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23 April 2017

Why Is Obed Called Naomi's Son?

            Why is Obed called Naomi's son, and what did Boaz mean by this statement? “Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day” (Ruth 4:10).  He was actually stating here that part of his intention for marrying Ruth is to restore the family lineage of Mahlon who was the deceased son of Naomi.  Thus, when the child is born the people and elders of the city remember that they had made themselves witnesses to the intention of Boaz (Ruth 4:11). Acting as witnesses, the women neighbors name the child Obed, which means “a servant, to thee, to nourish, and comfort, and assist thee; which duty children owe to their progenitors.”[1]

            These same neighborly women also state, “There is a son born to Naomi” (Ruth 4:17). By this we deduce that these women knew of Naomi’s loss.  She had lost two sons and a husband and had nobody who would take their place as caretaker for her in her old age, continue her husband’s name, or receive her son’s inheritance.  Obed served in all three capacities and became a great joy to Naomi and one who would carry on the family name.  Thus, he became her son (grandson) by restoring Naomi’s family and their part in the lineage of King David and the Messiah.

            According to the opinion of Mary Sisseck, “Naomi has now been given a child (a child is born) a grandchild from one of her dead sons! The law determined that Obed was Naomi's child! Genealogy under law determined that Obed was also her grandchild!”[2]  The question then serves to teach us that Boaz, acting as the kinsman-redeemer, provided a miracle for Naomi, which is comparable to the miracle of salvation that Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer, has given to us.  Through Jesus Christ we have been given a new life through the miracle of restoration and He, like Obed was to Naomi, has become our nourishment, comfort, and assistance.

[1] Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ruth 4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". . 1754.
[2] Sisseck, Mary. Ruth: the Hidden Pictures. Accessed: 9-23-2004. .

NOTE: I wrote this as part of a homework assignment on September 23, 2004, for a Women of the Bible class taught at Parkersburg Bible College by Sis. Nelson.  

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