In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. And a certain man from Bethlehem in Judah, with his wife and two sons, went to reside in the land of Moab.
in the land of promise and in Bethlehem, the House of Bread! No doubt the state of affairs in Bethlehem constituted a severe trial of faith to Elimelech and his family and neighbours. It is very hard to see the meal growing less and less in the barrel; it is even harder for those who have enjoyed times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and seasons of genuine delight in His service, to lose the experience of the Divine love and care, to find prayer becoming a burden and the Word of God lifeless and unhelpful; but can either the one condition of things or the other be any excuse or justification for forsaking the land of promise? For, to begin with, how can a change of front help us under the circumstances? If corn be scarce in Canaan, where God has pledged Himself to feed us, is it likely that better things will be found in a land upon which, as we shall see, His curse is resting? If from any cause our sense of the presence and approval of Jesus seems to have lost something of its distinctness, even in that circle of Church life and Christian society with which we have been associated, is it probable that we shall obtain truer solace and renewal in that "world" the friendship of which is declared to be enmity to our Lord? And, after all, what is the province of faith if it be of no service to us under such circumstances as these? Christ, as we well know, changes not; if there be a change in our experience of Him, the causes lie with us, and not with our Lord — the clouds are earth-born; what we need is more sun, not less, and this we shall never obtain by turning our back upon Him from whom every blessing of spiritual experience, as well as of earthly enjoyment, flows. It is pretty certain that, like Elimelech, those whose hearts are growing colder would protest almost with indignation that they have no intention of any permanent abandonment of Christ. They are suffering from famine — from a loss of spiritual enjoyment. To what may this unhappy state of things be due? Some, perhaps, would frankly aver that they never have found enjoyment in Christ and His service from the very commencement; they have sought to serve Him purely as a matter of duty: for their pleasure they have looked to the world. Some, again, would admit that there are both food and enjoyment in the Divine life for those who desire to follow Christ, and at one time they themselves hoped that it would prove permanently satisfying; but they confess that they got tired of it after a time, and it seemed rather hard to them that they should be required to limit themselves to that which, however good in itself, appeared to be somewhat restricted in character. Now, our Bread is Christ, and dissatisfaction with our Bread is dissatisfaction with Him, and confessions such as those to which we have been listening simply mean that the Lord Jesus has ceased to be, or more probably has never been in any very real sense, everything to us; such persons as those whose cases we have imagined have not actually given up serving and loving the Lord, or at any rate do not think they have done so, but into a heart which has never been completely surrendered to the Master they have admitted other objects of regard, and these later affections, competing with that earlier one, have dimmed its lustre and loosened its hold upon us. And are there not others who, whilst desiring after a fashion to lead a Christian life, deliberately place themselves beyond the reach, so to speak, of the nourishing and fructifying grace of God by the very character of the circumstances by which they elect to surround themselves? Their friends, their amusements, their books (not to mention other matters) seem to be chosen almost with a view to hindering instead of assisting their growth in Christ. But the Holy Spirit is Sovereign; He is the Lord of life as well as the giver of it, and He feeds the souls who seek Him in accordance with His own will, not in accordance with theirs. And the famine in Bethlehem took place "in the days when the judges ruled." It is impossible to read the historian's account of those days (Judges 2:11, etc.) without realising that the times were very bad indeed, and just such as we should expect to be characterised by famine and distress of all kinds. For, to begin with, they were days of religion by fits and starts — days in which the Israelites served God when they were in trouble and forgot Him as soon as their circumstances improved. Is it likely that such a condition of things and such a fashion of living can succeed? Will God bless those who, blind to His long-suffering, set every law of gratitude and right behaviour at defiance in this hopeless kind of way? But is not this precisely what some of us are constantly doing? No, religion by fits and starts cannot possibly be a happy state of