New English Translation
Ruth Works in the Field of Boaz
2 Now Naomi[a] had a relative[b] on her husband’s side of the family named Boaz. He was a wealthy, prominent man from the clan of Elimelech.[c] 2 One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go[d] to the fields so I can gather[e] grain behind whoever permits me to do so.”[f] Naomi[g] replied, “You may go, my daughter.” 3 So Ruth[h] went and gathered grain in the fields[i] behind the harvesters. Now she just happened to end up[j] in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Boaz and Ruth Meet
4 Now at that very moment,[k] Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted[l] the harvesters, “May the Lord be with you!” They replied,[m] “May the Lord bless you!” 5 Boaz asked[n] his servant[o] in charge of the harvesters, “To whom does this young woman belong?”[p] 6 The servant in charge of the harvesters replied, “She’s the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the region of Moab. 7 She asked,[q] ‘May I follow the harvesters and gather grain[r] among the bundles?’[s] Since she arrived she has been working hard[t] from this morning until now[u]—except for[v] sitting[w] in the resting hut[x] a short time.”[y]
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully,[z] my dear![aa] Do not leave to gather grain in another field. You need not[ab] go beyond the limits of this field. You may go along beside[ac] my female workers.[ad] 9 Take note of[ae] the field where the men[af] are harvesting and follow behind with the female workers.[ag] I will tell the men[ah] to leave you alone.[ai] When you are thirsty, you may go to[aj] the water jars[ak] and drink some of the water[al] the servants draw.”[am]
10 Ruth[an] knelt before him with her forehead to the ground[ao] and said to him, “Why are you so kind[ap] and so attentive to me,[aq] even though[ar] I am a foreigner?”[as] 11 Boaz replied to her,[at] “I have been given a full report of[au] all that you have done for your mother-in-law following the death of your husband—how you left[av] your father and your mother, as well as your homeland, and came to live among people you did not know previously.[aw] 12 May the Lord reward your efforts![ax] May your acts of kindness be repaid fully[ay] by the Lord God of Israel, from whom you have sought protection.”[az] 13 She said, “You really are being kind to me,[ba] sir,[bb] for you have reassured[bc] and encouraged[bd] me, your servant,[be] even though I will[bf] never be like[bg] one of your servants.”[bh]
14 Later during the mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and have[bi] some food! Dip your bread[bj] in the vinegar.” So she sat down beside the harvesters. Then he handed[bk] her some roasted grain. She ate until she was full and saved the rest.[bl] 15 When she got up to gather grain, Boaz told[bm] his male servants, “Let her gather grain even among[bn] the bundles. Don’t chase her off![bo] 16 Make sure you pull out[bp] ears of grain for her and drop them so she can gather them up. Don’t tell her not to!”[bq] 17 So she gathered grain in the field until evening. When she threshed[br] what she had gathered, it came to about thirty pounds[bs] of barley.
Ruth Returns to Naomi
18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw[bt] how much grain[bu] she had gathered. Then Ruth[bv] gave her the roasted grain she had saved from mealtime.[bw] 19 Her mother-in-law asked her,[bx] “Where did you gather grain today? Where did you work? May the one who took notice of you be rewarded!”[by] So Ruth[bz] told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked. She said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be rewarded by the Lord because he[ca] has shown loyalty to the living on behalf of the dead!”[cb] Then Naomi said to her, “This man is a close relative of ours; he is our guardian.”[cc] 21 Ruth the Moabite replied, “He even[cd] told me, ‘You may go along beside my servants[ce] until they have finished gathering all my harvest!’”[cf] 22 Naomi then said to her daughter-in-law Ruth, “It is good, my daughter, that you should go out to work with his female servants.[cg] That way you will not be harmed, which could happen in another field.”[ch] 23 So Ruth[ci] worked beside[cj] Boaz’s female servants, gathering grain until the end of the barley harvest as well as the wheat harvest.[ck] After that she stayed home with her mother-in-law.[cl]
Naomi Instructs Ruth
3 At that time,[cm] Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you so you will be secure.[cn] 2 Now Boaz, with whose female servants you worked, is our close relative.[co] Look, tonight he is winnowing barley at the threshing floor.[cp] 3 So bathe yourself,[cq] rub on some perfumed oil,[cr] and get dressed up.[cs] Then go down[ct] to the threshing floor. But don’t let the man know you’re there until he finishes his meal.[cu] 4 When he gets ready to go to sleep,[cv] take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs,[cw] and lie down[cx] beside him.[cy] He will tell[cz] you what you should do.” 5 Ruth replied to Naomi,[da] “I will do everything you have told[db] me[dc] to do.”[dd]
Ruth Visits Boaz
