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Ruth 1:1-15 King James Version (KJV)

Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.

And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.

Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.

The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.

11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?

12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;

13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.

14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.

Ruth 1:1-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)

A Family Tragedy: Famine and Death

During the time of the judges,[a] there was a famine in the land of Judah.[b] So a man from Bethlehem[c] in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner[d] in the region of Moab, along with his wife and two sons.[e] (Now the man’s name was Elimelech,[f] his wife was Naomi,[g] and his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion.[h] They were of the clan of Ephrath[i] from Bethlehem in Judah.) They entered the region of Moab and settled there.[j] Sometime later[k] Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, so she and her two sons were left alone. Both her sons[l] married[m] Moabite women. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.)[n] And they continued to live there about ten years. Then Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died.[o] So the woman was left all alone—bereaved of her two children[p] as well as her husband! So she decided to return home from the region of Moab, accompanied by her daughters-in-law,[q] because while she was living in Moab[r] she had heard that the Lord had shown concern for[s] his people, reversing the famine by providing abundant crops.[t]

Ruth Returns with Naomi

Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah,[u] Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your mother’s home.[v] May the Lord show[w] you[x] the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands[y] and to me.[z] May the Lord enable each of you to find[aa] security[ab] in the home of a new husband.”[ac] Then she kissed them goodbye, and they wept loudly.[ad] 10 But they said to her, “No![ae] We will[af] return with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me.[ag] I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands![ah] 12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again.[ai] Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons,[aj] 13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry.[ak] Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time![al] No,[am] my daughters, you must not return with me.[an] For my intense suffering[ao] is too much for you to bear.[ap] For the Lord is afflicting me!”[aq]

14 Again they wept loudly.[ar] Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye,[as] but Ruth[at] clung tightly to her.[au] 15 So Naomi[av] said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god.[aw] Follow your sister-in-law back home!”

Footnotes:

