Biblical People

Biblical People: Naomi

Naomi’s name means pleasant. Naomi, her husband, and their two boys leave their home country of Judah and travel to Moab because of a famine. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband dies, and later both of her married sons die too.

This leaves her with two widowed daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, and little hope. Naomi blames God for her misfortune and grows bitter.

She decides to return home when she learns of food there. Orpah and Ruth start back with her, but Naomi decides this isn’t fair to them.

At Naomi’s urging, Orpah returns to Moab and rejoins her family, but Ruth expresses deep commitment to her mother-in-law and to God, promising to stay with her forever and to worship her God.

After returning to Judah, Naomi develops a plan for Ruth to marry their relative, Boaz. Ruth follows her mother-in-law’s instructions. Soon Boaz and Ruth marry. Ruth has her first child, Obed.

Naomi cares for her new grandson like a son, while the local women celebrate his birth and Naomi’s good fortune.

Like all of us, Naomi’s life contains struggle and disappointment, but God cares for her, providing a loyal daughter-in-law and a cherished grandson to care for.

Even if life goes terribly wrong and we become bitter and blame God, he still loves us and provides.

Will we trust God with our future, regardless of hardship?

[Discover more about Naomi in Ruth 1–4.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at