Ruth 1:17
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) The Lord do so to me.—Ruth clinches her resolutions with a solemn oath, in which, if we are to take the words literally, she swears by the name of the God of Israel. With this Naomi yields; after so solemn a protest she can urge no more.

1:15-18 See Ruth's resolution, and her good affection to Naomi. Orpah was loth to part from her; yet she did not love her well enough to leave Moab for her sake. Thus, many have a value and affection for Christ, yet come short of salvation by him, because they will not forsake other things for him. They love him, yet leave him, because they do not love him enough, but love other things better. Ruth is an example of the grace of God, inclining the soul to choose the better part. Naomi could desire no more than the solemn declaration Ruth made. See the power of resolution; it silences temptation. Those that go in religious ways without a stedfast mind, stand like a door half open, which invites a thief; but resolution shuts and bolts the door, resists the devil and forces him to flee.The kiss at parting as well as at meeting is the customary friendly and respectful salutation in the East. The difference between mere kindness of manner and self-sacrificing love is most vividly depicted in the words and conduct of the two women. Ruth's determination is stedfast to cast in her lot with the people of the Lord (compare the marginal references and Matthew 15:22-28). 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]. No text from Poole on this verse.

Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried,.... She was determined to abide with her unto death, and not only was desirous to die as she did, but where she should die; in the same country, cottage, and bed, and be laid in the same grave, in hope of rising together at the resurrection of the just; having no regard at all to the sepulchres of her fathers, which people in all ages and countries have been fond of being laid in, as an honour and happiness. So with the Greeks and Romans, not only relations, but intimate friends, and such as had a strong affection for each other, were sometimes buried in the same grave, as Crates and Polemon (i), Paris and Oenome (k), and others (l); see Galatians 2:20,

the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me; this is the form of oath she used for confirmation of what she had said, and to put an end to the debate on this subject; what she imprecates upon herself is not expressed, should she otherwise do than what she swears to; leaving Naomi to supply it in her own mind, and as being what was not fit to be named, and the greatest evil that could be thought to befall a perjured person.

(i) Lart. in Vita Cratet. (k) Strabo. Geograph. l. 13. p. 410. (l) Vid. Kirchman. de Funer. Roman. l. 3. c. 14. p. 433.

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. will I die … be buried] According to ancient thought union in life meant union in death and in the grave; the members of a family had a common burying-place, Genesis 47:30; Genesis 49:29. In the underworld they lived together, as families and by nations; cf. the expression ‘he was gathered to his people,’ i.e. his fellow tribesmen, and see Ezekiel 32:17-32.

the Lord do so to me, and more also] Jehovah has already become the God of Ruth, and she uses the name of Israel’s God in a solemn imprecation, which occurs only here and in the books of Samuel and Kings. When heathen utter this oath, Elohim is used instead of Jehovah, and the verbs are plural, 1 Kings 19:2; 1 Kings 20:10. Lit. the phrase here runs ‘Jehovah do so to me, and more also—(only) death shall separate me from thee’; the substance of the oath is an assertion, not a negation; similarly 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Samuel 20:13, 1 Kings 2:23 etc. in the Hebr.

Verse 17. - Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. She wished to be naturalized for life in Naomi's fatherland. Nor did she wish her remains to be conveyed back for burial to the land of her nativity. So may Yahveh do to me, and still more, but death only shall part me and thee. She appeals to the God of the Israelites, the one universal God. She puts herself on oath, and invokes his severest penal displeasure if she should suffer anything less uncontrollable than death to part her from her mother-in-law. "So may Yahveh do to me." It was thus that the Hebrews made their most awful appeals to Yahveh. They signified their willingness to suffer some dire calamity if they should either do the evil deed repudiated or fail to do the good deed promised. So stands in misty indefiniteness; not, as Fuller supposes, by way of "leaving it to the discretion of God Almighty to choose that arrow out of his quiver which he shall think it most fit to shoot," but as a kind of euphemism, or cloudy veil, two-thirds concealing, and one-third revealing, whatever horrid infliction could by dramatic sign be represented or hinted. And still more - a thoroughly Semitic idiom, and so may he add (to do) There was first of all a full imprecation, and then an additional 'bittock,' to lend intensity to the asseveration. "But death only shall sever between me and thee!" Ruth's language is broken. Two formulas of imprecation are flung together. One, if complete, would have been to this effect: "So may Yahveh do to me, and so may he add to do, if (אִם) aught but death sever between me and thee!" The other, if complete, would have run thus: "I swear by Yahveh 'that' (כִּי) death, death only, shall part thee and me. In the original the word death has the article, death emphatically. It is as if she had said death, the great divider. The full idea is in substance death alone. This divider alone, says Ruth, "shall sever between me and thee;" literally, "between me and between thee," a Hebrew idiom, repeating for emphasis' sake the two-sided relationship, but taking the repetition in reverse order, between me (and thee) and between thee (and me). Ruth 1:17To the repeated entreaty of Naomi that she would follow her sister-in-law and return to her people and her God, Ruth replied: "Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return away behind thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou stayest, I will stay; thy people is my people, and thy God my God! where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried. Jehovah do so to me, and more also (lit. and so may He add to do)! Death alone shall divide between me and thee." The words יסיף ... יעשׂה י כּה are a frequently recurring formula in connection with an oath (cf. 1 Samuel 3:17; 1 Samuel 14:44; 1 Samuel 20:13, etc.), by which the person searing called down upon himself a severe punishment in case he should not keep his word or carry out his resolution. The following כּי is not a particle used in swearing instead of אם in the sense of "if," equivalent to "surely not," as in 1 Samuel 20:12, in the oath which precedes the formula, but answer to ὅτι in the sense of quod introducing the declaration, as in Genesis 22:16; 1 Samuel 20:13; 1 Kings 2:23; 2 Kings 3:14, etc., signifying, I swear that death, and nothing else than death, shall separate us. Naomi was certainly serious in her intentions, and sincere in the advice which she gave to Ruth, and did not speak in this way merely to try her and put the state of her heart to the proof, "that it might be made manifest whether she would adhere stedfastly to the God of Israel and to herself, despising temporal things and the hope of temporal possessions' (Seb. Schmidt). She had simply the earthly prosperity of her daughter-in-law in her mind, as she herself had been shaken in her faith in the wonderful ways and gracious guidance of the faithful covenant God by the bitter experience of her own life.

(Note: "She thought of earthly things alone; and as at that time the Jews almost universally were growing lax in the worship of God, so she, having spent ten years among the Moabites, though it of little consequence whether they adhered to the religion of their fathers, to which they had been accustomed from their infancy or went over to the Jewish religion." - Carpzov.)

With Ruth, however, it was evidently not merely strong affection and attachment by which she felt herself so drawn to her mother-in-law that she wished to live and die with her, but a leaning of her heart towards the God of Israel and His laws, of which she herself was probably not yet fully conscious, but which she had acquired so strongly in her conjugal relation and her intercourse with her Israelitish connections, that it was her earnest wish never to be separated from this people and its God (cf. Ruth 2:11).

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