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The same Hebrew word that is used in Genesis to describe how Adam felt about Eve (and how spouses are supposed to feel toward each other) is used in Ruth to describe how Ruth felt about Naomi. And throughout Christian history, Ruth's vow to Naomi has been used to illustrate the nature of the marriage covenant.
These words are often read at Christian wedding ceremonies and used in sermons to illustrate the ideal love that spouses should have for one another.
They are from Bethlehem, where a terrible famine has made it impossible to find food.
So, they take their two sons and move to Moab, a foreign land where they believe they’ll be able to survive.
But before they can have children, the sons also die.
Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah are left alone with no husbands and no sons. For examples, see the stories of widows who came to Elijah and Elisha for help (1 Kings -24 and 2 Kings 4:1-37), and the story of the woman from Tekoa who confronted David (2 Samuel 14:4-12).
The fact that these words were originally spoken by one woman to another tells us a lot about how God feels about same-gender relationships.
Several years pass, and Naomi’s sons marry Ruth and Orpah, two women from the surrounding country.
Also, in Genesis 38, Judah tells his daughter-in-law Tamar to return to her father’s house, because her husband has died, illustrating the two possibilities available to a woman.
Both books contain powerful messages for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, but it is the story of Ruth that addresses the question we raised in chapter one: Can two people of the same sex live in committed, loving relationship with the blessing of God?
At the beginning of the book of Ruth, we’re introduced to Naomi and her husband Elimelech.
One is Esther, which tells the story of a Jewish woman who becomes Queen of Persia and saves her people from destruction by “coming out” as Jewish to her husband, the king.
The other is Ruth, which tells the story of two women who love and support one another through difficult times.