Naomi's Parting Address
Ruth 1:11-13
And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will you go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb…

This is a great aggravation of the afflictions of many parents, that their children are involved with themselves. They could bear poverty, they could bear reproach, they could bear death itself, had they none who depended on them for bread and for respectability in the world. God has the same right to rule over the fruit of our bodies as over ourselves, and to allot to them their share of the good or the bad things of this world. It is bitterest of all, when we have reason to think that our sins have provoked God to punish us in the persons of our friends, or to inflict those strokes which our friends must feel as heavily as ourselves. Let us beware of ever exposing ourselves to such heart-piercing reflections by conduct that may bring down God's displeasure upon our families. God's people may sometimes, without good reason, think that the hand of the Lord is gone forth against them, in the calamities which befall their families or friends. Our afflictions are hard enough to be borne by us, without the addition of groundless reflections against ourselves. At the same time, the error is much more common of insensibility to the Divine displeasure, when it has been really kindled by our sins, than of vexing ourselves with unjust suspicions of God's anger. There is one thing that still remains to be considered concerning this parting speech of Naomi to her daughters-in-law. Why did she dissuade them from going with her to the land of Judah, where the true God was well known, and persuade them to return to a country of abominable idolaters? We are not bound to justify all that Naomi spake or did. But, in charity to that good woman, we ought to believe that, for years past, she had been endeavouring, by her practice and her converse, to recommend to her young friends the worship of the God of Israel. If they were truly turned from the error of their ways, nothing that is here said was likely to drive them back to their own country. They might have been disgusted even with Naomi's own conduct, if she had not fairly told them what inconveniences they were to encounter in going to her land, and to her people. Our Lord very plainly told His followers what they were to expect in His service. "The foxes have holes," etc. We may, however, observe, that Christ usually administered proper antidotes against the fears which the doctrine of the Cross might excite in the minds of His hearers. It may be doubted whether Naomi, in the dejection of her spirits, did not overlook the powerful consolations which might have encouraged her young friends to follow her into the land of Israel, and would have more than compensated all the inconveniences to which they would have been exposed in a strange land. Doubtless she had often spoken of those privileges to them in former times; but as yet they had not learned their nature, and perhaps Naomi now despaired of ever being able to give them a perfect idea of it.

(G. Lawson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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?

WEB: Naomi said, "Go back, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?

The Failure of Good Impulses
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