6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had instructed her to do.[de] 7 When Boaz had finished his meal and was feeling satisfied, he lay down to sleep at the far end of the grain heap.[df] Then Ruth[dg] crept up quietly,[dh] uncovered his legs,[di] and lay down beside him.[dj] 8 In the middle of the night he was startled[dk] and turned over.[dl] Now[dm] he saw a woman[dn] lying beside him![do] 9 He said, “Who are you?”[dp] She replied, “I am Ruth, your servant.[dq] Marry your servant,[dr] for you are a guardian of the family interests.”[ds] 10 He said, “May you be rewarded[dt] by the Lord, my dear![du] This act of devotion[dv] is greater than what you did before.[dw] For you have not sought to marry[dx] one of the young men, whether rich or poor.[dy] 11 Now, my dear, don’t worry![dz] I intend to do for you everything you propose,[ea] for everyone in the village[eb] knows that you are a worthy woman.[ec] 12 Now yes, it is true that[ed] I am a guardian,[ee] but there is another guardian who is a closer relative than I am. 13 Remain here tonight. Then in the morning, if he agrees to marry you,[ef] fine,[eg] let him do so.[eh] But if he does not want to do so, I promise, as surely as the Lord lives, to marry you.[ei] Sleep here until morning.”[ej] 14 So she slept beside him[ek] until morning. She woke up while it was still dark.[el] Boaz thought,[em] “No one must know that a woman visited the threshing floor.”[en] 15 Then he said, “Hold out the shawl[eo] you are wearing[ep] and grip it tightly.” As she held it tightly, he measured out about sixty pounds[eq] of barley into the shawl[er] and put it on her shoulders. Then he[es] went into town, 16 and she returned to her mother-in-law.
Ruth Returns to Naomi
When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law, Naomi[et] asked,[eu] “How did things turn out for you,[ev] my daughter?” Ruth[ew] told her about all the man had done for her. 17 She said, “He gave me these sixty pounds of barley, for he said to me,[ex] ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”[ey] 18 Then Naomi[ez] said, “Stay put,[fa] my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out. For the man will not rest until he has taken care of the matter today.”
Boaz Settles the Matter
4 Now Boaz went up[fb] to the village gate and sat there. Then along came the guardian[fc] whom Boaz had mentioned to Ruth.[fd] Boaz said, “Come[fe] here, what’s-your-name,[ff] and sit down.” So he came[fg] and sat down. 2 Boaz chose ten of the village leaders[fh] and said, “Sit down here!” So they sat down. 3 Then Boaz said to the guardian,[fi] “Naomi, who has returned from the region of Moab, is selling[fj] the portion of land that belongs to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I am legally informing you:[fk] Acquire it before those sitting here and before the leaders of my people.[fl] If you want to exercise your right to redeem it, then do so.[fm] But if not, then tell me[fn] so I will know.[fo] For you possess the first option to redeem it; I am next in line after you.”[fp] He replied, “I will redeem it.” 5 Then Boaz said, “When[fq] you acquire the field[fr] from Naomi,[fs] you must also[ft] acquire Ruth the Moabite,[fu] the wife of our deceased relative,[fv] in order to preserve his family name by raising up a descendant who will inherit his property.”[fw] 6 The guardian said, “Then I am unable to redeem it, for I would ruin my own inheritance[fx] in that case. You may exercise my redemption option, for I am unable to redeem it.”[fy] 7 (Now this used to be the customary way to finalize a transaction involving redemption in Israel:[fz] A man would remove his sandal and give it to the other party.[ga] This was a legally binding act[gb] in Israel.) 8 So the guardian said to Boaz, “You may acquire it,” and he removed his sandal.[gc] 9 Then Boaz said to the leaders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have acquired from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, as my wife to raise up a descendant who will inherit his property[gd] so the name of the deceased might not disappear[ge] from among his relatives and from his village.[gf] You are witnesses today.” 11 All the people who were at the gate and the elders replied, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is entering your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel! May[gg] you prosper[gh] in Ephrathah and become famous[gi] in Bethlehem. 12 May your family[gj] become like the family of Perez[gk]—whom Tamar bore to Judah—through the descendants[gl] the Lord gives you by this young woman.”
A Grandson is Born to Naomi
13 So Boaz married Ruth and slept with her.[gm] The Lord enabled her to conceive[gn] and she gave birth to a son. 14 The village women said to Naomi, “May the Lord be praised because he has not left you without a guardian[go] today! May he[gp] become famous in Israel![gq] 15 He will encourage you and provide for you when you are old,[gr] for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, has given him birth. She[gs] is better to you than seven sons!” 16 Naomi took the child and placed him on her lap;[gt] she became his caregiver.[gu] 17 The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed.[gv] Now he became the father of Jesse—David’s father.
