Ruth 4:17
And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Obed.i.e., a serving one.

(18–22). This short genealogy, abruptly added, may be due to a later hand, it being thought necessary to connect David’s line fully with Judah.

Ruth 4:17. Her neighbours gave it a name — That is, gave her advice about his name; for it did not belong to them, but to the father or mother, to name the child. They called his name Obed — That is, a servant, meaning to express their hopes that he would nourish, comfort, and assist her, duties which children owe to their progenitors. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David — For whose sake chiefly this whole book seems to have been written, that it might be certainly known from whom he was descended, the Messiah being to spring from him; which is the reason why the following genealogy is annexed for the conclusion of this book.

4:13-22 Ruth bore a son, through whom thousands and myriads were born to God; and in being the lineal ancestor of Christ, she was instrumental in the happiness of all that shall be saved by him; even of us Gentiles, as well as those of Jewish descent. She was a witness for God to the Gentile world, that he had not utterly forsaken them, but that in due time they should become one with his chosen people, and partake of his salvation. Prayer to God attended the marriage, and praise to him attended the birth of the child. What a pity it is that pious language should not be more used among Christians, or that it should be let fall into formality! Here is the descent of David from Ruth. And the period came when Bethlehem-Judah displayed greater wonders than those in the history of Ruth, when the outcast babe of another forlorn female of the same race appeared, controlling the counsels of the Roman master of the world, and drawing princes and wise men from the east, with treasures of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh to his feet. His name shall endure for ever, and all nations shall call Him blessed. In that Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.Obed - i. e. serving, with allusion to the service of love and duty which he would render to his grandmother Naomi. 17. Obed—means "servant." Gave it a name, i.e. they gave her advice about the name; for otherwise they had no power or right to do so.

Obed; a servant, to wit, to thee, to nourish, and comfort, and assist thee; which duty children owe to their progenitors.

And the women her neighbours gave it a name,.... Josephus says (q) Naomi gave it, by the advice of her neighbours; very probably on the eighth day when he was circumcised, and the neighbours were invited on that occasion, at which time it seems it was usual to give names to children, see Luke 1:59. The Romans gave names to females on the eighth day, to the males on the ninth; hence the goddess Nundina had her name (r); the Greeks generally on the tenth, sometimes on the seventh (s): it was commonly the province of the father to give the name, and sometimes his neighbours and nearest friends were called, and in their presence the name was given, and by any of them he should choose in his stead (t):

saying, there is a son born to Naomi; to her family, and even to herself, being born of her who had been wife to her eldest son; and this was to her as instead of him, and was as he to her; so Aben Ezra compares this with Exodus 2:10 and moreover, this child was born, as the neighbours presaged, for the great comfort and advantage of Naomi, to be her supporter and nourisher in her old age, Ruth 4:15.

and they called his name Obed; which signifies "serving", as Josephus (u) rightly observes, though he does not always give the true sense of Hebrew words: this name was given, not in remembrance of the service his mother was obliged to, before marriage with Boaz; but rather on the account of the service that he would be of to Naomi, as they hoped and believed; though the reason of it, as given by the Targum, is not to be overlooked, which interprets it,"who served the Lord of the world with a perfect heart;''and so they might have some respect to his being hereafter a servant of the Lord:

he is the father of Jesse, and the father of David: so Jesse is called the Bethlehemite, 1 Samuel 16:1, being of the city of Bethlehem, of which city Boaz was when his son Obed was born, who was the father of Jesse; of whom was David king of Israel, and from whom sprung the Messiah, for whose sake this book was written, that his genealogy might clearly appear; and of which use it is made by the Evangelists Matthew; and Luke.

(q) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 5. c. 9. sect. 4.) (r) Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 25. (s) Harpocration & Suidas in voce Scholiast. in Aristoph. Aves, p. 565. & Euripid. & Aristot. in ib. (t) Vid. Sperling. de Baptism. Ethnic. c. 14. & 15. (u) Ibid.

