The underlying theme in The Book of Ruth is steadfast love to which the main characters Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi fall victim. Each character shares in faithfulness borne out of a sense of caring and commitment. Ruth is a widowed Moabite turned Israelite who bears most of the caring in commitment by abandoning ties to her religion, family, and land, even after her husband's death. Although Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law asks her to reclaim her faith and renew her roots, Ruth objects to leaving Naomi. Naomi selflessly exclaims that she has no other heirs that Ruth may marry, and that she should return to her mother's house but Ruth famously replies, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your G-d my G-d. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me" (Verses 16-17). This passage exemplifies Ruth's faithfulness and commitment to Naomi. Ruth has exchanged her G-d for Naomi's, and will lodge at any dwelling that Naomi settles, and Ruth commits herself to Naomi beyond death itself. This proclamation is beyond what is expected of any daughter-in-law, but alas, Ruth's sense of caring and commitment shines through. Naomi's steadfast love is unfaltering as her faith and commitment is tested with suffering and loss. Her husband and both sons come to pass leaving Naomi to fend for herself at a time of famine in Moab. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem hearing of a harvest renewed, and urges that both her daughters-in-law return to their mother's home, and find new husbands. Orpah tearfully resigns to take leave, but Ruth stays behind and proclaims her undying devotion to Naomi. Naomi has the compassion to relieve her
daughters-in-law of any burden owed to Naomi, even though it would mean that she would be making the voyage to Bethlehem alone. There would also be a question as to how the people of Bethlehem...
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