Ruth 3:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ruth 3:17, NIV: and added, 'He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.''

Ruth 3:17, ESV: saying, “These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said to me, ‘You must not go back empty-handed to your mother-in-law.’”

Ruth 3:17, KJV: And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.

Ruth 3:17, NASB: She also said, 'These six measures of barley he gave to me, for he said, ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’?'

Ruth 3:17, NLT: and she added, 'He gave me these six scoops of barley and said, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.''

Ruth 3:17, CSB: She said, "He gave me these six measures of barley, because he said, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.' "

What does Ruth 3:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Naomi had left Bethlehem years before with her husband and two sons to escape a famine. Ten years later, the men were dead, leaving Naomi with two loving daughters-in-law (Ruth 1:1–5). When she found that the famine had been lifted, she decided to return to Bethlehem (Ruth 1:6). One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, followed her (Ruth 1:15–18). Naomi arrived in her hometown to the delight of her old friends (Ruth 1:19). Her own heart, however, had turned bitter. "I went away full," she said, "and the LORD has brought me back empty" (Ruth 1:21).

Naomi's emptiness was profound: emptiness of family, food, and hope. Two months later, her late husband's kinsman Boaz has made sure she has the food she needs (Ruth 2). Soon, her daughter-in-law will be married. She doesn't know to whom, but she is once again filled with hope. She doesn't know that her family is about to be restored; before long, she will hold her grandson in her lap (Ruth 4:13–17).

This is the last time Ruth speaks in the book. In fact, although Ruth does much of the action in the story, she speaks little. Scholars interpret the book of Ruth as the story of Naomi: an Israelite widow shown lovingkindness and covenant loyalty by God and others.