Manual Ruth (A Private Commentary on the Bible Book 1)

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Throughout his childhood, James finds himself in a constant state of confusion and curiosity regarding his family's background. When he asks his siblings about his race or his background, they tease, lie, or dismiss him. When he asks his mother about herself, she avoids the question or answers curtly.

Enduring Word Bible Commentary Ruth Chapter 1

James attempts to negotiate these conflicting loyalties. He feels protective toward his mother, but at the same time, he lives in a mostly black neighborhood where the political atmosphere moves him to embrace the revolution. Ruth's description of her childhood in Suffolk enables both James and the reader to understand how she decided to live her own life. Living among black people and interacting with them every day at the family store, she witnessed their lives and their struggles. She saw her father treat them badly, just as her father treated her badly.

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Her minority status as a Jew meant Ruth suffered from exclusion, prejudice, and hardship, although she points out that black people suffered greater degradation than Jewish people. Ruth resisted her father's racist beliefs, just as she resisted many aspects of her father's personality and his treatment of his family. James's divided racial consciousness is partly a product of the political climate of his youth.

James's peers and the political movement they embraced held up whites as enemies. James found himself attempting to follow his natural love for his mother, and differentiate her from other white people. Two opposing sentiments resulted. James sensed that his peers and neighbors intended to harm his mother, and therefore he tried to protect her. However, when James's mother appeared before his friends, James often felt mortified. Adolescents often feel embarrassment as a result of a parent's behavior or eccentricity, but James experienced the unusual pressure of racial difference from his mother.

He often publicly agreed with his friends' rants against whites, while secretly feeling ashamed and guilty because those rants denigrated all whites, including his mother. James's adolescence overlapped with a pivotal period in black history. Racial tension charged the entire political atmosphere of the nation. All that are good husbands will keep good hours, and not indulge themselves nor their families in unseasonable mirth.


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The Chaldee paraphrase tell us v. So that he went sober to bed, his heart was in a good frame, and not overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness. And he did not go to bed without prayer. Now that he had eaten and was full he blessed the Lord, and now that he was going to rest he committed himself to the divine protection; it was well he did, for he had an unusual temptation before him, though he knew not of it. He had his bed or couch laid at the end of the heap of corn; not because he had set his heart upon it, nor only that he might watch and keep it safe from thieves, but it was too late to go home to the city, and here he would be near his work, and ready for it next morning, and he would show that he was not nice or curious in his lodging, neither took state nor consulted his ease, but was, like his father Jacob, a plain man, that, when there was occasion, could make his bed in a barn, and, if need were, sleep contentedly in the straw.

Women of the Word - Lessons from Ruth (Week 1 - Ruth 1:3-13)

Ruth's good assurance in the management of her affair. She observed her mother's orders, went and laid herself down, not by his side, but overcross his bed's feet, in her clothes, and kept awake, waiting for an opportunity to tell her errand. When he awaked in the night, and perceived there was somebody at his feet, and enquired who it was, she told him her name and then her errand v. I am oppressed, undertake for me. The good acceptance Ruth gained with Boaz. What she did had no ill-effect, either one way or other, so that Naomi was not mistaken in her good opinion of her kinsman.

He knew her demand was just and honourable, and treated her accordingly, and did not deal with his sister as with a harlot, Gen. For, 1. He did not offer to violate her chastity, though he had all the opportunity that could be. The Chaldee paraphrase thus descants upon it:-He subdued his concupiscence, and did not approach to her, but did as Joseph the Just, who would not come near to his Egyptian mistress, and as Phaltiel the Pious, who, when Saul had given him Michal, David's wife 1 Sa. Boaz knew it was not any sinful lust that brought her thither, and therefore bravely maintained both his own honour and hers.

He did not put any ill construction upon what she did, did not reproach her as an impudent woman and unfit to make an honest man a wife. She having approved herself well in the fields, and all her conduct having been modest and decent, he would not, from this instance, entertain the least suspicion of her character nor seem to do so, perhaps blaming himself that he had not offered the service of a kinsman to these distressed widows, and saved her this trouble, and ready to say as Judah concerning his daughter-in-law, She is more righteous than I.

But on the contrary, 1. He commended her, spoke kindly to her, called her his daughter, and spoke honourably of her, as a woman of eminent virtue. She had shown in this instance more kindness to her mother-in-law, and to the family into which she had matched, than in any instance yet. It was very kind to leave her own country and come along with her mother to the land of Israel, to dwell with her, and help to maintain her. For this he had blessed her ch. She received not the addresses of young men much less did she seek them whether poor or rich, but was willing to marry as the divine law directed, though it was to an old man, because it was for the honour and interest of the family into which she had matched, and for which she had an entire kindness.

Young people must aim, in disposing of themselves, not so much to please their own eye as to please God and their parents. He promised her marriage v. Note, [1. Ruth was a poor woman, and poverty often obscures the lustre of virtue; yet Ruth's virtues, even in a mean condition, were generally taken notice of and could not be hid; nay, her virtues took away the reproach of her poverty.

If poor people be but good people, they shall have honour from God and man.

Ruth had been remarkable for her humility, which paved the way to this honour. The less she proclaimed her own goodness the more did her neighbours take notice of it. Let religion determine the choice, and it will certainly crown the choice and make it comfortable. Wisdom is better than gold, and, when it is said to be good with an inheritance, the meaning is that an inheritance is worth little without it.

He made his promise conditional, and could not do otherwise, for it seems there was a kinsman that was nearer than he, to whom the right of redemption did belong, v. This he knew, but we may reasonably suppose Naomi who had been long abroad, and could not be exact in the pedigree of her husband's family was ignorant of it, otherwise she would never have sent her daughter to make her claim of Boaz.

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Yet he does not bid her go herself to this other kinsman; this would have been to put too great a hardship upon her: but he promises, [1. The Hebrew word for a widow signifies one that is dumb. Boaz will therefore open his mouth for the dumb Prov. This promise he backs with a solemn oath, for it was a conditional contract of marriage v. Thus keeping the matter in suspense, he bade her wait till morning.

Bishop Hall thus sums up this matter in his contemplations:-"Boaz, instead of touching her as a wanton, blesseth her as a father, encourageth her as a friend, promiseth her as a kinsman, rewards her as a patron, and sends her away laden with hopes and gifts, no less chaste, more happy, than she came.

O admirable temperance, worthy the progenitor of him in whose lips and heart there was no guile! How Ruth was dismissed by Boaz. It would not have been safe for her to go home in the dead of the night; therefore she lay at his feet not by his side until morning. But as soon as ever the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were seen, yet she might not be known to be abroad so unseasonably.

She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark of her poverty.


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  7. But she would not willingly be known to be a night-walker, for her virtue was her greatest honour, and that which she most valued. Boaz dismissed her, 1. With a charge to keep counsel v. Good people would have been troubled, and bad people would have triumphed, and therefore let it not be known. Note, We must always take care, not only to keep a good conscience, but to keep a good name: either we must not do that which, though innocent, is liable to be misinterpreted, or, if we do, we must not let it be known.

    We must avoid not only sin, but scandal. There was likewise a particular reason for concealment here.