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The Return to Bethlehem. 19 So they went on together until they reached Bethlehem. On their arrival there, the whole town was excited about them, and the women asked: “Can this be Naomi?” 20 (A)But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi [‘Sweet’]. Call me Mara [‘Bitter’], for the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 [a](B)I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why should you call me ‘Sweet,’ since the Lord has brought me to trial, and the Almighty has pronounced evil sentence on me.”

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Footnotes

  1. 1:21 Naomi’s despair is made clear by her play on the meaning of her name in v. 20 and now by her accusation, like that in many psalms and in Job, that God has acted harshly toward her. The language belongs to the realm of judicial proceedings. By crying out in this way, the faithful Israelite opens the door to change, since the cry assumes that God hears and will do something about such seemingly unjust circumstances.

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