Ruth 1: 8-9 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband."
Did you notice that Ruth is specifically turning down the opportunity to find another husband in order to follow Naomi?
Their marriages would be arranged by family. Ruth would not have the ability to arrange such a marriage where she was going. There she would be dependent on the largess of others. By going away with Naomi, Ruth was giving up on any chance at a heterosexual relationship EXCEPT as a loose woman. And she was doing that in order to be with another woman.
And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her (Naomi).
"Clave unto" when speaking of a human being cleaving to another persons is a term that implies a sexual relationship as well as a strong personal relationship. So we need to review the story of Ruth and Naomi to see if this is a reasonable interpretation or if it can be ruled out based upon the context.
And Ruth said, Intreat 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.
That is the pledge which is reflected in many marriage vows, "do you promise to love, honor, and obey….and forsaking all others, cleave only unto him/her?". and certainly is MUCH stronger than you would normally find outside of lovers.
And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
That type of activity is certainly much more common for lovers. She left her father and mother. She left the land of her birth. She went to a land where she knew no one -- all to be with the one person to whom she spoke such a loving promise.
Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her (Ruth), My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
Naomi is explaining how Ruth could seduce a man -- and seduction would come rather naturally to a heterosexual woman and would not need to be explained. Since it needed to be explained to Ruth, Ruth couldn't have been heterosexual. It was so low on her priorities that she never bothered to find out on her own, which would have been simple enough if she DID have the interest. As an older woman, Naomi would have had a harder time ignoring all the talk over her lifetime. Even though lesbian herself, the mechanics would seep through just as a vegetarian raised by meat-eaters would eventually get to know the basics of cooking meet, even if she had no such interest.
In those days women on their own could not do much or survive well. A woman without a husband or a son couldn't hold the family property. Instead they became dependent on the community for survival until they managed to marry or remarry. So Naomi instructed Ruth in how to arrange a relationship. Since Ruth was not interested in men, it did not matter that the man was old. Boaz himself remarked upon this.
It is clear from the context that social stability and financial security were SECONDATY purposes, not primary. The PRIMARY purpose for each of them was to do the best for the other. Social stability and financial security could have been achieved through marriage to a younger, more virile man. If Naomi was heterosexual, then she would be better off with the younger, rich man, which the passages SAY would have been equally available. And Ruth would have done what was best for Naomi. Since instead she showed Naomi how to seduce an OLDER man, heterosexual sex clearly was not something that was important to Naomi. She was not heterosexual.
And he said (to Ruth), Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
Note the comment about not following young men -- she is not attracted to young men, though clearly she was attractive enough to catch their fancy. She could have chosen a RICH young man, as explained in that passage. Instead she chose an older man who would be less demanding for physical favors.
I would say that she clearly was NOT heterosexual, and not intereseted in men. Her declaration to Naomi therefore gains more significance.
We also show the following passages that shows that others were aware of the strong relationship between Ruth and Naomi.
Ruth 4:14-15 (KJV) And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
According to this, the love of Ruth is better to Naomi than seven sons. During these times, bearing sons was considered EXTEMELY important for women. It was the way of ensuring that the man's line did not die out. It was QUITE extraordinary for the love of another woman to be more important then seven of them.
Ruth initially presents her new-born son to Naomi, not Boaz. Boaz was in effect the "sperm donor", but the real relationship was between Ruth and Naomi.
(KJV) Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Notice that they say the child is born to NAOMI, even though the birth parents were Ruth and Boaz.
There is also another issue that relates to this story.
Lesbianism is becoming an issue, where long ago it was not really addressed at all. If it really IS an important moral issue, God should have addressed it somewhere. To see how God would react to a lesbian union, it behooves us to look for the closest example to a lesbian relationship in the Bible, and see how God treats that relationship.
This provides the closest approximation to a lesbian relationship that we can find, so God's reaction to THIS is the best example we have of what He thinks on the subject.