1There was a time when Israel didn't have kings to rule over them. But they had leaders to help them. This is a story about some things that happened during that time. There wasn't enough food in the land of Judah. So a man went to live in the country of Moab for a while. He was from Bethlehem in Judah. His wife and two sons went with him.2The man's name was Elimelech. His wife's name was Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went to Moab and lived there.3Naomi's husband Elimelech died. So she was left with her two sons.4They got married to women from Moab. One was named Orpah. The other was named Ruth. Naomi's family lived in Moab for about ten years.5Then Mahlon and Kilion also died. So Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.6While Naomi was in Moab, she heard that the Lord had helped his people. He had begun to provide food for them again. So Naomi and her daughters‑in‑law prepared to go from Moab back to her home.7She left the place where she had been living. Her two daughters‑in‑law went with her. They started out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.8Naomi spoke to her two daughters‑in‑law. “Both of you go back,” she said. “Each of you go to your own mother's home. You were kind to your husbands, who have died. You have also been kind to me. So may the Lord be just as kind to you.9May he help each of you find a secure place in the home of another husband. May he give you peace and rest.” Then she kissed them good‑by. They broke down and sobbed loudly.10They said to her, “We'll go back to your people with you.”11But Naomi said, “Go home, my daughters. Why would you want to come with me? Am I going to have any more sons who could become your husbands?12“Go home, my daughters. I'm too old to have another husband. Suppose I thought there was still some hope for me. Suppose I got married to a man tonight. And later I had sons by him.13Would you wait until they grew up? Would you stay single until you could get married to them? No, my daughters. My life is more bitter than yours. The Lord's powerful hand has been against me!”14When they heard that, they broke down and sobbed again. Then Orpah kissed her mother‑in‑law good‑by. But Ruth held on to her.15“Look,” said Naomi. “Your sister‑in‑law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”16But Ruth replied, “Don't try to make me leave you and go back. Where you go I'll go. Where you stay I'll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.17Where you die I'll die. And there my body will be buried. I won't let anything except death separate you from me. If I do, may the Lord punish me greatly.”18Naomi realized that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her. So she stopped trying to make her go back.19The two women continued on their way. At last they arrived in Bethlehem. The whole town was stirred up because of them. The women asked, “Can this possibly be Naomi?”20“Don't call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara. The Mighty One has made my life very bitter.21I was full when I went away. But the Lord has brought me back empty. So why are you calling me Naomi? The Lord has made me suffer. The Mighty One has brought trouble on me.”22So Naomi returned from Moab. Ruth, her daughter‑in‑law from Moab, came with her. They arrived in Bethlehem just when people were beginning to harvest the barley.
English Standard Version
1In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. (Ge 12:10; Ge 26:1; Ge 43:1; Jud 2:16; Jud 17:7; 2Ki 8:1)2The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. (Ge 35:19)3But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons.4These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years,5and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.
Ruth’s Loyalty to Naomi
6Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. (Ex 3:16; Ex 4:31; Ps 132:15; Lu 1:68)7So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.8But 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. (Jos 2:12; Jos 2:14; Jud 1:24; Ru 1:5; Ru 2:20)9The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. (Ru 3:1)10And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”11But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? (Ge 38:11; De 25:5)12Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons,13would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” (Jud 2:15; Job 19:21; Ps 32:4; Ps 38:2; Ps 39:10)14Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.15And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” (Jud 11:24; 1Ki 11:7; Jer 48:7; Jer 48:13; Jer 48:46)16But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (Ru 2:11)17Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (1Sa 3:17; 1Sa 25:22; 2Sa 19:13; 1Ki 2:23)18And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. (Ac 21:14)
Naomi and Ruth Return
19So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” (Mt 21:10)20She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. (Ex 15:23)21I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Job 1:21)22So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest. (Ru 2:23; 2Sa 21:9)