Ruth 4:17




tť‚v sÜ2c¨g «¨n}A v¶bt‹#r0e!Ż•u h×!n^g¶b0k i„2c‘s8¦Şh r`Ünt2k «o2A ,¨‚b2f}ą8v ¨«k »v¶bt#r0e!Ż•u   zh

:sĐu7s h‚1c4t h„*AĐh‘h1c4t










and they called




to him




the living women








to say




he was born








to Naomi




and they called




his name












his father








his father










4:17 And the women who were her neighbors said, A son has been born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed; he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.


Stone’s Translation


4:17 The neighborhood women gave him a name, saying, “A son is born to Naomi. They named him Obed; he was the father of Jesse, the father of David.




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. 



Ruth 4:17 kai; ejkavlesan aujtou' aiJ geivtone" o[noma levgousai ejtevcqh uiJo;" th'/ Nwemin kai; ejkavlesan to; o[noma

aujtou' Wbhd ou|to" path;r Iessai patro;" Dauid


Ruth 4:17 And the neighboring women gave him a name, saying, “A son is born to Noemin.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jessć, the father of David. 



Peshat Level:




4:17 And the women of the neighborhood named him, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!" They called his name Oved. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.



Gemarah Level:


Talmud Babli


Berachoth 58a This is Jesse, the father of David, who went out with a crowd and came in with a crowd, and expounded [the Torah] to a crowd.


Shabbath 55b Four died through the serpent's machinations, viz., Benjamin the son of Jacob, Amram the father of Moses, Jesse the father of David, and Caleb the son of David. Now, all are known by tradition, save Jesse the father of David, in whose case the Writ gives an explicit intimation. For it is written, And Absalom set Amasa over the host instead of Joab. Now Amasa was the son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, that went in to Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab's mother. Now, was she the daughter of Nahash? Surely she was the daughter of Jesse, for it is written, and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail?


Succah 52b And this shall be peace: when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise up against him seven shepherds and eight princes among men. Who are the ‘seven shepherds’? — David in the middle, Adam, Seth and Methuselah on his right, and Abraham, Jacob and Moses on his left. And who are the ‘eight princes among men’? — Jesse, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zedekiah, the Messiah, and Elijah.


Baba Kama 38b R. Hiyya B. Abba further said that R. Joshua b. Korha had stated: At all times should a man try to be first in the performance of a good deed, as on account of the one night by which the elder [daughter] preceded the younger she preceded her by four generations [in having a descendant] in Israel: Obed, Jesse, David and Solomon. For the younger [had no descendant in Israel] until [the advent of] Rehoboam, as it is written: And the name of his mother was Naamah the Ammonitess.



Midrash Level:



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez


4:17 The women neighbors called him a name, saying “There is born a son to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He was the father of Ishai, the father of David.


The sudden death of Boaz on the night of the wedding had plunged Ruth and Naomi into grief. When the orphaned baby was born, they did not have the heart to name him, so the neighbors took matters into their own hands. At first they simply called him hngbk ic, “a son to Naomi”; and only later, after he was weaned, did they name him Obed.


According to a different interpretation, Naomi and Ruth did not know whether the child should be named after Machlon or after the more recently deceased Boaz. They therefore called him Obed (scug), “he who serves God,” leaving the decision to Him Who knows men’s souls and can best decide whose memory should be perpetuated.


The name Obed anticipates that he would learn Torah in order to ful­fill its obligations and injunctions, and that he would engage in the “service of the heart” (avodah, vsucg)—prayer. Obed did both, and his progeny followed in his footsteps: “He was the father of lshai” who “went out with a multitude [of disciples] and came with a multitude” (Talmud) and lshai was the “father of David” who in the morning ruled on matters of Torah law, and at midnight rose to sing God’s praises (Talmud).


“Let not the blessing of a simple person be light in your eyes!” our sages declare. For the blessing of the women—’ ‘May his name be called in Israel” (v. 14)—was fulfilled in Obed, who was renowned throughout Israel as a servant of God (‘v scug); and as the father of Ishai, who died only because of Adam’s sin, being himself sinless; and as the grand­father of David, “the sweet singer of Israel” and the fourth [after the patriarchs] to comprise the divine chariot [the “vehicle” through which God’s name is made known to men].


Thus Torah never left this illustrious lineage, in accordance with the principle that if three successive generations are Torah scholars, the Torah will never be absent from their descendants, as it is written: ‘This is my covenant with them...My words that I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, or the mouth of your seed, or the mouth of your seed’s seed . . . forever” (Isaiah 59:21).


“He was the father of lshai, the father of David.” It is for this state­ment that the book of Ruth was written, for its purpose is to record the lineage of King David.


It also comes to teach that one who seeks God with all his heart will succeed. Ruth strove with selfless dedication to cleave to Israel, and she merited to marry a leader in Israel and to produce David, to whom God promised the kingship as an eternal covenant.



Abraham Ibn Ezra





17. The neighborhood women gave him a name, saying, "A son was born to Naomi." For the truth is that he is the son of Naomi by the act of levirate marriage. His own intrinsic name was Oved for he would serve (oved) HaShem and he would be the father of Yishai from whom would come the House of David. The Ari z"1[1] has already explained in his Sefer HaGilgulim (on the verse in Koheles 8:9, "The time when one man ruled over another to his own hurt") that those souls which are oppressed by the forces of evil are difficult to free because they are sustained and provided for by the hands of their oppressors. These souls must deceive their oppressors by showing them an imperfection and blemish for which they think these souls will remain under their domination forever. In the end, the souls overcome their nemeses. Similarly, the souls of the twelve tribes were brought forth from Rachel and Le' ah -two sisters. The forces of evil understood that their souls would remain in a condition of defilement after being born to two sisters who married in a prohibited manner. Likewise, the soul of Peretz from Tamar and the souls of Ruth and Na'amah the Ammonitess which came from Moab and Ammon. Therefore, King David said (Tehillim 4:3),







[1] Rav Yitzchak Luria, a famous fifteenth-century Kabbalist who lived in Safed.