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1In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimʹelech and the name of his wife Naʹomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilʹion; they were Ephʹrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3But Elimʹelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years; 5and both Mahlon and Chilʹion died, so that the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband.

6Then she started with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7So she set out from the place where she was, with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8But Naʹomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9The Lord grant that you may find a home, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11But Naʹomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.” 14Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16But Ruth said, “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God; 17where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if even death parts me from you.” 18And when Naʹomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

19So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them; and the women said, “Is this Naʹomi?” 20She said to them, “Do not call me Naʹomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naʹomi, when the Lord has afflicted me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

22So Naʹomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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