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Ruth 1:19-20

Context
1:19 So the two of them 1  journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem. 2 

Naomi and Ruth Arrive in Bethlehem

When they entered 3  Bethlehem, 4  the whole village was excited about their arrival. 5  The women of the village said, 6  “Can this be Naomi?” 7  1:20 But she replied 8  to them, 9  “Don’t call me ‘Naomi’! 10  Call me ‘Mara’ 11  because the Sovereign One 12  has treated me very harshly. 13 

1 tn The suffix “them” appears to be masculine, but it is probably an archaic dual form (E. F. Campbell, Ruth [AB], 65; F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 75-76).

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

3 tn The temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi, “and it was”) here introduces a new scene.

4 map For location see Map5 B1; Map7 E2; Map8 E2; Map10 B4.

5 tn Heb “because of them” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “excited to see them.”

6 tn Heb “they said,” but the verb form is third person feminine plural, indicating that the women of the village are the subject.

7 tn Heb “Is this Naomi?” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). The question here expresses surprise and delight because of the way Naomi reacts to it (F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 92).

8 tn Heb “said.” For stylistic reasons the present translation employs “replied” here.

9 tn The third person feminine plural form of the pronominal suffix indicates the women of the village (see v. 19) are the addressees.

10 sn The name Naomi means “pleasant.”

11 sn The name Mara means “bitter.”

12 tn Heb “Shaddai”; traditionally “the Almighty.” The etymology and meaning of this divine name is uncertain. It may be derived from: (1) שָׁדַד (shadad, “to be strong”), cognate to Arabic sdd, meaning “The Strong One” or “Almighty”; (2) שָׁדָה (shadah, “mountain”), cognate to Akkadian shadu, meaning “The Mountain Dweller” or “God of the Mountains”; (3) שָׁדַד (shadad, “to devastate”) and שַׁד (shad, “destroyer”), Akkadian Shedum, meaning “The Destroyer” or “The Malevolent One”; or (4) שֶׁ (she, “who”) plus דִּי (diy, “sufficient”), meaning “The One Who is Sufficient” or “All-Sufficient One” (HALOT 1420-22 s.v. שַׁדַּי, שַׁדָּי). In terms of use, Shaddai (or El Shaddai) is presented as the sovereign king/judge of the world who grants life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he blesses/protects and also takes away life/happiness. In light of Naomi’s emphasis on God’s sovereign, malevolent deprivation of her family, one can understand her use of this name for God. For discussion of this divine name, see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72.

13 tn Or “caused me to be very bitter”; NAB “has made it very bitter for me.”



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