I pointed out in our last study that choices matter in life. Some have unintended negative consequences.
Elimelech’s decision to take his family to Moab, as described in the book of Ruth, provided temporary relief from the famine in Bethlehem, but it removed them from the supportive community of fellow believers. He temporarily abandoned his land and sought new opportunities. I believe he intended to go back when circumstances seemed better, but for a short time, Moab would be their home.
Moab was about 50 miles east of Bethlehem on the east side of the Dead Sea. Remember, Lot’s daughters initiated an incestuous relationship with Lot which resulted in the birth of sons to them, Moab and Ben Ammi. The Moabites were descendants of Moab and the Amonites of Ben Ammi. They both were nations who periodically attacked and tried to rob Israel. The Moabites also tried to call a curse on Israel.
Deuteronomy 23:3-6 indicates they were excluded from the congregation of the Lord. They worshiped Chemosh, a deity whose worship was similar to that of Baal.
Some time after he moved to Moab with his family Elimelech died. He couldn’t have anticipated this. But now his wife was a widow in a strange land. The son’s found themselves wives from among the Moabites and tried to make a go of it together with their mother Naomi.
What originally was going to be a short time ended up being over 10 years. Then the sons both died. Now Naomi was alone with two foreign daughters-in-law.
Choices matter. Elimelech’s choice had unintended negative consequences.