1 There was a famine in the land in the days when the judges ruled. And a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
2 The man was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi, and the two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. They went to Moab and stayed there.
3 Naomis husband Elimelech died. And she was left with her two sons.
4 They took two women of Moab as their wives. One was Orpah and the other Ruth. They made their home there for about ten years.
5 Mahlon and Chilion also died. Naomi was left all alone. She had no husband or sons.
6 Some time later Naomi heard that Jehovah blessed his people by giving them good crops. So she got ready to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law.
7 They started out together to go back to Judah.
8 On the way she said to them: »Go back home and stay with your mothers. Jehovah should be as good to you as you have been to me and to those who have died.
9 »May Jehovah make it possible for each of you to marry again and have a home.« Then Naomi kissed them good-bye and they cried.
10 They said to her: »No! We will go with you to your people.«
11 »You must go back, my daughters,« Naomi replied. »Why do you want to come with me? Do you think I could have sons again for you to marry?
12 »Return home, my daughters. I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought there was still hope, and got married and had sons,
13 »would you wait for them to grow up? Would this keep you from marrying someone else? No, my daughters, you know that is not possible. Jehovah has turned against me. I feel sorry for you.«
14 They started crying again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye and went back home. Ruth held on to her.
15 Naomi said to her: »Ruth, your sister-in-law went back to her people and her gods. Go back home with her.
16 Ruth replied: »Do not ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17 »Wherever you die, I will die. That is where I will be buried. May Jehovahs worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!«
18 When she saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said no more.
19 The two of them traveled to Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem the whole town was excited because of them. The women said: »Is this Naomi?«
20 She said: »Do not call me Naomi meaning pleasant. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life bitter.
21 »I went away full, and Jehovah sent me back empty. Why do you give me the name Naomi, seeing that Jehovah has given witness against me, and the Almighty has brought sorrow to me?«
22 So Naomi came back out of the country of Moab. Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, came with her. They came to Bethlehem in the first days of the barley harvest.