And Naomi said to her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you…
Tidings reached Naomi that peace and plenty had returned to Judah, and she resolved to return to Bethlehem. She acknowledged the Lord's goodness, who "had visited his people in giving them bread." Doubtless she sought the Lord's guidance with reference to her return. It must have needed courage on her part to form and carry out this resolution. Her affectionate daughters-in-law accompanied her part of the way. Then came the hour of separation. As Naomi bade the young widows return, she uttered words of testimony to their kindness, words of prayer that Heaven might deal kindly with them. Coming from her lips, this witness was precious. They had dealt kindly with the dead - their husbands, her sons. They had dealt kindly with her, in her bereavements and loneliness; they had sympathized with her, and now were willing to accompany her to the land of her birth and early days.
I. THE FOUNDATION OF KINDNESS. We must seek this below what is called "good nature;" and, taught by Christianity, must find it in the brotherhood of man, the fatherhood of God. The sacrifice of Christ is the power and the model of true Christian kindness.
II. THE SPHERE OF KINDNESS. The family, as in the passage before, s, comes first. "Kind" is related, as a word, to "kin." "Charity begins at home." But, as has been remarked, it does not end there. Kindness should be shown to our fellow-creatures, as Christians, as neighbors, as fellow-countrymen, as members of the human race.
III. THE DIFFICULTIES in the way of kindness. It is not always easy for persons of one nation to agree with those of another; foreigners are often foes. It is not always easy for mothers-in-law to agree with daughters-in-law. Yet these difficulties may be overcome, as in this narrative.
IV. THE RECOMPENSE of kindness. Naomi's prayer was answered, and the Lord dealt kindly with those who had shown kindness. True kindness will breathe many a prayer. And the Lord's loving-kindness, condescending, unmerited, and free, is his people's most precious possession; it is "better than life!" - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.