Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me Ruth 1:8
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
Naomi knows that it is realistically impossible for her to provide husbands for her widowed daughters-in-law in keeping with the laws of the levirate marriage which provides a way to keep alive the family name of a deceased brother, and the property rights assigned to his family and tribe. So she encourages Orpah and Ruth to return to their family’s homes. Orpah goes, but Ruth replies with the three sentences that will be remembered by millions of believers, “Where you go I will go…” Ruth’s unwavering faithfulness to her mother-in-law will lead to her marriage to the son of another gentile woman of faith and historical importance.