Ruth 1:13
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) It grieveth me much for your sakes.—A much more probable translation is, it is far more bitter for me than for you. An exact parallel to the construction is found in Genesis 19:9. The ancient versions are divided, the LXX., Peshito Syriac, and Targum support this translation; the Vulg. is rather loose in its rendering.

Ruth 1:13. It grieveth me — That you are left without the comfort of husbands or children; that I must part with such affectionate daughters; and that my circumstances are such that I cannot invite you to go along with me. For her condition was so mean at this time that Ruth, when she came to her mother’s city, was forced to glean for a living. It is with me that God has a controversy. This language becomes us when we are under affliction; though many others share in the trouble, yet we are to hear the voice of the rod, as if it spake only to us. But did not she wish to bring them to the worship of the God of Israel? Undoubtedly she did. But she would have them first consider upon what terms, lest, having set their hand to the plough, they should look back.

1:6-14 Naomi began to think of returning, after the death of her two sons. When death comes into a family, it ought to reform what is amiss there. Earth is made bitter to us, that heaven may be made dear. Naomi seems to have been a person of faith and piety. She dismissed her daughters-in-law with prayer. It is very proper for friends, when they part, to part with them thus part in love. Did Naomi do well, to discourage her daughters from going with her, when she might save them from the idolatry of Moab, and bring them to the faith and worship of the God of Israel? Naomi, no doubt, desired to do that; but if they went with her, she would not have them to go upon her account. Those that take upon them a profession of religion only to oblige their friends, or for the sake of company, will be converts of small value. If they did come with her, she would have them make it their deliberate choice, and sit down first and count the cost, as it concerns those to do who make a profession of religion. And more desire rest in the house of a husband, or some wordly settlement or earthly satisfaction, than the rest to which Christ invites our souls; therefore when tried they will depart from Christ, though perhaps with some sorrow.See marginal references and notes. The Levirate law probably existed among the Moabites, and in Israel extended beyond the brother in the strict sense, and applied to the nearest relations, since Boaz was only the kinsman of Elimelech Ruth 3:12. 13. the hand of the Lord is gone out against me—that is, I am not only not in a condition to provide you with other husbands, but so reduced in circumstances that I cannot think of your being subjected to privations with me. The arguments of Naomi prevailed with Orpah, who returned to her people and her gods. But Ruth clave unto her; and even in the pages of Sterne, that great master of pathos, there is nothing which so calls forth the sensibilities of the reader as the simple effusion he has borrowed from Scripture—of Ruth to her mother-in-law [Chalmers]. Would ye stay for them from having husbands? it is unreasonable for me to expect it, or for you to perform it.

For your sakes; that you are left without the comfort of husbands or children; that I must part with such dear and affectionate daughters; and that my circumstances are such that I cannot invite nor encourage you to go along with me. For her condition was so mean at this time, that Ruth, when she came to her mother’s city, was forced to glean for a living, Ruth 2:2.

Would you tarry for them till they were grown?.... It is not to be thought that they would tarry till she was married and had children, and then till these infants were grown up to men's estate, and be marriageable; for though Tamar tarried for Shelah, yet he was born, and of some years of age, though not a grown man, Genesis 38:11.

would ye stay for them from having husbands? they were young widows, and it was fit they should marry again; and it could not be imagined that they would deny themselves having husbands, in expectation of any sons of her's:

nay, my daughters; I am well satisfied you will never tarry for them, nor deprive yourselves of such a benefit; it is unreasonable to suppose it:

for it grieveth me much for your sakes; that she could be of no manner of service to them, either to give them husbands, or to support and maintain them, should they go with her; or "I have exceedingly more bitterness than you" (d); her condition and circumstances were much worse than theirs; for though they had lost their husbands, she had lost both husband and children: or it was more bitter and grievous to her to be separated from them, than it was for them to be separated from her; her affection to them was as strong, or stronger than theirs to her; or they had friends in their own country that would be kind to them, but as for her, she was in deep poverty and distress, and when she came into her own country, knew not that she had any friends left to take any notice of her:

that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me; in taking away her husband and children, and reducing her to a low estate, penniless and friendless; so poor, as it appears, that her daughter-in-law, when come to the land of Canaan, was obliged to glean for the livelihood of them both, as in the next chapter.

(d) "amaritudo mihi (est) valde prae nobis", Montanus, Rambachius; so Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. would ye therefore tarry till they were grown?] The narrative in Genesis 38. shews that the custom of levirate marriage was presupposed for the patriarchal age, but in a more primitive form than that of the modified law in Deuteronomy 25. According to Genesis 38. a son, though not of marriageable age, is bound by a positive requirement of the divine will to marry his brother’s widow, and she must remain a widow till he be grown up (ib. Ruth 1:11). The identity of the latter expression with that in the present verse seems to imply a reminiscence of the patriarchal narrative. But Naomi’s imaginary sons, the offspring of an impossible second marriage, would be half-brothers to Mahlon and Chilion; and there is nothing to shew that a levirate marriage was customary in such a case. Moreover, the object of this kind of marriage was to prevent the extinction of a family and the transference of the family property into the hands of strangers. As a matter of fact, however, Naomi is not thinking of this at all; she is not lamenting that her sons died without children, but that Ruth and Orpah have lost their husbands; her one anxiety is for the future welfare of her daughters in law. Hence, though her language is coloured by a reference to a well-known social institution, the reference is not exact, not intended to be taken literally.

