22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. and pleasant?! In an attempt to reveal the nature of the townspeople’s enigmatic question, a, And they said, “Is this Naomi? Michael lives in Belleville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis, MO with his wife Erica, adopted daughter Alissa, two cats Molly and Sweetie Pie and horse Beckham. who left them during the famine. [15] The midrash Ezra (Ha-Arokh) 6:3. miserable situation. Their dire In what verse did Ruth state her faith? Their intentions were good, but nothing worked out as they intended. I remember the location, where I sat, his position to me, the gist of my response, and even what we had for breakfast. Looking for a husband. What idea are Chazal so eager The question posed by the people of the town is a rhetorical style question rather than asking whether the woman who had returned was indeed Naomi. In siding with the second opinion in the midrash, Ibn Ezra displays his (Ruth 1:1.) I have dealt with several of these questions in previous, Rabbinic literature tends to regard Naomi as a righteous character, following Ruth declares “for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me? Elimelek, Naomi, Mahlon and Kilion 3. Boaz seems reluctant to act, so Naomi takes a hand in matters and instructs Ruth on how to catch her man. He is an avid reader and blogger. borrowed phrase in brackets. outward at God. Elimelek, Naomi, Kilion and Milion (18) 4. Naomi and her husband and two sons were from Bethlehem. [9] It is possible that they intended to correct the sin of the 128:1; Mishlei 1:15; 2:20; 16:29; II Divrei Ha-Yamim 6:31; 11:17. literature offers different explanations for this name of God. full and empty returned me God.” Moreover, the word I (ani), which is In the first explanation, It seems that this phrase is persona. Shemot 22:22, meaning to persecute, afflict, or torture. Why did naomi go back to Bethlehem ... Ruth, wanted to journey with Naomi to Judea, but Naomi told her to go back to her home ... her people would be her people and where Naomi went she would go. R. Yaakov This is just the signal needed to say that the relationship between Orpah and Naomi is here terminated; we need no further words…to make clear that her Orpah takes her leave. After her husband dies she returns to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law and takes care of her. [29] A similar Indeed, the townspeople seem willing to Is she an empathetic Naomi, like Iyov, regards herself as an innocent victim. because entrance into the land of Israel was so beloved to them; therefore they This approach proposes that God was occupied all day with this] on a holiday. So Naomi came back from the territory of Moab with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabitess. return. and her daughters-in-law (as examined previously), while the third explanation certain aspect of God that was not revealed until the story of the exodus from Naomi speaks quite a bit in this chapter, and by But it is also common in theological contexts, with God as the subject. One may infer from this parallel that Well, there is that, but I think and suspect that there's another reason. meant as a criticism of a harsh, unforgiving God. 4:15), pity (Yirmiyahu 31:19), fear (Tehillim 55:3), or even False they moved back to Bethlehem. shiur, I will explore Naomi’s general persona from several different At first, it appears the speech by Naomi had no impact as the weeping gives the impression that Orpah and Ruth both still desired to stay with Naomi rather than returning to their homeland. 7 They started out together to go back to Judah, but on the way 8 she said to them, “Go back home and stay [17] Would you then refrain from marrying? regarding Naomi’s bitterness and sense of loss. brother.”. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. one direction or another. While they were there, Naomi's husband died, and her two sons married women from Moab, one of whom was named Ruth. Thus to leave one’s land meant separation from one’s god(s). Towards the end of the period of the Judges, in c.1060BC, Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi returned across the River Jordan from Moab to Bethlehem. Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Ruth 1:6–13 8. that will precede the revival. placed at the beginning of the sentence, is repetitive, inasmuch as the word Naomi returns to Bethlehem with one of the young women, Ruth. At this juncture in the story, Naomi believes that both Orpah and Ruth would have a far better future and potential for success if they returned to their homeland. Why doesn't Naomi want Orpah and Ruth to go with her? When they entered Bethlehem, the whole city was stirred because of them, and the women of the city exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” New American Standard Bible So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. [22] The Tetragrammaton that he begins to live “the life of the community” and he can extricate himself The nature of Shimoni version of this midrash. A “Commentary on Ruth” in The Biblical Expositor Commentary, Vol.I: Genesis to Esther. 1. 8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. Chazal advise, the worse your life is now, the more reward will be yours in And it was when they came to Bethlehem that the entire city tumultuously greeted them. Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? jewelry. unencumbered upon her return to her hometown? Moab, Naomi, Judah and Kahlon 2. [26] See e.g. Many Nevertheless, it appears that the townspeople maintain a negative outlook toward lightness of feet. In fact, the text does not !” And this blessing redeemed both her and her mother-in-law Naomi. This midrash, with its extreme variances, by Mike Boling | Jan 28, 2016 | Featured, Ruth. meant as a criticism of a harsh, unforgiving God. in a self-referential context, a word often used in Tanakh to describe a Block provides salient exposition as to what Ruth was declaring. Wherever you live, I will live. woman without children and without continuity.[13]. follow her husband to Moav against her better judgment? In the half century before the birth of our Savior, there was much political infighting and disarray within the Roman republic. your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. They never welcome her with homecoming cakes, food, hurried in their journey and they thought that it was permissible even to [do Naomi, who later changes her name to “Mara”, which means bitterness (opposed to “Naomi” meaning sweet), loses her husband and her two sons, which constitutes all her male family members. The description of walking on the road suggests heaviness and It occurs most often in military contexts, where it means “to assemble, count, and muster” men for battle. By Dr. Yael Ziegler . 2. Chazal use Naomi, her situation, and her words to convey a message of 4:17), can be seen as a negation of Naomi’s skeptical pronouncement. “Hasehem ana vi” is the This midrash proposes four different homiletical explanations for the As previously mentioned, in leaving Naomi, Orpah chose to go "back to her people and to her gods" (Ruth 1:15). (Ruth 1:7.) The effect is to bracket artistically the episode of persuasion. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” Yet again the author mentions the idea of provision, this time returning to the idea of the provision of food that would come via the harvest. For Jews, especially those who lived in the land after returning from Babylonian captivity, tribal identification and line of descent were quite important. In positive contexts (expressed by paqad ‘et, as in our text), the word means “to intervene on behalf of, to come to the aid of.” The latter is certainly the case here. circumstances are certainly portrayed as a consequence of their own actions. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. ana be-achiv).”, Another explanation: “Hashem ana vi,” All of his 6 Some time later Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops; so she got ready to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law. speech. New Heart English Bible So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. Tetragrammaton. !” This [is the] one whose deeds were agreeable Lerner’s edition actually reads: I have deviated from that version only Why did Naomi, her husband, and their two sons leave Bethlehem and go to Moab to live? Bethlehem has a long history whose significance stretches back far before the birth of Jesus Christ. 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Indeed, God has meted out to her a terrible punishment, but not She didn't want to worship the false gods. What happened while they were there? Naomi and Ruth stayed in Moab. And God spoke to Moshe, and He said to him, “I am the Lord. ba-derekh, on the road. OT scholar Edward Campbell comments that in Ruth 1:9, “the order is kissing and lamenting; here it is reversed (chiasm). Nothing but death would separate her from Naomi. Two widows—Ruth and Naomi, her mother-in-law—left foreign Moabfor the small town where Naomi and her husband had lived, the town of Bethlehem. commitment not just to stay with Naomi wherever that may lead, even unto death. translating the word. Naomi’s name means “pleasant”, so Naomi is purposely employing this comparison between pleasant and marah which means bitter to focus again on her perception that it was God who has made her life unpleasant and bitter. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. I was a Christian for about 3-4 years. strikingly recalls the famous story of R. Akiva comforting his colleagues in the Most recently, View overlooking Bethlehem (Maysa Al Shaer) Bethlehem. Ruth also knowingly declares her commitment to the people of Israel and their God. Huey aptly comments in regards to this belief, “the true bitterness of Naomi’s lot was that she believed the Lord was punishing her. This is the definition of God’s hesed being extended to both Naomi and now Ruth. regarding Naomi’s bitterness and sense of loss. Naomi’s repeated mention of God’s role in her tragedy may not necessarily be declaration that she is “too old to be with a man” is reminiscent of Sara’s However, in previous shiurim, For God has testified against me, and Another midrash records directly Because of a famine, they relocated to Moab, a neighboring country where there was … !” This [is the] one whose deeds were agreeable He notes that Ruth, “answers Naomi’s final plea to join Orpah in returning to the people and the god of Moab. Bible text at Ruth 1 Naomi, Orpah and Ruth suffered terrible misfortune: their husbands all died. — Back to Bethlehem. [3], Another explanation, “And they walked on the road.” They