Then she arose with her daughters-in-law in order to return from the country of Moab, for in the country of Moab she had heard that Yahweh had visited his people by giving them bread. Bible see other translations

“Then she arose.” Ruth 1:6-7 is dominated by the feminine singular. It is Naomi, now the matriarch of the family, who is making the decisions. Ruth and Orpah follow her lead. Although there certainly would have been discussions, Naomi made the final decision.

“Yahweh had visited his people.” Yahweh had intervened and blessed the people. How did God “visit”? Not by a personal presence of some kind, but rather by giving them bread, which the people understood as being from God.

[For more on God “visiting,” see commentary on Exodus 20:5.]

“by giving them bread.” “Bread” is a common idiom for food. “Bread” came to be used by metonymy for food in general because bread was the main food in the culture and a staple of life. Bread was indeed the staff upon which the people leaned for food, and in literature it is sometimes referred to as the “staff of life” (cp. Lev. 26:26; Ps. 105:16; Ezek. 4:16; 5:16). It is not clear how Naomi could have heard there was food in Israel at the start of the barley harvest, but there are several possibilities (see commentary on Ruth 1:22).

[See figure of speech “metonymy.”]

Commentary for: Ruth 1:6