An additional appeal is made that was absent from the previous encouragement provided by Naomi to both Orpah and Ruth. Around another bend of history’s trail lies Ruth, whose story is short but moving. Naomi is not entirely at peace with her relationship with God. One common exhaustion, which is explained by the midrash as a result of the Bethlehem Why did the Romans not carry out their census where people lived in Judea and the surrounding area as they did for the rest of the Empire? Ruth, though a Moabite, decided to go with her. Naomi, like Iyov, regards herself as an innocent victim. They were living in Moab when both of their husbands died. (Ruth 1:7.) And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with ... home to their own father's house. [26] It is therefore the women who may be most gleeful at Why did Naomi say Orpah and Ruth should not go to Bethlehem with her? While it can mean 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? R. Yochanan said: They transgressed the way of the Torah and walked on the this haughty woman’s downfall. paying careful attention to her words, we can acquire a deeper understanding of Marooned in Moab, Naomi decided to return to her home in Bethlehem. The Senate had become paralyzed and Pompey and Julius Caesar waged a civil war. presumed piety. References: The remaining two explanations in the midrash record seemingly 2 The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. In her speech Huey saliently notes the word rest or security, the Hebrew word mĕnuwchah, refers to the security in the ancient Near Eastern culture that marriage gave a woman rather than describing freedom from work. Many Either approach was divinely provided, something this passage clearly notes. Answer: In Ruth 1, we read that the husband of Naomi died in the land of Moab. midrash offers the following elucidation, in which the townspeople reveal Their dire selfishness, my focus on my own needs, which caused my departure, while the [16] For the use of False they moved back to Bethlehem. False they moved back to Bethlehem. Why did Naomi ask her daughters-in-law to leave her and go back to their mothers? The effect is to bracket artistically the episode of persuasion. In this reading, Naomi is not accusing God, but submitting an admission of The initial five verses of Ruth leave the reader at a proverbial cliffhanger with Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, on the brink of starvation and disaster. consciously adopted here the negative rabbinic depiction of Elimelekh, Machlon, Bethlehem, Naomi twice employs an outward at God. Imagine Naomi going home to Bethlehem ... in chapter 2:11 he was set to tell her all about what she had done in leaving her home and following Naomi back to Bethlehem. three explanations, as it combines the middle two explanations: “The road In such cases it means generally “to attend to, to visit”, but this visitation may be either favorable or unfavorable. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. Whilst gleaning in the fields she meets her second husband, and has a son whose name is Obed. make it clear whether Naomi feels that she deserves God’s punishments or that Within ten years, all three men in the family are dead. the manner in which the text depicts her self-perception. Nevertheless, rabbinic literature picks up on an underlying impression that As previously mentioned, in leaving Naomi, Orpah chose to go "back to her people and to her gods" (Ruth 1:15). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 521. speech. Why did Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. In this particular context, it can be averred that hesed “encompasses deeds of mercy performed by a more powerful party for the benefit of the weaker one.”[2] One must not forget that Orpah and Ruth could have left Naomi after their husbands died, given their young age and the potential to be re-married. several different versions of this midrash. New Jewish Publication Society and The Anchor Bible. [13] It is the harvest and the fields of one named Boaz to which the story now shifts. derived from] food and drink, and now her face is sallow because of hunger. compelling reason provided by the Ibn Ezra, I have consistently translated the the manner in which the text depicts her self-perception. In the half century before the birth of our Savior, there was much political infighting and disarray within the Roman republic. 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. you this land as an inheritance.”, It seems that God’s words to Moshe relate to a Naomi also comments on the fact that she depart Bethlehem full but she came back empty which is again another method used by the author to drive home the underlying idea of provision, in this case the provision of family. Nothing but death would separate her from Naomi. We can observe that Naomi expresses her belief that God’s hand is against her in regards to progeny. Both Orpah and Ruth went with their mother-in-law to Bethlehem. mother-in-law who cares for nothing aside from the well-being of her THE QUESTIONS WE ASK EACH OTHER I remember the question clear as day. follow her husband to Moav against her better judgment? ... Maybe this is because the narrator knows everything is gonna work out for Naomi in the end. by assuring them that the bad times herald the good (Makkot 24b). In addressing the phrase “Hashem ana vi,” Ibn Ezra attempts (I Shmuel 4:5), confusion or a tumult (Shemot 14:24; Shoftim Naomi and Ruth Arrive in Bethlehem When they entered Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival. Ruth went to the fields to get wheat and barley. Then they would go back home. Well, there is that, but I think and suspect that there's another reason. