Ruth 1:8
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you to your mother's home. May the LORD show you loving devotion, as you have shown to your dead and to me.
Behaviour in the Light of DeathG. Lawson.Ruth 1:8
BenedictionsW.M. Statham Ruth 1:8
KindnessJ.R. Thomson Ruth 1:8
Kindness to the DepartedT. Fuller, B. D.Ruth 1:8
Naomi's Prayer for Her Daughters-In-LawR. Bernard.Ruth 1:8
Showing Kindness to the DeadA. Thomson, D. D.Ruth 1:8
The Benedictions of LifeW. M. Statham.Ruth 1:8
The Lord Knows Best What Others have Been to UsW.M. Statham Ruth 1:8

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.

The Lord deal kindly with you.

II. THAT AT PARTING FRIENDS ARE TO PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, as we may see the practice of it in Isaac (Genesis 28:1, 3); Laban (Genesis 31:55); Jacob (Genesis 43:14); and in Paul (Acts 20:36).


IV. THAT CHILDREN SHOULD SO WELL DESERVE OF PARENTS, yea, though but parents-in-law, AS THEY MAY BE MOVED HEARTILY TO PRAY FOR THEM, as Naomi doth in this place. A good carriage is a duty towards all, then much more to parents; and the prayers of parents is a means to put a blessing upon their children.


(R. Bernard.)

The key-note of all I have to say is in that word "kindly." The argument is this. We can understand kindness in the sphere of the human, and rise from that to a prayer for the Divine kindness. No society in any age can be cemented together by force alone. Feudalism, for instance, in olden times, was not all terror. The baron could command his dependents in time of war, as he fed and housed and clothed them in times of peace; but, as the old chroniclers tell us, there was often a rare hospitality, a hearty cheerfulness, a chivalrous affection in the somewhat stern relationship.

I. THE LORD KNOWS BEST WHAT KINDNESS IS. The Lord deal kindly with you. Has He been kind? At times we should have been tempted to answer, No! The vine is blighted, the fig-tree withered, the locusts have spoiled the green of spring. Kindly? Yes, we shall answer one time when we stand in our lot at the end of days. For kindness is not indulgence. God's kindness to us may take forms which surprise us. At the heart of His severest judgments there is mercy, in the bitter spring there is healing water. The kindest things God has ever done for us have been, perhaps, the strangest and severest. So it was with Daniel and Jacob and Joseph and Abraham, our father. All God's ways are done in truth, and truth is always kindness.

II. THE LORD KNOWS BEST WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN TO US. "As you have dealt with the dead and me." It is a touching little sentence. The dead. So silent now. Never to come back, for us to touch imperfectness into riper good. Gone! What a word of vacancy, and silence, and subtle mystery! Is it strange we should wish well to those who were kind to the dead? And Naomi links her own being with them still: "The dead and me." And with true hearts they never can be dissociated. Anniversaries of remembrance make our separations no more distant. They soften them. They give place for comforting remembrances: but the dead are near as ever. "The dead and me!" Who shall separate? None. Christ died, yea, rather is risen again, and He will raise us up together to the heavenly places.

III. THE LORD ALONE WILL BE WITH US ALL THROUGH OUR FUTURE PILGRIMAGE. Apart from Divine power, which we have not to bless with, there is Divine presence which we all need. Christ will be with us to the end. Never will come a battle, a temptation, a solitude, a sorrow, a needful sacrifice, but the Lord will be at hand.

IV. THE LORD HAS GIVEN US GUARANTEES OF HIS KINDNESS. We are not left to meditate on rain and fruitful seasons only. Not the green of spring, nor the south wind of summer, nor the gold of autumn alone proclaim His goodness.(W. M. Statham.)

As ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
Let us inquire how many things a dying godly man leaves behind him in this world. His soul is sent before him (Revelation 14:13). He leaveth behind him —

I. His BODY, to which we must be kind, by burial and lamentation.

II. His ESTATE, to which we must be kind, by careful and faithful administration.

III. His CHILDREN, FRIENDS, or KINDRED, to whom we must be kind, by love and affection.

IV. His FAULTS and FAILINGS, to which we must be kind, by silence and suppression.

V. His MEMORY and VIRTUES, to which we must be kind, by congratulation, commemoration, and imitation.

(T. Fuller, B. D.)

You know not, husbands and wives, how long you may dwell together. Death may soon come, and will doubtless, sooner or later, come and tear away the one of you from the other. When that event shall take place, how will you wish to have behaved? Behave at present as you would then wish to have behaved, for then you will not be able to bring back the present time. Many great miracles have been wrought by the power of God, but it never did, nor ever will, recall the time that is past. How comfortable was it to Orpah and Ruth to hear Naomi say, "Ye have dealt kindly with the dead!" And how comfortable was the reflection to them through life that she had reason to give them this commendation!

(G. Lawson.)

It was much to be able to say this, when we consider how difficult the discharge of the duties of law-relationship often is, and how apt it is to be judged with suspicion and severity even when it is well done. The fact has been noticed long ago in the pages of many a Greek and Roman satirist. But Naomi was not aware, when she spoke this generous tribute, how very much their conduct had been the result of her own. She had won the confidence and veneration of their young hearts by her unselfishness, her forbearance, her charitable judgments, her holy consistency, and her discretion. We often make for ourselves the beds we are to lie upon, and we may be certain that there would be more Ruths in the world if there were more Naomis. But how blessed when it can thus be said of us, that we have dealt kindly with the dead"! We should make it our habitual and earnest aim so to behave ourselves towards our kindred that, should we be called to stand beside their open graves, this would be the testimony of others and of our own consciences. But we must not forget that there is an important sense in which we may prove our undying love for the dead by our kindness to the living. Those two young widows expressed their affection for their departed husbands by their thoughtful attentions to Naomi. They loved her for her own sake, but they loved her doubly for their sakes. Religion, indeed, warrants us to think of our friends beyond the grave as still living, though absent. David's nobly generous spirit rejoiced that he could still reach his departed Jonathan in lavishing respect and kindness upon Jonathan's only surviving son, Mephibosheth. And this sentiment reaches its highest possible point of sublimity, and becomes, as it were, transfigured, when we show kindness to another because he belongs to Christ. In this way we can still reach Him in His members, and anoint His blessed feet with our precious ointment and wash them with our tears. That poor sufferer whom you relieved by your benefactions and soothed by your sympathy was a disguised Christ. Even the cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple is to be remembered by Him on another day.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

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