A Story of Loss | The Biblical Matriarch Ruth

The Book of Ruth tells the tale of two daughter-in-laws. One is named Orpah and the other is named Ruth. They are related to Naomi by marriage, not by blood.

When Naomi’s sons pass away, Naomi instructs her daughters-in-law to return home. Orpah returns home, but Ruth remains.

Even though Ruth has suffered a loss, she still remains with her new household and heritage.

Even though Ruth is a foreigner, she is determined to adapt and assimilate to the ways of the family she married into.

How do we respond in the face of loss? Do we run back to what we knew before or do we allow ourselves to adapt to new circumstances and a new way of being?

Ruth eventually finds favour in the new land, but it does not happen instantaneously. With time, however, it would be Ruth who redeems her mother-in-law’s heritage.

The story is a reminder of how we should treat converts who have given up much to embrace their new identities. At the same time, we cannot force people to convert either. The choice is ultimately theirs.

The Old Testament story of Ruth is about a foreigner who later willingly makes the transition to become an immigrant and then a convert. In the end, it is Ruth who redeems the family that she adopted and adapted to.

Portrait of a woman as Ruth by Francesco Hayez

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