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Ruth 1:22

ESV So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
NIV So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
NASB So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
CSB So Naomi came back from the territory of Moab with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabitess. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.
NLT So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.
KJV So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

What does Ruth 1:22 mean?

The narrator completes the first chapter of the story with a synopsis and setup for what happens next. Naomi has returned to Bethlehem without her husband and sons (Ruth 1:1–5). Her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, insisted on accompanying her (Ruth 1:15–18).

This verse has two literary marks. One is the inclusio—a literary device marking either end of a passage—closing the section begun in Ruth 1:6. This completes the story of the "return from [Moab]."

The other technique is a chiasm: the use of mirror-images, or reversed order, to arrange information, with the key point at the center (Ruth 1:15–18). This verse forms a chiasm with Ruth 1:1. The earlier verse noted things in the order of time, Bethlehem, Moab, then participants. This verse reverses this to note participants, Moab, Bethlehem, and then time.

From here until Boaz has finished the legal proceedings, Ruth is pointedly and repeatedly identified as a "Moabite" (Ruth 2:2, 6, 21; 4:5, 10). This may be to highlight the fact that she is not a native to Israel. But it may also be that this Moabitess, who should be an enemy of Israel (Numbers 25:1–5), is the one person who cares the most for an Israelite widow. In fact, she is willing to surrender her future to make sure Naomi receives justice.

Bethlehem means "house of bread." The name makes the famine even more tragic, but the famine makes the barley harvest even more cause for celebration. The barley harvest occurs around late April or early May and continues until the wheat harvest two weeks later. Because of the barley harvest, Ruth will meet Boaz. Because of Ruth's devotion to Naomi, Boaz will insist Ruth continue to glean through the wheat harvest. By the end of the wheat harvest, God will redeem the losses the women have faced and bless Israel and the world in the process.
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