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Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

1 In the days when the judges ruled,a a there was a famine in the land.b So a man from Bethlehem in Judah,c together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a whiled in the country of Moab.e The man’s name was Elimelek,f his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion.g They were Ephrathitesh from Bethlehem,i Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women,j one named Orpah and the other Ruth.k After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilionl also died,m and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem

When Naomi heard in Moabn that the Lord had come to the aid of his peopleo by providing foodp for them, she and her daughters-in-lawq prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home.r May the Lord show you kindness,s as you have shown kindness to your dead husbandst and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find restu in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissedv them goodbye and they wept aloudw 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?x 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—13 would you wait until they grew up?y Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitterz for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!a

14 At this they weptb aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-lawc goodbye,d but Ruth clung to her.e

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-lawf is going back to her people and her gods.g Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave youh or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go,i and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my peoplej and your God my God.k 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,l if even death separates you and me.”m 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.n

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.o When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirredp because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,b” she told them. “Call me Mara,c because the Almightyd q has made my life very bitter.r 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.s Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflictede me;t the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite,u her daughter-in-law,v arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvestw was beginning.x


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