Ruth 1:1-5 – Naomi Leaves and Loses Her Husband and Children


Ruth 1:1-5


Naomi leaves Bethlehem with her husband and sons, who all die in Moab.


The book ironically begins with famine in Bethlehem, which means “house of food.”  In the Bible, famine often leads to immigration, to leaving home. We know Bethlehem is also called “the city of David” (Luke 2:4), so leaving is a problem, especially going to Moab.  As the Book of Ruth begins, it seems like the guy will be the hero.  Elimelech means “God is king.”  Then Elimelech dies, as do his sons, Mahlon and Chilion.  But their names mean “consumption” and “disease,” so their death is not unexpected.   Naomi is left alone with her two Moabite daughters-in-law. This hardly qualifies as a legal family unit then or now. 

(See painting by Jacob Steinhardt –