Ruth 1:16

For simple pathos and unstudied eloquence, this language is unsurpassed. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." Here is the fervent outpouring of a true heart. Love and resolution are at their height. Thousands of human souls have expressed their mutual attachment in these words. They are not words of extravagance or of passion, but of feeling, of principle, of a fixed and changeless mind. Constancy must be admired, even by the inconstant.


1. Early associations and friendships would have tied her to Moab.

2. The entreaty of Naomi that she would return set her perfectly free to do so, if she had been disposed.

3. The example of her sister-in-law, Orpah, could not but have some weight. Orpah had been, like Ruth, kind alike to the living and the dead, yet she wept, kissed her mother-in-law, and returned.

4. The religion of her childhood could scarcely have been without attractions for her. Could she leave the temples, the deities, the observances of her earliest days behind?


1. She would go with Naomi, though by an unknown route.

2. She would dwell with Naomi, though in an unknown home.

3. She would die with Naomi, though to be buried in an unknown grave.


1. Apparent from the resolution - "Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."

2. Apparent from the adjuration she employed - "The Lord do so," etc.


1. Her fidelity and devotion were reciprocated by Naomi.

2. In the providence of God Ruth was rewarded by an honorable position and a happy life. - T.

Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return.
Sermons by the Monday Club.
I. EVERY PERSON IS TESTED. Sooner or later, but certainly. The tests will vary in severity with the cases. In every case they will be conclusive, determining the genuineness of the life professed. They cannot be evaded. If one is for Christ, he will continue with Him. The test of God cannot be too severe. The true follower cannot be driven away. To the strongest appeals he replies: "Lord, to whom shall I go?"

II. WHEN TESTED, AN ORPAH WILL GO BACK. Why should she leave so much for so little? Naomi was only her mother-in-law. There was her own mother standing and beckoning in the doorway of the old home. She was not only leaving home and country, she was leaving her God. With much depth of feeling, there was not depth enough to bind her heart.

III. A RUTH, WHEN TESTED, GOES ON. What is the difference between her and Orpah, leading to this different conduct?

1. Her devotion to Naomi. She was less impulsive, perhaps, than her sister, but hers was a love which bore testing. The Greeks and Latins, among their fine discriminations, distinguished between the emotional love of feeling and the intelligent love of choice. Orpah's love was the former; that of Ruth was the love of choice. It grew out of careful reflection. It was a deep, undying attachment.

2. The religious foundation of her conduct. This is a trait, if not wholly wanting in her sister, too weak for any mention — a trait beside which Ruth's exceeding love is wholly secondary. Ruth had chosen her mother's God.

3. Her resolute exercise of will. She was moved by Naomi's appeals. She thought anew of what she was leaving. She heard tender voices calling her, of the living, of the dead: "Come back, come back." Her heart began to yield. When Orpah returned, she could scarcely resist the impulse to go with her. Then "she strengthened herself." She summoned her soul. She put forth a supreme exercise of will.

IV. RUTH RECEIVED HER REWARD. She became an ancestress of the world's Redeemer.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

All the elements of a true choice of God are here described.

1. It involves the surrender of a false belief. This quiet scene may be placed beside that on Carmel. Ruth's decision is mightier in its gentleness than Israel's in its terror. In manner the two are as unlike as the dawn to the earthquake; in results as the clear ray of a planet to the flash of a meteor. In essence they are the same. Our false god has no repulsive name, such as Baal or Chemosh; its real title is self, its worship sin, its wages death. It must be surrendered.

2. True choice of God involves sacrifice. To start out with Naomi meant not pleasantness, but bitterness. Ruth followed, as she thought, to loneliness, homelessness, perpetual widowhood; against the desire of those she left, without the wish of those to whom she was going; ready to work, to beg, to die if need be, for the one who stood to her as representing God. To-day, Canaan in the Church welcomes even Moab to its circle. Earthly advantages are largely on its side. But a cross seems to wait somewhere in the way, if only that sore surrender of pride and pleasure and will which prompt the soul's real refusal.

3. God sends help to a right choice. Providences both of joy and of sorrow; attractions and repulsions of heart; subtle influences of companionship; favour and famine; marriage and mourning; our life is one long plea for Him.

4. A decision is forced. Somewhere in the way comes a test. On either side example, desire, promise; we must hold to the one and forsake the other.

5. Right decision has its great rewards. What Ruth feared proved only unsuspected blessings. Losing her life, she found it. Bishop Hall exclaims: "Oh, the sure and beautiful payment of the Almighty! Who ever forsook the Moab of this world for the true Israel, and did not at length rejoice in the change?"

(Charles M. Southgate.)

It is the difference between feeling and principle in religion, between emotion and consecration, kissing and cleaving.

