Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land…
That the Book of Ruth is included in the canon of Scripture need excite no surprise.
I. IT IS A CHAPTER FROM THE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN HEART. Contrast it with the Book of Judges, to which it is a supplement, and which records feats of arms, deeds of heroism, treachery, violence, and murder. Here we are led aside from the highway of Hebrew history into a secluded by-path, a green lane of private life. Here are simple stories of heart and home. In human life, home, with its affections and relationships, plays an important part. In this Book we have a glimpse into the domestic life of Israel, with its anxieties, sorrows, and sweetness. Women and children, honest work and homely talk; deaths, births, and marriages; loves, memories, and prayers, are all here. The Bible is the book of man as God has made him.
II. IT IS A RECORD OF HUMAN VIRTUE, AND THE PROVIDENTIAL CARE AND REWARD ASSURED TO VIRTUE. Human kindness, filial piety, affectionate constancy, uncomplaining toil, true chastity, sweet patience, strong faith, noble generosity, simple piety - are all here, and they are all observed by God, and are shown to be pleasing to him, who rewards them in due time.
III. IT IS A PROOF OF THE SUPERIORITY OF HUMANITY TO NATIONALITY. The Hebrews are often blamed for intense exclusiveness and bigotry, yet no ancient literature is so liberal and catholic as the inspired books of the Old Testament. This narrative shows no trace of national narrowness; it proves that "God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." A pure and gentle Moabitess is welcomed into a Hebrew home.
IV. IT SUPPLIES A LINK IN THE CHAIN OF THE GENEALOGY OF DAVID, AND OF THAT SON OF DAVID WHO WAS DAVID'S LORD. Ruth was one of three foreign women whose names are preserved in the table of our Lord's descent from Abraham. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.