Old Testament

Historical Books

How did Ruth and Naomi end up alone?

The book of Ruth does not begin happily. Abimelech died. Mahlon and Chilion died. Orpah went back to her family. It was just Ruth and Naomi. They were poor, and they were women. Being a poor widow in ancient times was a scary proposition. Women could not earn a respectable living without the help of a man. Just about the only course open to a widow was to go back to her family. Orpah saw the wisdom in this option, and returned to her family. Ruth, however, refused to go back to her family. She pleaded with Naomi, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go: and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me GOD—not even death itself is going to come between us!” (The Message, Ruth 1:16)

Ruth’s statement is not an idle promise made to pacify her worried mother-in-law. Ruth’s statement is a vow before God, a vow made from the outpouring of her sincere love and generosity.


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