International Standard Version
1Now there came a time of famine while judges were ruling in the land of Israel. A man from Bethlehem of Judah, his wife, and his two sons left to live in the country of Moab. 2The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name was Naomi, and their two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. They journeyed to the country of Moab and lived there for some time. 3Then Naomi's husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her two sons. 4Each of her sons married Moabite women: one named Orpah and the other named Ruth. After they lived there about ten years, 5both Mahlon and Chilion died, leaving Naomi alone with neither her husband nor her two sons.
6She and her daughters-in-law prepared to return from the country of Moab, because she had heard while living there how the LORD had come to the aid of his people, giving them relief. 7So she left the place where she had been, along with her two daughters-in-law, and they traveled along the return road to the land of Judah. 8But along the way, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, "Each of you go back home. Return to your mother's house. May the LORD show his gracious love to you, as you have shown me and our loved ones who have died. 9May the LORD grant each of you security in your new husbands' households." Then she kissed them good-bye, and they cried loudly. 10They both replied to her, "No! We'll go back with you to your people." 11But Naomi responded, "Go back, my daughters. Why go with me? Are there still sons to be born to me as future husbands for you? 12So go on back, my daughters! Be on your way! I'm too old to remarry. If I were to say that I'm hoping for a husband tonight and then also bore sons this very night, 13would you wait for them until they were grown? Would you refrain from marriage for them? No, my daughters! I'm more deeply grieved than you, because the LORD is working against me!"
14They began to cry loudly again. So Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth remained with her.
15Naomi told Ruth, "Look, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and to her gods. Follow your sister-in-law!" 16But Ruth answered, "Stop urging me to abandon you and to turn back from following you. Because wherever you go, I'll go. Wherever you live, I'll live. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. 17Where you die, I'll die and be buried. May the LORD do this to me—and more—if anything except death comes between you and me." 18When Naomi observed Ruth's determination to travel with her, she ended the conversation.
19So they continued on until they reached Bethlehem. Now when the two of them arrived in Bethlehem, the entire town got excited at the news of their arrival and they asked one another, "Can this be Naomi?" 20But Naomi replied, "Don't call me 'Naomi'! Call me 'Mara'! That's because the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me. 21I left here full, but the LORD brought me back empty. So why call me 'Naomi'? After all, the LORD is against me, and the Almighty has broken me."
22So Naomi returned to Bethlehem from the country of Moab, along with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabite woman. And they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.