Ruth’s Song

One of perhaps the most famous stories in the Bible is the story of Ruth, the widow who followed her mother in law into a familiar country and culture. A pagan woman who chose to turn to God and in turn was rewarded with a husband and children and the chance to become an ancestor of Jesus himself.

And it all starts with this turning point, on the road back to Israel from Moab, when widowed Naomi encourages her two widowed daughters in law to return to their families and start over. Orpah decided to go, but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi, and the words she used to convince Naomi to let her stay have resonated ever since, across lands and across time…

Related Bible Verses

Ruth 1:15-18

“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

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 anything but death separates you and me.”

When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Song Notes

I’ve always been intrigued by Ruth’s short but profound speech here in Ruth 1. I hear it’s often used in weddings, and no wonder. Even though it wasn’t spoken between a married couple but a daughter in law to her mother in law, to me that makes these words that much more powerful. Often in many cultures, mothers and daughters in law don’t get along. That’s why Ruth’s demonstrated love for Naomi is so poignant.

This is one of the rarer Bible songs that I did not come up with out of the blue via hearing a melody while reading the Bible. I actually sat down at the kitchen table and tried to come up with a tune for these verses because I liked this speech so much I wanted to remember it, musically. Turns out, the melody I came up with was better than I hoped, so that’s good. Simple, but pretty. Thank God.

(Come to think of it, the melody may be a little TOO placid for the situation. I imagine Ruth could have been pretty emotional at this point, begging Naomi not to send her away. Well. Maybe one day I will come up with another melody for this verse)

Had to finagle the lyrics a little bit to make the rhythm/rhyme work, but did my best to keep it as close to the original as possible:

Lyrics

Wherever you go, I will go
Wherever you stay, I will stay
Your people shall be my people
And your God my God

No matter what or who attempts to separate us two
May God deal with me, be it severely,
If anything but death takes me from you

Wherever you go, I will go
Wherever you stay, I will stay
And where you die I’ll die,
And in that place will my body lie

And may your God, the LORD of Israel hear me when I speak
May God deal with me, even severely,
If anything but death parts you from me

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