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Highlights of Ruth 1-4 - Theocratic Ministry School

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Bible reading: Ruth 1-4 (8 min.)


(Ruth 1:1)

Now in the days when the judges administered justice, a famine occurred in the land; and a man went from Beth′le•hem in Judah to reside as a foreigner in the fields of Mo′ab, he along with his wife and his two sons.

*** ia chap. 4 pp. 33-35 pars. 4-5 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
4 Ruth grew up in Moab, a small country that lay to the east of the Dead Sea. The region consisted mostly of high, sparsely wooded tablelands cut through by deep ravines. “The fields of Moab” often proved to be fertile farmland, even when famine stalked Israel. That, in fact, was why Ruth first came into contact with Mahlon and his family.—Ruth 1:1.
5 A famine in Israel had convinced Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, that he must move his wife and two sons away from their homeland and take up living in Moab as aliens. The move must have presented challenges to the faith of each family member, for Israelites needed to worship regularly at the sacred place Jehovah had designated. (Deut. 16:16, 17)

*** w12 7/1 p. 23 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
Ruth grew up in Moab, a small country that lay to the east of the Dead Sea. The region consisted mostly of high, sparsely wooded tablelands cut through by deep ravines. “The fields of Moab” often proved to be fertile farmland, even when famine stalked Israel. That, in fact, was why Ruth first came into contact with Mahlon and his family.—Ruth 1:1.
A famine in Israel convinced Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, that he must move his wife and two sons away from their homeland and take up living in Moab as aliens. The move must have presented challenges to the faith of each family member, for Israelites needed to worship regularly at the sacred place Jehovah designated. (Deuteronomy 16:16, 17)

(Ruth 1:4)

The men later married Mo′ab•ite women; one was named Or′pah, and the other was named Ruth. They remained there for about ten years.

*** ia chap. 4 p. 35 pars. 6-7 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
6 Naomi might well have suffered again later when her sons married Moabite women. (Ruth 1:4)
She knew that her nation’s forefather, Abraham, went to great lengths to procure a wife for his son, Isaac, from among his own people, who worshipped Jehovah. (Gen. 24:3, 4) Later, the Mosaic Law warned the Israelites not to let their sons and daughters marry foreigners, for fear that God’s people would be led into idolatry.—Deut. 7:3, 4.
7 Nevertheless, Mahlon and Chilion married Moabite women. If Naomi was concerned or disappointed, she evidently made sure that she showed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, genuine kindness and love. Perhaps she hoped that they too would someday come to worship Jehovah as she did. At any rate, both Ruth and Orpah were fond of Naomi.

*** w12 7/1 pp. 23-24 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
She might well have suffered again later when her sons married Moabite women.
(Ruth 1:4)
Naomi knew that her nation’s forefather, Abraham, went to great lengths to procure a wife for his son, Isaac, among his own people, who worshipped Jehovah. (Genesis 24:3, 4) Later, the Mosaic Law warned the Israelites not to let their sons and daughters marry foreigners, for fear that God’s people would be led into idolatry.—Deuteronomy 7:3, 4.
Nevertheless, Mahlon and Chilion married Moabite women. If Naomi was concerned or disappointed, she evidently made sure that she showed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, genuine kindness and love. Perhaps she hoped that they too would someday come to worship Jehovah as she did. At any rate, both Ruth and Orpah were fond of Naomi.

(Ruth 1:5)

Then the two sons, Mah′lon and Chil′i•on, also died, and the woman was left without her two children and her husband.

*** ia chap. 4 pp. 35-36 pars. 7-8 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
At any rate, both Ruth and Orpah were fond of Naomi. That good relationship helped them when tragedy struck. Before either of the young women had borne children, both became widows.—Ruth 1:5.
8 Did Ruth’s religious background prepare her for such a tragedy? It is hard to see how it could have. The Moabites worshipped many gods, the chief among them being Chemosh. (Num. 21:29) It seems that the Moabite religion was not exempt from the brutality and horrors common in those times, including the sacrifice of children. Anything Ruth learned from Mahlon or Naomi about the loving and merciful God of Israel, Jehovah, surely struck her as a marked contrast. Jehovah ruled through love, not terror. (Read Deuteronomy 6:5.) In the wake of her devastating loss, Ruth may have drawn even closer to Naomi and listened willingly to the older woman as she spoke about the almighty God, Jehovah, his wonderful works, and the loving, merciful way he dealt with his people.

*** w12 7/1 pp. 24-25 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
At any rate, both Ruth and Orpah were fond of Naomi. The good relationship they had helped them when tragedy struck. Before either of the young women had borne children, both became widows.—Ruth 1:5.
Did Ruth’s religious background prepare her for such a tragedy? It is hard to see how it could have. The Moabites worshipped many gods, the chief among them being Chemosh. (Numbers 21:29) It seems that the Moabite religion was not exempt from the brutality and horrors common in those times, including the sacrifice of children. Anything Ruth learned from Mahlon or Naomi about the loving and merciful God of Israel, Jehovah, surely struck her as a marked contrast. Jehovah ruled through love, not terror! (Deuteronomy 6:5) In the wake of her devastating loss, Ruth may have drawn even closer to Naomi and listened willingly to the older woman as she spoke about the almighty God, Jehovah, his wonderful works, and the loving, merciful way he dealt with his people.

*** w09 2/1 p. 14 What Is in a Name? ***
Names were sometimes given or taken in harmony with the physical characteristics of the person. For instance, Isaac and Rebekah had a son who was born with red hair as thick as a wool garment, so they named him Esau. Why? In Hebrew that name means “Hairy.” (Genesis 25:25) As noted in the book of Ruth, Naomi had two sons. One was named Mahlon, meaning “Sickly, Invalid,” and the other Chilion, meaning “Frailty.” Whether these names were given at birth or later is not stated, but they seem to be fitting, given the early demise of these two young men.—Ruth 1:5.

(Ruth 1:6)

So she started out with her daughters-in-law to return from the fields of Mo′ab, for she had heard in Mo′ab that Jehovah had turned his attention to his people by giving them food.

*** ia chap. 4 p. 36 par. 9 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
9 Naomi, for her part, was eager for news of her homeland. One day she heard, perhaps from a traveling merchant, that the famine in Israel was over. Jehovah had turned his attention to his people. Bethlehem was again living up to its name, which means “House of Bread.” Naomi decided to return home.—Ruth 1:6.

*** w12 7/1 p. 25 “Where You Go I Shall Go” ***
Naomi, for her part, was eager for news of her homeland. One day she heard, perhaps from a traveling merchant, that the famine in Israel was over. Jehovah had turned his attention to his people. Bethlehem was again living up to its name, which means “House of Bread.” Naomi decided to return home.—Ruth 1:6.

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