Multiple meanings of go

Published 12:18 pm Thursday, February 20, 2020

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Merriam-Webster says it means “to move on a course.” And for a simple two-letter word, you’d think that’s it. But when I typed “go” into my “duckduckgo” search engine, a long page jumped up.

There is an abstract strategy game named “Go.” I saw it a couple of days ago on JAG; a drug cartel boss was playing it and he respected anyone else who could play it.

“Go” was created in China more than 2,500 years ago and might be the oldest board game still being played today. There’s even an International Go Federation with members in 75 nations and more than 46 million players worldwide.

It’s a simple game with one player using white “stones” and the other using black “stones.” Once a “stone” is placed on the board, it cannot be moved and the object of the game is to surround and “capture” the opposing player’s “stones.” But that simplicity is deceptive; it’s actually the most complex game in history with a larger board, longer games, and, according to J. Tromp and J. Farneback in “Combinatorics of Go,” more possible moves than there are atoms in the observable universe.

The “go” search results page also suggested I go to “” and up popped the top-tier page for all the online Disney properties. I was surprised and skeptical, until I tried it.

And there is a GO Virtual page maintained by the U.S. Department of State, and I was going to explore it until I read in small print at the bottom of the page, “Use by unauthorized persons, or for unauthorized personal business, is prohibited and may constitute a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and other Federal laws, as well as applicable Department policies and procedures.” All of that came from a simple two-letter word… go.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

It’s one of the most beautiful love stories in the Bible; Ruth’s father-in-law, husband, and brother-in-law all die leaving a widow and two daughter’s-in-law alone. Naomi, her mother-in-law knows she cannot stay in a foreign land and her two daughters-in-law cannot go home with her. Their chances for re-marriage in a foreign land are slim to none and, as women, their chances for employment are even worse.

So Naomi plans to go to her homeland and leave her two daughters-in-law in their homeland. That’s the setting for Ruth 1:16 and it’s a critical setting for the Biblical story, because Ruth decides to “go” with Naomi and marries Boaz and their son is Obed and his son is Jesse and his son is King David… and 1,300 years later, Jesus is the “Son of David.”