Wednesday, July 25
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah had all lost their husbands. It was the custom of the time that if a woman's husband died, she would then marry one of her husband's brothers. This would ensure that the women would be cared for, as women had few options for employment at that time.
But none of their husbands had brothers to marry. Naomi knew she could return home and there might be a chance that she could find some distant relative that would at least keep her fed. But Ruth and Orpah had no family there, and Naomi was too old to bear any more sons. Even if she could bear sons, it was ridiculous to imagine that Ruth and Orpah would wait until they were grown and then marry them.
It was a bleak future for all of them. Whether it was to protect her daughters-in-law or because she was too grieved to worry about anyone but herself, Naomi implored them both to return to their homes and begin their lives again.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ruth 1:8-14
But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.” Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.