|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:6-14 Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of her two sons. When death comes into a family, it ought to reform what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may be made dear. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith and piety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It is very proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thus part in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughters from going with her, when she might save them from the idolatry of Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God of Israel? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they went with her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Those that take upon them a profession of religion only to oblige their friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts of small value. If they did come with her, she would have them make it their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count the cost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession of religion. And more desire rest in the house of a husband, or some wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest to which Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they will depart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow.
Verse 9. - May Yahveh grant to you that ye may find rest, each in the house of her husband. Naomi again, when the current of her tenderest feelings was running full and strong, lifts up her longing heart toward her own Yahveh. He was the God not of the Hebrews only, but of the Gentiles likewise, and rifled and overruled in Moab. The prayer is, in its form, full of syntactical peculiarity: "May Yahveh give to you," and, as the result of his giving, "may you find rest, each [in] the house of her husband." The expression, "the house of her husband," is used locatively. It is an answer to the suppressed question, "Where are they to find rest?" And hence, in our English idiom, we must insert the preposition, "in the house of her husband." As to the substance of the prayer, it has, as truly as the grammatical syntax, its own tinge of Orientalism. Young females in Moab had but little scope for a life of usefulness and happiness, unless shielded round and round within the home of a pure and devoted husband. Naomi was well aware of this, and hence, in her motherly solicitude for her virtuous daughters-in-law, she gave them to understand that it would be the opposite of a grief to her if they should seek, in the one way open to them in that comparatively undeveloped state of society, to brighten the homes of the lonely. In such homes, it circumstances were propitious, they would find deliverance from unrest and anxiety. They would find rest. It would be a position in which they could abide, and in which their tenderest feelings and most honorable desires would find satisfaction and repose. The peculiar force of the Hebrew מְנוּחָה is finely displayed by the texture of the associated expressions in Isaiah 32:17, 18: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever; and my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places" (מְנוּחֹת). And she kissed them, locking them lingeringly and lovingly in a farewell embrace. "Kissed them." The preposition to, according to the customary Hebrew idiom, stands before the pronoun. In kissing, Naomi imparted herself passionately to her beloved daughters-in-law, and clung to them. There would be full-hearted reciprocation, and each to each would cling "in their embracement, as they grew together" (Shakespeare, Henry VIII.). And they lifted up their voice and wept. The idea is not that all three wept aloud. The pronoun "they" refers to the daughters-in-law, as is evident both from the preceding and from the succeeding context. The fine idiomatic version of the Vulgate brings out successfully and unambiguously the true state of the case - quae elevata voce flere coeperunt. The lifting, up of the voice in weeping must be thought of according to the measure of Oriental, as distinguished from Occidental, custom. In the East there is less self-restraint in this matter than in the West.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord grant you,.... Some make a supplement here, the Targum a perfect reward, Aben Ezra an husband; and so Josephus says (c), she wished them happier marriages than they had with her sons, who were so soon taken from them; but a supplement seems needless, for what follows is connected with the wish, and contains the sum of it:
that you may find rest; each of you:
in the house of her husband; that is, that they might each of them be blessed with a good husband, with whom they might live free from brawls and contentions, as well as from the distressing cares of life, having husbands to provide all things necessary for them, and so from all the sorrows and distresses of a widowhood estate:
then she kissed them; in token of her affection for them, and in order to part with them; it being usual then as now for relations and friends to kiss at parting:
and they lifted up their voice and wept; to think they must part, and never see one another more; their passions worked vehemently, and broke out in sobs, and sighs, and tears, and loud crying.
(c) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest—enjoy a life of tranquillity, undisturbed by the cares, incumbrances, and vexatious troubles to which a state of widowhood is peculiarly exposed.
Then she kissed them—the Oriental manner when friends are parting.
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