Ruth 1:3
And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
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1:1-5 Elimelech's care to provide for his family, was not to be blamed; but his removal into the country of Moab could not be justified. And the removal ended in the wasting of his family. It is folly to think of escaping that cross, which, being laid in our way, we ought to take up. Changing our place seldom is mending it. Those who bring young people into bad acquaintance, and take them out of the way of public ordinances, thought they may think them well-principled, and armed against temptation, know not what will be the end. It does not appear that the women the sons of Elimelech married, were proselyted to the Jewish religion. Earthly trials or enjoyments are of short continuance. Death continually removes those of every age and situation, and mars all our outward comforts: we cannot too strongly prefer those advantages which shall last for ever.In the days when the Judges ruled - "Judged." This note of time, like that in Ruth 4:7; Judges 18:1; Judges 17:6, indicates that this Book was written after the rule of the judges had ceased. The genealogy Ruth 4:17-22 points to the time of David as the earliest when the Book of Ruth could have been written.

A famine - Caused probably by one of the hostile invasions recorded in the Book of Judges. Most of the Jewish commentators, from the mention of Bethlehem, and the resemblance of the names Boaz and Ibzan, refer this history to the judge Ibzan Judges 12:8, but without probability.

The country of Moab - Here, and in Ruth 1:2, Ruth 1:22; Ruth 4:3, literally, "the field" or "fields." As the same word is elsewhere used of the territory of Moab, of the Amalekites, of Edom, and of the Philistines, it would seem to be a term pointedly used with reference to a foreign country, not the country of the speaker, or writer; and to have been specially applied to Moab.

2. Elimelech—signifies "My God is king."

Naomi—"fair or pleasant"; and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, are supposed to be the same as Joash and Saraph (1Ch 4:22).

Ephrathites—The ancient name of Beth-lehem was Ephrath (Ge 35:19; 48:7), which was continued after the occupation of the land by the Hebrews, even down to the time of the prophet Micah (Mic 5:2).

Beth-lehem-judah—so called to distinguish it from a town of the same name in Zebulun. The family, compelled to emigrate to Moab through pressure of a famine, settled for several years in that country. After the death of their father, the two sons married Moabite women. This was a violation of the Mosaic law (De 7:3; 23:3; Ezr 9:2; Ne 13:23); and Jewish writers say that the early deaths of both the young men were divine judgments inflicted on them for those unlawful connections.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died,.... 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.

(x) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 1.)

And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
Verses 3-5. - "In these words," says Fuller, "we have two marriages ushered and followed by funerals." Verse 3. - And Elimelech Naomi's husband died. Apparently soon after the settlement of the family. No details, however, are given, as, on the one hand, no blame is attached to the conduct of Elimelech, and as, on the other, the line of biographical interest runs in another direction. And she was left, and her two sons. Not only was the mother her husband's relict; they were all left behind. He had gone somewhither in advance, and they "remained." So the word is frequently rendered. "And when the fathers or brethren of the virgins carried off, come to us to chide with us, we (the elders) will say to them (in your name), Present them to us (אותם as in Judges 21:12); for we did not receive every one his wife through the war (with Jabesh); for ye have not given them to them; how would ye be guilty." The words "Present them to us," etc., are to be understood as spoken in the name of the Benjaminites, who were accused of the raid, to the relatives of the virgins who brought the complaint. This explains the use of the pronoun in the first person in חנּוּנוּ and לקחנוּ, which must not be altered therefore into the third person.

(Note: One circumstance which is decisive against this alteration of the text, is, that the Seventy had the Masoretic text before them, and founded their translation upon it (ἐλεήσατε ἡμῖν αυτάς, ὅτι οὐκ ἐλάβομεν ἀνὴρ γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ). The different rendering of Jerome given in the Vulgate - miseremini eorum! non enim rapuerunt eas jure bellantium atque victorum - is nothing but an unfortunate and unsuccessful attempt to get rid of the difficulties connected with the readings in the text.)

The two clauses commencing with כּי are co-ordinate, and contain two points serving to enforce the request, "Present them," etc. The first is pleaded in the name of the Benjaminites; the second is adduced, as a general ground on the part of the elders of the congregation, to pacify the fathers and brothers making the complaint, on account of the oath which the Israelites had taken, that none of them would give their daughters as wives to the Benjaminites. The meaning is the following: Ye may have your daughters with the Benjaminites who have taken them by force, for ye have not given them voluntarily, so as to have broken your oath by so doing. In the last clause כּעת has an unusual meaning: "at the time" (or now), i.e., in that case, ye would have been guilty, viz., if ye had given them voluntarily.

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