affairs: it must involve us in that separation from God which results in famine. We shall not improve our circumstances, however, by turning our backs upon God; let us understand that our want is due to our own conduct, not to God's unfaithfulness, and let us seek so to amend our lives that He may yet be able to make our land flow with milk and honey. Moreover, the days when the judges ruled were obviously days of intermittent government: the arrangement was but a makeshift at the best. In our own ease it is the absence of the autocratic rule of the Lord Jesus, or rather our fretful murmuring against the rule, which lies at the root of most of our spiritual sorrow. We acknowledge the Lord as our Saviour, but do we sufficiently recognise Him to be Christ our King? It is impossible for us to fear the Lord and serve our own gods, and be happy — try as we may. That there are times in the experience of all Christian people when the pasture which once was green fails somewhat of its peaceful restfulness no one who knows anything of life will for a moment deny. But this is neither starvation nor a breaking of faith on the part of our covenant God. Elimelech left Bethlehem in a moment of panic, or a fit of despondency or of world-hunger, but others remained and trusted the God of their fathers; and when ten years later Naomi, the solitary survivor of the little band, returned, she found her friends alive and well and in the enjoyment of barley harvest. They had been tried, indeed, but never forsaken. It was sad enough that Elimelech should have left the land of promise and the House of Bread: it was worse that he should have selected Moab as his new home. It was not merely that the people of the country were heathen, and that, as Elimelech must have known, if he and his family were to remain true to God they would have to lead lives of trial and to face unpopularity and perhaps persecution, but Moab had acted with extraordinary bitterness to his ancestors in times past, and in consequence was under a very terrible curse. Are we in no danger? Are there none of us who are beginning to turn our heads, and our hearts too, in the direction of those old associations and those old surroundings which did us so much injury in the past — the scars of whose wounds, the fascination of whose attractions, have not yet passed away? Are we wise in venturing where stronger men than we are have fallen, where we ourselves fell not so long ago? God help us, and keep us true to Him and to ourselves!
Ruth 1:22; 2:1-3Ruth 1:22
; Ruth 2:1-3
. Naomi's history may now be carried on in the light of these texts.
I. NAOMI IS AN ANCESTRAL PILGRIM. Ancestor of whom? Turn to Matthew 1:5, and you will find in the genealogy of our Lord the name of Ruth. The earlier part of that Divine life, how fresh and beautiful it is - the advent, the angels, the shepherds' songs! The mother, the first visit to the temple, the doctors! And beautiful ministry too. Power wedded to mercy, miracles of healing, mighty deeds of love, sermons amid the mountains and the cities. True! But stand here a moment. It is an early evening of life, I admit; but it's evening. Do you see in the blue distance One coming from the judgment hall? Do you hear the wild cry of the mob, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!"? Do you mark the crush of the crowd round one fallen form, who fainted beneath the burden of that cross which he bore for us all? Follow him on to the slopes, while Simon, the Cyrenian, helps to bear his cross. The soldiers mock him. The crowd insult him. They spat upon him, they smote him with their hands, they buffeted him. And now his hands and feet are nailed; his pale face is bowed. Come nearer and gaze. Behold the man I As the reapers asked, "Is this Naomi?" so we ask, "Is this Jesus?" Is this he whose sweet face lay in the manger? Is this he whose bright inquisitive face was in the temple? Is this he who passed the angels at heaven's high gate, and came to earth, saying, "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God." Yes! Bowed, bruised, broken for us. The same Savior, who now endures the cross, despising the shame. Well may we wonder and adore! He saved others, himself he cannot - will not - save! More beautiful now than in the stainless infancy of the Holy Child. More beautiful now than when by the shores of Galilee's lake, he spake words which mirrored heaven more purely and clearly than those waters the gold and crimson of the sky. It is the bowed, broken, forsaken, suffering, dying Lord that moves the world's heart. He knew it all. In that hour, when his soul was made an offering for sin, he, being lifted up, had power to draw all hearts unto him. Is this Naomi? Well might angels ask, Is this the eternal Son of the Father? Is this he of whom the Almighty said, "He is my fellow." Is this he to whom command was given, Let all the angels of God worship him? Yes! It is he. It is finished. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in."
