Naomi and Shadday

Naomi was a lot like Job.

I never knew that. For context, this is Naomi from the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. Ruth is a very short book and I used to see Naomi as a minor character within the book. Wrong. She is a pivotal part of the story. Although her story is brief, there is a lot to it.

She was widowed- worse off than Job in a way. Being a widow took away her voice in society. She had no entity to herself– but was completely dependent on the community in Bethlehem to provide for her.

Can you imagine? Being her? She saw no worth in her self which is why she tried to turn Ruth and Orprah away, back to their own families. There was nothing good to come from staying with an old, used-up widow (though she was probably only 40). She had a low view of herself.

She also had a too high view of God. What I mean to say is that she called God Shadday- a named unattached to his revealed identity to his Israelite people- Yahweh. She saw God as distant, uninvolved, unhearing of her plight. He remained transcendent, and floating on a cloud somewhere.

Furthermore, you do not see her in the beginning of the book protesting to God like Job did. Job does his best to outright complain to God. Instead, Naomi complained to people about God. Maybe she had protested before him awhile ago, and was worn out.

I imagine her being worn out after all these years of grief and bereavement. First she lost her husband, and then both her sons. I imagine she had a relationship with Yahweh, but it grew distant through years of felt abandoment, bitterness and tears.

But Yahweh is still present. He stays in the story and moves to redeem her life from the pit.

I relate a lot to Naomi. I have no endured quite the amount of grief that she did but I relate mainly to her felt responses to God and her low view of self in her relationships with people.


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