by Rev Joel Yong
Each son married a woman from Moab. One son married a woman named Orpah, and the other son married a woman named Ruth. They lived there for about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion died as well. So Naomi was left alone, without her two sons or her husband. Naomi and her daughters-in-law started on the way back from the country of Moab. (While they were still in Moab she heard that the LORD had come to help his people and give them food. So she left the place where she had been living, and her two daughters-in-law went with her.) They began to walk back along the road to the territory of Judah. Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back! Each of you should go back to your mother’s home. May the LORD be as kind to you as you were to me and to our loved ones who have died. May the LORD repay each of you so that you may find security in a home with a husband.” When she kissed them goodbye, they began to cry loudly.
It was a difficult thing to be a widow in biblical times.
- Men were the primary breadwinners and in this patriarchical society, it meant that a woman who lost her husbands and/or sons
is defenseless and without provision.
- Being previously married, they were not as sought after as younger women who would have never been married before. Remarriage was possible but it wasn’t as easy for them to do so as the 1st time they got married in their youth.
That is why the widows and orphans receive special mention in Scriptures as a group of people that God protects and defends.
Yet the book of Ruth is a special story centered around defenseless widows who receive God’s blessings and grace when their futures seemed bleak.
The biblical readers understood the severity of Naomi’s and Ruth’s situation and no doubt marveled at how the story ends – a happy ending for all because of God’s providence.
May we all look at the bleak situations in our lives and resolve to remain faithful to God and continue to hope in Him in difficult times.
He is the same God – yesterday, today and tomorrow.