1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem of Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, his wife, and his two sons.
2 The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife’s name was Naomi and his two sons were named Mahlon [invalid] and Chilion [pining]; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. They went to the country of Moab and continued there.
3 But Elimelech, who Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.
4 And they took wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They dwelt there about ten years;
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also, both of them, so the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband.
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in Moab how the Lord had visited His people in giving them food.
7 So she left the place where she was, her two daughters-in-law with her, and they started on the way back to Judah.
8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
9 The Lord grant that you may find a home and rest, each in the house of her husband! Then she kissed them and they wept aloud.
10 And they said to her, No, we will return with you to your people.
11 But Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that may become your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters, go; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband tonight and should bear sons,
13 Would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters; it is far more bitter for me than for you that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
14 Then they wept aloud again; and Orpah [a]kissed her mother-in-law [good-bye], but Ruth clung to her.
15 And Naomi said, See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.
16 And Ruth said, Urge me not to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. [b]Your people shall be my people and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts me from you.
18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said no more.
19 So they both went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred about them, and said, Is this Naomi?
20 And she said to them, Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
- Ruth 1:14 “How many part with Christ at this crossway! Like Orpah they go a furlong or two with Christ, till He goes to take them off from their worldly hopes and bids them prepare for hardship, and then they fairly kiss and leave Him” (William Gurnall, cited by James C. Gray and George M. Adams, Bible Commentary).
- Ruth 1:16 “Ruth is a prophecy, than which none could be more beautiful and engaging, of the entrance of the heathen world into the kingdom of God. She comes forth out of Moab, an idolatrous people full of wantonness and sin, and is herself so tender and pure. In a land where dissolute sensuality formed one of the elements of idol worship, a woman appears, as wife and daughter, chaste as the rose of spring and unsurpassed in these relations by any other [human] character in Holy Writ.... Ruth’s confession of God and His people originated in the home of her married life. It sprang from the love with which she was permitted to embrace Israelites.... The conduct of one Israelitish woman [Naomi] in a foreign land was able to call forth a love and a confession of God like that of Ruth.... Ruth loves a woman, and is thereby led to the God Whom that woman confesses” (J.P. Lange, A Commentary).