RUTH

 

Introduction   Ruth. 1:1-17

 

The Bible states that we are epistles to be read by all men 2Cor 3:1-3. Our actions what we do in life plays a vital role in how humanity views God, the Church and us the Believers in Christ Jesus. Life is not fair and in many cases strikes devastation and produces a life of misery and helplessness. We need to examine a young womenís life and the type of character that God chooses to visit and bring destiny in times of great afflictions.

 

 

1.      Circumstances    (Ruth. 1:1-17)

        The Word of God focuses on a family that left Bethlehem Judah to live in Moab because of the famine.

        Moabites and Ammonites were descendents of Lot, he fathered with his daughters (Gen 19)

        Somewhat a reproach since these tribes arrived from incest.

  i.      The fact of this in no doubt played a factor with Naomi after the death of her family.

ii.      Imagine fleeing famine only to lose your husband and sons, she viewed God as a punisher.

iii.      Naomi faith was tested and she was not able to absorb the trail, lost faith in God (Ruth 1:20-21).

iv.      Many times in lifeís trials we understand that it is our fault things happen the way they do.

v.      We also view God as the punisher and lose track of his saving grace.

vi.      The devil loves to paint failure with finality (EXPOUND).

 

 

2.      Ruthís heart and devotion (Vs. 16-17)

        Ruth makes a decision not to leave Naomi even after her mother in law urges her to return to her people.

        No doubt Ruth considered Naomi in her decision, she was not in a state to be alone, suicidal.

        Whatever the reason Ruth makes a vow and acknowledges that The God of Israel will be her God.

  i.      Ruth was in Love with her husband, his family and his God.

ii.      Love is responsibility and Ruth understood this, she was not concerned with her state but others.

iii.      1 Pet 4:8 Love covers sin.

1.      (Vs. 14-17) Only death will separate us, loyalty to the finest.

2.      Ruth not only was devoted but obedient to Naomiís advice she did as told no questions.

  • Boaz was near kin to Naomi son of Rehab the harlot who helped the spies at Jericho.
  • Regardless of Lifeís dealing a right heart allows God to intervene and bring blessing
  • Ruth the new convert followed Naomiís instruction as the voice of God.
  • Obedience is a factor as a believer that will lead you to the promises of God.
  • (1Sam 15:22) Regardless of the cost to obey is the key to Godís heart.

 

 

3.      Love  (1 Pet 4:8) & Ruth 4:15

        It was Ruthís heart of compassion that leads Naomi to attain the blessing of God.

  i.      People of God acknowledge this and understood that Ruthís life was the key for Naomi.

        One would think the Naomiís sons held the key but God works with those who humble themselves.

   i.      When was the last time you were so burden for others that you humbled yourself before God?

 ii.      (Ruth 2:10-12)  Ruthís testimony was spoken of thru the ranks, your life also believer.

        (John 3:16-17) God is our example Ruth has the same heart she gave herself to God and humanity.

        (Mt 22:36-40) Love is the fulfillment of the Law of God.

  i.      There are many negatives in Ruthís life but the one positive that overcame all was LOVE

ii.      She goes down in history as one forsaken of God that found him thru Love and obedience.

iii.      Do you have this love?

 

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Ruth 1:1-17

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 Bethlehem Judah 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 Bethlehem Judah. 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.

 2 Corinthians 3:1-3

3:1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?                                                                                                        2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:                                                            3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Ruth 1:20-21

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?

1 Peter 4:8

8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

 Ruth 4:13-16

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.

15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.

16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.

1 Samuel 15:22

22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Ruth 2:10-12

10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Genesis 19

19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place:

13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.

15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:

19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:

20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.

22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:

28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.

31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:

32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our Father.

35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.

36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.