  1. Ruth 1:1 tn Heb “in the days of the judging of the judges.” The LXX simply reads “when the judges judged,” and Syriac has “in the days of the judges.” Cf. NASB “in the days when the judges governed (ruled NRSV).”sn Many interpreters, reading this statement in the light of the Book of Judges which describes a morally corrupt period, assume that the narrator is painting a dark backdrop against which Ruth’s exemplary character and actions will shine even more brightly. However, others read this statement in the light of the book’s concluding epilogue which traces the full significance of the story to the time of David, the chosen king of Judah (4:18-22).
  2. Ruth 1:1 tn Heb “in the land.” The phrase “of Judah” is supplied in the translation to clarify the referent.
  3. Ruth 1:1 sn The name Bethlehem (בֵּית לֶחֶם, bet lekhem) is from “house, place” (בֵּית) and “bread, food” (לֶחֶם), so the name literally means “House of Bread” or “Place of Food.” Perhaps there is irony here: One would not expect a severe famine in such a location. This would not necessarily indicate that Bethlehem was under divine discipline, but merely that the famine was very severe, explaining the reason for the family’s departure.
  4. Ruth 1:1 tn Or “to live temporarily.” The verb גּוּר (gur, “sojourn”) may refer to (1) temporary dwelling in a location (Deut 18:6; Judg 17:7) or (2) permanent dwelling in a location (Judg 5:17; Ps 33:8). When used of a foreign land, it can refer to (1) temporary dwelling as a visiting foreigner (Gen 12:10; 20:1; 21:34; 2 Kgs 8:1-2; Jer 44:14) or (2) permanent dwelling as a resident foreigner (Gen 47:4; Exod 6:4; Num 15:14; Deut 26:5; 2 Sam 4:3; Jer 49:18, 33; 50:40; Ezek 47:22-23). Although Naomi eventually returned to Judah, there is some ambiguity whether or not Elimelech intended the move to make them permanent resident foreigners. Cf. NASB “to sojourn” and NIV “to live for a while,” both of which imply the move was temporary, while “to live” (NCV, NRSV, NLT) is more neutral about the permanence of the relocation.sn Some interpreters view Elimelech’s departure from Judah to sojourn in Moab as lack of faith in the covenant God of Israel to provide for his family’s needs in the land of promise; therefore his death is consequently viewed as divine judgment. Others note that God never prohibited his people from seeking food in a foreign land during times of famine but actually sent his people to a foreign land during a famine in Canaan on at least one occasion as an act of deliverance (Gen 37-50). In this case, Elimelech’s sojourn to Moab was an understandable act by a man concerned for the survival of his family, perhaps even under divine approval, so their death in Moab was simply a tragedy, a bad thing that happened to a godly person.
  5. Ruth 1:1 tn Heb “he and his wife and his two sons.” The LXX omits “two.”
  6. Ruth 1:2 sn The name “Elimelech” literally means “My God [is] king.” The narrator’s explicit identification of his name seems to cast him in a positive light.
  7. Ruth 1:2 tn Heb “and the name of his wife [was] Naomi.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.sn The name Naomi (נָעֳמִי, noʿomi) is from the adjective נֹעַם (noʿam, “pleasant, lovely”) and literally means “my pleasant one” or “my lovely one.” Her name will become the subject of a wordplay in 1:20-21 when she laments that she is no longer “pleasant” but “bitter” because of the loss of her husband and two sons.
  8. Ruth 1:2 tn Heb “and the name[s] of his two sons [were] Mahlon and Kilion.”sn The name Mahlon (מַחְלוֹן, makhlon) is from חָלָה (khalah, “to be weak, sick”) and Kilion (כִּלְיוֹן, kilyon) is from כָּלָה (kalah, “to be frail”). The rate of infant mortality was so high during the Iron Age that parents typically did not name children until they survived infancy and were weaned. Naomi and Elimelech might have named their two sons Mahlon and Kilion to reflect their weak condition in infancy due to famine—which eventually prompted the move to Moab where food was abundant.
  9. Ruth 1:2 tn Heb “[They were] Ephrathites.” Ephrathah is a small village (Ps 132:6) in the vicinity of Bethlehem (Gen 35:16), so close in proximity that it is often identified with the larger town of Bethlehem (Gen 35:19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11; Mic 5:2 [MT 5:1]; HALOT 81 s.v. אֶפְרָתָה); see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 64. The designation “Ephrathites” might indicate that they were residents of Ephrathah. However, the adjectival form אֶפְרָתִים (ephratim, “Ephrathites”) used here elsewhere refers to someone from the clan of Ephrath (cf. 1 Chr 4:4) which lived in the region of Bethlehem: “Now David was the son of an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah whose name was Jesse” (1 Sam 17:12; cf. Mic 5:2 [MT 5:1]). So it is more likely that the virtually identical expression here—“Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah”—refers to the clan of Ephrath in Bethlehem (see R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth [NICOT], 91).
  10. Ruth 1:2 tn Heb “and were there”; KJV “continued there”; NRSV “remained there”; TEV “were living there.”
  11. Ruth 1:3 tn Heb “And Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died.” The vav (ו) functions in a consecutive sense (“then”), but the time-frame is not explicitly stated.