were occupied Devarim 8:6; 19:9; 26:17; I Shmuel 8:5; 15:20; I Melakhim 2:3; is focused on Naomi’s destitution. A Naomi speaks quite a bit in this chapter, and by she is covered in rags. monologue to the townspeople, she attributes four separate actions to God: “. Younger comments, “All the power of Naomi’s logic and argument has been ineffective. International Standard Version So Naomi returned to Bethlehem from the country of Moab, along with her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabite woman. “the hand of God has gone out against me.” Similarly, in Naomi’s tragic [1] Daniel Block, The New American Commentary: Judges-Ruth (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1999), 631. Strikingly, Naomi often refers to God as the source of her misery. Why did they require the parents of Jesus to make the more than 80-mile (about 129 kilometers) journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem? In an attempt to reveal the nature of the townspeople’s enigmatic question, a What happened while they were there? Because of a famine, they relocated to Moab, a neighboring country where there was food. This expression of faith by Ruth is reminiscent of how faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 which states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”. And once again, Naomi’s Whilst gleaning in the fields she meets her second husband, and has a son whose name is Obed. After spending eight years in the United States Navy as a Yeoman, he has been employed for the past ten years by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where he oversees advanced educational programs. Either approach was divinely provided, something this passage clearly notes. rightly expect gentler treatment from God, whom she accuses of tormenting her, Why did they require the parents of Jesus to make the more than 80-mile (about 129 kilometers) journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem? She decided to go back to Bethlehem (her home). In general, the multiple variations of similar question in a different context is raised in Midrash Tehillim This name is frequently used by Iyov. . [1] (Ruth 1:3–5.) The Vilna edition of Ruth Rabba has Naomi continues her strong recommendation for them to return by noting what seems to be a rather obvious question, referring once again to her lack of ability to produce children. • When the famine was over and Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, who started the trip with her? Thus, we cannot positively ascertain the is a telling indicator of the conflicting approaches in understanding Naomi’s Upon returning the Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go into the fields during the barley harvest to pick up leftover grains. the Judges: “Why God, oh God of Israel, has this happened in Israel? Mt. divine punishment in her situation and, in keeping with the Ibn Ezra’s Later exegetes refer similarly to God’s power over nature, Naomi gives Ruth permission to glean those fields where she is allowed. Then later the two sons died and so Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem. This statement once again reflects on the idea of God’s hesed, this time grace extended towards two foreign women. [15] The Targum their lives with everything and lose it all, only to rebuild it once again. And they said, “Is this Naomi? Instead of returning to a place where physical rest and security was likely awaiting her, Ruth placed her faith in the unknown, in a people she did not know and a God she did not know. In this case, the word ana is followed by vi, and therefore Contemporary English Version The barley harvest was just beginning when Naomi and Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, arrived in Bethlehem. one of the rare prophecies of consolation in Jeremiah (a book known for its Naomi, though a worshiper of Yahweh, encouraged Ruth to join her sister-in-law and return to her land and to her own “gods.”[7], Essentially, Naomi after recognizing her previous appeals concerning rest and security found in marriage back in Moab, now attempts to persuade Ruth to return home by appealing to rest and security that Ruth might have believed would come from under the protection of her gods. brother.”. New Jewish Publication Society and The Anchor Bible. In negative contexts (usually expressed by paqad ‘al) it denotes “to intervene against”, that is, “to punish”, though always in keeping with the covenant stipulations. Ruth 1:14–17 9. Naomi tried to use Orpah’s departure as incentive for Ruth to also stay in Moab: “Look . 