Verse 1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judgesruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
Verse 2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
The Rabbins say, that Elimelech was the son of Salmon, who married Rahab; and that Naomi was his niece.
It is imagined, and not without probability, that Mahlon and Chilion are the same with Joash and Saraph, mentioned in 1 Ch 4:22.
Verse 6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
Verse 11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
This alludes to the custom that when a married brother died, without leaving posterity, his brother should take his widow; and the children of such marriages were accounted those of the deceased brother. This address of Naomi to her daughter-in-law is exceedingly tender, persuasive, and affecting.
Verse 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
Heb. hope. it grieveth me much. Heb. I have much bitterness. the hand.
The LXX. add, [kai epestrepsen eis ton laon autes] "and returned to her own people." The Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic are to the same purpose. It seems a very natural addition, and agrees with the assertion in the next verse; and is accordingly adopted by Houbigant as a part of the text.
Verse 16 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:
A more perfect surrender of friendly feelings to a friend was never made. This was a most extraordinary and disinterested attachment.