Naomi and Ruth
The story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is one of friendship found in an unlikely place. How many of us have heard the all-too-common jokes made about in-laws—particularly mother-in-laws? And how many of us have ever found a best friend in our mother-in-law?
Ruth, married to one of Naomi’s sons, did. Years after that son died, along with Naomi’s husband and other son, Naomi encouraged her daughters-in-law to go back to their families in Moab. Orpah, one of Naomi’s daughters-in-law, left, but not Ruth—Ruth stayed, pledging her life to the now-destitute Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17, saying “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.”
Ruth refused to let Naomi be completely alone, and went with her when she traveled to Bethlehem, helping her to survive as a lone woman in a patriarchal society, gathering food, and eventually having a son that gave Naomi a sense of family again—a son who would go on to be the grandfather of the same David we learned about earlier.
Again, this friendship shows us the value of loyalty, of unconditional love and self-sacrifice. Ruth didn’t hesitate to give when Naomi was in need. This is the kind of action that creates the strongest of friendships, and gives us a sense of security—we know that when we’re in trouble, someone will be there for us.