In the days before there were kings, when Israel was still being ruled by judges, there was a famine. During this time, a man from Bethlehem which was in Judah left his home to go live in Moab for a while. He took his wife and His two sons with him. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife was Naomi. His sons were Mahlon and Chilion. The family had always lived in Bethlehem but now they were moving to the country of Moab to live there.
But Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons. Each son had married a wife from Moab. One of them was named Orpah, the other was named Ruth. After about ten years, Mahlon and Chilion also died. Naomi was left without her husband or her sons. Then she heard that the Lord came to care for His people in Israel by giving them food. So she began to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law to go back to Bethlehem in Judah.
On the way, Naomi said to Ruth and Orpah, "Go back! Both of you return to you family! May the Lord be kind to you just as you have been kind to me and my husband and sons. May the Lord give you rest and let you find new husbands." With that, Naomi kissed them and they all began to cry.
And Ruth and Orpah said, "No, we will go with you to Israel—to your people!" But Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters; why would you want to go with me? I have no more sons to give to you as husbands. Turn back! I am too old to have a husband, and even if I did, and I gave birth to two sons tonight, would you wait until they grew up so you could marry them? Would you really want to wait for them instead of remarrying now? I am very sad for you that God has stretched out His hand against me."
Then Ruth and Orpah began to cry again. Orpah kissed Naomi and left, but Ruth held on tight to her. And Naomi said to Ruth: "You see! Orpah went back to her family and to the gods that they worship—go with her!" But Ruth said, "Please do not tell me to leave you or to stop following you. Where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people will be my people, and your God shall be my God. Where you die, I will die and wherever that is, I will be buried. May God make sure I keep this promise: that nothing shall separate us but death!
When Naomi could tell that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing else. So the two of them went on their journey