In this stirring speech The great-grandmother of David the Moabite swears loyalty to her Israelite mother-in-law The mother-in-law of Ruth.
Many people have heard this speech read at weddings at which a wife swears to follow her husband. But the original context of this speech is quite different. During a time of famine in Israel, Naomi came to live in the country of Moab, one of Israel’s enemies, with her husband and two sons. Her sons married women from Moab, one Orpah and the other Ruth. When Naomi’s husband and sons all died and Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem, Naomi pleaded with her daughters-in-law to take care of themselves and to return to their family homes where they might have a chance of marrying again and having a family. But Ruth refused to leave Naomi, whom she now considered to be her primary family member despite their different countries of origins and different religions and despite the usual tension that existed between mothers and daughters-in-law. Ruth then swears loyalty to Naomi in these words that anticipate the A vow is a promise or an oath. God promised to be Israel's God, while in return the people vowed to be obedient to God's commandments. In the book of 1 Samuel Hannah, the mother of Samuel, vowed to dedicate the life of her son... of the prophet Miracle working prophet who succeeded Elijah. to the prophet A miracle working Israelite prophet who opposed worship of Baal. (2 Kings 2:2). Ruth swears to follow Naomi, to lodge where she lodges. She swears that she will join the Israelites rather than the Moabites and will even follow the God of Israel. She swears that not even death will part her from Naomi. In taking such an oath, Ruth defies all conventions and takes an enormous risk. She risks ridicule and rejection from her adopted people, who hate all Moabites. She puts her future in the hands of the God of Israel, thus implicitly claiming that Israel’s God will watch over and show Mercy is a term used to describe leniency or compassion. God's mercy is frequently referred to or invoked in both the Old and New Testaments. to a foreigner. Ruth lacks any sort of future security. She does all of this out of love for and loyalty to the Israelite mother of her deceased husband. Ruth’s eloquent speech sets the standard for the A righteous person is one who is ethical and faithful to God's covenant. Righteousness in the Old Testament is an attitude of God; in the New Testament it is a gift of God through grace. In the New Testament righteousness is a relationship with God... and faithful foreigner.