Study Guide

Baby Obed in The Book of Ruth

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Baby Obed

Everyone loves a baby and Obed, the son of Ruth and Boaz, is no exception. After everything is finally settled and Ruth and Boaz are living happily-ever-after, "the Lord ma[kes Ruth] conceive, and she b[ears] a son" (4:13).

This new little cutie pie is quite the treasure in the town of Bethlehem. The women in town fawn all over him and he quickly turns into a grandma's boy. Naomi nurses him (we're hoping Ruth didn't mind) and the women in town give him the name Obed, declaring, "A son has been born to Naomi" (4:17).

Now, wait just a second. Obed isn't Naomi's son. He's Ruth's. Hello? But the general celebration about the baby is that Naomi finally has a grandson, a next-of-kin, and an all-important man in her life. The story begins with the loss of her menfolk and ends with her cradling her newest little male relative in her arms. In this story, a man equals security, so Naomi is pretty psyched by this baby boy.

But then, just a few verses later, when we learn what happens to Baby Obed (he goes on to become the grandfather of King David), he is listed as Boaz's son. Technically, Obed isn't related to Naomi at all since he is not her son's child. But, the women in town further clarify the situation: "Your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him" (4:15). Obed is her grandson through Ruth, who closeness to Naomi makes her like a daughter (a daughter more valuable than seven sons—take that patriarchy).

Obed gets some mentions later in the Bible as the great-grandfather of King David (1 Chronicles 2:12) and then as one of the ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5, Luke 3:32). Looks like this little guy is going places.

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