Another blog post on the same section? Trust me: it’s short, and it’s (probably) the last time we’ll be here!
For review: read Ruth 1:1-5.
Now that we’ve discussed canonical readings, we can delve into one specific example of where those types of reading shed light on our current passage.
Whenever the people of God enter foreign territory, they come under attack. When Abraham entered Egypt (twice) with his Bride, the Serpent came in the form of a Pharaoh to take his Bride away from him, thus delaying the Seed. Both times, God kept Abraham safe and he left with spoils from the other nation. When Israel was in bondage, the Pharaoh again set his sights upon the Seed, aiming to limit the amount of Hebrew births and directly killing male children. When Israel came out of Egypt in the Exodus, they left with massive spoils. (Forward looking: when Jesus initiated the great Exodus Isaiah foresaw in the Resurrection, he left with the spoils won from the kingdom of darkness.)
We have also generally seen that when Israel is not in the Promised Land, they don’t do well. Abraham is attacked in Egypt; Israel cannot cross through other nations’ lands, and the Judges constantly rescue people from foreign opposition.
How shocking, then, is it that Elimelech moves his family out of Israel into Moab. This scene is a reverse Exodus. Naomi says that in Israel she was full (despite the famine), but having left the Land, she is now empty. Whereas Israel left Egypt to go to the land with enlarged numbers (with both Israel and Egyptians and other gentile nations), Elimelech moves from the land, and his family dies.
So Israel. She is moving from her land and her God to be like Gentiles, demanding a king like theirs.