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