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Ruth 1:14

ESV Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
NIV At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
NASB And they raised their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
CSB Again they wept loudly, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
NLT And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi.
KJV And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

What does Ruth 1:14 mean?

Naomi's argument hits home. She sees no way her daughters-in-law can stay with her and yet be free from hunger and poverty. Ten years before, Naomi and her husband and sons fled the famine in Bethlehem—she knows what it feels like to be in need, and she doesn't want that for Orpah and Ruth (Ruth 1:1–5). The first time the women wept was when Naomi seemed to formally dissociate herself from Orpah and Ruth, leaving them to the hand of God (Ruth 1:8–9). She did this out of love, freeing them from any responsibility to her.

Since then, Naomi has presented a logical argument as to why the younger women should return to their birth families. They cannot remain her daughters-in-law. She is too old to conceive more sons, and even if by some miracle she did, it would be absurd for the women to wait fifteen or so years until the boys are—barely—old enough to marry (Ruth 1:8–13).

Orpah is convinced. She loves Naomi and doesn't want to leave, but she agrees there is nothing a Moabite widow can do for an Israelite widow living in Israel. She returns Naomi's kiss and returns home. In this era of history, such goodbyes were assumed to be permanent; neither would have expected to see the other again.

For some reason, Ruth is more resolved. "Clung" is translated from the same root word as "hold fast" in Genesis 2:24—the attitude a husband should have toward his new wife as he leaves his parents. The term serves as a preview for Ruth's vow.

As Orpah fades into the distance, Ruth explains to Naomi exactly what she intends. Ruth is exchanging her country, her home, her family, and her gods. If Naomi lives in the streets of Bethlehem, begging from the women who were once her peers, that's where Ruth is going to be, as well. As Ruth sees it, there is nothing to discuss: she is staying with Naomi (Ruth 1:16–18).
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