Chapter 1

1Now it came to pass in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land, and a man went from Bethlehem of Judah to sojourn in the fields of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.   אוַיְהִ֗י בִּימֵי֙ שְׁפֹ֣ט הַשֹּֽׁפְטִ֔ים וַיְהִ֥י רָעָ֖ב בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ אִ֜ישׁ מִבֵּ֧ית לֶ֣חֶם יְהוּדָ֗ה לָגוּר֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֔ב ה֥וּא וְאִשְׁתּ֖וֹ וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנָֽיו:
Now it came to pass in the days when the judges judged: Before King Saul reigned, when the generations were governed by judges, and this was in the days of Ibzan, as our Sages said (B.B. 91a, Targum ad loc.): Ibzan is Boaz.  
and a man went: He was very wealthy, and the leader of the generation. He left the Land of Israel for regions outside the Land because of stinginess, for he begrudged the poor who came to press him; therefore he was punished.  
2And the man's name was Elimelech, and his wife's name was Naomi, and his two sons' names were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites, from Bethlehem of Judah, and they came to the fields of Moab and remained there.   בוְשֵׁ֣ם הָאִ֣ישׁ אֱלִימֶ֡לֶךְ וְשֵׁם֩ אִשְׁתּ֨וֹ נָֽעֳמִ֜י וְשֵׁ֥ם שְׁנֵֽי־בָנָ֣יו | מַחְל֤וֹן וְכִלְיוֹן֙ אֶפְרָתִ֔ים מִבֵּ֥ית לֶ֖חֶם יְהוּדָ֑ה וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ שְׂדֵֽי־מוֹאָ֖ב וַיִּֽהְיוּ־שָֽׁם:
Ephrathites: Heb. אֶפְרָתִים, important people, likewise, (I Sam. 1:1): “the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite,” a palace dweller (Ruth Rabbah 2:5). Look how important they were, for Eglon the king of Moab married off his daughter to Mahlon, for the master said (ibid. 9): Ruth was the daughter of Eglon. Another explanation: Ephrathites: Bethlehem was called Ephrath.  
3Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.   גוַיָּ֥מָת אֱלִימֶ֖לֶךְ אִ֣ישׁ נָֽעֳמִ֑י וַתִּשָּׁאֵ֥ר הִ֖יא וּשְׁנֵ֥י בָנֶֽיהָ:
Naomi’s husband: Why is this stated? From here they (our Sages) derived (Sanh. 22b): A man does not die except concerning his wife. (And Scripture states, “Naomi’s husband” ; that is to say that because he was her husband and ruled over her, and she was subordinate to him, therefore the divine standard of justice struck him and not her.)  
4And they married Moabite women, one named Orpah, and the other named Ruth, and they dwelt there for about ten years.   דוַיִּשְׂא֣וּ לָהֶ֗ם נָשִׁים֙ מֹֽאֲבִיּ֔וֹת שֵׁ֤ם הָֽאַחַת֙ עָרְפָּ֔ה וְשֵׁ֥ם הַשֵּׁנִ֖ית ר֑וּת וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ שָׁ֖ם כְּעֶ֥שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים:
5And both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was left [bereft] of her two children and of her husband.   הוַיָּמֻ֥תוּ גַם־שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם מַחְל֣וֹן וְכִלְי֑וֹן וַתִּשָּׁאֵר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה מִשְּׁנֵ֥י יְלָדֶ֖יהָ וּמֵֽאִישָֽׁהּ:
both… also: What is the meaning of “also” ? First their possessions were smitten, and their camels and their cattle died, and afterwards they too died.  
