In Bava Kamma 38b we are told that one reason God spared Lot was because of the two good birds who would issue from his daughters. Rus from Moav and Naamah from Ammon. Rus is well known, the only information I could find on Naamah is from Kings 14:21 where she is mentioned as the mother of Rechavam. The classical commentaries on that verse (including: Metzudos Dovid, Radak, Ralbag, Malbim) indicate that she was a bad influence on her son teaching him to worship idols in Shlomo's old age. Now it is possible that she was a huge tzaddakis before hand and then 'went off the derech' but there is no indication in the pesukim as such.

Which begs the question, what was so good about Naamah the Ammonite?

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    Rashi to Yevamos 63a: רות המואביה ונעמה העמונית. יצאו מהם מלכים ונביאים נעמה אמו של רחבעם ויצא ממנה חזקיה ואסא ויהושפט דהוו צדיקים גמורים וישעיהו הנביא דאמר מר אמוץ ואמציה אחים הוו
    – jake
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 22:30
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    Public Service Announcement.
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    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 4:31
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    @SethJ don't believe everything you read online, unless is comes from a trusted source. See definition #2 of 'Beg the question' - merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beg
    – user2110
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 13:12
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    @vulcandeathgrip, No one said they were righteous. The Talmud says that they were "good birds", or "two grafts (בריכות)". What that means is up for interpretation.
    – jake
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 13:58
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    Tosfos on bava kamma 38b s.v. moavim, seems to indicate that the language is lav dafka (not specific) and that ammon is not really included! Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


Rabbi Menachem Azariya miPano in Asara Ma'amaros, Eim Kol Chai, section 3 simanim 9-10 cites an unsourced midrash that Shlomo met Naamah when he was cast out of his kingdom by the demon king Ashmedia (see gittin 68b). The story goes that Ashmedai cast Shlomo's ring, which had the name of God engraved in it, into the ocean. Shlomo the wanderer ended up in the palace of the king of Ammon, where he served as a guard. Naamah chose to marry him but was expelled from the kingdom for doing so (along with her husband). There near the ocean they encountered a fish which had swallowed Shlomo's ring. Naamah finds the ring inside the fish and gives it to Shlomo, restoring him.

This midrash is cited (in abridged version) by Chidah in midbar kadeimot, ma'arechet nun, section 24. The summation being that what was good about Naamah is that she helped Shlomo "get back on his feet" so to speak, though that is never spelled out explicitly. However this aggadah is taken to task by Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Bagdad in his sefer Binayahu on Bava Kamma 38b where he proves (conclusively to my ears) that the story is implausible due to the dates of Shlomo's reign and Rechavam's birth.

Furthermore, to me this "midrash" seems to be a cobbling together of several other well known tropes such as the animal which swallows a treasure which ends up restoring the protagonist or the story of Rebbi Akiva's marriage to the daughter of Kalba Savua.

The gur aryeh to bamidbar 31:2 sees the references to the people themselves, Rus and Naamah, as lav dafka, preferring instead to view the historical themes of the nations of Moav and Ammon leading to the melucha of Dovid and Moshiach

  • The fact that the Midrash cobbles together other tropes doesn't make it not original. It just makes it Midrash.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 14:55

See Alshich on Rus perek 3 that indicates that from both of them together come the dynasty of Malchus Beis Dovid all the way to Moshiach.

  • He indicates this is why Na'amah is referred to in the Gemara as a good bird, or just a general indication?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 4:03

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