The tail end of this passage is often used at weddings. Often the bias in using it is towards having the woman docilely follow her husband or her husband’s family. That’s not really the power of the narrative though. We have a renewal of the earlier story of the chosen people of God moving from one place to another due to a famine. Then the family ages, and the men die. That leaves the women who have to decide what to do. Read that again – the women have to decide what to do.
Of the two daughters, one goes home to her family of origin and one goes home with the family of her marriage. Both go home. They chose which home, and in so do chose which family, and the arc of their lives from that point forward.
Home is more than a place. Home is a sense of where we belong. Ruth shouldn’t go home to Israel. She’s not from there, she has no prospects there, she has no real reason to go there. Yet she goes. She goes home. And for those of us who know the rest of the story, we know how big a deal Ruth becomes. As we tell this story, let us remember how it is or has been for us to come home to God’s country when there was no good reason for us to be there.