Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links and a discussion forum

2014 June 1

Image 1: "Ruth and Naomi" (or Meyer's Two Wives; Detail from the Darmstadt Madonna) - (1526)
Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 - 1543)
Northern Renaissance Style
Schlossmjuseum, Darmstadt, Germany
Image Credit: Women in the Bible


Image 2: Ruth and Naomi (1744)
Nicolaas Verkolje (1673-1746)
Dutch Golden Age Baroque Style
Private Collection
Image Credit: Web Gallery of Art

     Explanation: Although the first painting above is not of Ruth and Naomi, as some have suggested, I have chosen it because I see in the faces of the women depicted a care-worn quality which befits the hardships and great pain which Ruth and Naomi suffered in the events described in the first chapter. The second painting depicts the signature event of the chapter -- when Ruth clung to Naomi but Orpah returned to her people.
     The story of Ruth, an ancestor of David, and therefore of Christ, is told in the book of Ruth. Ruth 1 contains the introduction to Ruth, showing her character and her dedication to the LORD. In the days when the Judges ruled in Israel a man called Elimelech went with his family to sojourn in the land of Moab to escape a famine. While there he died, leaving his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Mahlon and Chilion took Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth, as wives. After about ten years Mahlon and Chilion also died (1-5). When she heard that the famine in Israel had ceased, she and her daughters in law set out toward Israel. But, after much weeping and discussion, Naomi dismissed the women with her blessing and her wishes that they would find husbands and rest. So Orpah returned to Moab; but Ruth clung to Naomi (6-14). Naomi again suggested that Ruth go back to Moab to her people and her gods as Orpah did. But Ruth refused uttering one of the most famous passages in Scripture: "Intreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you: for whither you go, I will go; and where thou lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God: Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part you and me" (15-18). So they came to Bethlehem; and all the city was moved about them; and they could hardly recognize Naomi. And Naomi told them not to call her Naomi (sweet), but Mara (bitter) -- because the Almighty, she said, had dealt bitterly with her; she left full and came back empty and had suffered affliction at the hand of the Almighty (19-21). The time of their arrival was at the beginning of the barley harvest (22).
     For another treatment of the book of Ruth in the pages of DAWN see the following: 3-25-2012; 3-26-2012; 3-27-2012; 3-28-2012; 3-29-2012; 3-30-2012; 3-31-2012.

Ruth 1

     1 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. 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.
     6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. 7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. 8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. 10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
     15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. 16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.
     19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?
     22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

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