[b-hebrew] Ruth 1: 12 too old for a husband

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Wed Jul 24 07:25:20 EDT 2013

If Ruth 4.16, which states that Naomi was an אמנת to Obed, implies she became his wet nurse, then she can't have been THAT old. Considering the young age at which many girls were married, she might have still been in her 40s. But this can be debated pro and con.

In any case, Naomi's prime problem is not physical age, but rather 'social age'. She has been married and given birth to sons, who in turn had married. This means that Naomi is technically no longer marriageable—able to move into another marriage in order to have children. She would ordinarily have gone into the household of one of her sons, but they are dead. Therefore, Ruth, who has no children at the beginning of the book, is Naomi's only hope for welfare, which is why Naomi acts vicariously through Ruth. In 1.11–12 Naomi might be implying that she could possibly bear more children, but no man will ever take her now that she has already had sons (despite the fact that they are dead).

Dean of Research,
Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
Sydney, Australia

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