And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
Comment: Ruth makes Naomi very happy when she says that she insists on going on with her. Ruth says…
- ‘Your people – will be my people
- Your God – will be my God
- Where you are buried – I will be buried; nothing but death will separate us!‘
There is, however, a deep underlying sadness and an almost ‘God blaming’ attitude deep in Naomi’s heart. As her old friends meet her with an excited ‘Are you really our old friend Naomi back again?’, Naomi says ‘I’m bitter, because of the way God has dealt with me.’ She adds ‘We had everything, now I’ve got nothing.’ Naomi means ‘pleasantness’; Mara means ‘bitter’.
Prayer: I am forced to question, often, but help me not to be bitter but trusting, O Lord.