ αὐτοῦ νωεμιν καὶ ὄνομα τοῖς δυσὶν υἱοῖς αὐτοῦ μααλων καὶ χελαιων εφραθαῖοι ἐκ βαιθλεεμ τῆς ιουδα καὶ ἤλθοσαν εἰς ἀγρὸν μωαβ καὶ ἦσαν ἐκεῖ 


And the name of the man was Elimelech

Gill writes in His commentary of the Bible: And the name of the man was Elimelech, [Eli = God, Melech = King] .... Which signifies "my God is King", as he was King over Israel. In the times of the judges, the government was a theocracy; the judges were raised up immediately by the Lord, and ruled under him;

Notice that the word “was” in our Bibles is usually written in italics which indicates that it is not found in the original language of Scripture. This is because that unlike English and Greek, the Hebrew language does not have and word for the verb “to be” of and derived words, including the word “was” which is the past tense of “to be”.

Also of note, is that the word “was” is not found in the Septuagint which takes on the exact sentence form as the original Hebrew.

And the name of his wife Naomi

According to Clarke, the name Naomi means “Beautiful” or “Pleasant”. We will find later in the chapter that Naomi changes her name to “Mara” which means bitter, which is in direct contrast to her name on Naomi.

And the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion

Mahlon - Infirmity.
Chilion - Finished, completed.

(Clarkes commentary)

And according to the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: Mahlon and Chilion, are supposed to be the same as Joash and Saraph (1Ch 4:22)”. Although this is only based on the association with the land of Moab.

Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah

Ephrath is just another name for Bethlehem. Also known as Bethlehem Ephrathah.
This is the Bethlehem where our Lord Jesus Christ was born. (see commentary on Ruth 1:1)

And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

The Moabites were related to the Israelites, as they were descendants of Lot. (see commentary on Ruth 1:1)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ruth 1:1


Chapter 1

Verse 1
1Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 

[Hebrew taken from “Scripture 4 All”]

1καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ κρίνειν τοὺς κριτὰς καὶ ἐγένετο λιμὸς ἐν τῇ γῇ καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ βαιθλεεμ τῆς ιουδα τοῦ παροικῆσαι ἐν ἀγρῷ μωαβ αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ

[Greek Septuagint from]

This first verse from the book of Ruth sets the setting of the book. Every word of Scripture is important and so we should never rush over anything as important as one single verse.

“In the days of the judges” or ἐν τῷ κρίνειν τοὺς κριτὰς (in [during] the judgement of the judges).

We cannot be certain exactly during what judges reign this was, but it must have been one of the latter judges, because that the generations (Ruth 4) from Boaz to David were comparatively few and so a later judge’s reign would be preferred.

There was a famine in the land

Clarke writes in his commentary: “There was a famine - Probably occasioned by the depredations of the Philistines, Ammonites, etc., carrying off the corn as soon as it was ripe, or destroying it on the field.”

The Targum says this was the sixth of ten famines that had been in the world.

A targum (Hebrew: תרגום‎, plural: targumim, lit. "translation, interpretation"), referred to in critical works by the abbreviation 𝔗,[1] is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) written or compiled from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages (late first millennium).” (Wikipedia)

Though the validity of some of the things written in the Targum are somewhat disputed.

And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah

~This is that same Bethlehem in which Christ was born. David also was born in Bethlehem. And in Genesis 48:7 we read that Rachel was buried in Bethlehem.

Beth-lehem  בֵּית לֶחֶם  is Hebrew for House of Bread - probably so called because of the prosperity of the area in being such fertile plains for agriculture. This is rather ironic seeing that in this verse we have a famine in the land.

Called here in this passage Bethlehem-Judah because that it was in the part of Israel that was given as an inheritance to the tribe of Judah. Possibly there was another Bethlehem and they suffixed “Judah” for the distinction.

Went to sojourn in the country of Moab

He left the land of his fathers to go to live in a heathen nation. This would have been a major disgrace for a Jew, as the Jews took great pride in their identity as the “chosen” nation. But this man, (we later find is called Elimelech) so feared for his life that he didn’t care what other people thought of him, he needed to find food for himself and his family.

The word “country” here can be literally transliterated as “fields” which gives us some idea as to what the country of Moab was like.

The Moabites were the descendants of Lot (Genesis 19:37) and so were related to the Israelites. Lot was the nephew of Abraham.

He, and his wife, and his two sons

The next verse tells us the names of these characters: 2And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion.