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Just after the rings were exchanged I said to the c -itple being
married: "Appropriate words are found in the book of Ruth: 'Entreat
me not to leave thee, or return from F-Shllowing after thee: for whither
thou goest, I will go; and Whither thou lodgest, I will Loc: thy
peouple- -all be my people and thy God, my (jod.' " (Ruth l:L6 KJV).
"In a moment," I said, "You will light a unity candle, signifying that
you have brought your two lives together in this union. But you've united
more lives than your own. Just as Ruth said to Naomi, 'Your people shall
be my people,' you have brought each other's 'people' together."
Not all couples who use these words in their wedding ceremony are
aware, that the words were spoken by a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-
law. Such a relationship between in-laws could enrich any marriage.
During a famine in Bethlehem, Elimelech moved with his wife Naomi
and their two sons to Moab where there was food. While the family was
in Moab, the two sons married Moabitish women, Ruth and Orpah. Elimelech
soon died, and in a few years the two sons died also. Naomi was left widowed
and bereft of both her sons, with two widowed daughters-in-law. A stranger
in a strange land, there was nothing for Naomi to do but return to Bethle-
hem where she would at least be among her own people.
As they were making the journey from Moab to Bethlehem, Naomi thought
of the other two women. In -3echlehem they would be as she had been in
Moab--strangers in a strange land. She urged them to stay behind in their
own country where they would have a better chance of remarriage. In that
day a woman with no husband and no sons to support her -was destitute.
At first Ruth -mAnd Orpah refuuse-d to turn bank. T'hepn Naomi emphasized
the hopelessness of their situation. Sihe declared that (o(l had turned his
back on her. With this, Orpah bade her mother-in-law a tearful
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