I went out full and Yahweh has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since Yahweh has testified against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” Bible

“I went out full and Yahweh has brought me home again empty.” Life is unpredictable. Jacob left the Promised Land with only his staff, and returned with much livestock, wives and concubines, and many children (Gen. 32:10). Naomi left Israel with a husband and two sons, and in her estimation came back empty. It was the women of the town who pointed out to her that her daughter-in-law Ruth was better than seven sons (Ruth 4:15).

“Yahweh has testified against me.” The general thought of the time was that if a person lived righteously then Yahweh would bless them, and if they were evil then things would not go well with them. Based on that belief, Naomi said Yahweh had testified against her by way of the circumstances of her life.

The Old Testament did not reveal the Devil, nor the intensity of the war between Good and Evil, and that left a lot of questions unanswered. Even kings and prophets had a lot of unanswered questions when it came to the evil that occurs on earth (and people who read the Old Testament without realizing that it had been superseded by the teaching in the New Testament have those same questions). When Jesus revealed the Devil and demons to his disciples, he told them things never before revealed: “And turning to the disciples, he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see the things that you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings desired to see the things that you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things that you hear, and did not hear them” (Luke 10:23-24). Grace and “truth” came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). [For more on why bad things happen on earth, see commentary on Luke 4:6, that God is not in control of what happens on earth].

“the Almighty has afflicted me?” This statement reflects Naomi’s theology and belief, but we learn from the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ that what Naomi believed is not accurate. God does not kill people (Naomi’s husband and sons) and cause pain and trouble to people like Naomi and Ruth just to bring about His ends. The greatness of God is that He works in the warzone between Good and Evil like a master chess player, working to bring good from the evil that the Devil and evil people do (cp. Rom. 8:28).

Commentary for: Ruth 1:21