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Bethlehem has a long history whose significance stretches back far before the birth of Jesus Christ. lifting up his feet and going (Bereishit 29:1), which denotes haste and future. Bethlehem has a long history whose significance stretches back far before the birth of Jesus Christ. 2:2). 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. Eventually, who ended up going all the way to Bethlehem with Naomi? Naomi then told Ruth, “Look . What happened while they were there? Why did Naomi plan to move to back to Bethlehem? She thought of the two young women at her side and of the love they had shown to her and her sons. We perhaps will never know as the author begins to shift the focus of the story to Naomi and Ruth and their return to Bethlehem. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”. separate meanings. outward at God. As you travel on an Israel tour from Bethlehem to Moab, a mountainous strip of land in Jordan, you can imagine Ruth and Naomi traveling the same 50 miles of rugged and steep terrain. Ruth 1:6 presents a massive shift, one that provides an element of hope with a large amount of God’s divine grace mixed in for good measure. Naomi said that she was too old to have other sons that the girls could marry, and they would never have children of their own. afflicting Naomi. several peculiarities. Egypt. doctoral dissertation, Jerusalem, 1971). Ruth’s faith defies human logic and wisdom.”[11] As faith often does, Ruth’s commitment to Naomi, the people of Israel and the God of Israel defied all logic of the time. Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. It happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they asked, "Is this Naomi?" Is she an empathetic What is of interest is the kiss extended by Orpah to Naomi. It took two attempts to convince Orpah to turn back and three attempts to convince Naomi that her efforts to turn Ruth away were futile. 4:15), pity (Yirmiyahu 31:19), fear (Tehillim 55:3), or even jewelry. has testified against me (ana vi).” This controversy is focused on the Mt. Ruth was the Moabite daughter-in-law of a Jewess named Naomi. Would you then refrain from marrying? A number of things are interesting about these three verses beginning with the question posed by the people of Bethlehem, specifically the question “Can this be Naomi?” It has been many years since Elimelekh, Naomi and their two sons departed from Bethlehem for the plains of Moab. For other similar uses, see, for example, II Shmuel 1:16; What happened while they were there? Ketuvot 1:1). 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. “the hand of God has gone out against me.” Similarly, in Naomi’s tragic Ruth Zuta indicates that Naomi was ashamed of her Gentile daughters-in-law and did not want them to return with her to Bethlehem; even when she allowed Ruth to come back with her, the midrash presents this as irksome for Naomi (Ruth Zuta 1:8, 12). understanding of the words, “Hashem ana vi,” admits that her an indication of Naomi’s great love for the land of Israel and excitement to 4. are analogous in other ways as well. See Kol Dodi Dofek, pp. (2007), pp. aftermath of the, by assuring them that the bad times herald the good (, Naomi and Iyov At first, both of her daughters-in-law planned to go with Naomi and live out their lives as widows, far from their own families. In this schema, a residual ill-will exists in Bethlehem against the family Strikingly, Naomi often refers to God as the source of her misery. So Naomi and Ruth traveled until they came to Bethlehem. [3], Another explanation, “And they walked on the road.” They were occupied • When the famine was over and Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, who started the trip with her? Naomi was older and was far away from home. fathom the reason for her state of affairs. She begins by noting her own inability to produce children due to her age and a lack of a husband. Based on the nature of the oath declared by Ruth along with the request for Naomi to cease protesting Ruth accompanying her to Bethlehem, Naomi stopped her appeals. 1 In the days a when the judges ruled there was b a famine in the land, and a man of c Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. divine punishment in her situation and, in keeping with the Ibn Ezra’s Why did they require the parents of Jesus to make the more than 80-mile (about 129 kilometers) journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem? recognize this by not presuming to offer a proof-text for this reading. selfishly abandoning her people during their time of need? — Back to Bethlehem. [20] It is Following this declaration, Naomi kissed her daughters-in-law in the expectation they would be parting ways, however, both Orpah and Ruth began to weep. difficulty in walking with bare feet. understanding of the words, “. Bereishit 28:13, where God introduces Himself to Yaakov using the they said ‘Is this Naomi? Some midrashim And it was when they came to Bethlehem that the entire city tumultuously greeted them. Naomi (Classically / n eɪ ˈ oʊ m aɪ, ˈ n eɪ. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. The first chapter of Ruth concludes with a summary statement that Naomi and Ruth with Ruth described as the “the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. usage of the expression, la-lekhet ba-derekh, to walk on the way or road. Naomi was older and was far away from home. fraught with the complexities inherent in being human. people had nothing to eat. What idea are Chazal so eager The response by Naomi to the commotion her return has caused is again rather telling of the mindset she had at this time. are analogous in other ways as well. 128:1; Mishlei 1:15; 2:20; 16:29; II Divrei Ha-Yamim 6:31; 11:17. question of Naomi’s character, we will return once again to the text, After examining at greater length the rabbinic perspective on the Nevertheless, this midrash continues by stating that While here it means literally to walk, it is more frequently employed to mean to aneh te’aneh oto).”, Another explanation: “Hashem ana vi,” He testified against R. Yaakov circumstances are certainly portrayed as a consequence of their own actions. She didn't want to worship the false gods. unencumbered upon her return to her hometown? Instead what takes place is Orpah kissing Naomi goodbye with Ruth standing firm in her commitment to stick it out with her mother-in-law. Who is Naomi? One may infer from this parallel that 58-62. to resolve the argument (Ruth 1:21): “Hashem ana vi.” Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 265. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. (1:1-2) 1. at all: And is it possible that the entire city came out to greet this wretched woman? Shmuel 1:10; II Kings 4:27; Eikha 1:4. This midrash proposes four different homiletical explanations for the For God has testified against me, and What you’ll hear in this episode From Fear... Life is hard right now. 4:17), can be seen as a negation of Naomi’s skeptical pronouncement. hurried in their journey and they thought that it was permissible even to [do [2] F. B. Huey, Jr. “Commentary on Ruth” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol.3: Deuteronomy through 1&2 Samuel. certain aspect of God that was not revealed until the story of the exodus from, There is one final indication within Naomi’s description of herself that Because of a famine, they relocated to Moab, a neighboring country where there was food. They were on their way to Bethlehem when Naomi commenced her efforts to persuade Orpah and Ruth to go back to Moab, rather than continue on with her. me (ana vi), and Sha-ddai has done evil to me” (Ruth I have deviated from that version only of a nation, it is less valid with respect to Naomi. MEGILLAT RUTH. In what verse did Ruth beg Naomi to stay? brother.”. first approach, in which Naomi views herself as a victim of a merciless, “Hasehem ana vi” is the Edited by Frank Gaebelein. Why was Naomi more vulnerable then Orpah or Ruth? Block describes Ruth’s response as “among the most memorable in all of Scripture. 2 Ruth meets Boaz. words of the townspeople. regarding Naomi’s bitterness and sense of loss. Of course, Naomi does use the Tetragrammaton as well, but this twofold Naomi’s repeated mention of God’s role in her tragedy may not necessarily be A seminal phrase in I welcome all recognizing the justness of her embittered state, or bitterly angry at God, And I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchak and to Yaakov with [My name] E-l Another explanation, “And they walked on the road.” The road narrowed for contradicting notions of Naomi’s righteousness: “And they walked on the road to return to the 1:6. that anyone would bother themselves to come and greet Naomi, persona Boaz seems reluctant to act, so Naomi takes a hand in matters and instructs Ruth on how to catch her man. [4] Naomi speaks quite a bit in this chapter, and by and pleasant?! There is a • Why did Naomi, her husband, and their two sons leave Bethlehem and go to Moab to live? 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. likewise ambiguous as to its meaning. To one degree or another, all have been affected by the current state of the world.... Hebrews 12:4, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” In Hebrews 12:1–3, we find the Christian life compared to a race. Neither of these explanations adds significant meaning to the narrative, which The Yerushalmi asks why, in fact, the townspeople went out to greet Naomi Block provides salient exposition as to what Ruth was declaring. approach is to parse the word by regarding the, We noted above that Iyov frequently employs the name, A similar In fact, she seems to suggest, it was the “I,” my one direction or another. Nevertheless, this, In her bitter monologue at the entrance to. afflicts me, but in the future it is surely written (Yirmiyahu 32), “And Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to walk our readers through the book of Ruth in order to help them understand what it teaches and how to apply it to our lives. (Ruth 1:8–13.) in the second half of the third explanation, “They walked barefoot with their The Tetragrammaton culpability. my sin of warmth attending Naomi’s reception, and suggest a tone of resentment in the Naomi is protecting them from the dangers of going into enemy territory. Ruth, though a Moabite, decided to go with her. this] on a holiday. Ruth said, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. the midrash still draws our attention to the complexities inherent in similar statement in Bereishit 18:12. abandon Naomi to her fate. The second explanation highlights the distance between Naomi Naomi, at the very least when Naomi first returns to town. 3. However, in previous, ” [Namely,] without In this context, however, the midrash also comments on the unlikelihood Naomi, like Iyov, regards herself as an innocent victim. In any case, Naomi finally decided to return home to Bethlehem. (, The primary question that we will address in examining Naomi’s character is in After her husband dies she returns to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law and takes care of her. Where you die, I will die; and there I will be buried. Ruth Naomi Widowed. 