King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ruth 1

Elimelech and his sons die in the land of Moab. (1-5) Naomi returns home. (6-14) Orpah stays behind, but Ruth goes with Naomi. (15-18) They come to Bethlehem. (19-22)

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Elimelech and his sons die in the land of Moab

1 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 Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

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.

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

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.

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

Naomi returns home

6 Then she 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.

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.

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 you 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.

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?

12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; 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;

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.

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

Orpah stays behind, but Ruth goes with Naomi

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.

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 be my people, and thy God my God:

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

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

They come to Bethlehem

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: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

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?

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Of one. Heb. “And it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled.” H. — The and shews the connection with the former book. C. — Land. Chal. adds, “of Israel,” (M.) while the less fertile country of Moab had abundance. God thus punished the idolatry of his people. Some say the famine lasted ten years; but this is uncertain, though Noemi continued so long out of the country, v. 4. Salien.

Ver. 2. Elimelech. Josephus and others read erroneously, Abimelech. He was probably called also Jokim. 1 Par. iv. 22. — Ephrathites. This title often designates people of the tribe of Ephraim; (Judg. xii. 5. 1 K. i. 2,) but here it means those of Ephrata, which is also called Bethlehem of Juda, about five or six miles south of Jerusalem. Gen. xxxv. 19. Mic. v. 2. C.

Ver. 4. Ruth was the wife of Mahalon; (C. iv. 10,) and signifies one “well watered, (M.) or inebriated,” &c. H. — The sons of Noemi were excused by necessity in marrying idolaters, though they ought to have done their best to convert them. The Chaldee greatly condemns their marriage, and thinks that their death was in punishment of their prevarication. Deut. vii. 3. and xx. 11. C. — Salien is of the same opinion. So various have always been the sentiments of people on this head! H. See Serarius, q. 11.

Ver. 8. Mothers, who had separate apartments from the men. C. — Me. They had behaved with great respect and love towards their husbands, and towards Noemi, whom they even wish to accompany. M. — The pronouns in this, and verses 9, 11, 13, and 19, are surprisingly corrupted in Heb. being masculine or feminine, where we should expect the contrary. Kennicott.

Ver. 9. Take. She proposes marriage to them, as a state more suitable to their years, (H.) and wishes that they may experience none of its solicitudes, (1 Cor. vii. 28,) but be constantly protected by their husbands. Widows are exposed to many difficulties. M.

Ver. 11. Of me. Hence it appears that the Rabbins are under a mistake, when they say that those children who are born after the death of their brothers, are not obliged to take their widows.

Ver. 13. Marry. Heb. “would you stay for them from having husbands!”

Ver. 14. And returned, is not expressed in Heb. But the Sept. have, “and she returned to her people.” H..

Ver. 15. To her gods, &c. Noemi did not mean to persuade Ruth to return to the false gods she had formerly worshipped; but by this manner of speech, insinuated to her, that if she would go with her, she must renounce her false gods, and turn to the Lord, the God of Israel. Ch. — She wished to try her constancy. Salien. — Most infer from this passage, that Orpha was never converted, or that she relapsed. — Her gods, may indeed be rendered in the singular, “god.” But what god was peculiar to her and the Moabites, but Chamos! C. — Noemi might well fear that Orpha would give way to the superstition of her countrymen, to which she had been addicted, even though she might have made profession of serving the true God, while she lived with her. H.

Ver. 17. The Lord do so and so, &c. A form of swearing usual in the history of the Old Testament, by which the person wished such and such evils to fall upon them, if they did not do what they said. Ch. — It is not certain that they expressed what particular evils. C. — They might be willing to undergo any punishment, if they should transgress. H. — The pagans used a similar form of imprecation. 3 K. xix. 4 K. xx. 10. C.

Ver. 19. That Noemi. This exclamation might proceed either from surprise, or from contempt. M.

Ver. 20. That is. The explanations are added by S. Jerom. H. — Noemi had formerly a husband and two sons, with great riches, of which she was now deprived. W.

Ver. 21. Almighty. Heb. Sadai, (“the self-sufficient) hath afflicted.”

Ver. 22. Harvest. About the month of Nisan, or our March (C.) and April. M.