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Ruth 1:1-5, Elimelech’s Family Goes to Moab

Monday, July 23


Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Although the entire first book of Ruth was assigned for Sunday (as are weeks 2, 3, and 4), we are going to take smaller chunks of Ruth to examine throughout the next four weeks. There is so much to talk about in this wonderful, rich, spicy story! Hope you enjoy Ruth as much as I do!

map of Israel and Moab

Moab was a country on the east side of the Dead Sea from Israel. Moab and Israel weren't exactly enemies, but they weren't friends, either. Moabites were descended from Moab, the son of incest, born to Lot and Lot's daughter after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Since Ruth is in Jesus' genealogy, this would suggest that Jesus was born from a history that included incest. This further cements my idea that Jesus came in a messy, complicated way to save a messy, complicated world. 

Moab primarily worshiped the god, Chemosh, and goddess, Ashtar, among others. Ruth would have been raised to worship Moabite gods. However, once Ruth's husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law all died, I wonder if it caused a crisis of faith for Ruth? When Naomi decided to return home, Ruth decided to go with her. Perhaps Ruth's famous words, "Your God will be my God," was an indication that she was done with the gods of Moab who had so miserably failed her.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Ruth 1:1-5

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Earlier Event: July 22
Ruth 1:1-22, Ruth and Naomi