New English Translation
19 So the two of them[a] journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.
Naomi and Ruth Arrive in Bethlehem
When they entered[b] Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival.[c] The women of the village said,[d] “Can this be Naomi?”[e] 20 But she replied[f] to them,[g] “Don’t call me ‘Naomi’![h] Call me ‘Mara’[i] because the Sovereign One[j] has treated me very harshly.[k] 21 I left here full,[l] but the Lord has caused me to return empty-handed.[m] Why do you call me ‘Naomi,’ seeing that[n] the Lord has opposed me,[o] and the Sovereign One[p] has caused me to suffer?”[q]Read full chapter
- Ruth 1:19 tn The suffix “them” appears to be masculine, but it is probably an archaic dual form (E. F. Campbell, Ruth [AB], 65; F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 75-76).
- Ruth 1:19 tn The temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayehi, “and it was”) here introduces a new scene.
- Ruth 1:19 tn Heb “because of them” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “excited to see them.”
- Ruth 1:19 tn Heb “they said,” but the verb form is third person feminine plural, indicating that the women of the village are the subject.
- Ruth 1:19 tn Heb “Is this Naomi?” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). The question here expresses surprise and delight because of the way Naomi reacts to it (F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 92).
- Ruth 1:20 tn Heb “said.” For stylistic reasons the present translation employs “replied” here.
- Ruth 1:20 tn The third person feminine plural form of the pronominal suffix indicates the women of the village (see v. 19) are the addressees.
- Ruth 1:20 sn The name Naomi means “pleasant.”
- Ruth 1:20 sn The name Mara means “bitter.”
- Ruth 1:20 tn Or “caused me to be very bitter”; NAB “has made it very bitter for me.”
- Ruth 1:21 sn I left here full. That is, with a husband and two sons.
- Ruth 1:21 tn Heb “but empty the Lord has brought me back.” The disjunctive clause structure (vav + adverb + verb + subject) highlights the contrast between her former condition and present situation. Cf. TEV “has brought me back without a thing.”sn Empty-handed. This statement is highly ironic, for ever-loyal Ruth stands by her side even as she speaks these words. These words reflect Naomi’s perspective, not the narrator’s, for Ruth will eventually prove to be the one who reverses Naomi’s plight and “fills” her “emptiness.” Naomi’s perspective will prove to be inaccurate and the women will later correct Naomi’s faulty view of Ruth’s value (see 4:15).
- Ruth 1:21 tn The disjunctive clause structure (vav [ו] + subject + verb) here introduces either an attendant circumstance (“when the Lord has opposed me”) or an explanation (“seeing that the Lord has opposed me”).
- Ruth 1:21 tc The LXX reads “humbled me” here, apparently understanding the verb as a Piel (עָנָה, ʿanah) from a homonymic root meaning “afflict.” However, עָנָה (“afflict”) never introduces its object with בְּ (bet); when the preposition בְּ is used with this verb, it is always adverbial (“in, with, through”). To defend the LXX reading one would have to eliminate the preposition.tn Heb “has testified against me” (KJV, ASV both similar); NAB “has pronounced against me.” The idiom עָנַה בִי (ʿanah vi, “testify against”) is well attested elsewhere in legal settings (see BDB 773 s.v. עָנָה Qal.3.a; HALOT 852 s.v. I ענה qal.2). Naomi uses a legal metaphor and depicts the Lord as testifying against her in court.
- Ruth 1:21 sn The divine name translated Sovereign One is שַׁדַּי (shadday, “Shaddai”). See further the note on this term in Ruth 1:20.
- Ruth 1:21 tn Or “brought disaster upon me”; NIV “brought misfortune (calamity NRSV) upon me”; NLT “has sent such tragedy.”