1 1-2 Before Israel was ruled by kings, Elimelech from the tribe of Ephrath lived in the town of Bethlehem. His wife was named Naomi, and their two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. But when their crops failed, they moved to the country of Moab.[a] And while they were there, 3 Elimelech died, leaving Naomi with only her two sons.
4 Later, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. One was named Orpah and the other Ruth. About ten years later, 5 Mahlon and Chilion also died. Now Naomi had no husband or sons.
6-7 When Naomi heard that the Lord had given his people a good harvest, she and her two daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab and go to Judah. As they were on their way there, 8 Naomi said to them, “Don’t you want to go back home to your own mothers? You were kind to my husband and sons, and you have always been kind to me. I pray that the Lord will be just as kind to you. 9 May he give each of you another husband and a home of your own.”
Naomi kissed them. They cried 10 and said, “We want to go with you and live among your people.”
11 But she replied, “My daughters, why don’t you return home? What good will it do you to go with me? Do you think I could have more sons for you to marry?[b]12 You must go back home, because I am too old to marry again. Even if I got married tonight and later had more sons, 13 would you wait for them to become old enough to marry? No, my daughters! Life is harder for me than it is for you, because the Lord has turned against me.”[c]
14 They cried again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth held on to her. 15 Naomi then said to Ruth, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and to her gods! Why don’t you go with her?”
16 Ruth answered,
“Please don’t tell me to leave you and return home! I will go where you go, I will live where you live; your people will be my people, your God will be my God. 17 I will die where you die and be buried beside you. May the Lord punish me if we are ever separated, even by death!”[d]
18 When Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her, she stopped urging her to go back.
19 They reached Bethlehem, and the whole town was excited to see them. The women who lived there asked, “Can this really be Naomi?”
20 Then she told them, “Don’t call me Naomi any longer! Call me Mara,[e] because God has made my life bitter. 21 I had everything when I left, but the Lord has brought me back with nothing. How can you still call me Naomi, when God has turned against me and made my life so hard?”
22 The barley harvest was just beginning when Naomi and Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, arrived in Bethlehem.
1.1,2Moab: The people of Moab worshiped idols and were usually enemies of the people of Israel.
1.11for you to marry: When a married man died and left no children, it was the custom for one of his brothers to marry his widow. Any children they had would then be thought of as those of the dead man, so that his family name would live on.
1.13Life. . . me: Or “I’m sorry that the Lord has turned against me and made life so hard for you.”
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.