6Now she arose with her daughters-in-law and returned from the fields of Moab, for she had heard in the field of Moab that the Lord had remembered His people to give them bread.   ווַתָּ֤קָם הִיא֙ וְכַלֹּתֶ֔יהָ וַתָּ֖שָׁב מִשְּׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֑ב כִּ֤י שָֽׁמְעָה֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב כִּֽי־פָקַ֤ד יְהֹוָה֙ אֶת־עַמּ֔וֹ לָתֵ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם לָֽחֶם:
7Then she went forth from the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law with her, and they went on the road to return to the land of Judah.   זוַתֵּצֵ֗א מִן־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָֽיְתָה־שָּׁ֔מָּה וּשְׁתֵּ֥י כַלֹּתֶ֖יהָ עִמָּ֑הּ וַתֵּלַ֣כְנָה בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ לָשׁ֖וּב אֶל־אֶ֥רֶץ יְהוּדָֽה:
Then she went forth from the place: Why is this stated? It is already stated, “and she returned from the fields of Moab,” and from where would she return if not from the place where she was? But Scripture wishes to tell [us] that the departure of a righteous person from a place is conspicuous, and makes an impression. Its splendor has turned away; its majesty has turned away; the praise of a city has turned away, and likewise (Gen. 28:10): “And Jacob went forth from Beersheba.”  
8And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each woman to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the deceased and with me.   חוַתֹּ֤אמֶר נָֽעֳמִי֙ לִשְׁתֵּ֣י כַלֹּתֶ֔יהָ לֵ֣כְנָה שֹּׁ֔בְנָה אִשָּׁ֖ה לְבֵ֣ית אִמָּ֑הּ יַ֣עַשׂ (כתיב יַ֣עַשׂה) יְהֹוָ֤ה עִמָּכֶם֙ חֶ֔סֶד כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֧ר עֲשִׂיתֶ֛ם עִם־הַמֵּתִ֖ים וְעִמָּדִֽי:
9May the Lord grant you that you find rest, each woman in her husband's house," and she kissed them, and they raised their voices and wept.   טיִתֵּ֤ן יְהֹוָה֙ לָכֶ֔ם וּמְצֶ֣אן ָ מְנוּחָ֔ה אִשָּׁ֖ה בֵּ֣ית אִישָׁ֑הּ וַתִּשַּׁ֣ק לָהֶ֔ן וַתִּשֶּׂ֥אנָה קוֹלָ֖ן וַתִּבְכֶּֽינָה:
10And they said to her, "[No,] but we will return with you to your people."   יוַתֹּאמַ֖רְנָה־לָּ֑הּ כִּֽי־אִתָּ֥ךְ נָשׁ֖וּב לְעַמֵּֽךְ:
11And Naomi said, "Return, my daughters; why should you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they should be your husbands?   יאוַתֹּ֤אמֶר נָֽעֳמִי֙ שֹׁ֣בְנָה בְנֹתַ֔י לָ֥מָּה תֵלַ֖כְנָה עִמִּ֑י הַֽעוֹד־לִ֤י בָנִים֙ בְּֽמֵעַ֔י וְהָי֥וּ לָכֶ֖ם לַֽאֲנָשִֽׁים:
12Return, my daughters, go, for I have become too old to marry, that I should say that I have hope. Even if I had a husband tonight, and even if I had borne sons,   יבשֹׁ֤בְנָה בְנֹתַי֙ לֵ֔כְן ָ כִּ֥י זָקַ֖נְתִּי מִֽהְי֣וֹת לְאִ֑ישׁ כִּ֤י אָמַ֨רְתִּי֙ יֶשׁ־לִ֣י תִקְוָ֔ה גַּ֣ם הָיִ֤יתִי הַלַּ֨יְלָה֙ לְאִ֔ישׁ וְגַ֖ם יָלַ֥דְתִּי בָנִֽים:
for I have become too old to marry: that I should marry someone and bear sons, that you should marry them, for they are not forbidden to you and you are not forbidden to them as far as the prohibition against marrying the wife of a brother who is deceased, for she does not require a levirate marriage because Mahlon and Chilion were not halachically married to them because they were gentiles, and had not converted, and now they were coming to convert, as it is stated (verse 10): “[No], but we will return with you to your people.” From now on, we will become one people.  
that I should say that I have hope: for even if my heart told me that I have hope to marry again and to bear sons.  
Even if I had a husband tonight: and more than this, even if I conceived male offspring tonight.  
and even if I had borne sons: or even if I had already borne sons.  
