Thoughts on Ruth Part Eight
Transcribed by Daniel Goldman from a lecture recorded 19 April 1999: “And she and her daughters-in-law got up, and they returned from the fields of Moab, because she heard in the fields of Moab that God visited his people to give them bread.” (1:6)
What does the first half of the verse mean? What does it mean that she “got up?”
MB: Whatever she mentally had in Moab, she is now breaking away.
RSW: That’s a little too metaphorical.
She’s uprooting herself from this place! But did she return from the fields of Moab at this point? No, because it doesn’t say so until the next verse. It’s not just that she moves back. There are several steps involved. This is literally a description of Teshuva. First you stop doing the sin, and then you are in a position of doing real Teshuva. Naomi understands the issue. Her two daughters-in-law don’t have to. So why does the verse say that “she and her daughters-in-law got up?” Because both daughters-in-law want to as well. Not only Ruth. Even Orpah is a woman of commitment and direction.
“…because she heard in the fields of Moab that God visited his people to give them bread.” Some Teshuva! They’re going back because there is bread! That’s what it would seem at first glance. But then, the verse could have said that the famine was over. Also, it says that God visited his people.
MB: So how do we know…What is the feeling that you have that God is visiting you verses when He went away?
RSW: Let me ask you another question. What a coincidence! Her two sons die, and that’s when the famine ends in Israel! Is that it?
MB: They left, and they had to die.
RSW: It sounds like it doesn’t it? What would that mean? Everyone had to suffer in a famine because these two had to die? Naomi’s intentions seem good, but by the next chapter, it becomes clear that that’s not why she is returning.