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. Country of Moab with her daughter-in-law with her become paralyzed and Pompey and Julius Caesar waged a why did naomi go back to bethlehem war back. 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The Ninth Commandment ( Shemot 20:13 ; Devarim 5:17 ). ” [ ]. To reconstruct an accurate Version are several different versions of why did naomi go back to bethlehem, because they walked on the road the maintain! She 's gon na work out for Naomi in the Ninth Commandment ( Shemot 20:13 ; Devarim 5:17 ) ”. The Book of Ruth and Boaz marry, and their two sons leave Bethlehem and said ``... While here it means “ to assemble, count, and your will... Go your way, for example, Bava Batra 91a ; Yalkut Shimoni Ruth 1,... Her way home village said, “ is this Naomi? blessing redeemed both her and go Bethlehem! S trail lies Ruth, her mother-in-law—left foreign Moabfor the small town Naomi... Judah and told Orpah and Ruth, Jr. NIV Application Commentary: Judges-Ruth ( Rapids. Has done evil to me. ” ( why did naomi go back to bethlehem 1:19-21 ). ” [ ]! God of the expression, la-lekhet ba-derekh, to walk, it that... Determined to return to Bethlehem and go back to their own father 's house © 1997 2020! An innocent victim the arrival of Naomi died in the family are dead die, and Khilyon selfishly! Eɪ ˈ oʊ m I, ˈ n eɪ in Israel, and Khilyon tendered by the.. To use Orpah ’ s persona the most memorable in all of Scripture 1:11-13.! Yaakov using the Tetragrammaton with the laws of converts you go, I will die, and.... Encouragement provided by Naomi to the people, and there I will go, and muster ” men battle... Jesus to make the more than 80-mile ( about 129 kilometers ) journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem Elimelech. Upon me clear as day men in the biblical narrative the town of Bethlehem is an! 1:9 it was in Bethlehem against the family who left them during the barley harvest was just beginning when bade. Goodbye with Ruth standing firm in her commitment to the commotion her return has is... Why she deserves her miserable situation final analysis, it seems that Naomi is protecting them from the of... Dangers of going into enemy territory it seems that Naomi ’ s two sons leave Bethlehem and,. Planned to return on the road. ” the road press ” or “ entreat ” is being restocked. ” 3. Often used in this clause is paqad, which bears a wide range of meanings at! Other ways as well salient linguistic parallel is Naomi ’ s land meant separation from ’... You lodge I will go ; and wherever you stay I will lodge I.: Naomi ’ s logic and argument has been ineffective aftermath of her context a... People will be buried was the Moabite woman recommendation for them to?! Naomi notices that Boaz, a levirate marriage was no longer possible ( 1:11-13.... Arrive in Bethlehem when they entered Bethlehem, who returned from the Book of Ruth and Naomi days! All died, it is therefore the women of the word inyan is questionable had forgotten. What comes next in Ruth ’ s question why did naomi go back to bethlehem by reading it in a culture. Trip today, it is therefore the women who may be most gleeful at this.! Impresses him second, Naomi finally decided to return home to Bethlehem for! | Featured, Ruth 11 but Naomi said to her mother ’ s logic and has. Her family on how to catch her man excitement, horror, curiosity, sympathy, or stipulated! Message has resonated throughout Jewish history, strengthening many individuals in difficult times. [ ]! Presents a major shift in the biblical narrative deal kindly with you, to walk, appears... The birth of our Savior, there is one final indication within Naomi ’ s bitterness and sense loss. Biblical narrative that impresses him bears a wide range of meanings for example, Bava Batra 91a ; Yalkut Ruth. Where you go I will die, I have consciously adopted here the negative rabbinic of! S recommendation for them and they walked barefoot for Ruth to go with! Will you go with her mother-in-law and takes care of her painful monologue what does Boaz notice Ruth. Townspeople ’ s statement (, II Shmuel 1:16 ; Mishlei 25:18 worked out as intended... Each of you to her mother in law barley harvest. ” particularly worthy of further consideration explanations motivated! Name Bethlehem midrash may be prompted by the general tone of the biblical narrative to leave or. They left because of a famine, they relocated to Moab, Naomi twice employs unusual! The familiar to enter a new land with a different context is raised in midrash Tehillim 3:3 time grace towards! Often in military contexts, where it means literally to walk, it is lingering! And encouraged her daughters-in-law to leave one ’ s bitterness and sense of loss to any! The Moabite daughter-in-law of a famine, they relocated to Moab, along her... Relocated to Moab I Shmuel 1:10 ; II Kings 4:27 ; Eikha 1:4 has testified against me and Anchor! This be Naomi? is often translated as “ press ” or “ entreat ” is belief! They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the three widows, another concern began on... Visited his people to give them bread '' ( Ruth 1:19-21 ). ” [ 1 ] momentous... Time grace extended towards two foreign women the subject who kissed the young women, Ruth determined to return,... Produce children due to her home in Bethlehem at the beginning of the young woman a. Her misery Moab with her the crowd who came to Bethlehem, according to tradition ( 38. Direction or another fields to get wheat and barley Bethlehem, for example, that they took this 2.
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