II. NAOMI IS A PROVIDED-FOR PILGRIM. Back to Bethlehem; but how to live? how to find the roof-tree that should shelter again? She knew the Eternal's name, "Jehovah-Jireh," the Lord will provide. A kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man Of wealth, lived there: of the family of Elimelech; his name was Boaz. We must not mind criticism when we talk of chance, or happening. The Bible does. It is simply one way of stating what seems to us accidental; although in reality we know that the least secrets are in the good hand of him "to whom is nothing trivial." Ruth wants to glean! And Naomi says, Go, my daughter; "and her hap - her chance - was to light on the part of a field belonging unto Boaz?' We know that the same old love story, which is new in every generation begins again; so Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife. So that a new home begins, and a smile plays through the tears of the lonely widow. Naomi has some human light again in her landscape; she will see the children's children, and take them by the hand into the coming barley-harvests; she will have some appropriate hopes and joys and interests still. Life to her will not be desolate, because she has still a God above her and a world around her to call forth interest and hope. Her sorrow was not greater than she could bear, and the summer over, even autumn had its tender beauties before life's winter came. So it ever is. Trust in the Lord, and you shall never want any good thing. Believe still in your Savior, and provided for you will be with all weapons of fence, all means of consolation, all prosperity that shall not harm your soul. So true, then, is the Bible to the real facts of human life. It is not a book of gaiety, for life is real and earnest, and its associations are mortal and mutable. It consecrates home joy, and yet reminds us that every garden has its grave, every dear union its separation. But, on the other hand, there are no utterances of unbearable grief, or unmitigated woe. It says ever to us, Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide. And the facts of experience in every age endorse its truth. As the snows bide flowers even in the Alps, so beneath all our separations and sorrows there are still plants of the Lord, peace, and hope, and joy, and rest in him. Blessed, indeed, shall we be if we can rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. We, too, shall all change. Time and sorrow will write their experiences on our brow. There will be hours in which we feel like Naomi, empty, oh I so empty. The cup of affection poured out on the ground, the forest without its songsters, the garden without its flowers, the home without its familiar faces. We shall see these pictures every day, and wonder, more and more, how any hearts can do without a Brother and a Savior in Jesus Christ. But if character be enriched and trained, all is well; for this very end have we bad Divine discipline, and the Lord will perfect that which concerneth us for the highest ends of eternal life in him. The baptism with which our Lord was baptized changed his face, altered his mien, enlarged even his Divine experience. He was made "perfect through suffering," and became the Author of eternal salvation to all who trust in him. Coming back even to Bethlehem is only for a season. As Naomi returns, nature alone remains the same; the blue roller-bird would flash for a moment across her path, the music of the turtle-dove remind her of the melody of nature in her childhood; - the peasant garb would tell her of the old unchanged ways; and the line of hills against the sky would remind her that the earth abideth forever. But for her there was a still more abiding country, where Elimelech, like Abraham, lived, and where Mahlon and Chillon waited for the familiar face that had made their boyhood blessed. And so we wait. The redemption we celebrate here is a passover, a memorial of deliverance and a prophecy of home. Home where sorrow and sighing, night and death, will flee away; where, no longer pilgrims, we shall no more go out, and where the worn face and the weary heart shall be transfigured into the immortal life. - W.M.S.
In the days when the judges ruled.
Leaving the Book of Judges and opening the story of Ruth, we pass from vehement out-door life, from tempest and trouble, into quiet domestic scenes. After an exhibition of the greater movements of a people we are brought, as it were, to a cottage interior in the soft light of an autumn evening, to obscure lives passing through the cycles of loss and comfort, affection and sorrow. We have seen the ebb and flow of a nation's fidelity and fortune; a few leaders appearing clearly on the stage, and behind them a multitude indefinite, indiscriminate, the thousands who form the ranks of battle and die on the field, who sway together from Jehovah to Baal, and back to Jehovah again. What the Hebrews were at home, how they lived in the villages of Judah or on the slopes of Tabor, the narrative has not paused to speak of with detail. Now there is leisure after the strife, and the historian can describe old customs and family events, can show us the toiling flockmaster, the busy reapers, the women with their cares and uncertainties, the love and labour of simple life. Thunderclouds of sin and judgment have rolled over the scene; but they have cleared away, and we see human nature in examples that become familiar to us, no longer in weird shadow or vivid lightning flash, but as we commonly know it, homely, erring, enduring, imperfect, not unblest.