I. EMOTION HAS ITS LARGE APPOINTED PLACE IN LIFE. It is the colour and fragrance of the soul's world. It gives both impulse and reward to action. Emotion has great play in religion. God appeals to it. The character of God is so presented as to excite our emotions. We tremble at His awfulness, adore His greatness. The story of Christ's life and death has power to move us beyond all else. The insensible heart is usually a selfish heart. But —

II. EMOTION WILL NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF CONSECRATION. Here distinguish between sensuous and spiritual impressions. There is a peace, a rapture, which the Spirit breathes into the believing soul, the promised manifestation of Christ to him "that hath My commandments and keepeth them." This is the reward of obedience, not its substitute; is not of nature, but of grace. No degree of feeling about religious things is religion. Natural fondness toward God, as toward parents, may be the mere delight of an emotional nature, a snare to the soul and an affront to Him. What joy to Christ that eyes which overflow for a novel or a play should moisten at the story of Calvary? There is need of searchings of heart and stings of conscience in unsuspected places. Orpah and Ruth feel alike, love alike, but part for ever at the test of following.

III. THE TRUE OFFICE OF EMOTION IS TO DRAW TO CONSECRATION. Feeling is for the sake of following. The Church has still no realm of mightier influence than a consecrated home. The heaviest condemnation of many in the day of judgment will be that they resisted the influences and withstood the prayers of a godly home.

IV. CHOOSING GOD IS PROVED BY CHOOSING, GOD'S PEOPLE. The world estimates our relation to Christ by our relation to His followers. Yet it often seems as if men must be twice converted, first to Christ, and again to His Church. Do not let this woman's devotion shame us. She gave up, literally, all her world for God. True devotion to Christ turns to His Church with Ruth's matchless consecration.

(Charles M. Southgate.)

1. An impulsive religion is not always real religion; nay, is very often the reverse. Better, far better, to be quiet and undemonstrative like Ruth, and to have the root of the matter in us, than to be impulsive and demonstrative like Orpah, and in the hour of trial to fail. A straw will show in what direction the stream is flowing. Ask yourself, "How do I act in little things? Is self habitually postponed to God? And this because the Lord is my joy?"

2. The importance of (nay, the necessity for) an entire surrender of ourselves to God, if we would be Christians indeed. Let us ask ourselves, "Is it thus with me and the Saviour? Have I thus taken Christ to be mine? Do I thus cleave to Him? Is He supreme in my affections?"

3. The choice which we have been considering must be made with the full determination to abide by it, come weal or come woe, for ever.

(Aubrey C. Price, B. A.)

It must have been a severe trial to Ruth's constancy when she beheld her sister-in-law, who had probably been the companion of her youth and the friend of her early widowhood, turning away back to Moab and its idol-gods and leaving her alone with Naomi; for we are greatly influenced for good or for evil by sympathy and numbers. And had her steadfastness now depended on her human relations and affections alone, and had her heart not stricken down and rooted itself in something that was Divine, she would in all likelihood have returned after her sister-in-law. When one flower in a garden is pulled up, it loosens the hold of all the other flowers near it, unless they are much more deeply rooted. And Naomi's words seemed to give a voice to this temptation: "Behold, thy sister-in-law has gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law." This was like giving an increased momentum to the stroke, or feathering the arrow and driving it to its mark. But let us not misunderstand the venerable woman in her yearning interest and disguised love. There was a hidden harmony between her treatment of Ruth and the rule to deal gently with young converts as you would do with the early spring blossom or with the new-born child. But she dreaded a choice made from mere temporary impulse or secondary motives. The cable that is to connect the ship with the anchor needs to be tested in every strand or link. One weak point makes all weak, and may be the occasion of death to thousands. Suppose Ruth to go on to Bethlehem-judah, to be brought face to face with the stern realities of penury, and then to regret her choice and to steal away back to Moab, would not the most sacred interests suffer the most? Here, then, was her "valley of decision." Naomi had anticipated the maxim, "Try before you trust"; but she was equally ready to obey the other part of it, "Trust after you have tried."

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

Whither thou goest, I will go;... thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
1. That private families are as much under the providence of God as the houses of kings.

2. That whilst religion does not secure from the ordinary trials of life, it does secure their being overruled for good.

3. That a devout committal of our being to God in His providence will never fail of its reward. In the text we have —


1. The true in society.

2. The true in worship.


1. Naomi represented her country, and her people, and her God, to Ruth.

2. The representation which Naomi gave was most attractive.

(1)Every man's conduct is a reflection both of his companions and his God.

(2)Heathens are able to identify our companions and our God.

(3)We may give such a view of both as will draw them into our circle.


1. This force triumphed over all old associations.

2. This force overcame all the pleadings of Naomi.

3. This force changed her social condition and her destiny.Away with the dogma that man is the creature of circumstances! The soul is a mariner that can so pilot her barque as to make the most hostile winds waft her to the shores on which her heart is set. She is an eagle that can rise above the darkest thundercloud of circumstances, and bask in sunlight, whilst that cloud spends itself in wild tempests beneath her buoyant wing.



II. THE EXTENT OF HER DECISION. It comprehends the sum of all her actions, and reaches to the utmost limit of her existence. Profession without principle is nothing.

