Naomi's Five Silences In The Book Of Ruth

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In the Book of Ruth, Naomi is a character full of complexities which make it difficult to discern her true nature. However, after closer examination it can be said that Naomi is not quite the innocent character she appears, but instead a more selfish and manipulative one. Placed after the violent and horrific Book of Judges, at first glance the Book of Ruth is a welcome and happy relief, however this is not the case. After careful analysation of several scholarly articles of varying opinions, the Book of Ruth and furthermore, Naomi’s character, can be seen in a majorly negative light. Many scholars analyse Naomi’s character through her words, or, lack thereof. Scholars Danna Fewell and David Gunn identify 5 silences in the book, and from them…show more content…
She appears to only want to help when she can reap the benefits. Surprisingly, the fourth silence is Ruth’s after the night on the threshing floor. What happens is unclear, yet it is known that Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz. Boaz tells Ruth “do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed” , yet according to Fewell and Gunn, the “words purporting to come from Boaz are in fact Ruth’s” ; leaving the question of why Ruth would make her reply about Naomi. The authors reason that Ruth “fabricates an expression of Boaz’s concern for Naomi in order to mirror Naomi’s chief concern…Naomi!” . This reasoning circles back to that in the second silence, that Naomi acts selfishly for herself with no regard for Ruth. Lastly, the fifth silence is Naomi’s concerning Ruth’s happiness at the end of the book. Ruth is married to Boaz and provides Naomi with a son, seemingly fulfilling all of Naomi’s concerns, yet she says nothing. Again, this theme of Naomi’s selfishness rings true because “if Ruth’s welfare had been her sole interest, how odd that she should not be seen to celebrate that welfare” . These silences provide insight into Naomi, allowing us to ponder her more critically, “to wonder less at her apparent altruism and more at her own self-interest” , and view her from a negative…show more content…
This viewpoint stems from what many scholars choose to ignore, the heavily sexual implications between Ruth and Boaz, all orchestrated by Naomi. Ellen Van Wolde states that Naomi never needed Orpah and Ruth to come with her because her laws “did not recognize any obligations toward who had married into the family or clan” . However, when it becomes clear that Ruth was not leaving, she devises a plan full of sexual entrapment “too cunning for the law” . Readers become aware of this plan when Naomi sends Ruth into the fields to glean. Women who glean alone risk being molested and harmed by the men who are there. It is suggested that Naomi only sends Ruth to the fields so that she can garner Boaz’ attention, thus setting her plans in motion. Coxon tries to refute this point by claiming that the men in the fields were Ruth’s guardians and she was not in danger . However, if this was true then why didn’t Naomi go to glean with

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