1In the time when the judges ruled, there was once a famine in the land. A man from Bethlehem in Judah took his wife and two sons to live in the territory of Moab.
2His name was Elimelech and his wife's was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. After they had been living in Moab for some time,
3Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons,
4who married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,
5Mahlon and Chilion both died, and Naomi was left alone, without husband or sons.
6So she set out with her daughters-in-law to return from the land of Moab, for she had heard that the Lord had remembered his people and given them food.
7As they were setting out together on the journey to Judah,
8Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go, return both of you to the home of your mother. May the Lord be kind to you as you have been kind to the dead and to me.
9The Lord grant that each of you may find peace and happiness in the house of a new husband.” Then she kissed them; but they began to weep aloud
10and said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”
11But Naomi said, “Go back, my daughters; why should you go with me? Can I still bear sons who might become your husbands?
12Go back, my daughters, go your own way, because I am too old to have a husband. Even if I should say, ‘I have hope,’ even if I should have a husband tonight and should bear sons,
13would you wait for them until they were grown up? Would you remain single for them? No, my daughters! My heart grieves for you, for the Lord has sent me adversity.”
14Then they again wept aloud, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth stayed with her.
15“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her own people and to her own gods; go along with her!”
16But Ruth answered, “Do not urge me to leave you or to go back. I will go where you go, and I will stay wherever you stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God;
17I will die where you die, and be buried there. May the Lord bring a curse upon me, if anything but death separate you and me.”
18When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she ceased urging her to return.
19So they journeyed on until they came to Bethlehem. Their arrival stirred the whole town, and the women said, “Can this be Naomi?”
20“Do not call me Naomi,” she said to them, “call me Mara, for the Almighty has given me a bitter lot.
21I had plenty when I left, but the Lord has brought me back empty handed. Why should you call me Naomi, now that the Lord has afflicted me, and the Almighty has brought misfortune on me?”
22So Naomi and Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, returned from Moab. They reached Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.