III. THE FELICITY OF HER DECISION. There is no substantial happiness apart from real religion. Application:

1. Are we Christians? Then we have each a soul to save — a God to serve.

2. Are we yet undecided? Ruth is our pattern.

3. Are we indifferent? Then we resemble Orpah, Ruth's sister-in-law.

(F. Ellaby, B. A.)

1. It was an humble choice. She has nothing to offer but herself. She affects not to bring anything which can make her of any worth. She pleads only for permission to be to Naomi in her future life all that affection and fidelity can make her. She has nothing else to offer. It matters not in what condition of life the child of earth was born, when the Holy Spirit brings her heart to Jesus she comes as a beggar. Parents and sisters may say she has been always the light and comfort of the household. They are ready to think she has never sinned. And yet she feels the burden of guilt, and weeps, and prays over the remembrance of her foolish, wasted life. The preciousness of the faithful saying, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, is her only comfort. The assurance that the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost is her single encouragement and support.

2. It was an affectionate choice. Her heart is with Naomi. Her desires all reach forward to the land to which Naomi journeys, and thither, on whatever terms, she must and she will go. It is just such a choice to which the Saviour would lead you all." My daughter, give Me thy heart," is His tender appeal to you. And our youthful, spiritual traveller freely and affectionately responds, "I give my heart to Thee; Thy face will I seek; hide not Thy face from me." Her choice is of the Saviour, because she really loves Him. Infinite attractions are gathered around Him. His service seems to her all that she can desire.

3. Ruth's choice was an entire one. There was no hesitation in her mind about the decision she should make. She manifested no remaining love for Moab, and no lingering desire to carry something of Moab with her. And it was this entire choice which made the happiness of her future course. She made the exchange, the transfer of herself, freely, completely, and without reserve. And there was nothing left to turn her back to Moab in her possible experience hereafter. When the choice of a Saviour is thus entire, how completely it opens the way for future duty! How it settles all future discussions and difficulties with a single decision! The secret of happiness in religion is just here. Making it the entire, single choice of the heart. The troubles and difficulties in the Saviour's service habitually arise from the vain attempt to serve two masters.

4. Ruth's choice was a determined choice. Lovely and gentle as she appears, and humbly and affectionately as she pleads, there was amazing dignity and firmness in her stand. Some of the most triumphant and remarkable deaths in the history of early martyrdom for Christ are of young and tender virgins who calmly and boldly endured every conceivable torture without a moment's faltering. "I am a Christian," was their gentle but firm reply to every solicitation to recant, until, worn out with suffering, they departed to be with Christ. You may never be called to the same sorrows. But you will be always summoned to the same decision. Jesus will always require from you the same unshrinking, determined choice.

5. Ruth's choice was an instant choice. She asked no time for consideration. Her mind was made up. Her decision was settled. She staggered not in unbelief, nor wavered amidst conflicting motives. Why should we ever hesitate a moment in our acceptance of the Saviour's offers? Surely when the Lord sets before us life and death, a blessing and a curse, and bids us choose for ourselves which we will have, we require no time for consideration. It has become a mere question of personal voluntary choice. This can never be settled but by our own personal decision and act. If it is to be settled, it must be finally, in a single moment of time. Why should that moment be delayed? Why should that frank and affectionate choice be postponed? Make an instant choice. Say, "When Thou sayest, Seek ye My face, my heart replies, Thy face, Lord, will I seek." Why should any of you hesitate? All the arguments of truth, of interest, of duty, of happiness, are on one side.

(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)

Five choices Ruth made, and five choices must we all make if we ever want to get to heaven.

1. In the first place, if we want to become Christians, we must, like Ruth in the text, choose the Christian's God — a loving God; a sympathetic God; a great hearted God; an all-encompassing God; a God who flings Himself on this world in a very abandonment of everlasting affection.

2. Again, if we want to be Christians, like Ruth in the text we must take the Christian's path. "Where thou goest, I will go," cried out the beautiful Moabitess to Naomi. Dangerous promise that. There were deserts to be crossed. There were jackals that came down through the wilderness. There were bandits. There was the Dead Sea. Naomi says "Ruth, you must go back. You are too delicate to take this journey. You will give out in the first five miles. You have not the physical stamina, or the moral courage, to go with me." Ruth responds: "Mother, I am going, anyhow. If I stay in this land I will be overborne of the idolaters; if I go along with you I shall serve God. Give me that bundle. Let me carry it. I am going with you, mother, anyhow."

3. Again, if we want to become Christians, like Ruth in the text we must choose the Christian's habitation. "Where thou lodgest, will I lodge," cried Ruth to Naomi. She knew that wherever Naomi stopped, whether it were hovel or mansion, there would be a Christian home; and she wanted to be in it.

4. If we want to become Christians, like Ruth in the text we must choose Christian associations. "Thy people shall be my people!" cried out Ruth to Naomi. Oh, ye unconverted people, I know not how you can stand it down in that moping, saturnine worldly association. Come up into the sunlight of Christian society — those people for whom all things are working right now, and will work right for ever. I tell you that the sweetest japonicas grow in the Lord's garden; that the largest grapes are from the vineyards of Canaan; that the most sparkling floods break forth from the "Rock of Ages." Do not too much pity this Ruth of my text; for she is going to become joint-owner of the great harvest-fields of Boaz.

