Daughters in the Bible: Ruth, Where You Go I Shall Go

Last year in our mother’s series, we took a look at Naomi and her heartache, which eventually turned to joy because of her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

Naomi had two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah

When we read the book of Ruth, we often focus on the story of Ruth and Boaz, which is a beautiful love story.  However, today we’re going to explore a different relationship, that of Naomi and Ruth.

The book of Ruth begins with Naomi, her husband and two sons leaving Bethlehem and settling in Moab.  Her husband has died and we are told that both sons marry.  “They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth.”  {Ruth 1:4}

So, the first thing we learn is that Ruth is a Moabite.  The Moabite’s were the descendants of Lot and one of his daughters.

Ruth refused to leave Naomi “Your people will be my people and your God my God”

“When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.  With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living.”  {Ruth 1:6-7}

Naomi realized that things were better at home and was ready to return.  After all, she had lost her husband and both sons while she was in Moab.  All she had left was her daughters-in-law.

“Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home…Then she kissed them goodbye.”  {Ruth 1:8-9}

We know nothing more about Orpah and Ruth’s heritage other than they were Moabites and their mother’s were still alive.  Had both of their father’s passed or was this one

Naomi was warmly welcomed back to Bethlehem and she was accompanied by Ruth

mother deferring to another?

Orpah tells Naomi goodbye and returns to her mother’s home.  Naomi then turns to Ruth and urges her to leave.

Ruth’s response has become legendary.  She said, ““Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.””  {Ruth 1:16-17}

Ruth’s response is often use and repeated in weddings today.  Ruth clearly loved her mother-in-law and was vowing to give up all she knew and loved to live the way Naomi lived.  Ruth was loyal beyond measure to Naomi.

“The first chapter of Ruth makes it clear that Ruth deeply loved and appreciated her mother-in-law.  That love was expressed in a loyalty that surpassed all other ties.”  {Every Woman in the Bible}

When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.  {Ruth 1:18}

Naomi realized that she was not going to be able to change Ruth’s mind.  So, she allowed Ruth to go with her.

The two women continued on their travels and return to Bethlehem. Upon their return, the women have to find a way to put food on the table and survive. So, Naomi instructs her daughter-in-law on what to do next.  Ruth goes to the fields to pick up the wheat and meets Boaz, who is very kind to her. 

When Ruth returns home, she tells Naomi where she has been gleaning wheat and Naomi is please.  She knows that Boaz is a good man and encourages Ruth to stay close to the women in Boaz’s field.  {Ruth 2:19-23}

Ruth returns with Naomi and has to adjust to both a strange land and strange custom.  I’ve moved enough that I know how difficult it is to adjust in the beginning, but slowly you begin to do just that.  But, it must be even more difficult when you have to learn new customs on top of new surroundings and new people.

“For Ruth, Judah was a strange land, with unfamiliar customs.  But in Naomi, Ruth had a mentor and she wisely followed her advice.”  {Every Woman in the Bible}

Ruth was not alone.  She had Naomi to guide and direct her.  Ruth was wise enough to listen to her advice and follow it.

One of the first concerns was figuring out a way to provide for themselves.  Even if they had a home to return to, they still had to eat.  So, she did as Naomi said and found some fields to glean.

“Ruth might have lived out her life as a victim of harsh circumstances.  Instead, she focused on providing for herself and for Naomi.”  {Women of the Bible study Bible}

Ruth was not a victim, but a hardworking young woman who was willing to do anything necessary.  She couldn’t go out and get a job as we can today, but she could follow the gleaners around.  This was a long day of hard work of bending over in the heat.  This could not have been fun or easy.  But the owner of the field, Boaz, took notice of her and told his workers to provide extra for her.

Naomi advised Ruth to go to Boaz

Naomi becomes concerned about finding a home for Ruth.  She describes what Ruth needs to do when she goes in to Boaz.  {Ruth 3:1-4}

Naomi knew she would not live forever and she needed to provide a future and home for her daughter-in-law.

“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So, she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.  {Ruth 3:5-6}

Ruth was taking a huge chance by going in to Boaz, but she followed Naomi’s directions to the letter.  I’ll admit I don’t take directions well and can be rebellious at times, but Ruth was not this way.  She did just what she was told.  Then again, she realized that she had a lot at stake.

Boaz “had heard of their shared tragedy and their extraordinary loyalty the young woman

Ruth boldly approached Boaz

had displayed toward her mother-in-law, even promising to renounce Moab’s idols for Israel’s God.” {Women of the New Testament}

Boaz was impressed by all he had seen and heard about Ruth.   Most of all he was impressed with her dedication and loyalty to Naomi.

When she returns, she tells Naomi everything that happened and Naomi is pleased.  {Ruth 3:16-18}

Ruth tells Naomi everything that happened.  The two were clearly close and leaned on one another.  After all, they were all the other one had.

Boaz was Naomi’s kinsman redeemer

Boaz does what he promises and appears before the council and the close guardian-redeemer.  He is finally granted permission to marry her and they are married and have a son, Obed.

When she has her child, the women in the village say to Naomi “ “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.””   {Ruth 4:14-15}

When Boaz and Ruth have a son, it is Naomi who the townswomen praise.  Ruth is said to be better to Naomi than seven sons.  That is quiet a compliment and shows her character.

“All that Ruth did was done for love of her mother-in-law, and for love of Naomi’s God.

Naomi’s joy was restored when Ruth married Boaz and had a son

She made a promise on the road to Bethlehem that she was determine to keep.  Though it was a promise made by one woman to another.” {Women of the New Testament}

Today, we hear horror stories of mothers-in-laws and daughters-in-laws, but there are also beautiful stories out there.  Naomi and Ruth are one of those beautiful stories.  Ruth was faithful, loyal and righteous through both the good and bad times.

How would others describe you?  Would words such as faithful, loyal and righteous be used to describe you?


Ruth remained loyal to Naomi through all of their trials Share on X

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