The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 16 of 207
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"And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet
any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters,
go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I
should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them
till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters;
for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me"
(1: 11-13).
In a final effort to really prove them, Naomi now painted the loneliness of her lot. She
had no more sons, and was not likely to have any. This may seem a strange argument in
our ears, but it is not far-fetched at all in the light of the law of Moses concerning the
perpetuation of a family's inheritance in Israel. We remember how the Sadducees in
Matt. 22: 23-33, who did not believe in the resurrection as the Pharisees did, came to
the Lord in an effort to trap Him and they quoted the passage in Deut. 25: 5-10 where
the Lord's command concerning this matter is clearly written. Moses said, "If a man die,
having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother".
1: 14 - 2: 23.
pp. 213 - 220
We see therefore the reason for Naomi's words to her daughters-in-law. They were
still young, and would be able to find husbands for themselves from among their own
people. Why emigrate to a foreign land where they knew no one, and leave their own
kith and kin, especially in view of the fact that Naomi said "the hand of the Lord is gone
out against me".
"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law;
but Ruth clave unto her" (1: 14).
Who can blame Orpah in returning home to her mother and family?  Having
considered Naomi's arguments and thinking of her own future, there was logically only
one course of action to take. The hardships of the journey contrasted with the comforts
of her father's home, also living among foreigners with strange customs and ways. Her
love for her mother-in-law was not strong enough to enable her to make this supreme
sacrifice. Warmly attached to this gracious woman whom she respected and admired so
much, and who had given her so much kindness and love during her married life, she
could not go all the way. Her heart and her loyalties were divided. In those days the lot
of an unmarried woman, or a widow with no children, was such that marriage with
almost anyone however unsuitable was preferable. Undoubtedly the best course for
Orpah was to stay. Naomi must make her own way back as best she could. So Orpah
kissed her mother-in-law and returned to her home. She had allowed herself to be
persuaded and yielded her heart to follow the easier, less dangerous, but more selfish way
back. What a contrast now we find in the decision of the other daughter-in-law, Ruth.
Naomi, now armed with a fresh argument, urged Ruth to follow her sister-in-law's