5. Once more, if we want to become Christians, we must, like Ruth in the text, choose the Christian's death and burial. She exclaimed: "Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried." I think we all, when leaving this world, would like to be surrounded by Christian influences. You would not like to have your dying pillow surrounded by caricaturists, and punsters, and wine-bibbers. How would you like to have John Leech come with his London pictorials, and Christopher North with his loose fun, and Tom Hood with his rhyming jokes, when you are dying? No, no! What we want is radiation in the last moment. Yes; Christian people on either side the bed, and Christian people at the foot of the bed, and Christian people to close my eyes, and Christian people to carry me out, and Christian people to look after those whom I leave behind, and Christian people to remember me a little while after I am gone.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. I observe that the conduct of Ruth assures us that THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TRUE-HEARTEDNESS, and thus teaches a lesson of trust in humanity. It reveals certain elements in humanity that are reliable. Much heartlessness, much frivolity and sin, will a wise and good man find as he goes about in the world, much to dissipate the rosy credulousness of his youth, and to sadden his philanthropy; but, on the other hand, something of his faith will be justified, and he will learn that, after all, there are elements in human nature worthy of our trust and our love. As the chemist finds some admixture in what seemed to be a simple element, so, doubtless, at the bottom of the purest heart lurks some particle of self, some ingredient of our earthly composition. And if one is disposed to turn a magnifying-glass upon this, it will appear enormous; if he beholds it through the lens of a sad or a foul experience, it will look grimy or distorted; or, if with nothing more than his naked eye he has a mind to notice only the evil that exists among men, he can see plenty of it, and it will look badly enough. But it is an equally correct theory of human nature, and a much more agreeable one, which admits the conviction of some moral loyalty, extant even in the obscurest places, and maintained under all trials.

II. But, having thus vindicated human nature as to the fact of true-heartedness, let us proceed to consider ITS TESTS. By what signs or expressions may we be assured of its presence? I reply that the very words of the text, the very ideas to which Ruth referred, afford a sufficient indication of these tests. For consider what these ideas, expressed in the language of Ruth, really are. They are the ideas of home, country, God, and the end of our mortal life. And are there any ideas more vital than these? Surely, if one cherishes any sacred and true thoughts at all, they must cluster around these things.

1. Home, that has sheltered and nourished you, that encloses your most secret life, that claims the first flow of your affections and their last throb.

2. Country, that organism which links your individual being to a public interest, that gives you a share in history, a pride in great names, an influence in world-wide issues, and, as a second home, inspires you with a more comprehensive loyalty.

3. The grave, which bounds all earthly action, and limits every earthly condition, that realm where distinctions of home and country melt away, the bed where all must lie, "the relentless crucible" in which rags and splendour alike dissolve, the gateway to a stupendous mystery.

4. And God, the Infinite Being to whom the instincts of our souls respond, to whom in our highest consciousness we aspire, the Source and the Interpretation of all existence, the Light that comprehends our darkness, the Strength that sustains our weakness, the Presence to which in our guilt and our adoration we lift our cry, the Nature in which we live and move and have our being — these are great realities; and it appears to me that the words of Ruth are so eloquent, and her devotion seems so great, because of the greatness of the things she spoke of. Indeed, does not this ground of thought and action constitute a grand distinction of our humanity? If in many points man is closely linked to the brute, is he not largely separated by his thoughts concerning these things, and by his action upon them? Ascribe to the animal such affections, such faculties, such power of reasoning, as we may and as we must, surely no one will claim for him such conceptions as man entertains concerning home and country and God and the limitations of his earthly lot. These are manifestations of human nature which project beyond the sphere of mere animal life, and indicate a larger scope of being. They are marks of immortality. Start with any one of these ideas, and see to what it leads. For instance, the relationships of home — is there not an argument for immortality in these? Or start from the idea of country, and is not the same conclusion unfolded? The duties, the achievements, the historical problems, that pertain to nationality, do not they suggest it? And he upon whose mind dawns some apprehension of the Infinite, he who feels assured that he holds communion with the Eternal Spirit, and presses forward towards that perfect excellence, never completely to attain, but always capable of larger attainment — surely in essence he must be imperishable. And the grave itself, dark and silent as it is, to such a conscious soul cannot seem the final barrier of existence, but only the suggestive portal of new achievements. If, then, these great realities, of which Ruth spoke, are associated with all that is deepest and noblest in our humanity, he who proves faithful to even one of these ideas, who holds it as a sacred conviction, and cherishes it with a pure love, has in him the core of true-heartedness, the ground of a principle, and a possibility in which we may trust. And permit me to add that these tests are personal and practical, tests by which we may try not so much the trueheartedness of others, for which we may have very little function, but by which each may try his own. A man can hardly ask himself a more practical question than this: "What are my thoughts, and what is my conduct, respecting home, country, God, and the limitations of my mortal life?"

