Naomi’s Family in Moab
1During the time # Lit In the days of the judging of the judges, # Jdg 2:16-18 there was a famine in the land. # Gn 12:10; 26:1; 43:1; 2Kg 8:1 A man left Bethlehem # = House of Bread # Jdg 17:7; 19:1 in Judah with his wife and two sons to live in the land of Moab for a while. 2The man’s name was Elimelech, # = My God Is King and his wife’s name was Naomi. # = Pleasant The names of his two sons were Mahlon # = Sickly and Chilion. # = Weak or failing They were Ephrathites # Gn 35:19; 1Sm 17:12; 1Ch 4:4; Mc 5:2 from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the land of Moab and settled there. 3Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her two sons. 4Her sons took Moabite women as their wives: one was named Orpah and the second was named Ruth. After they lived in Moab about 10 years, 5both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two children and without her husband.
Ruth’s Loyalty to Naomi
6She and her daughters-in-law prepared to leave the land of Moab, because she had heard in Moab that the Lord had paid attention to His people’s need by providing them food. # Ex 4:31; 1Sm 2:21 7She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.
8She said to them, “Each of you go back to your mother’s home. # Gn 24:28 May the Lord show faithful love to you as you have shown to the dead and to me. 9May the Lord enable each of you to find security # Ru 3:1 in the house of your new husband.” She kissed them, and they wept loudly.
10“No,” they said to her. “We will go with you to your people.”
11But Naomi replied, “Return home, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Am I able to have any more sons # Lit More to me sons in my womb who could become your husbands? # Gn 38:11; Dt 25:5 12Return home, my daughters. Go on, for I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me to have a husband tonight and to bear sons, 13would you be willing to wait for them to grow up? Would you restrain yourselves from remarrying? # Lit marrying a man No, my daughters, my life is much too bitter for you to share, # Lit daughters, for more bitter to me than you because the Lord’s hand has turned against me.” # Jdg 2:15; Jb 19:21; Ps 32:4; 38:2; 39:10 14Again they wept loudly, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. # Or gods # Jdg 11:24; 1Kg 11:7; Jr 48:7,13,46 Follow your sister-in-law.”
16But Ruth replied:
Do not persuade me to leave you
or go back and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
17Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May Yahweh punish me, # A solemn oath formula; 1Sm 3:17; 2Sm 3:9,35; 1Kg 2:23; 2Kg 6:31 # 1Sm 3:17; 2Sm 3:9,35; 1Kg 2:23; 2Kg 6:31
and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.
18When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to persuade her.
19The two of them traveled until they came to Bethlehem. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrival # Lit excited because of them # Mt 21:10 and the local women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi? ”
20“Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” # = Bitter she answered, # Lit answered them “for the Almighty # Gn 49:25; Ex 6:3; Nm 24:4; Jb 6:4 has made me very bitter. # Ex 15:23 21I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. # Ru 3:17 Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced judgment on # LXX, Syr, Vg read has humiliated me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? ”
22So Naomi came back from the land of Moab with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabitess. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. # Ex 9:31; Lv 23:10-11