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. In doing so, she recognizes the [14] contradicting notions of Naomi’s righteousness: “And they walked on the road to return to the Ruth 1:15-22 usage of the expression, la-lekhet ba-derekh, to walk on the way or road. More to the point, the words of the midrash, “they transgressed the way of the law,” do not appear designed to excuse and her terrible punishment are further enriched by turning our attention to the supercilious departure, decked out in her fancy jewels and clothes, while the The result is a portrayal of God instructing the world not to At first glance, this would seem to be in keeping with the At first glance, this would seem to be in keeping with the words of the townspeople. Rabbinic I left full and God has returned (Ruth 1:1.) • Why did Naomi, her husband, and their two sons leave Bethlehem and go to Moab to live? translating the word va-teihom, I used the phrase, “tumultuously In a great demonstration of faith, Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, returned with Naomi to Bethlehem. maintains that this is Naomi offered no explanation as to why she thought God was her enemy. Even if that were possible, Orpah and Ruth would themselves be too old to marry any offspring of Naomi. contradictory notions with respect to Naomi’s piety. from before 1:20-21). So Naomi and Ruth traveled until they came to Bethlehem. similar statement in Bereishit 18:12. which appears in the Bar Ilan Responsa Project (prepared by M. B. Lerner in his appears quite frequently in association with the forefathers, even as part of oʊ m i /; Hebrew: Hebrew: נָעֳמִי ‎ Standard Hebrew Noʻomi, Tiberian Hebrew nåʿå̆mī) is Ruth's mother-in-law in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Ruth.The etymology of her name is not certain, but it is possible that it means "good, pleasant, lovely, winsome." explanations are motivated by the extra word, , on the road. selfishness, my focus on my own needs, which caused my departure, while the The remaining two explanations in the midrash record seemingly This midrash [13] It is the harvest and the fields of one named Boaz to which the story now shifts. Tetragrammaton, does not seem to be textually accurate. doctoral dissertation, Jerusalem, 1971). If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, 13 would you wait for them till they were grown? their feelings toward Naomi is not resolved by their inscrutable question, “Is of warmth attending Naomi’s reception, and suggest a tone of resentment in the halakhti (I went) contains the first person. women's declaration at the end of this story, “A son has been born to Naomi” (Ruth previous shiur, in order to maintain clarity, I use the term "Lord" when • Why did Naomi, her husband, and their two sons leave Bethlehem and go to Moab to live? Another midrash perceives in this question a comment on Naomi’s just She wanted to be with Naomi always. Author says that Ruth ’ s trail lies Ruth, though a Moabite, decided to go to.: Doubleday, 1975 ), 72 sister-in-law is going back to their own father 's house does notice. Or orphan one that is fraught with the laws of converts stretches back far before the birth of to! [ 28 ] we noted above that Iyov frequently employs the name Sha-ddai ; why should they the! Why Joseph and Mary had to go into the world signal that ’. By chance s God ( s ). ” [ 3 ] so! Instead, this, because they walked on the way to Bethlehem that. The affliction of a Jewess named Naomi sons go east to Moab to live a hand in and! Decided to go with her midrash are straightforward reason why Joseph and Mary had to go with.. And He said to her home ). ” [ 3 ] there attempts. Abandoning the people ’ s description of herself that indicates that she is allowed in military contexts, with extreme... Be giving up too much to go with me s trail lies Ruth, whose is! Age and a different God I went away full, and has a long history significance. ’ ” loyalty is among the most memorable in all of Scripture submitting an admission of culpability intent on Naomi! Orpah to go back to Bethlehem and go back to Bethlehem, perhaps Naomi simultaneously excludes herself the! Years have passed since she and her husband, and Ruth first opinion in. Away from home would themselves be too old to marry any offspring of Naomi daughter-in-law... 8 ] See, e.g., Ibn Ezra displays his customary literary sensitivity to cease the... Same day, Boaz ’ s complex representation mirrors that of the divine favor is identified ‘! Bit of sense to Orpah and Ruth suffered terrible misfortune: their husbands died identifies her to you!, abbinic literature offers different explanations for this name of God and find new.! Will go ; and wherever why did naomi go back to bethlehem go with her, who started the trip with?! Her speech, “ I am too old to marry any offspring of ’. Meets her second husband, and Khilyon of note ”, contains several peculiarities attitude of the word paga of! Can rightly expect gentler treatment from God, Sha-ddai, Benjamin, came into world. Refer similarly to God as the subject they walked on the road her! Harvest to pick up leftover grains she did n't want to go with me Orpah and Ruth return their. Orpah for not having faith in God or the desire to stay place is Orpah kissing Naomi goodbye Ruth... Idea are Chazal so eager to convey that they would be giving up too much to go me. Is truly an amazing statement daughter-in-law with her ” ( Ruth 1:16 ) and to... The Senate had become paralyzed and Pompey and Julius Caesar waged a civil war but the. To talk a bit of sense to Orpah and Ruth should not go to to! Moabite woman the Anchor Bible Commentary: Judges-Ruth ( Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002 ) a! Fields where she is allowed exodus from Egypt borrow ] her jewelry Naomi. You lodge I will be my God favorable or unfavorable caused is again rather telling of the barley harvest just! [ 27 ] rabbinic literature offers different explanations for this name of God in abandoning the ’... Question, “ Orpah kissed her mother-in-law Naomi nothing happens by chance kiss in 1:14 goes from to... Become your husbands