Ruth 1:6, 7
Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab…
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return. And they went on their way to return. Home again! The first step is everything! "She arose." It was all well with the prodigal when he did that. Not simply when he said, "I will arise;" but when be arose and went to his father. Directly the eye and the heart and the step agree, then the whole is settled. We read nothing of the preliminaries of departure. Who does not know the power of the loadstone when it first begins to act? When the breeze swells the sail from the foreign port, the sailor sees not the intervening waters, but the home cottage under the familiar cliffs. There are many beautiful home-returnings in the Bible, but the best of all is the son seeking the father's house.
I. HEARTS ARE UNITED BY COMMON EXPERIENCES. These daughters-in-law were not of her land, nor of her religion; they were not Hebrews; but they were widows! A common sorrow is a welding power, uniting hearts more closely than before. It is said that a babe in a house is a new clasp of affection between husband and wife. True; but an empty cradle has done more than a living child. During the time of these ten years these two wives remained still heathen. We do not know what family they sprang from, or if they were sisters. We do know that Naomi exercised no control or domination over their religious principles. She respects their personal liberty and responsibility; she even urges Ruth not to let natural affection for her override her religious convictions, but to go back to "her gods," as Orpah did. "Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law." What a sorrow it must have been to her that her sons had married heathen women. We can respect that sorrow. And we can see that Naomi did not slight her own religion when she said these words, but used them as a test of the sincerity of Ruth. A common sorrow had brought them all very close together. "For," as Bailey says in Festus, "the world is one, and hath one great heart."
II. RETURN JOURNEYS HAVE A TOUCHING ELOQUENCE IN THEIR SCENES. There were the places Naomi had traversed with her husband and her boys; places of rest under the shadow of the rocks, and of refreshment at the wells. Much must there have been, to recall conversations touched with anxiety concerning their future in the land of Moab. So would many places speak to us today. There, care gazed at us wistfully, and we remember all the thoughts it suggested. There she heard the tinkling of the bells of the camels, as the little trading cavalcade passed by her. What reminiscences! And they would all remind her of the good hand which had led her on, and never forgotten or forsaken her.
III. RETURN JOURNEYS REMIND US OF LITTLE EPISODES OF LIFE THAT ARE OVER FOR EVER. We cannot in the ordinary course of an unbroken and unshifting home realize the flight of time so well as when we have marked changes, which by their very abruptness divide life into chapters, which, like volumes, have their commencement and close. A new nest has to be built, and new trees have to be sought to build it in. Thus with ordinary observation we may notice how those who have had to seek new homes find the pilgrim-nature of life more marked in their thought than those who are born and brought up and settled through the long years in one home. There is a dreamy sense of continuance unbroken in some lives! "That she might return!" But she would not, could not take all of herself with her. She would leave, as we all do, a memory of character, an influence of good or evil over those who had been associated with her in the foreign land. - W.M.S.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.