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Ruth 1 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.

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Ruth 1 The Voice (VOICE)

A long time ago, when judges still ruled over Israel and the land was dried up with famine, a man from Bethlehem, which ironically means “place of bread,” left his home in Judah to live as a foreigner in the land of Moab. He traveled with his wife and their two sons. His name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi; their two sons were called Mahlon and Chilion. They were descendants of Ephraim’s tribe from Bethlehem in Judah. They had settled and made lives for themselves in Moab, but soon after, Elimelech died leaving Naomi in the care of her sons. Each son married a woman from Moab—one was named Orpah, the other Ruth—and they lived together for 10 years before Mahlon and Chilion died also. Naomi was left alone, without her husband and two sons.

6-7 Word had reached Moab that the Eternal One had once again brought life back to the land of Israel and blessed His people with food. Naomi prepared to return with her daughters-in-law. With Orpah and Ruth at her side, she began her journey back to Judah, leaving the place where she had lived.

Naomi (to Orpah and Ruth): You have accompanied me far enough; you must both return to Moab. Go home to your mothers’ care and your people. May the Eternal show His loyal love to you just as you demonstrated it to my dead sons and me. I hope He will bring you new husbands and that you will find the rest you deserve in their homes.

She drew close, kissed them, and turned to go on her way, alone. But Orpah and Ruth wailed and sobbed, crying out to her.

Orpah and Ruth: 10 Do not leave us! We insist you take us with you to live with you and your people.

Naomi: 11 Go back to your homes, my daughters. What possible reason would you have for returning with me? Do you think there are more sons inside of me? Will you marry these unborn sons? 12 Listen to me, daughters, and go back. I am too old; I will not marry again because I cannot conceive. But even if I could—if I still believed there was hope for me, or if I had a husband and conceived sons tonight— 13 would you waste a lifetime waiting for them to grow up? Would you let this hope for the future keep you from remarrying now? Of course not, my dear daughters. It is obvious that the Eternal has acted against me. My life is much too bitter for you to share with me.

14 At this Orpah and Ruth wailed and wept again. Then Orpah kissed Naomi, said goodbye, and returned the way she had come. Yet Ruth refused to let go of Naomi.

Naomi: 15 Look at your sister-in-law. She has returned to live with her people and to worship her gods; go and follow her.

16 Ruth: Stop pushing me away,
        insisting that I stop following you!
    Wherever you go, I will go.
        Wherever you live, I will live.
    Your people will be my people.
        Your God will be my God.
17     Wherever you die, I will also die
        and be buried there near you.
    May the Eternal One punish me—
        and even more so—
        if anything besides death comes between us.

18 When Naomi heard this and saw Ruth’s resolve, she stopped trying to talk her out of returning to Judah. 19 The two women went on together to Bethlehem.

News of their arrival spread throughout Bethlehem. In fact, the whole community was humming with the report, with the women exclaiming, “Could it really be the same Naomi who left us so long ago?”

20 Naomi: Do not call me Naomi ever again, for I am no longer pleasant.
        Call me Mara instead, for I am filled with bitterness
        because the Highest One[a] has treated me bitterly.

There is a Hebrew wordplay here from Naomi, “pleasant,” to Mara, “bitterness.” Even Orpah (“neck”) turns her back on Naomi.

21     I left this place full, in spite of the famine,
        but the Eternal has brought me back empty from a plentiful land.
    Why would you call me “Pleasant”
        when the Eternal has testified against me,
        and the Highest One has brought disaster upon me?

Naomi’s story is similar to the story of Job. God tests them, as Job and Naomi have full lives. Then they go from emptiness to vindication, and finally to redemption.

22 This was how Naomi came into Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, from Moab. It was at the beginning of the barley harvest when they returned to the land.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:20ff Hebrew, Shaddai
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Ruth 2:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter.

And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.

Ruth 2:1-3 The Voice (VOICE)

Now Naomi’s deceased husband, Elimelech, had a relative in Bethlehem, an honorable, wealthy man named Boaz. One day Ruth (the foreign woman who returned with Naomi from Moab) approached Naomi with a request.

Ruth: Let me go out into the field and pick up whatever grain is left behind the harvesters. Maybe someone will be merciful to me.

Naomi: Go ahead, my daughter.

Ruth left and went into the fields to pick up the gleanings, the grain that had been left behind by the harvesters. And so it was that the portion of the field she was working in belonged to Boaz, who was a part of Elimelech’s family.

The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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