1 IIn the daysII when the judgesIII ruled,IV
there wasV a famineVI in the land,VII and a certain manVIII of BethlehemIX in JudahX
wentXI to liveXII in the countryXIII
of Moab,XIV he and his wifeXV and twoXVI sons.XVII
2 The nameXVIII of the man was ElimelechXIX and the name of his wife Naomi,XX and the names of his two sons were MahlonXXI and Chilion;XXII
they were EphrathitesXXIII from Bethlehem in Judah. They wentXXIV into the country of Moab and remainedXXV there.
3 But Elimelech, the husbandXXVI of Naomi, died,XXVII and she was leftXXVIII with her two sons. 4 These tookXXIX MoabiteXXX wives; the name of the oneXXXI
was OrpahXXXII and the name of the otherXXXIII Ruth.XXXIV
When they had livedXXXV there about tenXXXVI years,XXXVII 5 bothXXXVIII Mahlon and Chilion also died, so that the womanXXXIX was left without her two sonsXL and her husband.
6 Then she startedXLI to returnXLII with her daughters-in-lawXLIII from the country of Moab, for she had heardXLIV in the country of Moab that the LordXLV
had consideredXLVI his peopleXLVII and givenXLVIII them food.XLIX
7 So she set outL from the placeLI where she had been living,LII she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their wayLIII to go backLIV to the land of Judah.
8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back eachLV of you to your mother’sLVI house.LVII May the LordLVIII dealLIX kindlyLX with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
9 The LordLXI grantLXII that you may findLXIII security,LXIV each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissedLXV them, and they wept aloud.LXVI
10 They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back,LXVII my daughters.LXVIII Why will you go with me? Do I still have sonsLXIX in my wombLXX that they may becomeLXXI your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too oldLXXII to haveLXXIII a husband. Even if I thought there was hopeLXXIV for me, even if I should have a husband tonightLXXV and bearLXXVI sons,LXXVII
13 would you then waitLXXVIII until they were grown?LXXIX Would you then refrainLXXX fromLXXXI marrying?LXXXII
No, my daughters, it has been far moreLXXXIII bitterLXXXIV for me than for you, because the handLXXXV of the LordLXXXVI has turnedLXXXVII against me.”
14 Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-lawLXXXVIII goodbye, but Ruth clungLXXXIX to her.
15 So she said, “Look,XC your sister-in-lawXCI has gone back to her people and to her gods;XCII return after your sister-in-law.”
16 But Ruth said,
“Do not pressXCIII me to leaveXCIV you,
to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge,XCV I will lodge;
your people shall be my people
and your GodXCVI my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
and there will I be buried.XCVII
May the Lord doXCVIII thus to me,
and moreXCIX as well,
if even deathC partsCI me from you!”
18 When Naomi sawCII that she was determinedCIII to go with her, she saidCIV no moreCV to her.
19 So the two of them went on until they cameCVI to Bethlehem. CVIIWhen they came to Bethlehem, the wholeCVIII townCIX was stirredCX because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?”
20 She said to them,
“CallCXI me no longer Naomi;
call me Mara,CXII
for the AlmightyCXIII has dealt bitterlyCXIV with me.
21 I went awayCXV full,CXVI
but the Lord has brought me backCXVII empty;CXVIII
why call me Naomi
when the Lord has dealt harshlyCXIX with me
and the Almighty has brought calamityCXX upon me?”
22 So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came backCXXI with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginningCXXII of the barleyCXXIII harvest.CXXIV
Image credit: “Naomi and her Daughters in Law” by Gustav Dore, 1866