Epilogue: Obed in the Genealogy of David
18 These are the descendants[gw] of Perez: Perez was the father of Hezron, 19 Hezron was the father of Ram, Ram was the father of Amminadab, 20 Amminadab was the father of Nachshon, Nachshon was the father of Salmah, 21 Salmon[gx] was the father of Boaz, Boaz was the father of Obed, 22 Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David.[gy]
- Ruth 2:1 tn The disjunctive clause (note the vav [ו] + prepositional phrase structure) provides background information essential to the following narrative.
- Ruth 2:1 tc The marginal reading (Qere) is מוֹדַע (modaʿ, “relative”), while the consonantal text (Kethib) has מְיֻדָּע (mᵉyuddaʿ, “friend”). The textual variant was probably caused by orthographic confusion between consonantal מְיֻדָּע and מוֹדַע. Virtually all English versions follow the marginal reading (Qere), e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “kinsman”; NIV, NCV, NLT “relative.”
- Ruth 2:1 tn Heb “and [there was] to Naomi a relative, to her husband, a man mighty in substance, from the clan of Elimelech, and his name [was] Boaz.”
- Ruth 2:2 tn The cohortative here (“Let me go”) expresses Ruth’s request. Note Naomi’s response, in which she gives Ruth permission to go to the field.
- Ruth 2:2 tn Following the preceding cohortative, the cohortative with vav conjunctive indicates purpose/result.
- Ruth 2:2 tn Heb “anyone in whose eyes I may find favor” (ASV, NIV similar). The expression אֶמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינָיו (ʾemtsaʾ khen beʿenayv, “to find favor in the eyes of [someone]”) appears in Ruth 2:2, 10, 13. It is most often used when a subordinate or servant requests permission for something from a superior (BDB 336 s.v. חֵן). Ruth will play the role of the subordinate servant, seeking permission from a landowner, who then could show benevolence by granting her request to glean in his field behind the harvest workers.
- Ruth 2:2 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Naomi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:3 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:3 tn Heb “and she went and entered [a field] and gleaned in the field behind the harvesters.” Cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV “the reapers”; TEV “the workers.”
- Ruth 2:3 sn The text is written from Ruth’s limited perspective. As far as she was concerned, she randomly picked a spot in the field. But God was providentially at work and led her to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who, as a near relative of Elimelech, was a potential benefactor.
- Ruth 2:4 tn Heb “and look”; NIV, NRSV “Just then.” The narrator invites the audience into the story, describing Boaz’s arrival as if it were witnessed by the audience.
- Ruth 2:4 tn Heb “said to.” Context indicates that the following expression is a greeting, the first thing Boaz says to his workers.
- Ruth 2:4 tn Heb “said to him.” For stylistic reasons “replied” is used in the present translation.
- Ruth 2:5 tn Heb “said to.” Since what follows is a question, “asked” is appropriate in this context.
- Ruth 2:5 tn Heb “young man.” Cf. NAB “overseer”; NIV, NLT “foreman.”
- Ruth 2:5 sn In this patriarchal culture Ruth would “belong” to either her father (if unmarried) or her husband (if married).
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “said.” What follows is a question, so “asked” is used in the translation.
- Ruth 2:7 tn On the use of the perfect with vav consecutive after the cohortative, see IBHS 530 §32.2.2b.
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “May I glean and gather among the bundles behind the harvesters?” Others translate, “May I glean and gather [grain] in bundles behind the harvesters?” (cf. NAB; see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 117). For discussion of the terminology and process of harvesting, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 59-61.
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “and she came and she has persisted.” The construction וַתָּבוֹא וַתַּעֲמוֹד (vattavoʾ vataʿamod) forms a dependent temporal sequence: “since she came, she has persisted.” Because עָמַד (ʿamad, “to stand, remain, persist”; BDB 764 s.v. עָמַד; HALOT 840-42 s.v. עמד) has a broad range of meanings, וַתַּעֲמוֹד has been understood in various ways: (1) Ruth had stood all morning waiting to receive permission from Boaz to glean in his field: “she has stood (here waiting)”; (2) Ruth had remained in the field all morning: “she has remained here” (NAB, NASB, NCV); and (3) Ruth had worked hard all morning: “she has worked steadily” (REB), “she has been working” (TEV, CEV), “she has been on her feet (all morning)” (JPS, NJPS, NRSV). For discussion, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 118-19.
