The book of Ruth begins by giving us a background to the family of Elimelech a Bethlehemjudite, who went to sojourn in Moab with his family because of famine. However Elimelech died and Naomi his wife was left with their two sons. The two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, got married to two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. However the two brothers also later died, leaving their wives behind with thier mum.
Later Naomi heard that famine was over in Israel, and decided to return, and her two daughters in law went with her along the way to Judah. On the way she told them to return to their own people and start a new life. Initially both women resisted, however after some more persuasion Orpah kissed her goodbye, but Ruth persisted, telling Naomi she would never leave her. Ruth made a very strong choice to follow her mother in law. She decided not to turn back to her own people or her own gods, she wanted the God of Israel to be her God, the people of Naomi to be her people, she wanted to be with and help Naomi even till death. Wow, what a love, what a commitment! Naomi could not resist this any longer and she allowed Ruth to follow her to Bethlehem.
When the women saw Naomi and welcomed her back, she showed remorse and bitterness, being sad at all the tragedy that befell her. She believed she went out full but the Lord has brought her back empty. She did not even consider Ruth and her love anything at all, Ruth said nothing all through this but continued to be with and suppport her mother in law.
All this happened at the beginning of the barley harvest in Bethlehem. As we continue we will see how the story develops.
Some verses to remember
Vs 16 – 17: And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or 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 God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.