And the women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. the women her neighbours]. Cf. Ruth 4:14 and Ruth 1:19. In St Luke 1:58 f., the neighbours and kinsfolk propose to name the child.

There is a son born to Naomi] The child is popularly considered to belong to Naomi’s family. Cf. Genesis 30:3, where the son of Bilhah, born on the knees of Rachel, is regarded as Rachel’s child.

Obed] An abbreviated form of Obad-iah ‘servant of Jah,’ or of Abdi-el ‘servant of El.’

the father of Jesse, the father of David] The ancestry of Jesse is not given in 1 Sam. The name (Ishai) is perhaps a shortened form of Abishai. The story of Ruth thus shews how a Moabite women obtained an honourable place in the annals of Hebrew history; the rule laid down in Deuteronomy 23:3 [Hebrews 4] had at least one noteworthy exception1[7]. From 1 Samuel 22:3-4 we learn that friendly relations existed between David and the Moabites: it may not be fanciful to suppose that he would be all the move ready to entrust his parents to the care of the Moabite king because his father’s grandmother was a Moabite.

[7] The Rabbis get over the difficulty by supposing that the law of Deuteronomy 23:3 applies only to men: Talm. Jebamoth 76 b: Sifre on Deut. l.c.

With this account of the memorable issue of Ruth’s marriage the Book is brought to a suitable close. The genealogy which follows may be regarded as a later addition.

Verse 17. - And the women, her neigh-bouts, named the child, saying, A son has been born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. "Obed," if a participle of the Hebrew verb עָבַד, naturally means serving, or servant. No other derivation, apparently, can at present be assumed (but see Raabe's 'Glossar.'). Josephus gives the participial interpretation as a matter of course, and Jerome too. If the objective correlate of the servitude referred to were Yahveh, then the word might be equivalent to worshipper. If the name, however, as seems to be the case, was imposed first of all by the matronly neighbors who had come to mingle their joys with those of the mother, and of the grandmother in particular, then it is not likely that there would be an overshadowing reference, either on the one hand to servitude in relation to Yahveh, or on the other to servitude in the abstract. Something simpler would be in harmony with their unsophisticated, impressible, and purely matronly minds. It is not at all unlikely that, in fondling the welcome "New-come," and congratulating the overjoyed grandmother, they would, with Oriental luxuriance of speech and Oriental overflow of demonstrativeness, speak of the 'lad' as come home to be a faithful little servant to his most excellent grandmother. The infirmities of advancing age, aggravated by anxieties many, griefs many, bereavements many, toils many, privations many, disappointments many, had been one after another accumulating on "the dear old lady." But now a sealed fountain of reviving waters had been opened in the wilderness. Might it for many years overflow! Might the oasis around it widen and still widen, till the whole solitary place should be blossoming as the rose! Might the lively little child be spared to minister, with bright activity and devotedness, to the aged pilgrim for the little remainder of her journey! The word which the sympathetic neighbors, with not the least intention to propose a real name, had been affectionately bandying about, while fondling the child, was accepted by Boaz and Ruth. They would say to one another, "Yes, just let him be little Obed to his loving grandmother." Naomi, soothed in all her motherly and grandmotherly longings and aspirations, would seem to have yielded, resolving, we may suppose, to train the child up to be a servant of Yahveh. Ruth 4:17And the neighbours said, "A son is born to Naomi," and gave him the name of Obed. This name was given to the boy (the context suggests this) evidently with reference to what he was to become to his grandmother. Obed, therefore, does not mean "servant of Jehovah" (Targum), but "the serving one," as one who lived entirely for his grandmother, and would take care of her, and rejoice her heat (O. v. Gerlach, after Josephus, Ant. v. 9, 4). The last words of Ruth 4:17, "he is the father of Jesse, the father of David," show the object which the author kept in view in writing down these events, or composing the book itself. This conjecture is raised into a certainty by the genealogy which follows, and with which the book closes.
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