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Ruth 1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Ruth Is Loyal to Naomi

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, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi with only her two sons.

Later, Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. One was named Orpah and the other Ruth. About ten years later, 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, 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. 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.

Footnotes:

  1. 1.1,2 Moab: The people of Moab worshiped idols and were usually enemies of the people of Israel.
  2. 1.11 for 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.
  3. 1.13 Life. . . me: Or “I’m sorry that the Lord has turned against me and made life so hard for you.”
  4. 1.17 even by death: Or “by anything but death.”
  5. 1.20 Mara: In Hebrew “Naomi” means “pleasant,” and “Mara” means “bitter.”

Ruth 1 New International Version (NIV)

Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[b]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[c] because the Almighty[d] has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted[e] me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

Footnotes:

  1. Ruth 1:1 Traditionally judged
  2. Ruth 1:20 Naomi means pleasant.
  3. Ruth 1:20 Mara means bitter.
  4. Ruth 1:20 Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 21
  5. Ruth 1:21 Or has testified against
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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