Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth. Naomi needed a redeemer. Bereft of her husband and her sons, she had no one to care for her. At least that’s how it seemed to her. Little did she know that God was already working to provide a redeemer.
Naomi was from Bethlehem in Judah, but a famine forced her and her family to move to the country of Moab on the other side of the Dead Sea. While there, Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Eventually Naomi decided to return to Judah along with her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who chose to leave her own family and people and follow Naomi and her God, the Lord. When Naomi returned, she told her neighbors to stop calling her Naomi, which means “pleasant,” and to call her Mara, which means “bitter,” for she was suffering much. But God was already working to provide a redeemer for Naomi—a relative who would buy her property and marry Ruth to raise up a family with her in the name of her deceased husband.
Ruth began gleaning leftover grain from the fields of Naomi’s distant relative Boaz, and Boaz took great interest in the younger woman. He lovingly provided for Ruth and Naomi and made sure Ruth was safe while she gleaned in his fields. Eventually Boaz married Ruth and purchased the land of Naomi’s, thereby ensuring that Ruth and Naomi would always be provided for.
When Ruth bore a son to Boaz, the women of the town recognized the child as a redeemer who would help provide for Naomi (Ruth 1–4). According to the story, Naomi was blessed with not one but two redeemers—and the New Testament makes it clear that there is yet another Redeemer who always stands ready to help all who turn to Him: Jesus (Galatians 4:4–5; Titus 2:11–14).