||At the Crossroads
Psalm 127 (NRSV)
Unless the LORD builds the house,Ruth 1:6-19 (Anchor Bible)
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man
who has his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
She arose then, she and her daughters-in-law, to return from the Moab plateau, for she had heard in the Moab plateau that Yahweh had seen to the needs of his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been, her two daughters-in-law with her, and they took the road to return to the land of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. May Yahweh do with you the same kindness which you have done for the dead and for me. May Yahweh give you recompense, in that you find security, each in the house of her husband.” She kissed them, and they raised their voices and wept. But they said to her, “No! With you we will return to your people.” To this Naomi responded, “Turn back, my daughters! Why come with me? Have I more sons in my womb who could become husbands for you? Turn back, my daughters, go along; for I am too old to have a husband. If I were to say ‘I have hope!’ - if I were to have this very night a husband – and if I were to bear sons, for them would you wait until they were grown up? For them would you restrain yourselves, not becoming anyone’s wife? No, my daughters! For things go far more bitterly for me than for you. Indeed, the hand Yahweh has come out against me.” Again, they raised their voices and wept, and then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. She said, “Look, your ’sister’ has returned to her people and to her god; turn back after your ‘sister.’ ” Then Ruth said, “Do not press me to abandon you. To turn back from following you! For wherever you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people become my people; your God is now my God. Where you die, I shall die and there be buried. Thus may Yahweh do to me, and thus may he add, if even death will separate me from you!” When she saw she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her (about it) and the two of them went along until they came to Bethlehem.