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CHAPTER IV.

THE RIGHT CHOICE.

Ruth 1. 10–18. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

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 ?

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 husbaud also to-night, and should also bear sous;

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.

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law: but Ruth clave 1 unto her.

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.

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 :

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.

When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

LET us now go back to those three broken-hearted travellers. Naomi had bid her two daughters-in-law return; and had embraced them, as she thought, for the last time. But she did not reckon upon so strong a mark of their affection. She expected that

the parting would be painful on both sides; but she was not at all prepared for the deep feeling which now showed itself in each of them. They seemed to feel that they could not let her go alone; neither could they bear the thought of returning to their home, and finding her place empty. So they both purpose to journey on with her; “ Surely we will return with thee to thy people."

Still Naomi thinks it wrong to take them at their word. She will not take advantage of the strong feeling which for the moment filled their hearts. And she 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? Turn again, my daughters, go your way,

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ør I am too old to have an husband. f I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to-night, and should also bear sons, 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.”

How kind and unselfish was Naomi's conduct! And now let us see how the two sisters-in-law acted. It will give us a little insight into their characters. Both of them shed tears of the truest sorrow. They both “lifted up their voice and wept." And then we are told, “Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her." The ties of home and kindred were too strong for poor undecided Orpah. She could not

resist them. And so she sorrowfully parted with Naomi, and turned awa for ever from her best and dearest friend.

And now let us see how Ruth acts. She is determined to remain with her afflicted relative. Even the departure of Orpah is not enough to shake her in her resolution, Naomi tries again to persuade her not to make so great a sacrifice ; “Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods; return thou after thy sisterin-law.” But Ruth's mind was quite made up, and she was resolved to share Naomi's sorrow with her. " Intreat me not (she says) 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

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