It is noticeable that several words in this verse point to the post-exilic date of the writer: therefore is represented by a pure Aramaic word, Daniel 2:6; Daniel 2:9; Daniel 4:27 [Aram. 24]; tarry, again in Esther 9:1, Psalm 119:166 (‘hoped’); stay, lit. be restrained, shut up, only here in the O. T.; in Aramaic the pass. ptcp. is used of a wife tied to a husband and deserted and prohibited from marrying again, e.g. Talm. Jerus. Giṭṭin iv. 45c.

it grieveth me much for your sakes] lit. it is very bitter for me because of you; for this use of the prep. (min=because of) cf. Ecclesiastes 2:10, Psalm 31:11; Psalm 107:17 etc. Naomi’s sympathy goes out to the young widows, and she urges them to seek happiness elsewhere. The rendering in the marg. means, ‘You can go back and marry again; a worse lot is in store for me, I must remain a solitary.’ The rendering of the text is to be preferred as more in accordance with Naomi’s unselfish feeling.

Ruth 1:13Naomi endeavoured to dissuade them from this resolution, by setting before them the fact, that if they went with her, there would be no hope of their being married again, and enjoying the pleasures of life once more. "Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?" Her meaning is: I am not pregnant with sons, upon whom, as the younger brothers of Mahlon and Chilion, there would rest the obligation of marrying you, according to the Levitate law (Deuteronomy 25:5; Genesis 38:8). And not only have I no such hope as this, but, continues Naomi, in Ruth 1:12, Ruth 1:13, I have no prospect of having a husband and being blessed with children: "for I am too old to have a husband;" year, even if I could think of this altogether improbable thing as taking place, and assume the impossible as possible; "If I should say, I have hope (of having a husband), yea, if I should have a husband to-night, and should even bear sons, would ye then wait till they were grown, would ye then abstain from having husbands?" The כּי (if) before אמרתּי refers to both the perfects which follow. להן is the third pers. plur. neuter suffix הן with the prefix ל, as in Job 30:24, where הן is pointed with seghol, on account of the toned syllable which follows, as here in pause in Ruth 1:9 : lit. in these things, in that case, and hence in the sense of therefore equals לכן, as in Chaldee (e.g., Daniel 2:6, Daniel 2:9,Daniel 2:24, etc.). תּעגנה (vid., Isaiah 60:4, and Ewald, 195, a.), from עגן ἁπ. λεγ. in Hebrew, which signifies in Aramaean to hold back, shut in; hence in the Talmud עגוּנה, a woman who lived retired in her own house without a husband. Naomi supposes three cases in Ruth 1:12, of which each is more improbable, or rather more impossible, than the one before; and even if the impossible circumstance should be possible, that she should bear sons that very night, she could not in that case expect or advise her daughters-in-law to wait till these sons were grown up and could marry them, according to the Levirate law. In this there was involved the strongest persuasion to her daughters-in-law to give up their intention of going with her into the land of Judah, and a most urgent appeal to return to their mothers' houses, where, as young widows without children, they would not be altogether without the prospect of marrying again. One possible case Naomi left without notice, namely, that her daughters-in-law might be able to obtain other husbands in Judah itself. She did not hint at this, in the first place, and perhaps chiefly, from delicacy on account of the Moabitish descent of her daughters-in-law, in which she saw that there would be an obstacle to their being married in the land of Judah; and secondly, because Naomi could not do anything herself to bring about such a connection, and wished to confine herself therefore to the one point of making it clear to her daughters that in her present state it was altogether out of her power to provide connubial and domestic happiness for them in the land of Judah. She therefore merely fixed her mind upon the different possibilities of a Levirate marriage.

(Note: The objections raised by J. B. Carpzov against explaining Ruth 1:12 and Ruth 1:13 as referring to a Levirate marriage, - namely, that this is not to be thought of, because a Levirate marriage was simply binding upon brothers of the deceased by the same father and mother, and upon brothers who were living when he died, and not upon those born afterwards-have been overthrown by Bertheau as being partly without foundation, and partly beside the mark. In the first place, the law relating to the Levirate marriage speaks only of brothers of the deceased, by which, according to the design of this institution, we must certainly think of sons by one father, but not necessarily the sons by the same mother. Secondly, the law does indeed expressly require marriage with the sister-in-law only of a brother who should be in existence when her husband died, but it does not distinctly exclude a brother born afterwards; and this is the more evident from the fact that, according to the account in Genesis 38:11, this duty was binding upon brothers who were not grown up at the time, as soon as they should be old enough to marry. Lastly, Naomi merely says, in Ruth 1:12, that she was not with child by her deceased husband; and when she does take into consideration, in Ruth 1:12 and Ruth 1:13, the possibility of a future pregnancy, she might even then be simply thinking of an alliance with some brother of her deceased husband, and therefore of sons who would legally be regarded as sons of Elimelech. When Carpzov therefore defines the meaning of her words in this manner, "I have indeed no more children to hope for, to whom I could marry you in time, and I have no command over others," the first thought does not exhaust the meaning of the words, and the last is altogether foreign to the text.)

בּנתי אל, "not my daughters," i.e., do not go with me; "for it has gone much more bitterly with me than with you." מרר relates to her mournful lot. מכּם is comparative, "before you;" not "it grieveth me much on your account," for which עליכם would be used, as in 2 Samuel 1:26. Moreover, this thought would not be in harmony with the following clause: "for the hand of the Lord has gone out against me," i.e., the Lord has sorely smitten me, namely by taking away not only my husband, but also my two sons.

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