1:1 “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 Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
The book of Ruth opens with adversity. A man from Bethlehem called Elimelech moved to Moab because of a famine in the Israel. While in Moab, all the male members of a family die. The issue revolves around what will happen to the women left behind.
1:1Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled,
The days of Ruth were the times of the Judges. These were the days when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 18:11; 19:1; 21:25). This was a time of unbelief and rebellion against God. It was a period of oppression, anarchy, apostasy, moral decline, and turbulence in Israel (1250-1050 BC). The time frame was between the death of Joshua and the crowning of Saul.
that there was a famine in the land.
Famine in Bethlehem precipitated the events of Ruth. Famines were means of God’s discipline of Israel (Le 26:18-20; Dt 28:15,23-24). God disciplined the people in the period of the judges (Judges 2:10-19). The Israelites worshipped Baal and Ashtoreth. Baal was believed to be in control of crops which related to famine. Sexual intercourse between Baal and Ashtoreth (female god) was supposed to produce fertile land. Thus, divine control of crops is a major issue in the book of Ruth.
Midianite oppression of Israel for seven years by invasions caused famine to come upon the land. This famine was divine discipline upon the nation Israel for her unfaithfulness.
And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah,
Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, was a landowner in Bethlehem (5 miles south of Jerusalem) who fell on hard times financially. The idea that he was from an insignificant town called Bethlehem is noteworthy because the first king of Israel will come from Bethlehem. Jesus was a descendant of David and was born in Bethlehem.
went to dwell in the country of Moab,
The Moabites descended from Lot (Ge 19:27), thus, they were distant relatives of Israel. This is where Elimelech waited out the famine. His brother Boaz did not go to Moab.
he and his wife and his two sons.
The move to Moab was a foreboding event. Elimelech left the land of promise across to the east side of the Jordan River. Moab was on the east side of the Dead Sea.
We can run from our problems but we cannot hide from them.
People who run from their problems never fully face the realities of their lives. They cannot resolve their problems if they do not deal with them.
i thank god for a place where i can look to have real understanding of Gods holy words. i pray the holy spirit to teach me more as i get better understanding of gods word.
Good stuff for houswives to educate…. Bless you!!
The bible is silent on this but I believe Elimelech who’s name means(God is King or my King is God)left bethlehem because of the famine and the Godless ways of his community. Biblical names describe the persons chacter and Elimelech speaks volumes,the main reason for the family to go to moab was for naomi to bring back ruth and ruth to marry boaz and become a descendent of King David and ultimately Jesus the Messiah according to God’s soverign plan.I don’t believe the family was wrong in leaving bethlehem for moab until the famine was over.
James, I think this commentary agrees with your point.
On the issue of names; I think names have significance is some situations (such as Jesus meaning savior) but it is overdone by some.
Thank you Bro. Grant for so precisely presenting the historical facts during the regime of Judges. In fact it helped me a lot to prepare for my women 's ministry . I am so blessed to go through the chapters and its interpretation. It is giving me a clear understanding about Ruth chapters. Recently , you celebrated your B'day, I pray may God bless you more & more…
Good to hear from you Sonu. It will be a blessing to fellowship with you and Monoj in the fall again.
Here is a Thanksgiving Blessing Poem I hope you enjoy it and it blesses your day.
God loves you
I know that to be true
He always thinks about you
He takes care of you when you have the flu
He makes you happy when you feel blue
That is why I thank God and why you should too
Now I’ll try to tell you
He helps us all the time
Even when we ball and cry
He helps us anyways
Even on our darkest days
I know this poem is sorta long
but bear with me and stay along
Give thanks in all you do
Even while we eat this delicious food
So, Lord, we thank you in all you do
For Christ knew the horrible things we’d do
Thanksgiving is so much fun!
I am thankful God sent is his one and only son
Jesus knew he would die
and his mother would cry
I’m so grateful Jesus died
Even though the Jewish leaders were hateful at the time
Jesus did not hold a grudge
Nor would he budge to save himself
He died so all us sinners
Could one day become winners
That is why we should be that thankful Jesus died
We love you and we are thankful for you Jesus
And I know that to be true