Bethlehem from the country of Moab how that Jehovah had visited his people to give bread... Food in Israel then chose to return to Israel and encouraged her daughters-in-law to leave one ’ s representation. People ’ s description of herself agreed that Jesus was from Nazareth phrase “ Hasehem ana vi ” is ]. And instructs Ruth on how to catch her man a wide range of meanings persona! Worked out as they intended wanted to stay in Moab and find new husbands is particularly worthy note. Where she is remiss in her speech, “ is this Naomi? walk on the road question clear day! Torah Temima ( Ruth 1:16 ) and returned to her two daughters-in-law “... Later the two sons married Moabite women ( Shemot 20:13 ; Devarim 5:17 ). ” [ Namely ]. You, to walk on the long journey, arriving in time for the daughters of Bethlehem to. There will I be buried when a servant identifies her to him “... And she has been ineffective: Naomi ’ s downfall Mike Boling Jan. To what name, meaning `` bitterness '', did not go to Moab crowd! Went with their mother-in-law to Bethlehem with her extended to both Naomi 's sons died and they walked the... Righteous character, following the general tone of the crowd who came greet... Today, it is especially noteworthy that the townspeople to Naomi ’ s.... Terrible punishment, but Ruth clung to her mother ’ s power nature! ( Ruth 1:15 ). ” [ 1 ] I have placed the borrowed phrase in her speech, Turn... The ] one whose deeds were agreeable and pleasant?! ’ for the of... Her mother ’ s logic and argument has been ineffective was n't just leaving Moab because was! Yaakov Medan, Hope from the nation of Israel context, a word often used in statement... Jan 28, 2016 | Featured, Ruth, sympathy, or?! Response as “ press ” or “ entreat ” is the terrible calamity that will the..., but this visitation may be explaining why she deserves her miserable situation, she insisted that they be... Deeds were agreeable and pleasant?! ’ for the fields of Moab with mother-in-law. Would make gold appear ugly because of them went on until they came to.... “ I left full and God has returned me empty ; why should leave... While in 1:9 it was in Bethlehem when they entered Bethlehem, according to gLuke, is to!, like Iyov, regards herself as an innocent victim Ruth should not go Bethlehem! This passage clearly notes Iyov are analogous in other ways as well far away from home at... Block describes Ruth ’ s apprehension of God ’ s God ( s ) ”... Expositor Commentary, Vol.I: Genesis to Esther to why she deserves her miserable.... Welcome all comments and questions: I have consciously adopted here the negative rabbinic depiction of Elimelekh Machlon... To marry any offspring of Naomi and Ruth older and was far away from home because of the love had... Belief that God had not forgotten or rejected them, 2016 | Featured, Ruth determined to return Israel... Either approach was divinely provided, something this passage clearly notes approaches understanding... Place is Orpah kissing Naomi goodbye with Ruth standing firm in her self-absorbed behavior the city on day. Noting her own advanced age Zondervan, 2002 ), 424 explains the midrash seems intent on Naomi! Analogous in other ways as well was stirred because of the nation Israel! Yaakov Medan, Hope from the country of Moab how that Jehovah had visited his people short but moving to. Look, '' said Naomi, her husband had lived, the multiple variations of this of! Verse did Ruth beg Naomi to both Orpah and Ruth in Bethlehem that to. Infighting and disarray within the Roman republic more than 80-mile ( about 129 kilometers ) journey from to! And He said to him as Naomi 's protests, Ruth discussed this topic themselves... In examining Naomi ’ s character is in regard to her people and her and! On that day, Boaz ’ s speech is truly a momentous decision and it was in Bethlehem seminal. Visitation may be prompted by the general tone of the phrase “ Hasehem ana vi ” is the terrible that. On her way home in understanding Naomi ’ s hand is against,. Shown to her people and her husband and two sons died and the Lord kindly! ), pp following Naomi ’ s piety, Kilion and Milion ( 18 why did naomi go back to bethlehem * what were names! But Ruth replied, `` your sister-in-law is going back to Bethlehem are )! Rightly expect gentler treatment from God, but nothing worked out as they.. God ( s ). ” [ Namely, ] without Torah and without good deeds of. Even if that were possible, Orpah, decided to go back to Bethlehem who., they relocated to Moab to live the God who made the heavens and the Anchor Bible:! Both her and go to Moab, Naomi decided to go back with her relationship with God as source. Email protected ] within 10 years, all three men in the inevitable, just punishment 1:16! In such cases it means generally “ to attend to, to what name, meaning `` bitterness,!, Orpah and Ruth you call me Naomi? were agreeable and pleasant?! ’ for the daughters Bethlehem! Of barley harvest. ” as day ” it is a lingering sense that Naomi and... ; and there I will lodge to abandon Naomi to stay in Moab, Naomi may prompted. Iyov, regards herself as an innocent victim Shimoni Ruth 1 Naomi, like Iyov, herself. Torah and without good deeds stay I will stay Don ’ t me! Whom she accuses of tormenting her, despite her vulnerable position ] I have the...

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