Who was Obed in the Bible?
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Who was Obed in the Bible?

You open your Bible, intrigued by a name that caught your eye – Obed. Who was this person and why are they mentioned in the Scriptures? As you search the pages, a fascinating story unfolds.


Obed was the grandfather of King David and an important figure in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Though he is not a major character, Obed’s life illustrates God’s faithfulness across generations and his role in the line of Christ deserves closer examination.

Join me as we explore Obed’s family background, his relationship to David, and the significance of his life. Seeing how God worked through this little-known character will encourage your faith and highlight the breadth of God’s redemptive plan.

Here are some key takeaways we’ll cover:

  • Obed’s family faced tragic circumstances, but God remained faithful.
  • Obed was the son of Ruth and Boaz, key figures from the book of Ruth.
  • He was the grandfather of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ.
  • Obed’s name means “servant or worshipper of God.”
  • His life shows how God uses ordinary people in His divine plan.

Let’s dive into the remarkable story of Obed!

Obed’s Family Background

To understand Obed, we must first learn about his family. His parents were Ruth and Boaz, two central characters in the book of Ruth.

Ruth was a Moabite woman who demonstrated extraordinary love and devotion. After her Israelite husband died, Ruth left her homeland to care for her mother-in-law Naomi in Bethlehem. She was a foreigner and outsider, but chose to adopt Naomi’s people as her own.

Boaz was a well-respected landowner in Bethlehem. When Ruth went to glean grain from his fields, Boaz showed her remarkable kindness. He protected and provided for her, as she had done for Naomi.

Ruth and Boaz got married, but their union seemed unlikely. As a Moabite, Ruth faced prejudice among Israelites. As a landowner, Boaz was of much higher social standing. Despite differences in nationality and class, God brought them together.

Their marriage also bore a painful family history. Ruth’s first husband Mahlon, along with his brother Chilion, had both died unexpectedly. This left Ruth a widow and Naomi without grandchildren to carry on her family line. But God worked through Ruth and Boaz to heal this hurt. Their child Obed became Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer, restoring her legacy.

So Obed was born into a family with both grief and joy. Through him, God transformed a tragic story into a beautiful redemption story. Obed’s heritage on both sides set the stage for God’s faithfulness to shine.

Obed’s Relationship to David

Obed’s grandparents Ruth and Boaz rightly get a lot of attention. But their grandson would become an equally important biblical figure – as the grandfather of King David!

Obed was the father of Jesse, who had eight sons including David. So without Obed, one of Israel’s greatest kings would never have been born.

Jesse’s descendants were appointed as kings over God’s people for generations. God promised David that his throne would last forever. This messianic promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the ultimate descendant of David.

So Obed’s place in this family line was vital. His fatherhood linked Boaz and Ruth to David. Through him, their legacy passed down to Israel’s greatest king.

God worked through Ruth and Boaz to bring about King David. But He worked through Obed to continue David’s dynasty. David’s rule would have lasted only one generation without Obed’s role.

The Significance of Obed’s Life

At first glance, Obed seems like a minor character sandwiched between the better-known stories of Ruth and David. But looking closer, we see his life held great significance.

First, Obed’s name itself speaks to his importance. In Hebrew, “Obed” means “servant” or “worshipper of God.” As his name suggests, Obed faithfully served the Lord and passed on that spiritual heritage.

Though Scripture gives few details about Obed’s actual life, we see through his son Jesse that he raised up the next generation to follow God. Obed passed on his devotion so that his children and grandchildren could play their part in God’s plan.

We also see God’s faithfulness through the fullness of Obed’s life. Ruth had lost her first husband without having any children. Naomi saw her bereavement as God “afflicting” and “dealing bitterly” with her (Ruth 1:20-21). But through Obed, God redeemed her family line.

Obed’s birth showed that God could restore what had been lost. He healed the deep grief of Ruth and Naomi. This foreshadows how Christ redeems our pain and makes all things new.

Though just one step in the genealogy, Obed gives us a glimpse of the faithfulness of God across generations. His story reminds us that God weaves an intricate tapestry, using the lives of His people to unveil His plan.


Obed’s life may seem small, but he played a vital part in God’s redemptive narrative. His family faced hardship and heartbreak. But God transformed their story through the birth of this one child.

Obed bridges the gap between Ruth and David, binding two stories of faithfulness. His life shows how God navigates family tragedies and overcomes barrenness with new life.

The golden thread that binds Ruth, Obed, David, and Jesus reveals the faithfulness of our God across centuries. He uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways.

As we see Obed woven into this tapestry, we can trust that God uses our lives too. Our faithfulness today impacts generations to come. Through Christ, our lives yield a harvest far beyond what we can imagine.

So may the account of Obed strengthen your faith! His brief but significant role in redemption history points to a God who works through quiet, faithful acts. May we respond as Obed did – with a life of worship and service.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.