1 AND IT came to pass in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem in Judah went to sojourn in the field of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem in Judah. And they came into the field of Moab, and continued there.
3 And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth; and they dwelt there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died both of them; and the woman was left of her two children and of her husband.
6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the field of Moab; for she had heard in the field of Moab how that HaShem had remembered His people in giving them bread.
7 And she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters-in-law: 'Go, return each of you to her mother's house; HaShem deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9 HaShem grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.' Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her: 'Nay, but we will return with thee unto thy people.'
11 And Naomi said: 'Turn back, my daughters; why will ye go with me? have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say: I have hope, should I even have an husband to-night, and also bear sons;
13 would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye shut yourselves off for them and have no husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes, for the hand of HaShem is gone forth against me.'
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth cleaved unto her.
15 And she said: 'Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her god; return thou after thy sister-in-law.'
16 And Ruth said: 'Entreat me not to leave thee, and to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy G-d my G-d;
17 where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; HaShem do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.'
18 And when she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking unto her.
19 So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, that all the city was astir concerning them, and the women said: 'Is this Naomi?'
20 And she said unto them: 'Call me not Naomi, call me Marah; for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.
21 I went out full, and HaShem hath brought me back home empty; why call ye me Naomi, seeing HaShem hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?'
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the field of Moab--and they came to Beth-lehem in the beginning of barley harvest.
Sources: Portions copyright © 1997 by Benyamin Pilant, All Rights Reserved
JPS Electronic Edition Copyright © 1998 by Larry Nelson, All Rights Reserved