38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

Ruth 1:1-5

 Death of Elimelech and his sons

 The first words give all the date we have of this story. It was in the days when the judges ruled (v. 1), not in those disorderly times when there was no king in Israel; but under which of the judges these things happened we are not told, and the conjectures of the learned are very uncertain. It must have been towards the beginning of the judges' time, for Boaz, who married Ruth, was born of Rahab, who received the spies in Joshua's time. Some think it was in the days of Ehud, others of Deborah; the learned bishop Patrick inclines to think it was in the days of Gideon, because in his days only we read of a famine by the Midianites' invasion, Judges 6:3-4. While the judges were ruling, some one city and some another, Providence takes particular cognizance of Bethlehem, and has an eye to a King, to Messiah himself, who should descend from two Gentile mothers, Rahab and Ruth. Here is,

I. A famine in the land, in the land of Canaan, that land flowing with milk and honey. This was one of the judgments which God had threatened to bring upon them for their sins, Leviticus 26:19-20. He has many arrows in his quiver. In the days of the judges they were oppressed by their enemies; and, when by that judgment they were not reformed, God tried this, for when he judges he will overcome. When the land had rest, yet it had not plenty; even in Bethlehem, which signifies the house of bread, there was scarcity. A fruitful land is turned into barrenness, to correct and restrain the luxury and wantonness of those that dwell therein.

II. An account of one particular family distressed in the famine; it is that of Elimelech. His name signifies my God a king, agreeable to the state of Israel when the judges ruled, for the Lord was their King, and comfortable to him and his family in their affliction, that God was theirs and that he reigns for ever. His wife was Naomi, which signifies my amiable or pleasant one. But his sons' names were Mahlon and Chilion, sickness and consumption, perhaps because weakly children, and not likely to be long-lived. Such are the productions of our pleasant things, weak and infirm, fading and dying.

III. The removal of this family from Bethlehem into the country of Moab on the other side Jordan, for subsistence, because of the famine, v. 1, 2. It seems there was plenty in the country of Moab when there was scarcity of bread in the land of Israel. Common gifts of providence are often bestowed in greater plenty upon those that are strangers to God than upon those that know and worship him. Moab is at ease from his youth, while Israel is emptied from vessel to vessel (Jeremiah 48:11), not because God loves Moabites better, but because they have their portion in this life. Thither Elimelech goes, not to settle for ever, but to sojourn for a time, during the dearth, as Abraham, on a similar occasion, went into Egypt, and Isaac into the land of the Philistines. Now here,

1. Elimelech's care to provide for his family, and his taking his wife and children with him, were without doubt commendable. If any provide not for his own, he hath denied the faith, 1 Timothy 5:8. When he was in his straits he did not forsake his house, go seek his fortune himself, and leave his wife and children to shift for their own maintenance; but, as became a tender husband and a loving father, where he went he took them with him, not as the ostrich, Job 39:16. But,

2. I see not how his removal into the country of Moab, upon this occasion, could be justified. Abraham and Isaac were only sojourners in Canaan, and it was agreeable to their condition to remove; but the seed of Israel were now fixed, and ought not to remove into the territories of the heathen. What reason had Elimelech to go more than any of his neighbours? If by any ill husbandry he had wasted his patrimony, and sold his land or mortgaged it (as it should seem, Ruth 4:3-4), which brought him into a more necessitous condition than others, the law of God would have obliged his neighbours to relieve him (Leviticus 25:35); but that was not his case, for he went out full, v. 21. By those who tarried at home it appears that the famine was not so extreme but that there was sufficient to keep life and soul together; and his charge was but small, only two sons. But if he could not be content with the short allowance that his neighbours took up with, and in the day of famine could not be satisfied unless he kept as plentiful a table as he had done formerly, if he could not live in hope that there would come years of plenty again in due time, or could not with patience wait for those years, it was his fault, and he did by it dishonour God and the good land he had given them, weaken the hands of his brethren, with whom he should have been willing to take his lot, and set an ill example to others.

If all should do as he did Canaan would be dispeopled. Note, It is an evidence of a discontented, distrustful, unstable spirit, to be weary of the place in which God hath set us, and to be for leaving it immediately whenever we meet with any uneasiness or inconvenience in it. It is folly to think of escaping that cross which, being laid in our way, we ought to take up. It is our wisdom to make the best of that which is, for it is seldom that changing our place is mending it. Or, if he would remove, why to the country of Moab? If he had made enquiry, it is probable he would have found plenty in some of the tribes of Israel, those, for instance, on the other side Jordan, that bordered on the land of Moab; if he had had that zeal for God and his worship, and that affection for his brethren which became an Israelite, he would not have persuaded himself so easily to go and sojourn among Moabites.

