In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a man from Bethlehem in Judah left the country because of a severe famine. He took his wife and two sons and went to live in the country of Moab.
The man's name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. During their stay in Moab,
Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons.
The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later,
both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her husband or sons.
Then Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland.
With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.
But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back to your mothers' homes instead of coming with me. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me.