Naomi had left Judah, her homeland, because there was a famine and they were starving. Times were bad. So they left and went to Moab.
Little did they know that times would get better for a while, then even worse than they were before.
3 "Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. 4 The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband."
Ten years go by. Did they flourish? They obviously survived. But then her husband dies and her one son dies and her other son dies. She is not only 10 years older, but her future looks considerably worse.
6 "Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.
19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked."
She's back with her people. Back to her roots. It feels so good to be in her home town. With old, old friends. But she is not in a mood to celebrate.
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara,[a] for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer[b] and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”
I am bitter. Call me bitter.
I am old. I am poor. I have no husband. No sons.
Don't call me Naomi.
Call me bitter...