Ruth 1:19-22


Verse 19, So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

I.    The city amazed at the appearance of Naomi - ten years of affliction caused a change of appearance.

A.  "They two" - Only Naomi and Ruth made this trip.  It was a very dangerous journey, but God kept them safe from robbers, and the dangers of weather.

B.   Outward appearances don't always tell the inward story.  (You can be sad on the outside, but glad on the inside or happy on the outside, and glad on the inside).

C.   Showed their concern for her when she came back - not while she was in rebellion.

D.  I don't believe "Is this Naomi?" spoken in contempt, but in concern and being unsure that it was Naomi.


Verse 20, 21, And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

II.   Naomi's answer.

A.  She told about her mistake and God's judgment upon her without being directly asked.

1.   I Sam. 2:5 - Compare with Hannah who told of God's blessing without being asked.

2.   Naomi didn't try to act like nothing had happened.

3.   She correctly wanted to go back to the place where she went wrong, confess her sinfulness and get back in the service of God.

B.   She told of the things she had and what she had lost.

1.   Note her honesty before men because she had already been honest with God.

2.   Other people that were honest before God and men.

a.   I Sam. 3:18 - When Samuel told Eli of God's judgment upon his wicked sons, Eli honestly confessed that God's judgment was correct.

b.   Job 1:21 - Job worshipped God when he lost everything, confessing that he couldn't take it with him anyway.  Blessed by the name of the Lord.

c.   Lev. 10:3 - When Nadab and Abihu erroneously offered strange fire before the Lord, they died.  Their father, Aaron, held his peace, realizing that God was right in killing them.  (Don't grieve - verse 6,7.)

C.    He has dealt very bitterly with me - Chastening is not joyous, but grievous when it comes - Heb. 12:11 (It's good when it's over.)

1.      I went out full.

2.      This shows that Naomi had come to the place of truly understanding what it means to be rich.

3.      It is not in material possessions, but in people.

4.      She left Israel with her husband and two sons.

5.      She returned to Israel with no husband, no sons, and a moabitish woman.

D.  He had testified (answer, respond) against me.  What is the Lord's answer - response - to what we do??

E.   Her request to change her name denied.

1.   In the Bible, she is never referred to as "Mara", but "Naomi".  This is because she bore her affliction well, and God blessed.

a.   At this time Naomi couldn't see any blessings coming, but she continued to live by faith.

b.   Sometimes, living by faith is the hardest way to live.

2.   It is not an affliction itself, but an affliction rightly borne, that draws us closer to our heavenly Father.

3.   Many calamities have been lost if we have not yet learned why they come upon us.

4.   Are we, like Naomi, able to see the error of our ways and return to the Lord?

5.   Tribulation worketh patience - James 1:2-4.


Verse 22, So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

III. Arrival at the beginning of barley harvest.

A.  Barley harvest is in the early spring.

1.   It is usually 1-3 weeks ahead of wheat harvest.

2.   Spring marks the beginning of the Jewish year.

3.   It marked the beginning of a new year when Naomi returned to Israel and to God.

4.   When Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, they have nothing, but in three short weeks, God has answered their prayers.  Ruth is engaged to Boaz at the end of wheat harvest.

B.   The significance of Barley harvest.

1.   Study Lev. 23 for the order of the yearly feast days.  We'll give a short summary.

a.   The Jewish year is broken into two parts.

1.   The sacred year.

a.   The Feast of Passover.

b.   The Feast of Unleavened Bread.

c.   The Feast of First Fruits - (Barley Harvest - the ingathering of the Jews.)

d.   The Feast of Pentecost - (Wheat Harvest - the ingathering of the Gentiles.)

2.   The Civil year.

a.   The feast of Trumpets marked the beginning of the Civil Year.

b.   The Day of Atonement.

c.   The Feast of Tabernacles.

2.   When Elimelech and his family left Israel, they also left their inheritance.  For all practical purposes, they disinherited God.

3.   When Naomi and Ruth return to Israel, they have no inheritance in the land.

4.   Thus, in symbolism, they return as Gentiles. (During Barley Harvest.)

a.   It is by the grace of God that Gentiles are included in the inheritance of Israel.

b.   It is by the grace of God that Boaz accepts the role of kinsman redeemer.

c.   It is by the grace of God that the "Christ line" is not broken.

5.   Finally, compare Ruth 1:22 with Ruth 2:23.

a.   It is at the close of Wheat Harvest (the ingathering of the Gentiles) that Naomi receives her rightful inheritance.

b.   Remember, she receives her rightful inheritance this time by grace, not just because she is a Jew.

c.   She is counted as a Jew once again before the child is born to Ruth.

d.   This shows the child (representing Jesus Christ) is a child born as a result of grace (an act of faith), not the keeping of the law.

6.   Compare Ruth 1:1 to Ruth 1:23.

a.   Naomi and Elimelech left during a harvest and returned during a harvest.

b.   One was a harvest of famine and the other was a famine of plenty.

C.   They return to Bethlehem.

1.   Bethlehem is the birth place of Jesus Christ.

2.   Bethlehem will be the birth place of Obed, the child conceived by a Gentile.

3.   The wondrous thing is that the "Christ line" would have been broken at this point, if it hadn't been for God's great grace, and wonderful provision of the kinsman redeemer.

D.  Naomi and Ruth now see with their own eyes that God is again blessing His people.

E.   They are given the opportunity to provide for winter.

1.   Matt. 6:24-34 - God will always provide the things we need in this life if we will put Him first.

2.   Elimelech and his family left because of a famine and lost everything.

3.   They were trying to provide for themselves first and put God second.

4.   Every time we put God second, He puts us second, and we lose much more than we will ever gain.

F.   II Thess. 3:10 - If you don't work, you don't eat.

1.   God will always provide work if we put Him first.

2.   Some think God will give them what they need, but God will give us the strength to work so we can get what we need.