Naomi Returns to Bethlehem with Ruth
Modern times are much different from ancient times. Today, if a young woman becomes a widow, what options does she have? Her options are almost endless. She could get a job or pursue an education, or both. She could remarry. She could return to her original home. She could live alone or with others. Independent, single women are quite common in our world. There is nothing in our culture to hinder a young woman from doing whatever she wants.
The ancient world was not so accommodating to young widows. Women in those days were profoundly dependent on their husbands and their families. A younger widow would typically return to her parents’ home. An older widow would depend on her children for support. A widow without a family was truly destitute. There is good reason that widows were often listed along with orphans and foreigners as the lowest and most vulnerable people in society.
Last time, we looked at the introduction and setting for the Book of Ruth. Naomi and her family were sojourning in Moab when her husband and two sons died. That left Naomi with her two daughters in law, Orpah and Ruth. These three widows had no means of support or protection. What would become of them?
Today we’ll see how Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. Remember that the theme of the book is how God demonstrates His faithfulness by loving, superintending, and caring for His people. The journey back to Bethlehem is the beginning of God’s plan to provide for these women.
Let’s see how the story unfolds and what it can teach us today.