In the days when the judges ruled, 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.
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
and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
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?
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—
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!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.