III. I remark, finally, that these four ideas are not only the tests of personal true-heartedness — they also reveal THE GREAT BOND OF OUR COMMON HUMANITY. That which is common to men abides in the hearts of men, is linked with the great facts expressed in the text. They thus indicate the natural ground of human unity. And upon these ideas it is the tendency of Christianity to develop a still nobler unity.

(E. H. Chapin, D. D.)

Essex Remembrancer.

1. It is a narrow way.

2. It sometimes proves a way of affliction.

3. It is nevertheless a very pleasant way.


1. The Christian finds a sweet entertainment in communion with his God — in praising Him, which is one of the most delightful exercises of the mind; and in prayer, which is so necessary for the renewing of his spiritual strength.

2. In the Word of God he finds a delightful repast. He is made wise unto salvation.

3. In the conversation of his fellow Christians, the believer finds delightful refreshing.

4. The believer finds also times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord when he takes up his abode in the house of God. He experiences the truth of the promise," they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

III. A RESOLUTION TO CAST IN THE LOT WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Before you make a resolution so to do, count the cost, and consider the nature of the step which you propose to take.

1. The people of God have generally been a persecuted people.

2. The people of God are an afflicted people.

3. The people of God are a holy people.

4. We have said that the people of God are a persecuted and an afflicted people, but they are nevertheless a people of the best prospects, so that they are truly wise, and consult their own best interests, who cast in their lot among them.

IV. A RESOLUTION TO CHOOSE THE SERVICE OF GOD. When a sinner is truly converted from his sin he cleaves unto the Lord with purpose of heart. "Thy God shall be my God," is the resolution which he expresses to the Church of Christ; and in doing so —

1. He resolves to cast away his idols.

2. He who makes this resolution receives God in Christ as his God — God in the person of the Mediator.

3. He who chooses God for his God resolves to devote himself to the active service of God.

V. A RESOLUTION TO BE FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH. What is necessary to faithfulness unto death?

1. Begin aright.

2. Persevere as you begin, for Christ is not only the Door but the Way.Often repair to the fountain of His blood for peace; constantly resort to His throne of grace for spiritual strength; often sit at the feet of Jesus to learn the mysteries of the kingdom of God. To conclude —

1. We admire the constancy and perseverance of Ruth.

2. We learn from this passage of Scripture that we ought to be faithful to those who are inquiring the way to Zion with their faces thitherward.

3. The inquiring and anxious sinner should persevere whatever difficulties may present themselves. If the difficulties and trials of the way were tenfold, it would still be his interest as well as his duty to endure unto the end.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

That strong and brave decision on the hills of her native Moab, where she resolves to cling to her aged and sorrow-stricken mother-in-law, reveals a character of no ordinary quality. There is in her what, for want of a better phrase, I must call depth of nature. Her character is rooted in a deep, rich soil of true humanity. A woman whose whole being is on the surface, who has no hidden deeps of feeling and thought and aspiration and love — a tree decked with showy blossoms, but never hung with golden fruit — is felt to be false to her true nature and Heaven-appointed mission. Ruth reveals to us a character nourished and strengthened from the unseen depths of an affluent nature which we love to associate with woman. The shallow woman exhibits no such heroism as that of Ruth. Here, too, we discover in her that most essential characteristic of a true woman — heart. She thinks and speaks and acts like one whose inspiring life-force is a heart aglow with the fires of feeling, throbbing with the pulsations of love and beneficence; and her whole outward life is but the spontaneous outflow of this full, fresh fountain within. A nature thus endowed and animated is rich in its own resources, and bestows its abundant benefactions upon all who come within its charmed sphere. The heart is the true regulator and benefactor of life. Sometimes neither art nor intellect predominates, but the throne which the heart should occupy is held by the ungracious goddess of Stoicism — a stolid form, which no prayer can move to sympathy, and from which no loving word ever proceeds. How desolate is the nature over which either of these three false powers presides! How impoverished is every life encompassed by the chilling atmosphere of such a nature! On the other hand, how enriched are all they who breathe the genial air which surrounds one with a nature like that of Ruth, in which the heart sits queen on her rightful throne, and dispenses her regal gifts to all. Hence the importance of true heart-culture in education. The neglect of this essential part of genuine culture, and the giving of exclusive attention to the intellect is one of the most perilous tendencies of this age. Such a process may produce a Lucretia Borgia in one sphere, and a George Eliot in another; but a Madame Guyon, a Mary Lyon, and an Elizabeth Fry will seldom or never come forth to bless mankind under its false reign. It is Madame De Stael who wisely says that "life is valuable only so far as it serves for the religious education of the heart." Let us note another feature in the character of Ruth. Devoted affection like that of this young Moabitess to her aged mother-in-law deserves our highest tribute. There is an utter unselfishness in this devotion that is beautiful to con- template. A selfish, exacting, suspicious passion, misnamed love, is the curse of its possessor; a love pure and unselfish is the perpetual joy of the heart in which it glows, and of all who feel its Divine warmth. Orpah can speak loving words; Ruth can do heroic deeds. A selfish person cannot interpret unselfish love. Two hearts must be in happy accord to read the meaning of each aright. Blessed are they who can discern and feel true goodness. Blessed are those homes where true-hearted Ruths preside and Love reigns, goddess of the happy home circle. Yes, it is heart-power, and not any other force, that is most impressive and most enduring even in this unappreciative world. Courage pays its devotion at the shrine of suffering love; physical force surrenders to the higher power of the heart." Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but upon what foundations did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." We must rear monuments in human hearts, by true love and devotion to humanity, if we would live through succeeding ages. The crowning grace of Ruth's character, as it is that of every other human being, is her piety. Love to man is crowned and glorified by love to God.

