"Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 172

Context: Because of a famine in Palestine, Elimelech, his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, leave their native Bethlehem and go to the land of Moab. After a short time, Elimelech dies. Naomi selects two Moabite maidens, Orpah and Ruth, as wives for her sons, but after ten years the sons also die. Naomi, now a widow and childless in a strange land, decides to return to Judah, the famine being over. Orpah and Ruth accompany Naomi as far as the border between Moab and Judah, intending to go to Bethlehem with her. Naomi, however, urges them to return to the homes of their families because, if they go with her, they, as strangers in Bethlehem, would have little hope of getting husbands. Orpah obediently returns to Moab, but Ruth says:

. . . Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. . . .

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