  12. Ruth 1:4 tn Heb “they.” The verb is third person masculine plural referring to Naomi’s sons, as the translation indicates.
  13. Ruth 1:4 tn Heb “and they lifted up for themselves Moabite wives.” When used with the noun “wife,” the verb נָשָׂא (nasaʾ, “to lift up, carry, take”) forms the idiom “to take a wife,” that is, to marry (BDB 673 s.v. Qal.3.d; 2 Chr 11:21; 13:21; 24:3; Ezra 9:2, 12; 10:44; Neh 13:25).
  14. Ruth 1:4 tn Heb “the name of the one [was] Orpah and the name of the second [was] Ruth.” sn The name Orpah (עָרְפָּה, ʿorpah) is from the noun עֹרֶף (ʿoref, “back of the neck”) and the related verb (“to turn one’s back”). The name Ruth (רוּת, rut) is from the noun רְעוּת (reʿut, “friendship”), derived from the root רֵעַ (reaʿ, “friend, companion”). Ironically, Orpah will eventually turn her back on Naomi, while Ruth will display extraordinary friendship as her life-long companion (see 1:14). Since they seem to mirror the most definitive action of these women, perhaps they designate character types (as is the case with the name Mara in 1:21 and Peloni Almoni in 4:1) rather than their original birth names.
  15. Ruth 1:5 tn Heb “and the two of them also died, Mahlon and Kilion.”
  16. Ruth 1:5 tn The term יֶלֶד (yeled, “offspring”), from the verb יָלַד (yalad, “to give birth to”), is used only here of a married man. By shifting to this word from the more common term בֵּן (ben, “son”; see vv. 1-5a) and then using it in an unusual manner, the author draws attention to Naomi’s loss and sets up a verbal link with the story’s conclusion (cf. 4:16). Although grown men, they were still her “babies” (see E. F. Campbell, Ruth [AB], 56; F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 66).
  17. Ruth 1:6 tn Heb “and she arose, along with her daughters-in-law, and she returned from the region of Moab.”
  18. Ruth 1:6 tn Heb “in the region of Moab”; KJV, NRSV “in the country of Moab.” Since this is a repetition of the phrase found earlier in the verse, it has been shortened to “in Moab” in the present translation for stylistic reasons.
  19. Ruth 1:6 tn Heb “had visited” or “taken note of.” The basic meaning of פָּקַד (paqad) is “observe, examine, take note of” (T. F. Williams, NIDOTTE 3:658), so it sometimes appears with זָכַר (zakhar, “to remember”; Pss 8:4 [MT 5]; 106:4; Jer 14:10; 15:15; Hos 8:13; 9:9) and רָאָה (raʾah, “to see”; Exod 4:31; Ps 80:14 [MT 15]; NIDOTTE 3:659). It often emphasizes the cause/effect response to what is seen (NIDOTTE 3:659). When God observes people in need, it is glossed “be concerned about, care for, attend to, help” (Gen 21:1; 50:24, 25; Exod 4:31; Ruth 1:6; 1 Sam 2:21; Jer 15:15; Zeph 2:7; Zech 10:3b; NIDOTTE 3:661). When humans are the subject, it sometimes means “to visit” needy people to bestow a gift (Judg 15:1; 1 Sam 17:18). Because it has such a broad range of meanings, its use here has been translated variously: (1) “had visited” (KJV, ASV, NASB, RSV; so BDB 823-24 s.v. פָּקַד); (2) “had considered” (NRSV) and “had taken note of” (TNK; so HALOT 955-57 s.v. פקד); and (3) “had come to the aid of” (NIV), “had blessed” (TEV), and “had given” (CEV; so NIDOTTE 3:657). When God observed the plight of his people, he demonstrated his concern by benevolently giving them food.
  20. Ruth 1:6 tn Heb “by giving to them food.” The translation “reversing the famine and providing abundant crops” attempts to clarify the referent of לֶחֶם (lekhem, “food”) as “crops” and highlights the reversal of the famine that began in v. 1. The infinitive construct לָתֵת לָהֶם לָחֶם (latet lahem lakhem) may denote (1) purpose: “[he visited his people] to give them food” or (2) complementary sense explaining the action of the main verb: “[he visited his people] by giving them food.” The term לֶחֶם (lakhem) here refers to agricultural fertility, the reversal of the famine in v. 1.
  21. Ruth 1:7 tn Heb “and she went out from the place she had been, and her two daughters-in-law with her, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.”
  22. Ruth 1:8 tn Heb “each to the house of her mother.” Naomi’s words imply that it is more appropriate for the two widows to go home to their mothers, rather than stay with their mother-in-law (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 75).
  23. Ruth 1:8 tc The MT (Kethib) has the imperfect יַעֲשֶׂה (yaʿaseh, “[the Lord] will do”), but the marginal reading (Qere) has the shortened jussive form יַעַשׂ (yaʿas, “may [the Lord] do”), which is more probable in this prayer of blessing. Most English versions adopt the jussive form (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, JPS, TEV, CEV, NLT).
  24. Ruth 1:8 tn Heb “do with you”; NRSV “deal kindly with you”; NLT “reward you for your kindness.” The pronominal suffix “you” appears to be a masculine form, but this is likely a preservation of an archaic dual form (see E. F. Campbell, Ruth [AB], 65; F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 75-76).
  25. Ruth 1:8 tn Heb “the dead” (so KJV, NRSV); NLT “your husbands.” This refers to their deceased husbands.