IV. The marriage of his two sons to two of the daughters of Moab after his death, v. 4. All agree that this was ill done. The Chaldee says, They transgressed the decree of the word of the Lord in taking strange wives. If they would not stay unmarried till their return to the land of Israel, they were not so far off but that they might have fetched themselves wives thence. Little did Elimelech think, when he went to sojourn in Moab, that ever his sons would thus join in affinity with Moabites. But those that bring young people into bad acquaintance, and take them out of the way of public ordinances, though they may think them well-principled and armed against temptation, know not what they do, nor what will be the end thereof. It does not appear that the women they married were proselyted to the Jewish religion, for Orpah is said to return to her gods (v. 15); the gods of Moab were hers still. It is a groundless tradition of the Jews that Ruth was the daughter of Eglon king of Moab, yet the Chaldee paraphrast inserts it; but this and their other tradition, which he inserts likewise, cannot agree, that Boaz who married Ruth was the same with Ibzan, who judged Israel 200 years after Eglon's death, Judges 12.

V. The death of Elimelech and his two sons, and the disconsolate condition Naomi was thereby reduced to. Her husband died (v. 3) and her two sons (v. 5) soon after their marriage, and the Chaldee says, Their days were shortened, because they transgressed the law in marrying strange wives. See here,

1. That wherever we go we cannot out-run death, whose fatal arrows fly in all places.

2. That we cannot expect to prosper when we go out of the way of our duty. He that will save his life by any indirect course shall lose it.

3. That death, when it comes into a family, often makes breach upon breach. One is taken away to prepare another to follow soon after; one is taken away, and that affliction is not duly improved, and therefore God sends another of the same kind. When Naomi had lost her husband she took so much the more complacency and put so much the more confidence in her sons. Under the shadow of these surviving comforts she thinks she shall live among the heathen, and exceedingly glad she was of these gourds; but behold they wither presently, green and growing up in the morning, cut down and dried up before night, buried soon after they were married, for neither of them left any children. So uncertain and transient are all our enjoyments here. It is therefore our wisdom to make sure of those comforts that will be made sure and of which death cannot rob us. But how desolate was the condition, and how disconsolate the spirit, of poor Naomi, when the woman was left of her two sons and her husband! When these two things, loss of children and widowhood, come upon her in a moment, come upon her in their perfection, by whom shall she be comforted? Isaiah 47:9; 51:19. It is God alone who has wherewithal to comfort those who are thus cast down.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

 Ruth 1:6-9; Ruth 1:10-13; Ruth 1:14-17

II. Elimelech's Widow and Daughter-in-law Return from Moab. 1:6-18.

Ruth 1:6-9

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.

She had heard ... how that the Lord had visited his people. While in Moab, Naomi learned that the famine had ended in Bethlehem. Being a widow with family ties there, she prepared to return home. 7. Her two daughters-in-law with her. The girls were so attached to their mother-in-law that they wished to leave their own country and go to Bethlehem. 8. Go, return each to her mother's house. Naomi thought it would not be wise for the girls to leave Moab, their native land. She commended them for their loyalty to their dead husbands and to herself, and urged them to stay in their homeland. 9. Each of you in the house of her husband. Naomi thought that the girls would wish to remarry. As they had been faithful in times of adversity she prayed that God would grant them days of prosperity and blessing in second marriage.

 Ruth 1:10-13

And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. It was a tribute to the godly character of Naomi that her daughters-in-law were prepared to leave their own land to go with her to Judah. 11. Why will ye go with me? According to the principle of levirate marriage, the next brother (or, as we note later, kinsman) was expected to marry the childless widow of his deceased brother. The first child of the second marriage was accounted to the deceased brother, and that child carried on the family name and inherited the property as if he had been the child of the deceased man. Naomi asked, Are there yet any more sons in my womb? She implied that she could not hope to be the mother of sons who could later marry the two Moabitish widows.

