Lamentation of Naomi in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:19–1:22)

“The two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. The women said. ‘Is this Naomi?’ She said to them.

‘Call me no longer Naomi,

Call me Mara,

For the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.

I went away full,

But Yahweh has brought me back empty.

Why call me Naomi?

When Yahweh has dealt harshly with me,

The Almighty has brought calamity upon me.’

So Naomi returned together with Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, who came back with her from the country of Moab. They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.”

Naomi had been gone from Bethlehem for over ten years, but now she returned at the barley harvest time. She was bitter having lost her husband and 2 sons. Therefore, she uttered a lamentation. She wanted to be called the ‘bitter one,’ Mara, instead of the ‘pleasant one,’ Naomi.

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