And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, "My daughter, it is good for you to work with his young women, so that nothing will happen to you in another field."
When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem they could scarcely have found friends there, but they found kinsmen. They do not seem, in their circumstances, to have sought assistance from relatives, or even to have brought themselves under the notice of such. Still, Naomi had not lost sight of Elimelech's family connections; and when the name of Boaz was mentioned, she recognized it as the name of one of her husband's nearest kindred.
I. KINDRED IS A DIVINE INSTITUTION. Men have many artificial associations; bonds of sympathy, and of locality, and of common occupation bind them together. But kindred is the Divine, the natural tie.
II. KINDRED IS AT THE FOUNDATION OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE. The patriarchal economy was the earliest. The family is the first social unit, out of which springs the tribe, the clan, the nation.
III. KINDRED INVOLVES AN OBLIGATION TO CONSIDERATION AND REGARD. We cannot always cherish feelings of congeniality or of respect with reference to all who are our kindred according to the flesh. But relatives should not lose sight of one another - should not, if it can be avoided, be estranged from one another.
IV. KINDRED MAY, IN CERTAIN CASES, INVOLVE THE DUTY OF PRACTICAL HELP. Christian wisdom must here be called in to the counsels of Christian kindness.
V. KINDRED IS SUGGESTIVE AND EMBLEMATIC OF DIVINE RELATIONS. Apart from human relationship, how could we conceive of God as our Father? of Christ Jesus as our elder Brother? of Christians as our brethren and sisters in a spiritual family? - T.
It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens.
Old persons may be expected to have collected, by reflection and experience, more wisdom than the young, and should be ready to communicate instruction to those that need it. Let the young have their hands prepared for the service of the old, and the old may recompense them abundantly by the words of their mouths. Happy would it have been for Rehoboam and for all his people had he known what respect is due to the wise counsels of the aged. What numbers of young persons take rash steps in the journey of life which cannot be retraced, because they rather choose to follow the impulse of their own passions than to ask and follow the advices of those who brought them into the world.
"It is good that thou go forth with his maidens," since he invites thee to glean in his fields. Although Naomi would not be troublesome to her relations, nor solicit favours from them when necessity did not compel her, she was not so high-minded as to reject a favour that was offered. Poor persons, who have seen better days, are sometimes too nice and scrupulous in receiving obligations. It is good to be as independent in the world as our circumstances will allow; but to be absolutely independent is impossible, and to have a spirit above the acceptance of favours, when our circumstances render the acceptance of them needful, is a proud resistance of our spirits to that Providence which manages our concerns and which manages them with wisdom and kindness when it lays our pride in the dust.
That they meet thee not in any other field.
"Maidens," says one shrewd old commentator, "are the fittest company for maidens, among whom a chaste widow, such as Ruth was, may well be recounted." Modesty is the life-guard of chastity. Let this suggest the wider rule that every one should have his chosen field in which to gather Christian instruction and wisdom; and that having chosen it, he ought to keep to it. The common shepherd whom you meet on the mountains will tell you that the wandering sheep never thrives. And further, that we ought to choose for our cherished companions and "inner friends" those who are gleaners in the gospel-field like ourselves. Wander, through want of vigilance or through secret preference, into the society of the idle, the ungodly, or the immoral, and you are on the enemy's ground and in the midst of serpents and snares. You are out of the sphere of Divine protection whenever you walk into the circle of temptation without a call of duty; and there is no Davy-lamp in those noxious mines to prevent explosion, or to protect you from destruction. But the fellowship of them that fear God will show you how to be good, and will make you better. Even the lump of clay, when it was placed near the rose, according to the beautiful Persian proverb, caught some of its fragrance (Song of Solomon 1:8
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