There are two statements in Chapter one I want to talk about:
The first is Ruth's Pledge to Naomi.
16But Ruth said,
"Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge,
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
17Where you die, I will die —
there will I be buried.
May the LORD do thus and so to me,
If even death parts me from you!"
When my daughter-in-law pledged allegiance to the United States of
America together with people from 90 different countries and became an American citizen, it was a bit like this.
This text is often used as a wedding text, but in the book of Ruth the wedding comes later. Is this a misuse of the text?
Is it possible that a commitment to one is a commitment to all?
The second statement is Naomi's lament to the women.
"Call me no longer Naomi,
call me Mara,
for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.
21I went away full,
but the LORD has brought me back empty;
why call me Naomi
when the LORD has dealt harshly with me,
and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?"
The word Mara means bitterness. Naomi has gone from being full to being empty, and she blames God for dealing harshly with her.
I wonder if the main character of the book may not be Naomi in a journey from being full to empty to full again as the story progresses.
Does this lament seem a great deal like the beginning of some of the psalms? Does this ring true with yourself or someone you know and care about?
Lastly, Ruth arrives in Israel as a refugee and not a relative by blood. How would such a person be received in many countries today?
In the introduction from the Lutheran Study Bible, this story may have been used against the warnings about foreign women that came from Ezra and Nehemiah following the return from exile in Babylon. What do you think about that?