Ruth 1:14-17

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

But Ruth clave unto her. Ruth would not be dissuaded. She had determined to abide with Naomi whatever the consequences, and she became the ancestress of David as a result of her choice. Though the character of Orpah suffers by contrast with that of Ruth, no word of reproach is intended for her. She acted on the advice of Naomi and returned to Moab, thereby dropping out of the Biblical record. 16. Whither thou goest, I will go. This section of Ruth is esteemed one of the most touching passages of literature. Ruth renounced all that she could be expected to hold dear in Moab and voluntarily chose to go to Judah and there begin an entirely new life with her mother-in-law. This choice had religious as well as cultural overtones, as we see from the words - thy God (shall be) my God. In Moab Ruth would have been expected to worship Chemosh (Numbers 21:29). In going to Judah, however, she would worship the God of Israel. It was a testimony both to her deceased husband and to her mother-in-law that Ruth was willing to entrust herself to the God whom they worshiped. 17. The Lord do so to me, and more also. Ruth in these words solemnly affirmed her desire to be loyal to Naomi as long as she lived. Her words imply a solemn vow, which may be paraphrased, "May a severe judgment fall on me if I am not true to my vow."

 Ruth 1:19; Ruth 1:20-21

III. Naomi and Ruth Arrive at Bethlehem. 1:19-22.

Ruth 1:19

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?

So they two went ... to Bethlehem. When Naomi and Ruth arrived in the city, they caused quite a stir. Is this Naomi? the people asked, expressing surprise. Naomi and Elimelech had left with their happy family; now Naomi's very appearance bore testimony to the hardship and sorrow she had experienced.

 Ruth 1:20-21

And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

Call me not Naomi, call me Mara. Naomi means (pleasant), whereas Mara means (bitter). Naomi said, in effect, that the experiences in Moab had brought such grief into her life that she could no longer bear the name Naomi. The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Naomi recognized that the tragedies of her life were not accidents but that the hand of God had been in each of them. God is the Almighty, the One who controls all the circumstances of life. He is not powerless in the presence of evil, but remains the sovereign God, who can make all things work together for the good of his children (Romans 8:28). Although Naomi did not rise above the feeling of grief as she arrived at Bethlehem, her recognition that God is almighty offered a ray of hope. 21. The Lord hath brought me home again empty. The very tragedies of her life she traced to God's sovereign will. Paul said he knew how "to be abased" and how "to abound." Naomi thought of her poverty as the result of God's providential dealings in her life. Although "empty," Naomi thankfully recognized that the Lord had brought her home.

(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

 Numbers 21:29

[Chemosh] The national God of the Moabites (compare the marginal references). The name probably means "Vanquisher," or "Master." The worship of Chemosh was introduced into Israel by Solomon (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13). It was no doubt to Chemosh that Mesha, king of Moab, offered up his son as a burnt-offering (2 Kings 3:26-27).

(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Numbers 21:29

Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.

[Chemosh] The national God of the Moabites (compare the marginal references). The name probably means "Vanquisher," or "Master." The worship of Chemosh was introduced into Israel by Solomon (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13). It was no doubt to Chemosh that Mesha, king of Moab, offered up his son as a burnt-offering (2 Kings 3:26-27).

In the first six lines (Numbers 21:27-28) the poet imagines for the Amorites a song of exultation for their victories over Moab, and for the consequent glories of Heshbon, their own capital. In the next lines (Numbers 21:29) he himself joins in this strain; which now becomes one of half-real, half-ironical compassion for the Moabites, whom their idol Chemosh was unable to save. But in the last lines (Numbers 21:30) a startling change takes place; the new and decisive triumph of the poet's own countrymen is abruptly introduced; and the boastings of the Arnorites fade utterly away. Of the towns Heshbon was the northernmost, and therefore, to the advancing Israelites, the last to be reached. Medeba, now Madeba, was four miles south of Heshbon (compare 1 Chronicles 19:7,15).

(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)