(C. H. Payne, D. D.)

We have just stood at the line which separates Moab from Judah. Orpah has gone. We shall trace her course no longer. We would gladly never see her example followed by others. We must now confine ourselves to the beautiful decision and faithful choice of Ruth. She stands before us a sincere youthful convert to the Lord's service. She has decided the question for her soul by gratefully accepting the offers of a Saviour's love. She sets out upon an untried journey alone. Naomi, indeed, is with her. And her heart is affectionately bound to her mother-in-law. But Ruth has many cares, trials, and remembrances of which Naomi is not conscious. To Naomi the journey is a well-known return. To Ruth every step is untried and new. She was born in Moab. She knows nothing of Judah. Thus is it with every youthful convert. The experienced and aged Christian has much acquaintance with the way in which you go. The new-born child of grace takes every step on ground unknown and untried. This is the way in which all must go who would walk with God. "This people shall dwell alone." Each one, be the multitude ever so great, is a hidden one with God. Multitudes may be travelling in the same direction, but the feelings and experience of each are solitary. Ruth must make her decision in her own secret heart, and make it for herself alone. Her earthly friends must all be left. They are in Moab, from whence she takes now her final departure. This separation is not to be made without a trial of her faith. The more affectionate she is in her real choice, the more she will feel the separation from those whom she leaves behind. Religion cannot destroy our earthly affections, our interest in those who are dear to us in natural ties. Nay, it much increases the warmth and power of our love. This decision may often meet with much opposition from those with whom you dwell. Your dearest earthly connections may oppose. They love you. But they do not love your religion. You must follow the Lord fully though you follow Him alone among your earthly connections; and He will make those who oppose at peace with you. Be faithful to Him, and your fidelity shall be the source of increased confidence and respect, even from the worldly who appear to reject and despise you. As we trace the history of Ruth, we find her meeting with new trials of her faith and decision after she sets out alone. Orpah has gone. But still Naomi proves the spirit of Ruth. Your sister has gone back to her people and her gods. If you mean ever to go back, now is your best time to go. Remember, I have nothing to offer you. If you go with me it must be to be a partner of my griefs and wants. Thus God often proves the young disciple with new trials. He sends His east wind upon the young trees of His planting; not to weaken or destroy, but to give greater strength and endurance for the time to come. Our real conversion to Him is an hour of peace and blessedness; but it is not an end of trial. Nay, it is the very beginning of new contests; and our fidelity in the decision we have made is to be proved at once, and to be proved constantly, by new dispensations of the will of God. Be really faithful and sincere, and God will prove your faith, to strengthen, settle, and stablish you for ever. Be truly gold, and then the refiner's fire will only purify and make you bright. This faithful decision Ruth was obliged to make in the face of backsliding in others. She sees Orpah go back, yet she perseveres. When a child of the world comes out on the side of Christ, and pursues, in the midst of the evil examples of many, a course of simple, faithful devotion to the Saviour, how it honours His truth! How it strengthens His cause! How it impresses even those who oppose! How such faithfulness is owned and prospered by the Lord, to whom it is offered, in the usefulness to others of the life which is adorned by it.

(S.H.Tyng, D. D.)


1. There is the influence of companionship.

2. The influence of admiration. Let us therefore copy the saints.

3. The influence of instruction. When we learn from a teacher we are affected by him in many ways. Instruction is a kind of formation.

4. The influence of reverence. Those who are older, wiser, and better than we are create in us a profound respect, and lead us to follow their example.

5. The influence of desire to cheer them.

6. The influence of fear of separation. It will be an awful thing to be eternally divided from the dear ones who seek our salvation.


1. By the poverty of the godly and their other trials.

2. By counting the cost.

3. By the drawing back of others.

4. By the duties involved in religion. Ruth must work in the fields. Some proud people will not submit to the rules of Christ's house, nor to the regulations which govern the daily lives of believers.

5. By the apparent coldness of believers. Naomi does not persuade her to keep with her, but the reverse. She was a prudent woman, and did not wish Ruth to come with her by persuasion, but by conviction.

6. By the silent sorrow of some Christians. Naomi said, "Call me not Naomi, but call me Bitterness." Persons of a sorrowful spirit there always will be; but this must not hinder us from following the Lord.


