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If we hold this understanding of blessing, it makes some sense of Ruth’s ‘return’ (šûb) to Bethlehem. The narrator states that Naomi returned, but he/she also specifies that Ruth ‘returned from the country of Moab’ (1:22). In a physical sense, it makes no sense for Ruth to ‘return’ to Israel. Yet in a spiritual sense, it is only when Ruth repents – that is, turns to trust in Yahweh (1:16–17) – that she begins to be blessed and becomes a blessing to others.37 For it is through Ruth (and Boaz) that Naomi’s emptiness/hunger (1:21) is satiated by the end of the Ruth narrative (4:14–17). Thus, Naomi’s fullness can also be understood not only in physical terms, but also spiritual – a return to right relationship with Yahweh, and the blessings that flow from that relationship.

NEW STUDIES IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY 41 Series editor: D. A. Carson Unceasing kindness A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF RUTH Peter H. W. Lau and Gregory Goswell, 105