So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab…
Little was Naomi aware of the treasure she was bringing to Israel or of the honour which was in store for Ruth. She says, "The Lord hath brought me back empty." And it was so, so far as she was herself concerned. But the Lord had brought back with her one whom all generations should call blessed; one who was to be a mother of the promised Messiah, the anointed Saviour of Israel. We are now to contemplate her admission to Israel. The young convert's entrance among the people of God. We cannot enter upon such a view without stopping for a moment to think of the happiness of Naomi in such a companion. How great was the privilege to her to bring back with her own return so precious a soul to the Lord of hosts! What an unspeakable joy it is to a Christian parent to be attended by his children in the heavenly path! "So they two went together until they came to Bethlehem." I cannot conceive a greater blessing in social life than when we can say this of father and son, of mother and daughter. This is a bond which must long outlast every other one; and a treasure of enjoyment which must remain when every other one has failed. How such companionship in religion relieves the sorrows of the road! How it multiplies the joys of the way ! The mother and the daughter take sweet counsel together on their journey. Naomi has much to tell, Ruth has much to ask, in reference to the new home to which they are returning together. Their mutual prayers and encouragements are full of advantage. The blending of the varied experience of the two becomes helpful to both. The despondency of age is animated by the joyful anticipations of youth. The effervescence of youth is moderated by the experience and soberness of age. "So they went together." Unity of feeling, unity of interest, unity of hope, bind them together. They have fellowship one with another. But while Ruth took sweet counsel with Naomi her thoughts and feelings were still in a great degree peculiar to herself and completely her own. To her every prospect is hopeful, and her imagination loves to stray through all the anticipations which are presented to her youthful mind. The young Christian truly living and walking in Christ rejoices in the hopes which a Saviour gives; is encouraged, ardent, and delighted in looking forward over the way in which the great Captain of salvation is leading the sons of God. "I see no trials or sorrows in it." Thus would Ruth have said. She could have no feeling but unmingled pleasure in the prospect of the journey she had undertaken. Delightful encouragements arise in her mind which overwhelm all possible regrets or fears. How many hopes and plans cluster around Bethlehem and Judah! She knows not what the Lord has prepared for her. It has not entered into her youthful heart to conceive the actual blessings which are laid up in store for her there. But she knows that all must be well and happy for her under the shadow of His wings in whom she has come to put her trust. Nothing is in your way. You may do all things through Christ that strengtheneth you, and be made more than conquerors in Him. She comes with a deep sense of her own unworthiness. But this is silenced by her conscious desire and choice. The young convert knows and feels his guilt. But he needs not, and does not, stop to sit clown under the mere dominion of grief for the past. He has his new work to do. He must press forward in it. And the cloud will pass away and leave him in the sunshine of his Saviour's love, to finish and perfect it. But the perseverance of Ruth furnishes us with another most important example. "They went together until they came to Bethlehem." There is no fact which gives the Church more peculiar joy in the coming of young converts to Christ than their habitual perseverance. They are the ones who "hold fast the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end." The most fruitful, faithful Christians are habitually those who begin the earliest. The time of Ruth's arrival at Bethlehem was most significant." They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest." The barley harvest of Palestine was in the early spring. The barley was sown after the autumnal rains, in the month of October, and the harvest was in the month of April. It was a time of special joy, the first spring-gathering of their annual fruits. The harvest is always employed as an illustration of satisfaction and joy. "They joy before Thee, according to the joy of harvest." And is it not always a scene of rejoicing when the sinner returns? The harvest was a time of opening abundance. No wants or poverty were pressing now. There is thus bread enough and to spare in the Saviour's house. And when the sinner finds a shelter there he finds all his needs supplied. His soul has abundance of all things which it desireth. No more encouraging time could there have been for Ruth's first acquaintance with Israel. Every aspect of the land was promising and prosperous. The sight of plenty crowned every prospect. And she sees her new home clothed with every attraction. Is it not always so when we first come to the feet of Jesus and find our peace and acceptance there? Now we seem to live for the first time. There is reality, happiness, satisfaction here. We have found Him whom our soul loveth, and we have found everything we want in Him. The barley harvest was the time of the Passover. Thus this young convert from the Gentiles comes as the first-fruits of a Gentile harvest to be gathered, and is welcomed with Israel as a partaker of the paschal feast. Happy are we in welcoming our youthful friends giving evidence of their new birth for God and their living faith in Jesus to the table of the Lord. Happy is the house the first-fruits of which are thus consecrated and sanctified to be the Lord's for ever.
(S. H. Tyng, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.