When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem from Moab, they were greeted by the women of Bethlehem. Though it had been many years since Naomi had left, the women asked themselves, “Is this Naomi?” and made sure she felt welcome.
When Boaz went through the process to be Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” (Ruth 4:11-12 ESV)
Boaz took Ruth as his wife, and the Lord blessed them with a son. At the birth of the son, the women of Bethlehem said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” (v. 14-15)
Naomi took the child from Ruth and became a nurse for him, and it was the women of Bethlehem who gave him the name of Obed. He was the father of Jesse, and the grandfather of King David.
The women of Bethlehem provided a supportive community to both Naomi and Ruth. Naomi left them, and Ruth was a foreigner. But both were made to feel welcome and loved by the local women.
Read about women of Bethlehem in Scripture: Ruth 1-4
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