1. This is the believer's distinguishing possession: "Thy God shall be my God."

2. His great article of belief: "I believe in God."

3. His ruler and lawgiver: "Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments" (Psalm 119:38).

4. His instructor: "Teach me Thy way, O Lord" (Psalm 28:2).

5. His trust and stay (see Ruth 2:12): "This God is our God for ever and ever, He will be our guide even unto death" (Psalm 48:14).

IV. BUT IT SHOULD INVOLVE THE CHOICE OF HIS PEOPLE: "Thy people shall be my people." They are ill spoken of by the other kingdom. Not all we could wish them to be. Not a people out of whom much is to be gained. But Jehovah is their God, and they are His people. Our eternal inheritance is part and parcel of theirs. Let us make deliberate, humble, firm, joyful, immediate choice for God and His saints; accepting their lodging in this world, and going with them whither they are going.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is not improbable that Ruth was in heart a Jewess, and that, for reasons which looked beyond the mere temporalities of life, she desired to cast in her lot with the descendants of Abraham. It may be that the religion which her mother-in-law brought with her into Moab had become the daughter's hope; and, discerning in it those elements of truth which were wanting in the faith of her own fathers, she naturally concluded that the people who were guided by its promises and commands would have power and blessing from above. When we add to this the fact that this woman was to be one in that line of generation through which passed the seed of the Shiloh, that the child yet to be born to her was to be the father of David's sire, we may see how direct is the conclusion that this heathen woman did, in her conduct, obey not merely the impulses of nature, but the influences of grace. It does not appear probable that God, having such a work for her to do, would leave her to herself; that He would trust to her unguided will and emotion the part which He designed her to act in His great scheme of love. The decision of Ruth, then, supplies us with this proposition: those who are striving to serve the Lord should cling to those who are the disciples of the same Master. The law of dependence, as it acts upon this world of human beings, and resolves itself into the other laws of influence and of sympathy, is found in all the relations of man. In itself it is a beautiful thing, this leaning of one upon another, this clasping of hand to hand in the great circle of human brotherhood, and feeling the electric spark as the touch of a single finger sends a thrill through the multitude. Man was born for this thing, even when he was born without sin; and that would be a high life where this law of sympathy was at work, with no power but the power of doing good. With us, however, the kindest laws of heaven have felt the disturbing force of sin; and sin has so perverted them that they act against their design, and in opposition to themselves. The influences, then, of one upon another may be for evil, as well as for good; the best intentions may be counteracted, and the best efforts frustrated, by those with whom we stand connected under the laws of social life. If we desire to serve God and be the sincere followers of our Lord we must break away from those who are serving other gods, and seek the companionship of those who serve the God of Israel. If, in times past, our associations have been with worldly persons, if we have moved in that circle of life where there is no God save the passions, and no law save the will, we must break out from this circle and enter another where life takes a higher form. We must surround ourselves with those whose thoughts and aims are upward, like our own, that thus our strivings may be aided, and our efforts sustained, by those with whom we have to do. This counsel touches some of the most delicate points in the social state. It enters into the family circle, and draws its lines between those who have a common interest in the things which concern the body. It sweeps through all our connections, from the highest to the lowest, and demands that everywhere, and under every form, its authority be acknowledged and its injunctions obeyed. Now, of these ties of nature, some are voluntary, and others are not. Of the latter I will not now speak; while concerning the former I have something more to say. The tie of marriage is a voluntary tie, and I here confess my amazement at the readiness with which Christians yoke themselves with unbelievers. I know of few greater hindrances to a consistent walking with God than an irreligious husband or an irreligious wife. We say, and the remark is applied to religious things, that the husband can go his way, and the wife her way; but this proves, in the trial, to be about as practicable as for the parts of the body to separate and move off in opposite directions. The tie forbids this independence; and there is not a Christian wife or husband in the world who can so overcome the law which holds them as to act with entire freedom in the face of indifference or opposition. It is time for some one to tell the people that marriage is an institution of the Most High God, and that in its laws it touches the interests which are eternal as well as those which are temporal.

(S. Cooke, D. D.)

This family feeling reigns among all the true sons of God under every dispensation. It operates with all the steadiness of an instinct. Apart altogether from Divine commands, believers exercise mutual attraction like planets that move round the same central orb. They are conscious of "the unity of the Spirit." Under the Old Testament, "they that feared the Lord spake often one to another"; under the New Testament, "they that believed were together." There is not an instance recorded in the whole inspired history of Christians preferring to live in isolation from their brethren. If there were only two believers in the same city, they would be irresistibly drawn to each other just in the degree in which they were believers. And those who are thus mutually attracted shed many mutual blessings, like flowers growing contiguous to each other in a garden that drop the dew around each other's roots. And now her God-inspired resolution strengthening and glowing as she proceeds, culminates in a solemn vow of undying constancy, in which she imprecates Heaven's righteous retribution upon herself should she fail to keep it: "The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

The Bible affirms that no man liveth to himself. Each life has an influence. What is influence? It is that subtle something which resides in our deeds, words, spirit, and character. It is a shadow of ourselves, our impersonal self. It is to us relatively what the fragrance is to the flowers, what light is to the star. We are all sensitive to influence: our hearts are open to goodness, beauty, genius. There is never a day when perhaps unconsciously we do not receive and reflect a thousand shadowy forms. Some are more receptive of influences than others, just as there are certain soils that drink in more greedily sunshine and shower; and as there are certain bodily conditions more open to disease, so there are certain mental and moral dispositions more open to good and evil, truth and error. There are men like clay — you can mould them as you will; others are like rock — you must chisel them as you can. Naomi was not perfect, but she exerted a great influence upon her daughters-in-law.