There was a famine in the land.
This might happen many ways: by the incursion of foreign enemies, by civil wars among themselves, or by restraint of seasonable showers from heaven. Howsoever it came, sin was the cause thereof: a toleration of idolaters and public monuments of idolatry (Judges 1:21, 27, 29, 30
, and Judges 3:5, and Judges 2:2), contrary to God's express commandment by the hand of Moses. They fell themselves unto idolatry (Judges 2:11, 12, 13, 17
, and Judges 8:27).
I. THAT SINS, ESPECIALLY THOSE AFORENAMED, DESERVE THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD (Deuteronomy 28; 1 Kings 8:35-37). ( Therefore, to escape plagues, let us take heed of sin (Ezekiel 18:31; Revelation 18:1).
II. THAT FAMINE AND DEARTH IS A PUNISHMENT FOR SIN, AND THAT A GREAT PLAGUE (Ezekiel 5:16; Deuteronomy 28:23, 24; Leviticus 26:19, 29; Amos 4:1). And when this hand of God cometh upon us, let us search our ways and humble ourselves (2 Chronicles 7:14), that the Lord may heal our land, for it is a terrible judgment (1 Samuel 24:14) and without mercy (2 Kings 6:10, 29; Ezekiel 4:10).
III. We may hereby see HOW GOD MADE HIS WORD GOOD UPON THEM, and that He dallieth not with His people, in denouncing judgments against them; for Moses had told them (Deuteronomy 28) that God would thus afflict them if rebellious against Him: and here the story telleth us that in the days of the judges this famine came.
Bethlehem-judah.The home of Elimelech was in Bethlehem "Bethlehem-judah" as the historian is careful to remark, in order to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun. Its very name — Bethlehem, i.e., House of Bread — indicates its fertility. And therefore the famine which drove Elimelech from Bethlehem must have been extraordinarily protracted and severe; even the most wealthy and fertile parts of the land must have been consumed by drought: there was no bread even in the very House of Bread. Elimelech and his household were by no means likely to be the first to feel the pinch of want, or to feel it most keenly; for he came of a good stock, of a family that stood high in the tribe of Judah, and was a man of consideration and wealth. The probability is that he was rich in flocks and herds, a sheep-master such as Bethlehem has constantly produced, and that it was to find pastures for his famishing flocks that he went to sojourn in Moab. (S)
He, and his wife, and his two sonsThe names are thoroughly Jewish, and are rich in meaning. Elimelech was a grand name for a pious man; it means, "My God is King." The mother is called Naomi, "the gracious" or "sweetness." Mahlon means "weakly," and Chilion, "pining" or "wasting," referring probably to their bodily condition; for as they both died young it is possible they were ailing from their birth. But it is noteworthy that in those olden times parents were accustomed to give their children names according to some peculiarity in their circumstances, or in the fond hope that the special virtue implied in the name might be developed in after-life. Isaac's firstborn is Esau, because of the redness of his skin. Moses in exile calls his son Gershom, "For," he said, "I have been a stranger in a strange land." The custom is dying out in these modern times. Parents give children names without inquiring the meaning; the sound is more to them than the sense. But there may be more involved, for good or evil, in the old custom than we suppose. Shakespeare asks, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." True, but as an American writer points out, "The influence of names in the formation of character is probably much greater than is usually imagined, and deserves the special attention of parents in their bestowment. Children should be taught that the circumstances of their bearing the names of good men or women who have lived before them constitutes an obligation upon them to imitate or perpetuate their virtues." It does not follow that the desired result will be obtained, yet it may be an influence; and at least the name, when contrasted with the life, will be a constant rebuke.
