Glossary of Terms



Dictionary of the Bible, Second Edition

Edited by James Hastings, revised by Frederick C. Grant & H.H. Rowley (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1963)

Naomi. The wife of Elimelech the Ephrathite, of Beth-lehem-Juda, who was driven by famine into the land of Judah. After the death of her husband and her two sons, she returned, accompanied by Ruth, to her own land. Her return was a matter of surprise to the people of Bethlehem, and they said, 'Is this Naomi?' Her answer included a play of words on her own name, 'Call me not Naomi ('pleasant'), call me Mara ('bitter'): for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me' (Ruth 1:2ff).

Harper’s Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

You are strongly recommended to add to your library the excellent revised edition of Harper's Bible Dictionary titled, The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition [book review], edited by Paul J. Achtemeier, with the Society of Biblical Literature (NY: Harper Collins, 1996). It is currently the best one-volume Bible dictionary in English, and it is available at Border's Books, Christian Science Reading Rooms,, or

Naomi, one of the major characters in the book of Ruth. Naomi, her husband Elimelech of Bethlehem, and their two sons went to Moab in a time of famine (Ruth 1:1-2). The sons married Moabite women but both sons and Elimelech died (1:4-5). Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem and urged her daughters-in-law to remain with their families in Moab (1:8-14). Ruth refused, vowed loyalty to Naomi, and returned with her to Bethlehem (1:16-17). There, Naomi encouraged Ruth to ask protection of Boaz, a kinsman of Elimelech (chap. 3). Boaz redeemed Elimelech’s property and married Ruth in accordance with levirate law (chap. 4; cf. Deut. 25:5-10). Their son, Obed, preserved Elimelech’s line and later became the grandfather of King David.


Topical index of terms
Edited for by Robert Nguyen Cramer
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