Famously, Ruth in the Bible is recorded to have said this to her mother-in-law…
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.
Ruth 1: 16, 17. ESV
Ruth, speaking to her mother-in-law Naomi, an Israelite widow who had decided to return to her homeland.
Although Ruth is an example of a dedicated, considerate young woman, there are a couple of things that ‘beg a question.’
One of these is the fact she is a Moabitess. ‘So, what’s that when it’s at home?’
Ruth was a member of the Moabite race… who had been enemies of the Israelites. God pronounced a ruling about them…
“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever,”
Deuteronomy 23: 3 ESV
Since God never lies, Ruth must have been in or after the tenth generation.
Another question might be… was she so fond of Naomi, or did she have no home to return to? If she did have a home to return to, there is no record about it being loving, avaricious, or had she been cast out because she had married an ‘enemy?’
After all, if the Israelites considered them enemies, it most likely worked in reverse.
Who were the Moabites anyway?
Wikipedia provides an answer…
According to the biblical account, Moab and Ammon were born to Lot and Lot’s elder and younger daughters, respectively, in the aftermath of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible refers to both the Moabites and Ammonites as Lot’s sons, born of incest with his daughters.
Then there is another reason for the animosity between the nations…
2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4 And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Numbers 22:2-5 ESV
Ten, or more, generations later Ruth, a young widow, accompanies the mother of her dead husband to the land Naomi came from, but for Ruth an enemy country.
Anyone familiar with this Bible story will know that Ruth married a wealthy relative of Naomi’s husband. Thus she became the grandmother of King David, and ancestress of Jesus Christ.
Rags to riches tale, or God working His purpose out?