13Would you wait for them until they grew up? Would you shut yourselves off for them and not marry? No, my daughters, for it is much more bitter for me than for you, for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me."   יגהֲלָהֵ֣ן | תְּשַׂבֵּ֗רְנָה עַ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִגְדָּ֔לוּ הֲלָהֵן֙ תֵּֽעָגֵ֔נָה לְבִלְתִּ֖י הֱי֣וֹת לְאִ֑ישׁ אַ֣ל בְּנֹתַ֗י כִּֽי־מַר־לִ֤י מְאֹד֙ מִכֶּ֔ם כִּי־יָֽצְאָ֥ה בִ֖י יַד־יְהֹוָֽה:
Would you wait for them: Heb. תְּשַּׂבֵּרְנָה. This is a question: Would you wait for them until they grew up? This is an expression similar to (Ps. 146:5): “his hope (שִּׂבְרוֹ) is in the Lord his God.”  
Would you shut yourselves off: Heb. תֵּעָגֵנָה. An expression of being bound and imprisoned, like (Taanith 3:8): “He made a round hole (עָג עוּגָה) and stood within it.” Others interpret it as an expression of עִגוּן, anchoring, being unable to marry, but that cannot be, for if so, the “nun” should have been punctuated with a “dagesh” or it should have been spelled with two “nuns” .  
for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me: Said Rabbi Levi: Wherever it says “the hand of the Lord,” it refers to a plague of pestilence, and the classic example is (Exod. 9:3): “Behold the hand of the Lord will be.”  
14And they raised their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth cleaved to her.   ידוַתִּשֶּׂ֣נָה (חסר א) קוֹלָ֔ן וַתִּבְכֶּ֖ינָה ע֑וֹד וַתִּשַּׁ֤ק עָרְפָּה֙ לַֽחֲמוֹתָ֔הּ וְר֖וּת דָּ֥בְקָה בָּֽהּ:
15And she said, "Lo, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and to her god; return after your sister- in-law."   טווַתֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּה֙ שָׁ֣בָה יְבִמְתֵּ֔ךְ אֶל־עַמָּ֖הּ וְאֶל־אֱלֹהֶ֑יהָ שׁ֖וּבִי אַֽחֲרֵ֥י יְבִמְתֵּֽךְ:
Lo, your sister-in-law has returned: Heb. שָּׁבָה. In this word, the accent is above (on the first syllable) under the “shin,” because it is in the past tense, but [in the verse] (Esther 2:14): “and in the morning she would return (שָּׁבָה) ,” the accent is below (on the last syllable) on the “beth,” because it is the present tense, and so it is in all similar cases.  
16And Ruth said, "Do not entreat me to leave you, to return from following you, for wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.   טזוַתֹּ֤אמֶר רוּת֙ אַל־תִּפְגְּעִי־בִ֔י לְעָזְבֵ֖ךְ לָשׁ֣וּב מֵֽאַֽחֲרָ֑יִךְ כִּ֠י אֶל־אֲשֶׁ֨ר תֵּֽלְכִ֜י אֵלֵ֗ךְ וּבַֽאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֨ינִי֙ אָלִ֔ין עַמֵּ֣ךְ עַמִּ֔י וֵֽאלֹהַ֖יִךְ אֱלֹהָֽי:
Do not entreat me: Heb. תִּפְגְעִי, do not urge me.  
for wherever you go, I will go: From here our Sages derived that a [prospective] proselyte who comes to convert is told some of the punishments [for violating the commandments], so that if he decides to renege, he can renege, for out of Ruth’s words, you learn what Naomi said to her: “We may not go out of the boundary [of 2,000 cubits on all sides] on the Sabbath.” She replied to her, “Wherever you go, I will go.” “We are prohibited to allow a female to be secluded with a male who is not her husband.” She replied, “Wherever you lodge, I will lodge.” “Our people is separated from the other peoples with 613 commandments.” [She replied,] “Your people is my people.” “Idolatry is forbidden to us.” “Your God is my God.” “Four types of death penalties were delegated to the beth din (court) [to punish transgressors].” “Wherever you die I will die.” “Two burial plots were delegated to the beth din [to bury those executed], one for those stoned and those burned, and one for those decapitated and those strangled.” She replied, “And there I will be buried.”  
17Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. So may the Lord do to me and so may He continue, if anything but death separate me and you."   יזבַּֽאֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּמ֨וּתִי֙ אָמ֔וּת וְשָׁ֖ם אֶקָּבֵ֑ר כֹּה֩ יַֽעֲשֶׂ֨ה יְהֹוָ֥ה לִי֙ וְכֹ֣ה יוֹסִ֔יף כִּ֣י הַמָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥י וּבֵינֵֽךְ:
So may the Lord do to me: as He has commenced to harm [me], for His hand has gone forth against me to slay my husband and to cause me to lose my property.  
and so may He continue: if anything but death separates me from you.  
18And she saw that she was determined to go with her; so she stopped speaking to her.   יחוַתֵּ֔רֶא כִּֽי־מִתְאַמֶּ֥צֶת הִ֖יא לָלֶ֣כֶת אִתָּ֑הּ וַתֶּחְדַּ֖ל לְדַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶֽיהָ:
so she stopped speaking to her: From here they derived that we do not overburden him and we are not overly meticulous with him (i.e., with a prospective convert).  
19And they both went on until they arrived to Bethlehem. And it came to pass when they arrived to Bethlehem, that the entire city was astir on their account, and they said, "Is this Naomi?"   יטוַתֵּלַ֣כְנָה שְׁתֵּיהֶ֔ם עַד־בּוֹאָ֖נָה בֵּ֣ית לָ֑חֶם וַיְהִ֗י כְּבוֹאָ֨נָה֙ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם וַתֵּהֹ֤ם כָּל־הָעִיר֙ עֲלֵיהֶ֔ן וַתֹּאמַ֖רְנָה הֲזֹ֥את נָֽעֳמִֽי:
And they both went on: Said Rabbi Abbahu: Come and see how dear the proselytes are to the Holy One, blessed be He: Since she decided to convert, Scripture compared her to Naomi.  
that the entire city was astir: The entire city became astir. They had gathered to bury Boaz’s wife, who had died on that very day.  
Is this Naomi?: Heb. הֲזאֹת. The “hey” is vowelized with a “hataf” because it is in the interrogative. Is this Naomi who used to go out in covered wagons and with mules? Have you seen what happened to her because she went out from the Holy Land?  
20And she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Marah, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.   כוַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ן אַל־תִּקְרֶ֥אנָה לִּ֖י נָֽעֳמִ֑י קְרֶ֤אן ָ לִּי֙ מָרָ֔א (א במקום ה) כִּֽי־הֵמַ֥ר שַׁדַּ֛י לִ֖י מְאֹֽד:
21I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why [then] should you call me Naomi, seeing that the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has dealt harshly with me?"   כאאֲנִי֙ מְלֵאָ֣ה הָלַ֔כְתִּי וְרֵיקָ֖ם הֱשִׁיבַ֣נִי יְהֹוָ֑ה לָ֣מָּה תִקְרֶ֤אנָה לִּי֙ נָֽעֳמִ֔י וַֽיהֹוָה֙ עָ֣נָה בִ֔י וְשַׁדַּ֖י הֵֽרַע לִֽי:
I went away full: with wealth and sons. Another interpretation is that she was pregnant.  
has testified: Heb. עָנָה, has testified against me that I dealt wickedly before Him. Another explanation: The Divine Standard of Justice has humbled me, as (Hosea 5:5): “And the pride of Israel shall be humbled (וְעָנָה).”  
22So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in- law, with her, who returned from the fields of Moab-and they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.   כבוַתָּ֣שָׁב נָֽעֳמִ֗י וְר֨וּת הַמּֽוֹאֲבִיָּ֤ה כַלָּתָהּ֙ עִמָּ֔הּ הַשָּׁ֖בָה מִשְּׂדֵ֣י מוֹאָ֑ב וְהֵ֗מָּה בָּ֚אוּ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם בִּתְחִלַּ֖ת קְצִ֥יר שְׂעֹרִֽים:
at the beginning of the barley harvest: Scripture is speaking of the harvest of the Omer.