  26. Ruth 1:8 tn Heb “devotion as you have done with the dead and with me.” The noun חֶסֶד (khesed, “devotion”) is a key thematic term in the book of Ruth (see 2:20; 3:10). G. R. Clark suggests that חֶסֶד “is not merely an attitude or an emotion; it is an emotion that leads to an activity beneficial to the recipient”; an act of חֶסֶד is “a beneficent action performed, in the context of a deep and enduring commitment between two persons or parties, by one who is able to render assistance to the needy party who in the circumstances is unable to help him—or herself” (The Word Hesed in the Hebrew Bible [JSOTSup], 267). HALOT 336-37 s.v. II חֶסֶד defines the word as “loyalty” or “faithfulness.” Other appropriate glosses might be “commitment” and “devotion.”
  27. Ruth 1:9 tn Heb “may the Lord give to you, and find rest, each [in] the house of her husband.” The syntax is unusual, but following the jussive (“may he give”), the imperative with vav (ו) conjunctive (“and find”) probably indicates the purpose or consequence of the preceding action: “May he enable you to find rest.”
  28. Ruth 1:9 tn Heb “rest.” While the basic meaning of מְנוּחָה (menukhah) is “rest,” it often refers to “security,” such as provided in marriage (BDB 629-30 s.v.; HALOT 600 s.v.). Thus English versions render it in three different but related ways: (1) the basic sense: “rest” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV); (2) the metonymical cause/effect sense: “security” (NRSV, NJPS, REB, NLT, GW); and (3) the referential sense: “home” (RSV, TEV, CEV, NCV).
  29. Ruth 1:9 tn Heb “in the house of her husband” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “your husband.”
  30. Ruth 1:9 tn Heb “they lifted their voice[s] and wept” (KJV, ASV, NASB all similar). This refers to loud weeping characteristic of those mourning a tragedy (Judg 21:2; 2 Sam 13:36; Job 2:12).
  31. Ruth 1:10 tn The particle כִּי (ki) here has the force of “no, on the contrary” (see Gen 31:26; Ps 44:22; HALOT 470 s.v. II כִּי 3).
  32. Ruth 1:10 tn Or perhaps “we want to” (so NCV, CEV, NLT), if the imperfect is understood in a modal sense indicating desire.
  33. Ruth 1:11 tn Heb “Why would you want to come with me?” Naomi’s rhetorical question expects a negative answer. The phrase “to Judah” is added in the translation for clarification.
  34. Ruth 1:11 tn Heb “Do I still have sons in my inner parts that they might become your husbands?” Again Naomi’s rhetorical question expects a negative answer.
  35. Ruth 1:12 sn Too old to get married again. Naomi may be exaggerating for the sake of emphasis. Her point is clear, though: It is too late to roll back the clock.
  36. Ruth 1:12 tn Verse 12b contains the protasis (“if” clause) of a conditional sentence, which is completed by the rhetorical questions in v. 13. For a detailed syntactical analysis, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 78-79.
  37. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “For them would you wait until they were grown?” Some understand הֲלָהֵן (halahen) as an interrogative he (ה) with an Aramaic particle meaning “therefore” (see GKC 301 §103.b.2 [n. 4]; cf. ASV, NASB), while others understand the form to consist of an interrogative he, the preposition ל (lamed, “for”), and an apparent third person feminine plural pronominal suffix (CEV, NLT “for them”). The feminine suffix is problematic, for its antecedent is the hypothetical “sons” mentioned at the end of v. 12. For this reason some emend the form to הלתם (“for them,” a third person masculine plural suffix). R. L. Hubbard raises the possibility that the nunated suffix is an archaic Moabite masculine dual form (Ruth [NICOT], 111, n. 31). In any case, Naomi’s rhetorical question expects a negative answer.
  38. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “For them would you hold yourselves back so as not to be for a man?” Again Naomi’s rhetorical question expects a negative answer. The verb עָגַן (ʿagan, “hold back”; cf. KJV, ASV “stay”; NRSV “refrain”) occurs only here in the OT. For discussion of its etymology and meaning, see HALOT 785-86 s.v. עגן, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 79-80.
  39. Ruth 1:13 tn The negative is used here in an elliptical manner for emphasis (see HALOT 48 s.v. I אַל; GKC 479-80 §152.g).
  40. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “No, my daughters.” Naomi is not answering the rhetorical questions she has just asked. In light of the explanatory clause that follows, it seems more likely that she is urging them to give up the idea of returning with her. In other words, the words “no, my daughters” complement the earlier exhortation to “go back.” To clarify this, the words “you must not return with me” are added in the translation.
  41. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “bitterness to me.” The term מָרַר (marar) can refer to emotional bitterness: “to feel bitter” (1 Sam 30:6; 2 Kgs 4:27; Lam 1:4) or a grievous situation: “to be in bitter circumstances” (Jer 4:18) (BDB 600 s.v.; HALOT 638 s.v. I מרר). So the expression מַר־לִי (mar li) can refer to emotional bitterness (KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NJPS, CEV, NLT) or a grievous situation (cf. NRSV, NAB, NCV, CEV margin). Although Naomi and her daughters-in-law had reason for emotional grief, the issue at hand was Naomi’s lamentable situation, which she did not want them to experience: being a poor widow in a foreign land.
