And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth…
The sin of these young men in marrying strange women is not expressly denounced as a sin in the story, although it is denounced in the Targum, which commences verse 4 thus: "They transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and took foreign wives from among the daughters of Moab." But no one can read the Old Testament without feeling that they sinned against the law, for to the Hebrews marriage was a religious covenant; and St. Paul does but utter an admitted and familiar truth when he asks, "What fellowship has light with darkness, or Belial with God?" The reason of the law is given in the passage just cited from Deuteronomy — "they will turn away thy children from Me, and they will serve false gods." The daughters of Moab were specially obnoxious to the faithful Israelites. They appear to have been among the most fascinating, and the most wanton and profligate, women of antiquity. Their gods — Chemosh, Moloch, Baal-peor — were incarnations of lust and cruelty. They demanded human sacrifices. Children were cast into their burning arms. In their ritual sensuality was accounted piety. True, Mahlon and Chilion were exceptionally fortunate in their wives. They were not turned to the service of false gods, though there was grave reason to fear that they might be; but, on the other hand, neither did they turn their wives to the service of the only true God. It was not till after her husband's death that Ruth learned to take shelter under the wings of the Lord God of Israel (Ruth 2:12); and Orpah, as we are expressly told (Ruth 1:15), "went back to her people and her gods."(S. Cox, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.