Bible Book List
Reformation Study Bible – Ruth 1:1
Ruth 1:1

1:1 In the days. In Hebrew this is a standard formula for opening a historical book. The period of the judges in Israel was infamous as a time of instability and apostasy.

a famine. Events in the Book of Ruth turn on the curse of famine, and its corresponding reversal in blessing. Famines were sometimes a sign of divine displeasure (1 Kin. 17:1). Naomi (1:21) bitterly acknowledges God’s sovereign hand in her circumstances, and in any case, events are never outside His decree.

country of Moab. Lit. “fields of Moab.” Moabites, who were related to Israel through Lot (Gen. 19:37), occupied parts of central Transjordan at various times. Although God protected them at first from the Israelite invaders (Deut. 2:9), the Moabites were subjugated by Saul (1 Sam. 14:47) and then by David (2 Sam. 8:2). See also Deut. 23:3. There were some periods of friendly relations, with considerable cultural and economic interchange, as shown by David’s placement of his parents with the king of Moab while he was a fugitive (1 Sam. 22:3). Elimelech’s sojourn in Moab takes place during one such period.