1In the days when the Judges were governing, a famine occurred in the country and a certain man fromBethlehem of Judah went-he, his wife and his two sons -- to live in the Plains of Moab. 2The man was called Elimelech, his wife Naomi and his two sons Mahlon and Chilion; they wereEphrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. Going to the Plains of Moab, they settled there. 3Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she and her two sons were left. 4These married Moabite women: one was called Orpah and the other Ruth. They lived there for aboutten years. 5Mahlon and Chilion then both died too, and Naomi was thus bereft of her two sons and her husband. 6She then decided to come back from the Plains of Moab with her daughters-in-law, having heard in thePlains of Moab that God had visited his people and given them food. 7So, with her daughters-in-law, she left the place where she was living and they took the road back toJudah. 8Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go back, each of you to your mother's house. 9May Yahweh show you faithful love, as you have done to those who have died and to me. Yahweh grantthat you may each find happiness with a husband!' She then kissed them, but they began weeping loudly, 10and said, 'No, we shal go back with you to your people.' 11'Go home, daughters,' Naomi replied. 'Why come with me? Have I any more sons in my womb to makehusbands for you? 12Go home, daughters, go, for I am now too old to marry again. Even if I said, "I stil have a hope: I shalltake a husband this very night and shal bear more sons," 13would you be prepared to wait for them until they were grown up? Would you refuse to marry for theirsake? No, daughters, I am bitterly sorry for your sakes that the hand of Yahweh should have been raised againstme.' 14They started weeping loudly al over again; Orpah then kissed her mother-in-law and went back to herpeople. But Ruth stayed with her. 15Naomi then said, 'Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her god. Go home, too;fol ow your sister-in-law.' 16But Ruth said, 'Do not press me to leave you and to stop going with you, for wherever you go, I shalgo, wherever you live, I shal live. Your people will be my people, and your God wil be my God. 17Where you die, I shall die and there I shal be buried. Let Yahweh bring unnameable il s on me andworse il s, too, if anything but death should part me from you!' 18Seeing that Ruth was determined to go with her, Naomi said no more. 19The two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. Their arrival set the whole town astir, and thewomen said, 'Can this be Naomi?' 20To this she replied, 'Do not cal me Naomi, cal me Mara, for Shaddai has made my lot bitter. 21I departed ful , and Yahweh has brought me home empty. Why, then, call me Naomi, since Yahwehhas pronounced against me and Shaddai has made me wretched?' 22This was how Naomi came home with her daughter-in-law, Ruth the Moabitess, on returning from thePlains of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
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