During the timea of the judges, there was a famine in the land. A man left Bethlehemb in Judah with his wife and two sons to live in the land of Moab for a while.
The man's name was Elimelech,c and his wife's name was Naomi.d The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathitese from Bethlehem in Judah. They entered the land of Moab and [settled] there.
Naomi's husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her two sons.
Her sons took Moabite women as their wives: one was named Orpah and the second was named Ruth. After they lived in Moab about 10 years,
both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two children and without her husband.
She and her daughters-in-law prepared to leave the land of Moab, because she had heard in Moab that the Lord had paid attention to His people's [need] by providing them food.
She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.
She said to them, "Each of you go back to your mother's home.f May the Lord show faithful love to you as you have shown to the dead and to me.
May the Lord enable each of you to find securityg in the house of your [new] husband." She kissed them, and they wept loudly.
"No," they said to her. "We will go with you to your people."
But Naomi replied, "Return home, my daughters. Why do you want to go with me? Am I able to have any more sonsh who could become your husbands?
Return home, my daughters. Go on, for I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was [still] hope for me to have a husband tonight and to bear sons,
would you be willing to wait for them to grow up? Would you restrain yourselves from remarrying?i No, my daughters, [my life] is much too bitter for you [to share],j because the Lord's hand has turned against me."
Again they wept loudly, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law."
But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do this to me,k and even more, if anything but death separates you and me.
When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to persuade her.
The two of them traveled until they came to Bethlehem. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrivall and [the local women] exclaimed, "Can this be Naomi?"
"Don't call me Naomi. Call me Mara,"m she answered,n "for the Almighty has made me very bitter.
I left full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.o Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has pronounced [judgment] onp me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?"
So Naomi came back from the land of Moab with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabitess. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.