Ruth 1:22
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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(22) Barley-harvest.—God had restored plenty to His people, and the wayfarers thus arrive to witness and receive their share of the blessing. The barley harvest was the earliest (Exodus 9:31-32), and would ordinarily fall about the end of April.


1:19-22 Naomi and Ruth came to Bethlehem. Afflictions will make great and surprising changes in a little time. May God, by his grace, fit us for all such changes, especially the great change!, Naomi signifies pleasant, or amiable; Mara, bitter, or bitterness. She was now a woman of a sorrowful spirit. She had come home empty, poor, a widow and childless. But there is a fulness for believers of which they never can be emptied; a good part which shall not be taken from those who have it. The cup of affliction is a bitter cup, but she owns that the affliction came from God. It well becomes us to have our hearts humbled under humbling providences. It is not affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does us good.The Lord hath testified against me - The phrase is very commonly applied to a man who gives witness concerning (usually against) another in a court of justice Exodus 20:16; 2 Samuel 1:16; Isaiah 3:9. Naomi in the bitterness of her spirit complains that the Lord Himself turned against her, and was bringing her sins up for judgment. 22. in the beginning of barley harvest—corresponding to the end of our March. Ver. 22. No text from Poole on this verse. So Naomi returned,.... Aben, Ezra thinks this is to be understood of her returning at another time; but it is only an observation of the writer of this history, to excite the attention of the reader to this remarkable event, and particularly to what follows:

and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter in law with her, which returned out of the country of Moab; to Bethlehem, the birth place of the Messiah, and who was to spring from her a Gentile; and which, that it might be the more carefully remarked, she is called a Moabitess, and said to return out of the country of Moab:

and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest; which began on the second day of the feast of unleavened bread, on the "sixteenth" of Nisan, which answers to our March, and part of April, when they offered the sheaf of the firstfruits to the Lord, and then, and not till then, might they begin their harvest; see Gill on Leviticus 23:10; see Gill on Leviticus 23:14, hence the Targum here is,"they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the day of the passover, and on that day the children of Israel began to reap the wave sheaf, which was of barley.''So the Egyptians and Phoenicians, near neighbours of the Jews, went about cutting down their barley as soon as the cuckoo was heard, which was the same time of the year; hence the comedian (n) calls that bird the king of Egypt and Phoenicia. This circumstance is observed for the sake of the following account in the next chapter.

(n) Aristoph. in Avibus, p. 565.

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 {i} barley harvest.

(i) Which was in the month of Nisan, that is, part March and part April.

22. which returned out of the country of Moab] A superfluous expression after Naomi returned, and possibly an insertion from Ruth 2:6, unless we regard it as a standing description of Ruth.

in the beginning of barley harvest] i.e. in April. Barley was the first crop to be cut, Exodus 9:31 f., 2 Samuel 21:9.Verse 22. - So Naomi returned. The narrator pauses to recapitulate his narrative of the return, and hence the recapitulatory so is, in English, very much to be preferred to the merely additive and of the original. And Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the land of Moab. The cumulative and apparently redundant expression, "who returned out of the land of Moab," is remarkable, at once for its simplicity and for its inexactitude. Ruth, strictly speaking, had not returned, but she took part in' Naomi's return. And they arrived in Bethlehem at the commencement of barley-harvest. Barley ripened before wheat, and began to be reaped sometimes as early as March, but generally in April, or Abib. By the time that the barley-harvest was finished the wheat crop would be ready for the sickle.

To the repeated entreaty of Naomi that she would follow her sister-in-law and return to her people and her God, Ruth replied: "Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return away behind thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou stayest, I will stay; thy people is my people, and thy God my God! where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried. Jehovah do so to me, and more also (lit. and so may He add to do)! Death alone shall divide between me and thee." The words יסיף ... יעשׂה י כּה are a frequently recurring formula in connection with an oath (cf. 1 Samuel 3:17; 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Samuel 20:13, etc.), by which the person searing called down upon himself a severe punishment in case he should not keep his word or carry out his resolution. The following כּי is not a particle used in swearing instead of אם in the sense of "if," equivalent to "surely not," as in 1 Samuel 20:12, in the oath which precedes the formula, but answer to ὅτι in the sense of quod introducing the declaration, as in Genesis 22:16; 1 Samuel 20:13; 1 Kings 2:23; 2 Kings 3:14, etc., signifying, I swear that death, and nothing else than death, shall separate us. Naomi was certainly serious in her intentions, and sincere in the advice which she gave to Ruth, and did not speak in this way merely to try her and put the state of her heart to the proof, "that it might be made manifest whether she would adhere stedfastly to the God of Israel and to herself, despising temporal things and the hope of temporal possessions' (Seb. Schmidt). She had simply the earthly prosperity of her daughter-in-law in her mind, as she herself had been shaken in her faith in the wonderful ways and gracious guidance of the faithful covenant God by the bitter experience of her own life.

(Note: "She thought of earthly things alone; and as at that time the Jews almost universally were growing lax in the worship of God, so she, having spent ten years among the Moabites, though it of little consequence whether they adhered to the religion of their fathers, to which they had been accustomed from their infancy or went over to the Jewish religion." - Carpzov.)

With Ruth, however, it was evidently not merely strong affection and attachment by which she felt herself so drawn to her mother-in-law that she wished to live and die with her, but a leaning of her heart towards the God of Israel and His laws, of which she herself was probably not yet fully conscious, but which she had acquired so strongly in her conjugal relation and her intercourse with her Israelitish connections, that it was her earnest wish never to be separated from this people and its God (cf. Ruth 2:11).

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