NLT Study Bible Blog.
Where Is Moab? (Ruth #3)
As we read and study the Bible, it is always helpful to keep in mind where and when events occurred. Ruth 1:2 reads,
In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him.
So one of the question that arises while reading the book of Ruth is, Where is the land of Moab? We don’t have a nation called “Moab” in the world today.

In the NLT Study Bible, each of the book introductions includes a map showing the geographical setting of the book.

This map shows the location of Elimelech’s home, Bethlehem in Judah, and the route of their travel to Moab, a land to the southeast of the Dead Sea.

Subject Index entry on Moab.
What do we know about Moab? The book of Ruth itself doesn’t say very much about it, so the NLT Study Bible doesn’t dwell on it. But if we want to find out more, we have a couple of options. Perhaps the quickest way is to turn to the “Subject Index for the Study Materials” at the back and look up “Moab.” If we do that, we will find two dozen entries for Moab, including 14 map listings and a variety of articles and study notes that mention or discuss Moab, all in canonical page order. If we were to look up and read those articles and study notes and sections of the Bible text, we would learn a great deal about Moab and its relationship with Israel. We would learn that Moab was a son of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and that the women of Moab had led the men of Israel to sin against the Lord by immorally worshiping false gods during the trek from Egypt to Canaan.

Now we have some idea what it means for Ruth to have lived “in the time of the judges (see previous post)” and to have been a “Moabite woman” who had married into a family of the tribe of Judah. We get a sense of how remarkable a woman Ruth must have been, to leave her tribe and to join the people of Judah, a tribe that would probably be suspicious of a young Moabite woman and might reject her out of hand. Understanding who the Moabites were to the people of Israel sheds new light on a conversation that Ruth had with Boaz:
“What have I done to deserve such kindness?” [Ruth] asked. “I am only a foreigner.”
“Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers. May the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done” (Ruth 2:10-11).
In light of Ruth’s background as a Moabite, Boaz’s testimony is truly remarkable.
posted by Sean Harrison at 8:00 AM
Blogger Stan McCullars said...

In the NLT Study Bible, each of the book introductions includes a map showing the geographical setting of the book.

Another great idea. I for one have a hard enough time keeping up with modern countries. Come to think of it, I do a lousy job of it. I think this feature will prove to be very useful to many.

July 2, 2008 12:11 PM  

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