The story begins with a bad decision
A certain man of Bethlehem, Elimilech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion left Bethlehem, “the house of bread,” and moved to Moab because of a severe famine. God did NOT tell Elimilech to go – he got scared and went.
While in Moab, his two sons married Moabite women, also known as pagans, Ruth and Orpah. Mr. Elimilech died. Then, Mahlon and Chilion died. So, there was Naomi with her two daughters-in-law and they were in a bad way. Women without men back then were out of luck, out of food, out of money, out of just about everything. Moab became their house of dead. (Ruth 1.1-5)
From the house of dead back to the house of bread!
Naomi decides to go back to Bethlehem – to her family. She packs up and the two daughters-in-law decide to go with her. But, Naomi, will not have it. She clearly tells them they must stay in Moab with their families and perhaps marry again. Orpah thinks that is a good idea and stays in Moab – but, Ruth? No way. (Ruth 1.6-15)
Where you go, Naomi, I will go. Your God will be my God. [I’m all in and I’m going with you! My translation!] Ruth 1.14-18
So, they said good-bye to Orpah (not Oprah) and off they went – a long journey by foot. They arrived in Bethlehem and Naomi’s family was so happy to see her, but alas, Naomi told them not to be happy for her because she came back empty and bitter. [Not a good declaration over oneself.] Ruth 1.19-22
Ruth decides to do something to help their lot in life – and she asks Naomi if she can go out and glean in the fields of cousin Boaz (related by way of her dead father-in-law).
Ruth says, “Perhaps I will find favor in his eyes.” Ruth 2.1-3
The story continues next week!