What does Ruth 1:15 mean?
ESV: And she said, "See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law."
NIV: "Look," said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her."
NASB: Then she said, 'Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'
CSB: Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. Follow your sister-in-law."
NLT: Look,' Naomi said to her, 'your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.'
KJV: And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law.
NKJV: And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
Verse Commentary:
Two women are on their way to Bethlehem, of the three who initially set out from Moab. Naomi moved out of Israel with her husband and sons ten years prior because of a famine. Since then, her husband and sons died, and she is left with two Moabite daughters-in-law. She sees no way the women can remain together without living in poverty. Naomi has convinced her daughter-in-law Orpah to return to her family and seek another husband. Ruth, however, is more resolved (Ruth 1:1–14).

Here, Naomi continues to try to convince Ruth to return to Moab. She uses peer pressure, noting Orpah's departure. Yet Ruth clearly understands the implications of her choice. This includes personal, cultural, and religious consequences.

The Moabites worship Chemosh (Numbers 21:29). Not much about this idol is known except that the Israelites often betray God to worship it (1 Kings 11:7). Solomon's worship of Chemosh is one of the reasons God split the nation (1 Kings 11:31–33). During the time of Jehoshaphat, one of Judah's better rulers, the king of Moab thought their loss to the Israelites was because Chemosh was angry with them. To try to appease his god, Mesha sacrificed his son (2 Kings 3). Chemosh didn't react, of course (1 Corinthians 8:4), and the plan was foiled (2 Kings 3:22–27).

In the next verse, Ruth systematically rebuts Naomi's earlier arguments. Naomi tells her that Orpah has "gone back;" Ruth tells her, "Where you go I will go." Naomi mentions Orpah's people; Ruth says, "Your people shall be my people." Naomi warns Ruth she will have to leave her gods; Ruth replies, "Your God [shall be] my God." Naomi tells Ruth to "return after your sister-in-law," Ruth responds, "Do not urge me to…return from following you."

In fact, Ruth adds to her vow. She will not only live with Naomi, but she will also be buried with Naomi. And if she breaks this promise, she calls on God to strike her down (Ruth 1:17).
Verse Context:
Ruth 1:15–18 records Ruth's vow to Naomi. Naomi had insisted Ruth return to her parents and start a new family. Ruth explains that Naomi is her family. No matter where Naomi lives or dies, or who she worships, Ruth will be with her. Naomi is suffering under the belief that God intentionally singled her out for tragedy (Ruth 1:13). She doesn't quite realize that God can show up in the heart of a Moabite widow.
Chapter Summary:
Ruth 1 depicts how a person can feel "starved" for things other than food. Elimelech and his wife, Naomi, flee a famine in Bethlehem and settle in Moab where there is plenty of food and their sons find devoted wives. Within ten years, however, Naomi's husband and sons are dead. When she hears Judah has food again, she prepares to return as an old, bitter widow. One daughter-in-law, Ruth, insists on accompanying her. On the surface, a young Moabite widow in Israel would be the last person who could help, but God honors Ruth's lovingkindness and eventually uses her to restore Naomi's hope and future.
Chapter Context:
Ruth chapter 1 introduces the tumultuous life of a Jewish woman in the era of the judges (Judges 2:16–19). The Israelites have entered the Promised Land but have only half-heartedly pursued God's command to drive out the depraved Canaanites. Too often, they rejected God for foreign idols. God responds with war and famine. In the face of one such famine in Judah, Elimelech and Naomi take their two sons and flee to Moab. After ten years, when the famine is lifted, Naomi returns to Bethlehem with all that is left of her family: one daughter-in-law. They encounter Boaz, whose character is explained more in chapter 2.
Book Summary:
Though set in a time of violence and tragedy, the book of Ruth tells one of Scripture’s most uplifting stories. Naomi, an Israelite, leaves her home during a famine. While away, in Moab, her husband and sons die. Naomi convinces one of her Moabite daughters-in-law to leave her and seek a new life. The other, Ruth, refuses, declaring her love and loyalty to Naomi. When the pair return to Israel, they encounter Boaz. This man is both kind and moral; his treatment of Ruth secures Naomi’s future and becomes part of king David’s ancestry.
Accessed 6/18/2024 9:22:43 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com