1. There was relation ship. Naomi was mother-in-law to Ruth. This link was sanctified to the salvation of Ruth. Relationship is to-day one of the most powerful aids to moral influence. See it in the Gospels: Andrew first finds his own brother Simon; Philip findeth Nathanael. Most children are open to maternal influences. Native missionaries are the best. Influence follows love.

2. There was sorrow. These women had shared a common grief: they had watched at the same bed of death; participated in the same hopes and fears. Naomi would comfort Ruth with her Jewish hope and consolation. Sorrow fits for influence. The heart is plastic. The wax is melted and receives the impress of the seal. The mind is filled for the teaching. Such opportunities for transmission of holy influence are constantly occurring.

3. There was humanity. Relationship and sorrow are accidental; humanity is the essential fact, and binds the world together. Angelic influence is impeded by difference in nature. Our hands fit into each other's palm, our faces reflect similar features. We have common wants and ways. Influence runs along the lines of our human brotherhood.

II. SOME OF THE IMPEDIMENTS THAT MIGHT HAVE INTERRUPTED HER INFLUENCE. There were considerations adverse to her influence.

1. Nationality. Ruth was a Moabitess. Israel and Moab were ancient enemies. The Turk will not readily yield to the English influence. Yet so great is the power of moral influence that it overcame this barrier.

2. Education. Ruth had grown up to womanhood before she came under the influence of Naomi; her habits were formed. She was a devout idolatress. Here was a strong impediment for moral influence to overcome. Virgin soil may be easily cultivated as we wish; not so the land long covered with weeds. When the whole man is overrun with noxious principles it is not easy to exterminate and implant new ideas and habits. This the good life of Naomi accomplished in Ruth.

3. Adverse example. Orpah went back to Moab. The good influence may fail even where its power has been felt strongly. Who can estimate the power of adverse example to-day! How many are turned by it from the ways of religion! Naomi may be counteracted by Orpah.

III. THE SUCCESS OF THE GOOD INFLUENCE. The success was not absolute. Orpah returned, Ruth continued. See her wisdom. She in her turn becomes influential and useful — a help to Naomi. She becomes a permanent factor in the redemptive history. See the wisdom of yielding to high moral influences.

(E. Biscombe.)

shining through the life of a Christian man is strikingly illustrated in the following incident: "An Afghan once spent an hour in the company of Dr. William Marsh, of England. When he heard that Dr. Marsh was dead, he said: 'His religion shall now be my religion; his God shall be my God; for I must go where he is and see his face again.'"

If ought but death part thee and me.
1. Such and so powerful is the bond of religion that it makes the saints of God not only desirous, but even resolute also, both to live and die together.

2. All persons and people should so live as those that do expect that they and their relations may die. So Ruth did here expect it, both for her mother and for herself. "Alas, I never thought of his death." So there be others that live so licentiously as if they should never die, never come to judgment, as if they were to have an eternity of pleasure of sin in this world (as Psalm 49:10-13).

3. As burial is one of the dues of the dead, so dear friends desire to be buried together. Ruth desires to be buried with her godly mother. It is very observable that the first purchase of possession mentioned in Scripture history was a place to bury in, not to build in (Genesis 23. 9).

4. Death is the final dissolution of all bonds of duty, whether natural, civil, or religious. The wife is no longer bound to her husband (Romans 7:1-4), children to parents, subjects to princes, and people to pastors.

(C. Ness.)

Chilion, Elimelech, Ephrathites, Mahlon, Mara, Naomi, Orpah, Ruth
Bethlehem, Moab
Entreat, Goest, Intreat, Leave, Lodge, Lodgest, Replied, Requesting, Rest, Return, Ruth, Stay, Turn, Urge, Whither
1. 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 Themes
Ruth 1:16

     5895   intimacy
     6622   choice
     8463   priority, of faith, hope and love

Ruth 1:3-17

     5674   daughters

Ruth 1:6-18

     5339   home

Ruth 1:11-18

     5681   family, nature of

Ruth 1:15-16

     8410   decision-making, examples

Ruth 1:15-17

     8225   devotion

Ruth 1:16-17

     5424   nationalism
     5691   friends, good
     5743   widows
     5745   women
     5746   youth
     7032   unity, God's people
     8300   love, and the world
     8304   loyalty
     8341   separation
     8356   unselfishness

Ruth 1:16-18

     5117   Ruth
     8252   faithfulness, relationships

A 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 [1555] , 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 [1305] . 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[821] I shall do so nowhere more gladly than whence I may rise together with our Apostle"[822]--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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