PeopleChilion, Elimelech, Ephrathites, Mahlon, Mara, Naomi, Orpah, Ruth
TopicsBethlehem, Beth-lehem, Bethlehemjudah, Bethlehem-judah, Beth-lehem-judah, Dwell, Famine, Field, Fields, Governed, Judah, Judged, Judges, Judging, Living-place, Moab, Pass, Ruled, Sojourn, Sons, Wife
Outline1. Elimelech, driven by famine into Moab, dies there
4. Mahlon and Chilion, having married wives of Moab, die also
6. Naomi, returning homeward
8. dissuades her two daughters-in-law from going with her
14. Orpah leaves her, but Ruth with great constancy accompanies her
19. The two come to Bethlehem, where they are gladly received
Dictionary of Bible ThemesRuth 1:1
4823 famine, physical
LibraryA Gentle Heroine, a Gentile Convert
'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: 17. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. 19. So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly
DO not mistake me, I do not say that of their own nature the worst things are good, for they are a fruit of the curse; but though they are naturally evil, yet the wise overruling hand of God disposing and sanctifying them, they are morally good. As the elements, though of contrary qualities, yet God has so tempered them, that they all work in a harmonious manner for the good of the universe. Or as in a watch, the wheels seem to move contrary one to another, but all carry on the motions of the watch: …
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial
Bands of Love
P. G. Ruth i. 16, 17 A homeless Stranger amongst us came To this land of death and mourning; He walked in a path of sorrow and shame, Through insult, and hate, and scorning. A Man of sorrows, of toil and tears, An outcast Man and a lonely; But He looked on me, and through endless years Him must I love--Him only. Then from this sad and sorrowful land, From this land of tears He departed; But the light of His eyes and the touch of His hand Had left me broken-hearted. And I clave to Him as He turned …
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others
What is Thy Beloved, More than Another Beloved, O Thou Fairest among Women! what is Thy Beloved, More than Another Beloved, that Thou Dost So Charge Us?
The daughters of Jerusalem do not cease to call her the fairest among women, because her most painful wounds are hidden, and those which are exposed even add lustre to her beauty. They are astonished at beholding a love so strong, so constant and so faithful in the midst of so many disasters. They inquire, Who is this Well-beloved? For, say they, He must be of unequalled attraction, thus to engage His Spouse; for though these souls are spiritual, they are not yet sufficiently advanced to comprehend …
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon
Whether the Old Law Set Forth Suitable Precepts About the Members of the Household?
Objection 1: It would seem that the Old Law set forth unsuitable precepts about the members of the household. For a slave "is in every respect his master's property," as the Philosopher states (Polit. i, 2). But that which is a man's property should be his always. Therefore it was unfitting for the Law to command (Ex. 21:2) that slaves should "go out free" in the seventh year. Objection 2: Further, a slave is his master's property, just as an animal, e.g. an ass or an ox. But it is commanded (Dt. …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Epistle xxxii. To Narses the Patrician.
To Narses the Patrician. Gregory to Narses, &c. Your most sweet Charity has said much to me in your letters in praise of my good deeds, to all which I briefly reply, Call me not Noemi, that is beautiful; but call me Mara, that is bitter; for I am full of bitterness (Ruth i. 20). But as to the cause of the presbyters  , which is pending with my brother and fellow-bishop, the most reverend Patriarch John, we have, as I think, for our adversary the very man whom you assert to be desirous of observing …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
Epistle cxxi. To Leander, Bishop of Hispalis (Seville).
