Ruth 1:15-17: Ruth's Resolution

Verse 15:[1] And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto (Judg. 11:24) her gods: (see Josh. 24:15, 19; 2 Kings 2:2; Luke 24:28) return thou after thy sister in law.


[Thy kinswoman, יְבִמְתֵּךְ] Thy sister-in-law (Montanus) [thus most interpreters]; thy brother-in-law’s wife (Drusius); the wife of the brother of thine husband (Vatablus).


[She has gone back to her people…and to her gods: go with her] Or, unto her god, namely, Chemosh (Drusius, Piscator). Hence they gather that Orpah either remained in her idolatry (Bonfrerius, Menochius); or defected from the Religion of Moses, which she had cherished while her husband was alive, to her ancestral religion (Drusius). She says this, so that she might test her faith (Junius, Drusius, Lapide, Piscator). There is a similar example in Joshua 24:15 (Piscator). She exhorts her to return to her people, but concedes that she would proceed to worship her gods (which was connected, and which she knew that she was going to do, if she returned): and that she does so that she might try the sincerity and constancy of Ruth’s heart, lest she should afterwards complain that she, impelled by the arts or deceits of Naomi, converted unto a foreign, and less agreeable to herself, relition (Lapide out of Tostatus). Or, unto her gods, that is, unto the place where her ancestral gods are worshipped, so that it might be the same as what Josephus relates, unto her fatherland[2] (Drusius).


Unto her people, and unto her gods; which she saith, partly, to try Ruth’s sincerity and constancy; partly, that by upbraiding Orpah with her idolatry she might consequently turn her from it; and partly, that she might intimate to her, that if she went with her, she must embrace the true God and religion.


Verse 16:[3] And Ruth said, (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6) Intreat me not (or, be not against me[4]) to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: (Ruth 2:11, 12) thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God…



[Be not against me, אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ] Do not encounter[5] me to leave them (Montanus). Do not oppose, or rush upon, me, that is, with hostility; that is, Thou shalt not urge me. It is a Metaphor. Thus this phrase is properly taken in 1 Samuel 22:17;[6] 2 Samuel 1:15;[7] likewise in Exodus 5:3[8] (Piscator). Do not suggest to me, that is, do not urge/incite me (Vatablus, similarly Pagnine). Do not hinder me (Tigurinus).


[Thy God, my God] I shall say goodbye to the superstition of my own country, and adhere to thee (Menochius). It was much at that time, with idolatry reigning so widely, to believe in one God, Ruth 2:11, 12. There is able to be some friendship between men of diverse observances, Ruth 1:8; but that which has the bond of the true Religion is alone firm and indivisible (Grotius).


And thy God my God: I renounce those idols which my sister hath returned to, and I wilt worship no other God but thine, who is indeed the only true God.


Verse 17:[9] Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: (1 Sam. 3:17; 25:22; 2 Sam. 19:13; 2 Kings 6:31) the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.



[The Lord do these things to me] It expresses evil things, such as Poverty, Famine, Pestilence, etc., which it was not necessary for the writing this history to express (Grotius). It is a formula of imprecation, or of swearing (Junius, Drusius). Now, it is everywhere an aposiopesis[10] of evil, which either they understood, or were committing to the judgment of God (Piscator out of Junius). By euphemism they pass over those things in silence for the sake of all good; lest, of course, what things they imprecated upon themselves should actually come to pass (Lapide).


[If not death alone, etc., כִּ֣י הַמָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד וגו״] Verbatim: that death shall divide between me and between thee (Montanus); death alone shall separate me from thee (Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius), ὁ θάνατος, the death, with the article; death alone (Drusius). Unless death alone separate, etc. (Pagnine, Syriac). If anything other than death separate (Munster, English). I translate it, certainly death alone is going to separate, etc. Hebrew: that death alone, etc. An Ellipsis, for, it is certain that (Piscator).

[1] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּה֙ שָׁ֣בָה יְבִמְתֵּ֔ךְ אֶל־עַמָּ֖הּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶ֑יהָ שׁ֖וּבִי אַחֲרֵ֥י יְבִמְתֵּֽךְ׃


[2] Antiquities 5:9.


[3] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רוּת֙ אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ לָשׁ֣וּב מֵאַחֲרָ֑יִךְ כִּ֠י אֶל־אֲשֶׁ֙ר תֵּלְכִ֜י אֵלֵ֗ךְ וּבַאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֙ינִי֙ אָלִ֔ין עַמֵּ֣ךְ עַמִּ֔י וֵאלֹהַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי׃


[4] Hebrew: אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִי.


[5] פָּגַע signifies to meet or encounter (here, to meet with a request).


[6] 1 Samuel 22:17: “And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon (לִפְגֹעַ) the priests of the Lord.”


[7] 2 Samuel 1:15: “And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon (פְּגַע) him. And he smote him that he died.”


[8] Exodus 5:3: “And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God; lest he fall upon us (יִפְגָּעֵנוּ) with pestilence, or with the sword.”


[9] Hebrew: בַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּמ֙וּתִי֙ אָמ֔וּת וְשָׁ֖ם אֶקָּבֵ֑ר כֹּה֩ יַעֲשֶׂ֙ה יְהוָ֥ה לִי֙ וְכֹ֣ה יֹסִ֔יף כִּ֣י הַמָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֵֽךְ׃


[10] That is, a sudden breaking off of speech.

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ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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