The Philistines send the Ark of the Covenant away and the cows lead it back. Though the Israelites recover it, some look inside it and are judged.
- Why did the Lord kill those who looked into the Ark?
- Why do you think they were looking into the Ark?
- What does this say about how we should think about and value obedience to the Lord?
The Lord smites the Philistines wherever they have the Ark of the Covenant.
- Note what the Philistines say in verse 7—what do they mean by the “hand” of the Lord?
- What does this account say about the true God? Why would anyone continue in idolatry then?
Israel is defeated in battle by Philistia; the ark is captured; Hophni and Phineas are killed and Eliza dies.
– How did the Israelites view the Ark of the Covenant? What does that say about where their trust truly lay?
– The Israelites’ misplaced trust also shows their blindness to the real cause of their defeat.
– “Ichabod” means “where is the honor?” or “no glory,” (v. 21)
The Lord speaks to Samuel that He will bring judgment upon Eli’s house; the Lord is with Samuel.
Why couldn’t the sins of Eli’s sons be atoned for?
Note the contrast between Eli’s house and Samuel.
The expression, “from Dan to Beersheba” covers the land from the northernmost part to the southernmost part. Put that in your own words!
Hannah praises the Lord; Samuel grows in favor with the Lord and men. Eli’s sons Hophni and Phineas distort God’s worship and their judgment is prophesied.
- What kind of worship did Eli’s sons render to the Lord? What was the Lord’s assessment of that?
- Note verse 30—what practical application can you make from this?
- How does God describe faithfulness (v. 35)?
Hannah prays for a son and the Lord answers; Samuel is dedicated to the Lord as a Nazirite.
- What was Hannah promising in verse 11?
- What kind of parents did Samuel have?
Some points to ponder–
- Elkanah’s commitment to the Lord stands in contrast to the spiritual darkness of his times
- Elkanah was a faithful priest even though Eli, Hophni, and Phineas were not
- Though there was division in the family Elkanah still lead them in devotion to the Lord
- Peninnah should have shown love and encouragement toward Hannah rather than treat her as she did. We must bear one another’s burdens, not add to them.
- Hannah’s “prayer came from her heart, as the tears from her eyes,” (Henry)
- “Drunkards are children of Belial, children of the wicked one, children of disobedience, children that will not endure the yoke (else they would not be drunk), more especially when they are actually drunk. Those that cannot govern themselves will not bear that any one else should,” (Henry)
- Through prayer we pour out the burdens and desires of our hearts to God, and as we do so with thanksgiving he gives peace in our hearts, v. 18; cf. Phil 4:6-7
- Consider how young Samuel was when he began his training for the Lord! Children are never too young to learn to love and serve the Lord. We should teach them to worship God and involve them in it.
Boaz marries Ruth and they have a son; their genealogy to King David.
- Why didn’t the closest relative want to buy Naomi’s property?
- From this chapter, what is one of the main purposes of this book?
Some points to ponder–
- V. 6–this man thought of himself, whereas Boaz thought of others (v. 10). The former did not want to jeopardize his earthly inheritance and yet reaped historical anonymity. Boaz reaped quite the opposite!
- Vv. 11-12–Note that God answered this prayer more than they could have imagined!
- In vv. 11-12 and vv. 14-15 prayer and spiritual language are readily used; this should be so in all of life, and it is sad when either it isn’t or becomes mere formality.
Ruth asks Boaz to provide protection for her.
- Ruth’s expression, “spread your covering” is a figurative way of saying “take me to be your wife.”
- What does Naomi’s confidence (v. 18) says about Boaz?
Ruth gleans in Boaz’s field; he shows particular care and concern for her.
- Verse 3 says that Ruth “happened” to come to Boaz’s field. What do you think about that?
- What had Boaz heard about Ruth? What does that say about the importance of your testimony?
- Note verse 12—Ruth was no pagan immigrant: she was a believer in the Lord. Note the expressions Boaz uses here—what is he getting across?
Some points to ponder–
- Verses 2-3: Ruth did not sit lazily and expect others to provide; she had a good attitude that was noticed by others. She worked and was not ashamed of humble work.
- Note Boaz’s kindness toward this poor alien, in keeping with the Mosaic Law; he did not close his heart toward her (Lev 19:33-34; Deut 10:19). He had a generous spirit, encouraging her, not stopping her, in her work
- Verse 4, Boaz greeted his workers with the Lord’s blessing, using His name in an honorable way
- Verse 14, Ruth did not stuff herself but ate according to her needs
- Verses 19, 21–Note that Ruth told Naomi of Boaz’s kindness toward her but not his praise of her. “Humility teaches us, not only not to praise ourselves, but not to be forward to publish others’ praises of us,” (Henry).
- Verse 22–There is provision and protection in the Lord’s ways; let us not go to the world for such
- Compare Ruth’s actions (v. 23) with Dinah’s (Gen 34:1)
A family from Bethlehem leaves and goes to Moab. Naomi’s husband and sons die. She returns to Bethlehem with Ruth her daughter-in-law.
- When did the events of this book occur? What would that tell you about what “life” was like?
- Though Naomi discounted it, why would she talk about her daughters-in-law marrying within her family?
- Note verse 16, Ruth’s “confession of faith.” What is she saying here?
Wives are provided for the tribe of Benjamin.
- What was at Bethel that would cause the people to go there to seek the Lord (v. 2)?
- What is the recurring theme of Judges? How does this chapter demonstrate that?
- Compare verse 25 with Deuteronomy 12:8; 21:9.