To Leander, Bishop of Hispalis (Seville). Gregory to Leander, Bishop of Spain. I have the epistle of thy Holiness, written with the pen of charity alone. For what the tongue transferred to the paper had got its tincture from the heart. Good and wise men were present when it was read, and at once their bowels were stirred with emotion. Everyone began to seize thee in his heart with the hand of love, for that in that epistle the sweetness of thy disposition was not to be heard, but seen. All severally …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
THE IMAGE OF GOD. MAN is God's image, and to curse wickedly the image of God, is to curse God himself. Suppose that a man should say with his mouth, I wish that the king's picture were burned; would not this man's so saying render him as an enemy to the person of the king? Even so it is with them that by cursing wish evil to their neighbors or themselves; they contemn the image of God himself. This world, as it dropped from the fingers of God, was far more glorious than it is now. VALUE OF THE SOUL. …
John Bunyan—The Riches of Bunyan
Epistle vi. To Narses, Patrician .
To Narses, Patrician  . Gregory to Narses, &c. In describing loftily the sweetness of contemplation, you have renewed the groans of my fallen state, since I hear what I have lost inwardly while mounting outwardly, though undeserving, to the topmost height of rule. Know then that I am stricken with so great sorrow that I can scarcely speak; for the dark shades of grief block up the eyes of my soul. Whatever is beheld is sad, whatever is thought delightful appears to my heart lamentable. For …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient, …
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews
Departure from Ireland. Death and Burial at Clairvaux.
[Sidenote: 1148, May (?)] 67. (30). Being asked once, in what place, if a choice were given him, he would prefer to spend his last day--for on this subject the brothers used to ask one another what place each would select for himself--he hesitated, and made no reply. But when they insisted, he said, "If I take my departure hence I shall do so nowhere more gladly than whence I may rise together with our Apostle"--he referred to St. Patrick; "but if it behoves me to make a pilgrimage, and …
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh
Place of Jesus in the History of the World.
The great event of the History of the world is the revolution by which the noblest portions of humanity have passed from the ancient religions, comprised under the vague name of Paganism, to a religion founded on the Divine Unity, the Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Son of God. It has taken nearly a thousand years to accomplish this conversion. The new religion had itself taken at least three hundred years in its formation. But the origin of the revolution in question with which we have to do …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
Christ the Mediator of the Covenant
'Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant,' &c. Heb 12:24. Jesus Christ is the sum and quintessence of the gospel; the wonder of angels; the joy and triumph of saints. The name of Christ is sweet, it is as music in the ear, honey in the mouth, and a cordial at the heart. I shall waive the context, and only speak of that which concerns our present purpose. Having discoursed of the covenant of grace, I shall speak now of the Mediator of the covenant, and the restorer of lapsed sinners, Jesus the Mediator …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
Appendix xii. The Baptism of Proselytes
ONLY those who have made study of it can have any idea how large, and sometimes bewildering, is the literature on the subject of Jewish Proselytes and their Baptism. Our present remarks will be confined to the Baptism of Proselytes. 1. Generally, as regards proselytes (Gerim) we have to distinguish between the Ger ha-Shaar (proselyte of the gate) and Ger Toshabh (sojourner,' settled among Israel), and again the Ger hatstsedeq (proselyte of righteousness) and Ger habberith (proselyte of the covenant). …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Meditations of the Blessed State of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
Here my meditation dazzles, and my pen falls out of my hand; the one being not able to conceive, nor the other to describe, that most excellent bliss, and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. iv. 17; Rom. viii. 18)--whereof all the afflictions of this present life are not worthy--which all the elect shall with the blessed Trinity enjoy, from that time that they shall be received with Christ, as joint-heirs (Rom. viii. 17) into that everlasting kingdom of joy. Notwithstanding, we may take a scantling thereof. …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
Goethe has characterized the book of Ruth as the loveliest little idyll that tradition has transmitted to us. Whatever be its didactic purpose--and some would prefer to think that it had little or none-it is, at any rate, a wonderful prose poem, sweet, artless, and persuasive, touched with the quaintness of an older world and fresh with the scent of the harvest fields. The love--stronger than country--of Ruth for Naomi, the gracious figure of Boaz as he moves about the fields with a word of blessing …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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