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And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
The theme of this painting is the devotion and the faith-filled resolve required of the marriage covenant. And while Ruth is the Biblical character portrayed, the costuming (a traditional head wrap and tunic with embroidered qebba), intricately braided hairstyle, and other elements of the painting are ubiquitous enough to ancient Mideastern cultures to inspire thoughts of countless faithful, covenant-keeping women, ranging from the wives of the patriarchs in the Old Testament to the devout women of the New Testament.
Symbolism in Whither Thou Goest I Will Go
The distant scene behind the figure is the Biblical region of Moab known as the Arnon, a valley dividing Israelite lands from the kingdom of the Moabites. Symbolically, it reminds the viewer of the bleak and lonely experience of mortality. The scenery also bespeaks the journey of devotion required in keeping sacred covenants, and the light represents the promise and presence of the Lord-throughout that journey—to help us find the path of obedience, sustain us along the way, and carry us when there is no path.