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Naomi prepares a bride

Wangerin imagines good days preceding war

The book of Judges recounts the slow deterioration of the tribes of Israel. Shortly after Joshua dies, the people disobey the God of their covenant. They suffer the consequences. But then God remembers them and saves them from their enemies by raising up a series of charismatic judges.

Deborah, the mother of Israel, leads them to victory. Gideon likewise hears God's call and commands them in the name of the Lord — to victory.

But generation after generation the disobedience increases, until the book of Judges ends with a horrendous war. Read the book's last chapters, 19 to 21, and see how bloody a people can be.

I wrote a novel (Naomi and Her Daughters; Zondervan, 2010) that moves from these disasters into the mercy of the book of Ruth. Here is one chapter of the good days that precede the wars. I've imagined Naomi's participation in the marriage of the Levite's bride, whom I have named Milcah. The details that follow are historically accurate.


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