I have started a little personal in-depth study of the book of Ruth so I can create great notes to put into my Stephen Thomas study Bible (aka, ESV journaling Bible). But before I commit permanent ink to paper, I would like to work out what I actually believe about some things. So I have a few questions and I would like some discussion from anybody on what they think. The issues I am about to put forth are ones in which the sources I've been consulting are split just about down the middle on, opinion-wise. No majority to go with. Those resources are the Reformation Study Bible, the John MacArthur Study Bible, John Gill's commentary on Ruth, Iain Duguid's commentary, and Sinclair Ferguson's exposition called Faithful God. I've also listened (or am listening) to a sermon on Ruth by John MacArthur and a 4 sermon series by John Piper. Anyway, on to the questions.
1. In the opening verses of Ruth, when it tells of Elimelech and his family leaving famine-stricken Israel to sojourn awhile in Moab...was this sinful? Should they have stayed in the land of promise that God had given them instead of going to a country that had a long history of animosity towards God's people? Or was it okay since, after all, there was a famine in Israel?
2. And what about Naomi's strong urgings to Orpah and Ruth to stay in Moab? Although humanly speaking she gave very logical and sensible advice, she was in effect discouraging their conversion to the true God. Was this sinfulness on Naomi's part, perhaps springing from her bitterness, or was it more along the lines of Jesus' admonitions to count the cost before committing to follow Him? So was Naomi sinning in this case?
That is all my questions for now. I will have more later, I am sure. I sure would appreciate any input any of you may have. Let's discuss!