Ruth & Naomi

Here’s one of the greatest covenants in all of Scripture:

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.”

(Ruth 1:16-18, NIV)

This is a covenant that is so powerful that it’s often used as a wedding vow. The interesting fact is that it’s between two women. Ruth and Naomi had a bond from the beginning of their story and it carries through the entire book. Ruth was determined from the beginning to go with Naomi, even though Naomi insisted that she stay behind.

Ruth lost her husband. Naomi was all she had left. She built some friendships and allies in their new land, and began to help in the harvest:

So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.

(Ruth 2:23, NIV)

She lived with Naomi. Ruth was a woman of great authority, and her covenant with Naomi was not to be broken.

Was there a romance between them? No one really knows. What we do know is that Ruth’s covenant was so rich, so powerful, that we’ll use it today. The reality is that we don’t have to know. This vow between two women is a vow that when used between two women today is seen as distasteful. This is wrong is so many ways.

Miner & Connoley said it well:

The Bible is clear. Here we have two women who made vows, lived together for life, loved each other deeply, adopted each other’s extended families as their own, and relied on each other for sustenance– as do many lesbian women today. Instead of condemning these relationships, the Bible celebrates them, giving them their own book in Scripture.

Sure, there’s plenty of doubt. But when we consider that this was a time that women were considered property, the unusual nature of their relationship becomes clear.

This post is just an exerpt. For more, be sure to order your copy of The Rainbow Kingdom: Christianity & The Homosexual Reconciled, Now available!

Note: This is the introduction of a special series on The Bible and Homosexuality. The links below are other installments: