Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ten Great Women of the Bible (#8)

The Mom Series continues . . . . 
8. Naomi (The Book of Ruth)
Though Naomi’s sons have died at the beginning of the Book of Ruth, she has the unfailing loyalty of her daughter-in-law and she adopts Ruth and Boaz’s child as her grandson. She reminds us that mothering is not always a matter of blood ties.
 I am a homeschooler so I could not resist this (children's) story version of Naomi's courage and love!
History Alive!  The Power of Friendship: The Lives of Naomi and Ruth 
Through the stories of Abraham, Moses, and David and Solomon in Chapter 11, you learned how Judaism developed. The narrative of Naomi and Ruth is another important account in the development of Judaism. Their story has long been enjoyed as an example of love and loyalty. Many people learn from Ruth's inspiring devotion and friendship for her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Jews today honor Ruth by reading her story during the celebration of Shavout. This holiday remembers the harvest time in Jewish history. Below is a biography of Ruth and Naomi. As you read, think about the contributions they made to the development of Judaism.

Naomi lived with her husband and two sons in Bethlehem. It was a troubled time for the Hebrew people. After returning to Canaan from enslavement in Egypt, the 12 tribes of Israel were fighting. Finally, a famine forced Naomi's family to move away from their home. In Naomi's new home, her two sons married. 
One married Ruth, and the other married Orpah. Tragedy then hit Naomi's family again: her husband and both her sons died. It was then that Naomi decided to return to her people in her homeland. She said goodbye to Ruth and Orpah, but Ruth wanted to go with her mother-in-law. "Where you go," Ruth insisted, "I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God." (Ruth 1:16) Together, Ruth and Naomi made the 120-mile journey back to Bethlehem.

Ruth's decision was impressive. The two women were poor, and Ruth had to work hard to support her aging friend. Ruth was not a Hebrew like Naomi; she was a foreigner. Even though there was still fighting among the 12 tribes of Israel, Ruth was devoted to Naomi and her way of life. She was willing to put her personal commitment to her friend over any problems she might face as a foreigner in an unstable land. She put faith not just in Naomi, but also in the Hebrew people. She was willing to take great risks to stay with her friend and adopt her religion. Ruth's story showed the Hebrew people that it was possible to take divided tribes and turn them into a single and united nation of Israel. It is simple kindness and faith that unites people and gives them strength.

Upon returning to Naomi's homeland, the two women found that the famine had ended. They returned just in time for the barley harvest. Ruth married again, this time to a man Boaz. Together they had Obed. Obed was the grandfather of King David. King David created the kingdom of Israel and made Jerusalem its capital city. All of this was possible because one friend had believed in and committed herself to another.

Investigating Biographies

The story of Naomi and Ruth is often told to young children. Create a children's book cover that includes
a front cover with an imaginative title and an eye-catching illustration that relates to the theme of the story.
a back cover with three comments about the significance of the story for Judaism. Each comment should be two or three sentences long. An example might begin, 
"What a wonderful story in the history of Judaism! Readers will see the significance of Ruth and Naomi's relationship by learning."

History Alive! The Ancient World, Investigating Biographies 
Bible - Ruth 
Lagniappe: Bible Art 

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