  42. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “for there is bitterness to me exceedingly from you.” The clause כִּי־מַר־לִי מְאֹד מִכֶּם (ki mar li meʾod mikkem) is notoriously difficult to interpret. It has been taken in three different ways: (1) “For I am very bitter for me because of you,” that is, because of your widowed condition (cf. KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV, NJB, REB, JB, TEV). This does not fit well, however, with the following statement (“for the LORD has attacked me”) nor with the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (2) “For I am far more bitter than for you” (cf. NASB, NIV, NJPS, NEB, CEV, NLT). This does not provide an adequate basis, however, for the preceding statement (“You must not return with me”). (3) “For my bitterness is too much for you [to bear]” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NCV, CEV margin). This is preferable because it fits well with both the preceding and following statements. These three options reflect the three ways the preposition מן may be taken here: (1) causal: “because of, on account of” (BDB 580 s.v. מִן 2.f; HALOT 598 s.v. מִן 6), not that Orpah and Ruth were the cause of her calamity, but that Naomi was grieved because they had become widows; (2) comparative: “more [bitter] than you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.a; HALOT 598 s.v. 5b), meaning that Naomi’s situation was more grievous than theirs—while they could remarry, her prospects were much more bleak; and (3) elative, describing a situation that is too much for a person to bear: “too [bitter] for you” (BDB 581 s.v. 6.d; HALOT 598 s.v. 5a; IBHS 267 §14.4f; e.g., Gen 4:13; Exod 18:18; Deut 17:8; 1 Kgs 19:17), meaning that Naomi’s plight was too bitter for her daughters-in-law to share. While all three options are viable, the meaning adopted must fit two criteria: (1) The meaning of this clause (1:13b) must provide the grounds for Naomi’s emphatic rejection of the young women’s refusal to separate themselves from her (1:13a); and (2) it must fit the following clause: “for the hand of the LORD has gone out against me” (1:13c). The first and second options do not provide adequate reasons for sending her daughters-in-law back home, nor do they fit her lament that the LORD had attacked her (not them); however, the third option (elative sense) fits both criteria. Naomi did not want her daughters-in-law to share her sad situation, that is, to be poor, childless widows in a foreign land with no prospect for marriage. If they accompanied her back to Judah, they would be in the same kind of situation in which she found herself in Moab. If they were to find the “rest” (security of home and husband) she wished for them, it would be in Moab, not in Judah. The Lord had already deprived her of husband and sons. She could do nothing for them in this regard because she had no more sons to give them as husbands, and she was past the age of child-bearing to raise up new husbands for them in the future—as if they could wait that long anyway (1:13a). For a discussion of these three options and defense of the approach adopted here, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 80-81.
  43. Ruth 1:13 tn Heb “for the hand of the Lord has gone out against me” (KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV all similar). The expression suggests opposition and hostility, perhaps picturing the Lord as the Divine Warrior who is bringing calamity upon Naomi. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 113.
  44. Ruth 1:14 tn Heb “they lifted their voice[s] and wept” (so NASB; see v. 9). The expression refers to loud weeping employed in mourning tragedy (Judg 21:2; 2 Sam 13:36; Job 2:12).
  45. Ruth 1:14 tc The LXX adds, “and she returned to her people” (cf. TEV “and went back home”). Most dismiss this as a clarifying addition added under the influence of v. 15, but it should not be rejected too quickly. When translated back to Hebrew, the consonantal text would be ותשׁב אל־עמה. Note the beginning ו (vav) and ending ה (he). The phrase would fit between the MT’s לַחֲמוֹתָהּ וְרוּת (lakhamotah verut, “to her mother-in-law. And Ruth”), so that ו (vav) follows ה (he) both beginning and ending the clause. The scribe’s eye could have jumped from one to the other, inadvertently leaving out the intervening words.
  46. Ruth 1:14 tn The clause is disjunctive. The word order is conjunction + subject + verb, highlighting the contrast between the actions of Orpah and Ruth. sn Orpah is a literary foil for Ruth. Orpah is a commendable and devoted person (see v. 8); after all she is willing to follow Naomi back to Judah. However, when Naomi bombards her with good reasons why she should return, she relents. But Ruth is special. Despite Naomi’s bitter tirade, she insists on staying. Orpah is a good person, but Ruth is beyond good—she possesses an extra measure of devotion and sacrificial love that is uncommon.
  47. Ruth 1:14 sn Clung tightly. The expression suggests strong commitment (see R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth [NICOT], 115).
  48. Ruth 1:15 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Naomi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  49. Ruth 1:15 tn Or “gods” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, CEV, NLT), if the plural form is taken as a numerical plural. However, it is likely that Naomi, speaking from Orpah’s Moabite perspective, uses the plural of majesty of the Moabite god Chemosh. For examples of the plural of majesty being used of a pagan god, see BDB 43 s.v. אֱלֹהִים 1.d. Note especially 1 Kgs 11:33, where the plural form is used of Chemosh.
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