So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The LORD grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
Comment: Israelite men were not supposed to marry people of another nation. Naomi’s sons obviously had done so. If Naomi’s daughters-in-law went back with her then maybe Naomi might get remarried but the other two women would face a difficult situation concerning a future marriage. The three of them began the journey together. They were a threesome. I suspect near the border Naomi said something like this, ‘You are still of a marriageable age but in Israel as foreigners you won’t find it easy. You married my sons and I’d be happy if I had any more to give to you. I don’t, and even if I get remarried and have more sons, the age difference makes that an impossibility. For your own sakes return and find yourselves a couple of nice men and get remarried’. At first they both said that they would go with her. Naomi said ‘I’m so sad that everything that has happened has, but it is wisest if you return.’ There was a ‘cry-session’ and one of them, Orpah, saw the sense of the argument and returned to her family, her way of worship and to await the future. We know nothing more of her.
Prayer: Decision making is not always easy. Help us to be wise in the decisions we make!