Ruth 1:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 1:17, NIV: 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 1:17, ESV: Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Ruth 1:17, KJV: 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.

Ruth 1:17, NASB: Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.'

Ruth 1:17, NLT: Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!'

Ruth 1:17, CSB: Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me, and do so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.

What does Ruth 1:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ruth finishes her vow to Naomi (Ruth 1:15–16). The young Moabite widow will not leave her widowed Israelite mother-in-law (Ruth 1:1–5) no matter what. If Naomi is going to go home to Bethlehem, Ruth will too. If Naomi lives in an inn or a relative's house, or the street, Ruth will too. Ruth formally, passionately disowns her people and her gods and claims Israel as her people and Yahweh as her God.

Even more so, if Naomi dies in Bethlehem, Ruth will not leave her. She will live out her years near Naomi's grave and be buried with her so that, in the understanding of the culture of the time, they can remain family in the afterlife. She swears this in the name of Yahweh. She understands the cost, and she is willing to pay it (Luke 9:57–62; 14:25–33).

The Bible mentions only one other woman who took the initiative to identify with the Israelites and their God: Rahab. Both women are from nations seen as enemies of the Israelites. Yet both are in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). But Rahab was given a promise of protection (Joshua 2:12–14). Ruth must place a deeper trust in her new God—the same God Naomi believes has intentionally sought her out for harm (Ruth 1:13).

The wording of Ruth's oath is common in Scripture (1 Samuel 3:17; 25:22; 2 Samuel 19:13; 1 Kings 2:23). The consequence to be "done" isn't always mentioned. Scholars suggest the oath-speaker would make a physical gesture evoking animal slaughter, inferring that if the oath weren't fulfilled, the consequence was death.