The Story Of Ruth Part 3 of 11: Moab, The Land Of The Enemy

Ruth 1:1-2

“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.”


As you saw in part 2, the famine in Israel occurred because the land rebelled against all the murders and rampant lawlessness. Naomi and her family left Bethlehem because they thought all of it would destroy them. Unfortunately, what they feared would happen to them if they stayed, actually happened to them in the foreign land to which they fled.

In Part 3, we’ll be studying the meanings of names and places in Hebrew.

Meanings Of Names And Places.
All names in the Bible have a meaning.  Much of the richness of this and every story is found in their meanings which lend to greater depth, understanding, and clarity.

Bethlehem.  “Bethlehem,” means: “House of Bread.”  How very telling that in this story, the house of bread had no bread because of the famine.

Ruth comes from two different root words, one meaning, “Beauty;” the other, “Friend.” Put them together and you have, “Beautiful friend.”  That she certainly was.

Naomi means, “Pleasant.”  As a picture of natural Israel, the Jewish people down through history have added so much to the world, particularly in these last days; things that make life more ”Pleasant.”  Name almost any modern invention and a Jewish person either invented it or is strategically involved.

Orpha means “Back of the neck.” How descriptive! When she turned around and went back to her people and to her gods, that’s what Ruth and Naomi saw: The back of her neck!

Elimelek.  His name is also comprised of two words: “Eli, My God, ” and “Melek, King:  My God is king.” Sadly, when famine struck, he didn’t exactly live up to his name. He fled with his family.

But God says when misfortune strikes, “Don’t run from your troubles. Stay in the land and TURN TO ME.” (See Malachi 3:7).

For example: In Genesis 26, He told Isaac to stay in the land of famine and He would bless him. That He certainly did. Where others could not reap any harvest at all, in verse 12 it says Isaac reaped one hundred fold!  

Joseph, during the great famine of Egypt, never lacked for anything.  Neither he nor his people suffered in the least.  In fact, all Egypt was blessed because of his presence there.


Mahlon and Cheleon.  Now we come to these two boys. Why in the world anyone would give their sons these names is beyond me. They mean, “Sickly and dying or pining,” respectively. Is it any wonder they both died?  They are a depiction of the fate Israel suffered when she was out of her land.

Boaz.  On the other hand, Boaz is a picture of Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer. His name means, “In him is strength.” Just as He became Kinsman Redeemer for Ruth, married her, and provided for all her needs, so Jesus became our Kinsman Redeemer.

He came to earth in the form of sinful flesh, without sin of course, died a physical death on the cross in order to redeem us, which simply means “To buy back.” He bought us back from our enemy, the devil, and now we are heirs to all that He has!

Disobedience And Death.
Ruth 1:3-5
” 3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. 4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. 5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.”

Notice, it was after Elimelek died that both Naomi’s sons married women from Moab.  In other world, when leadership was dead, they did what was against God’s law. You see, because Moab was a nation cursed by God at that time, they were absolutely not to have any contact with them.  Well eventually, both sons also died, leaving their women to fend for themselves.

You may continue on with this series to part 4 by clicking the link below.  We’ll be talking about Naomi as she returns to Bethlehem and finds that God has, indeed, not forgotten her:

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