Naomi, the mother-in-law of the all famous Ruth. We learned last week the character of Ruth and how extraordinary she was. But the question still lingers, why was she such a woman of excellence? As Aristotle said:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit"
Behind every infamous and extraordinary person, there is a person behind the radar of their infamous qualities. The shield bearers: those who go before the ones called; training them, advising them, coaching them, counselling them, shaping and steadying them into the person they are. I will put before you that this is just the part Naomi played in the character of the extraordinary Ruth.
It takes and extraordinary person to train and extraordinary person. In the general jargon of excellent people, it is a trait that is learned. Few come by this trait naturally. In my years of Martial Arts, this was very evident. A subpar fighter could not train a champion fighter, only a champion fighter has what it takes to train a champion fighter. Assuming from what scripture gives us, I would like to infer to you that Naomi was the example of excellence that Ruth modeled. Using the process of deduction, lets look at the woman Naomi.
It takes a strong woman to submit to her husband.
Ruth 1:1 displays an incredible insight into Naomi. Literal translation: "He went to live in the fields of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons." The wording used leads to think that Naomi fallowed her husband. She submitted to his role as head of the family and went with her husband. A wise woman will fallow her husband, willingly putting him first, displays her true love in his heart. The act of Naomi fallowing her hubby showed abandonment and his place in her heart. Perhaps learned from the example Naomi had lead, this will also prove to be a trait that Ruth exhibited, submission (fallowing) is it's purest form.
That same character is brought through Ruth 1:6-17. Literal translation: 7. "and she went out...her two daughter's-in-law with her" 8-9 "go each return to the house of your mother...and they wept" 10 "and they said to her, surly we will go back with you to your people" 11-13 "turn back my daughters...turn back" 14 "and they wept again" 15 "Orpah kissed her mother-in-law but Ruth cleve to her" 16-17 "you turn back after your sister-in-law...Ruth vowed, do not impinge-take away my right- from staying with you (beg me to leave you)". Naomi was wise and thoughtful to not hold her daughters-in-law to going with her to a foreign land where she knew they would be outsiders. But there was something about this woman that caused pagan woman to fallow her away from their culture and family and friends to be with her. Orpah eventually returned after much arguing about it, but Ruth would not leave Naomi. She had to be with her mother-in-law who seemed so excellent herself that she had become her mother.
Ruth 1:19 "when they came to Bethlehem, all the city was moved because of them". The word used here, moved, was only used 5 other times in the Hebrew Scripture or the Old Testament...Deuteronomy 7:23, Ruth 1:19, 1 Samuel 4:5, 1 Kings 1:45, Psalms 55:2, Micah 2:12...keep in mind the 20/20 rule; read 20 verses before and 20 verses after to gain context. Transliteration: huwm: meaning confusion, stirred (moved), shout, uproar, distracted, noisy. Notice here they don't seem to acknowledge Ruth but it is Naomi that they are stirred about. They couldn't believe their eyes, she was back. It says something about a person if an entire town can be excited about that one persons return.
A little clarity on "She said to them, do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” -Ruth 1:20-21. This Hebrew word for bitter, Mara or marar, has a very unexpected twist in one of the meanings...it can also mean strong. What!? Remember, in the Hebrew culture and language, words are meant to have function. It could be argued then that when Naomi said to call her bitter, she was saying yes, that the Almighty had dealt sadness to her and had answered her(Hebrew transliteration anah: alluding that she had sked the misery not happen) and the answer had broken her; but that she acknowledged it had given her strength or made her stronger at the same time. Another trait we see Ruth display in willingness to glean the fields, broken yet strong. Also see Romans 5:3-5 and Romans 8:28-29
[Also note here that she did not change her name, she is still referred to as Naomi, she was making a statement about what happened when she was gone to the people of Bethlehem.]
Ruth 2:19 Naomi had interest in Ruth's day. Ruth was not just the wife of Naomi's dead son, keeping her around to have a part of him. Naomi loved Ruth as her daughter, clearly displayed by their relationship.
Wisdom and guidance. The remaining of Ruth 2:20-4:13 we see Naomi guiding Ruth on what she was to do in a proper and honorable manner. The wisdom that Naomi guided Ruth by was acknowledged by Boaz as the reason she so outdid herself and thus winning his heart. Ruth 3:9-11
Finally, Naomi was rewarded by Ruth's love and respect of her. She was given the honor of being the nurse or "nanny" to Obed, her restorer of life, refreshing of life. Transliteration shuwb: her answer to the question asked in 1:20-21 and her recompense payment (really shows the LORD's providence in our hurt that His ways don't make since in short but in long they mean everything, even if they do seem to crush us). Also Obed was the sustainer of old age, her security.
I pray your week is blessed!
Oh yeah, real quick, will you let me know if you like me inserting scripture link for you? Does it help or is it an annoyance? Thanks guys!
Welcome! Marie is a wife, mother of two teens, and a fur baby. Marie and her family live in the north-central US. She is a homeschool Momma, avid outdoors man, and is disciplined in the study of Jewish and Christian Scriptures along with Hebrew and Greek dialect. Marie has been asked for years to share herself, so, welcome to Marie' life:)