Ruth 1:16, 17
And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge…
Ruth 1:16, 17. Entreat me not to leave thee. A mother and a daughter-in-law are to go together. The daughter wishes it, and petitions with most eloquent ardor that it shall be so. A mother-in-law is sometimes - alas, too often - the subject of criticism and satire. It is a difficult position to fill, and many bitterly unkind and untrue caricatures have been made upon the relationship. In this case Naomi had made herself beloved by both Orpah and Ruth, and it was only through Naomi's words, "Turn again," that Orpah went back; for they had both said, "Surely we will return with thee unto thy people." Ruth, however, remained firm, and her fidelity has made these words quickening to many undecided souls.
I. ENTREATY MAY PROVE TOO EARNEST. "Entreat me not." It is the language of a heart that feels what limits there are to the power of resistance within us. Test may turn in unwise hands into overpowering temptation. Naomi knew where to stop, and Ruth remains to us a picture of heroic devotion. Orpah failed in courage, but was not destitute of affection, for her farewell is accompanied with a kiss of love. In her character we see impulse without strength. But "Ruth clave unto her." And it was no light sacrifice to leave fatherland and home. We can hardly call the test at first a religious one, for it is evident that Ruth's love for her mother-in-law was the immediate occasion of her cleaving to her, and leaving the Moabitish gods. In time, doubtless, her nominal faith turned into a living heritage.
II. LOVE CREATES THE FINEST ELOQUENCE. There is no utterance in the Old Testament more pathetic and melodious than these words. They are idyllic in their eloquence. There is nothing stilted or artificial in them, and they have in them a rhythm of melody which is more beautiful than a mere rhyme of words. Courage and sacrifice, love and devotion, breathe all through them. They condense too all that is prophetic of coming experience - the lodging and the loneliness, the weary pilgrimage and the grave in a foreign land. The mind cannot frame sentences like these without the glow of a sincere and sacrificial heart. We feel as we read them what grandeur there is in human nature when love evokes all its depth of power. It is not a skilful touch that can do this, but a soul alive to the calls of love and duty.
III. NO TRUE LIFE WAS EVER LIVED IN VAIN. It was what Naomi had been to her, what she was in herself, that made this sacrifice possible. Love creates love. The charm of friendship may be merely intellectual, and then, after the feast of reason, all is' over. But Naomi's character was rooted in religion. She did not carry the mere roll of the prophets in her hand; she carried the spirit of the Holy Book in her heart. Ruth had never been in synagogue or temple; she had listened to no Rabbi, and never sat at the feet of the doctors; but as "the earliest piety is mother's love," so the character of a true mother is a stem around which the tendrils of the young heart climb to the mother's God. None of us liveth to himself. And so from the flower of piety, the seed drops into other hearts, and brings forth fruit after many days. - W.M.S.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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:
WEB: Ruth said, "Don't entreat me to leave you, and to return from following after you, for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God;