Ruth 1:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 1:7, NIV: With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:7, ESV: So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:7, KJV: Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:7, NASB: So she departed from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

Ruth 1:7, NLT: With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.

Ruth 1:7, CSB: She left the place where she had been living, accompanied by her two daughters-in-law, and traveled along the road leading back to the land of Judah.

What does Ruth 1:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

An Israelite widow living in Moab, Naomi, has heard that the famine in Bethlehem is over. She decides to return home. Her two daughters-in-law, widows of Naomi's late sons, go with her (Ruth 1:4–6).

Orpah and Ruth, Naomi's daughters-in-law, clearly love her deeply. In modern times, societies emphasize the individual over the clan. This makes it harder to understand the close relationship between a woman and her husband's relatives one would find in ancient cultures. At first, it seems perfectly reasonable to Orpah and Ruth to stay with Naomi. As they approach Bethlehem, however, it seems Naomi realizes that these young, unprotected Moabitesses will face hardship and even danger in Israel. They will be seen as outsiders, even enemies (Numbers 22:1—25:5; 31:16), unlikely to find husbands on their own, at risk from cruel men and with no other family to rely on.

Naomi makes the hard choice to tell them to return to their birth-families so they can find new husbands who will care for them (Ruth 1:8–13).

The details many Western readers would prefer are not given; they're not important to the story. We don't know where in Moab Naomi and her husband Elimelech settled. Nor do we know what route Naomi and her daughters-in-law take to Bethlehem. They may go south, around the southern shore of the Dead Sea, cross the Jordan, and make the long trek north to Bethlehem, just a few miles south of Jerusalem. Or they may travel north and cross near Jericho.

Judah is the tribe controlling the territory surrounding Bethlehem. It is the largest tribe of Israel, other than Manasseh, and hosts the future capital, Jerusalem. Prominent descendants of Judah include David, Solomon, and Jesus. Bethlehem of Judah distinguishes it from the Bethlehem in Zebulun.