This book contains the account of Ruth, a non-Israeli woman who became an Israeli. We call this book
Ruth declared she would stay with Naomi
1 During the time before kings ruled Israel, ◄there was a famine/the people there had nothing to eat►. There was a man who lived there whose name was Elimelech. His wife’s name was Naomi, and his sons’ names were Mahlon and Chilion. They were all from Bethlehem town, from the Ephrath clan in Judah region. 2 Because of the famine, they left Bethlehem and went east to live for a while in Moab region.
3 While they were there, Elimelech died, and Naomi had only her two sons with her. 4 They married women from Moab. One of them was named Orpah, and the other one was named Ruth. But after they had lived in that area for about ten years, 5 Mahlon and Chilion died. So then Naomi had no husband and no sons.
6 One day while Naomi was in Moab, she heard someone say that Yahweh had helped his people in Israel and that now there was plenty of food to eat. So she prepared to return to Bethlehem. 7 She left the place where she had been living and started to walk with her daughters-in-law along the road back to Judah. 8 Then as the three of them were walking, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Each of you should turn around and go back to your mother’s home. You treated your husbands kindly before they died, and you have treated me kindly. 9 Now I desire that Yahweh will enable each of you to have another husband in whose home you will feel secure.” Then she kissed both of them, and they cried aloud. 10 They each said, “No, we want to go with you as you return to your relatives.”
11 But Naomi said, “No, my daughters, return home. ◄It will not do any good for you to come with me!/What good will it do for you to come with me?► [RHQ] Do you think I will get married again and have more sons who could become your husbands? 12 Even if I thought I could have another husband, and even if I got married today and became pregnant [EUP] tonight and later gave birth to sons, 13 would you remain single/unmarried until they grew up and became old enough for you to marry? No, my daughters, you would not do that. Your situations are bad because your husbands have died, but it is possible that you will each marry again. My situation is much worse, because Yahweh [SYN] has opposed me, and now I am too old to get married again.”
14 Then Ruth and Orpah cried again because of what Naomi said. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, and left, but Ruth clung to Naomi. 15 Naomi said to her, “Look! Your sister-in-law is going back to her relatives and to her gods! Go back with her!” 16 But Ruth replied, “No! Don’t urge me to leave you! I want to go with you. Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your relatives will be my relatives, and the God you worship will be the God I worship. 17 Where you die, I will die. Where you are buried, I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me severely if I separate from you. I will be separated from you only when one of us dies.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was very determined to go with her, she stopped urging her to return home.
19 So the two women continued walking until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived there, everyone in town was excited to see them. The women of the town exclaimed, “◄Can this be Naomi?/It is difficult to believe that this is Naomi!►” [RHQ] 20 Naomi said to them, “Don’t call me Naomi, which means ‘pleasant’. Instead, call me Mara, which means ‘bitter’, because God Almighty has made my life very unpleasant. 21 When I left here, I felt rich, because I had a family. But Yahweh has brought me back here and now I feel poor, because I have no family. Do not call me Naomi [RHQ]. I feel as though Yahweh has spoken against (OR, afflicted) me. Almighty God has caused me to experience a great tragedy.”
22 That summarizes the account of Naomi returning home along with her daughter-in-law Ruth, the woman from Moab. And it happened that when they arrived in Bethlehem, the barley grain harvest was just beginning.