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “and she came and she stood, from then, the morning, and until now, this, her sitting [in] the house a little.” The syntax of the Hebrew text is awkward and the meaning uncertain. For discussion see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 118-19.
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “except this.” The function and meaning of the demonstrative adjective זֶה (zeh, “this”) is difficult: (1) MT accentuation joins זֶה with שִׁבְתָּהּ (shivtah, “this her sitting”), suggesting that זֶה שִׁבְתָּהּ functions as subject complement (see BDB 261 s.v. זֶה 2.a and Josh 9:12). (2) Others suggest that זֶה functions as an emphasizing adverb of time (“just now”; BDB 261 s.v. 4.h) and connect it with עַתָּה (ʿattah, “now”) to form the idiom עַתָּה זֶה (ʿattah zeh, “now, just now”; BDB 261 s.v. 4.h; GKC 442-43 §136.d; see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 118-19). The entire line is translated variously: KJV “until now, (+ save ASV) that she tarried a little in the house”; NASB “she has been sitting in the house for a little while”; NIV “except for a short rest in the shelter”; NJPS “she has rested but little in the hut”; “her sitting (= resting) in the house (has only been) for a moment.” A paraphrase would be: “She came and has kept at it (= gleaning) from this morning until now, except for this: She has been sitting in the hut only a little while.” The clause as a whole is an exceptive clause: “except for this….”
- Ruth 2:7 tc The MT vocalizes consonantal שבתה as שִׁבְתָּהּ (shivtah, “her sitting”; Qal infinitive construct from יָשַׁב (yashav), “to sit” + third person feminine singular suffix), apparently taking the third person feminine singular suffix as a subjective genitive: “she sat [in the hut only a little while]” (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV, REB, TEV, NCV, NJPS). On the other hand, LXX κατέπαυσεν (katepausen “she rested”) reflects the vocalization שָׁבְתָה (shavetah, “she rested”; Qal perfect third person feminine singular from שָׁבַת (shavat), “to rest”): “she rested [in the hut only a little while]” (so RSV, NRSV, NAB, CEV, NJB, JPS). The MT reading is more difficult and is therefore probably original.tn Heb “and she came and she stood, from then, the morning, and until now, this, her sitting [in] the house a little.” The syntax of the Hebrew text is awkward here and the meaning uncertain. F. W. Bush (Ruth, Esther [WBC], 118-19) takes עָמַד (ʿamad, “to stand”) in the sense “to stay, remain,” connects זֶה (zeh, “this”) with the preceding עַתָּה (ʿattah, “now”) as an emphasizing adverb of time (“just now”), and emends שִׁבְתָּהּ הַבַּיִת (shivtah habbayit, “her sitting [in] the house”) to שָׁבְתָה (shavetah, “she rested”), omitting הַבַּיִת (habbayit) as dittographic. Another option is to translate, “She came and has stood here from this morning until now. She’s been sitting in the house for a short time.” According to this view the servant has made Ruth wait to get permission from Boaz.
- Ruth 2:7 tc Several English versions (NAB, NEB, RSV, NRSV, JB, CEV) suggest deleting MT הַבַּיִת (habbayit, lit. “the house”) due to dittography with בתה in שִׁבְתָּהּ (shivtah) which precedes; however, several ancient textual witnesses support the MT (medieval Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum). The LXX reading ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ (en tō agrō, “in the field”) probably does not represent an alternate Hebrew textual tradition, but merely the translator’s attempt to smooth out a difficult Hebrew text.tn “[in] the house.” The noun הַבַּיִת (lit. “the house”) functions as an adverbial accusative of location, and probably refers to a “hut, shelter,” providing shade for workers in the field, such as those still used by harvesters in modern Israel (H. A. Hoffner, TDOT 2:111-15). This kind of structure is probably referred to using different terms in Isaiah 1:8, “like a shelter (כְּסֻכָּה, kesukkah) in a vineyard, like a hut (כִּמְלוּנָה, kimlunah) in a field of melons.” Some translations render הַבַּיִת (habbayit) literally as “the house” (KJV, NKJV, NASB), while others nuance it as “the shelter” (NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).
- Ruth 2:7 tn Heb “a little while.” The adjective מְעָט (meʿat) functions in a temporal sense (“a little while”; e.g., Job 24:24) or a comparative sense (“a little bit”); see BDB 589-90 s.v. The foreman’s point is that Ruth was a hard worker who only rested a short time, or that she had only been waiting for permission for a short time (depending on how other issues in the verse are resolved).
- Ruth 2:8 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The idiomatic, negated rhetorical question is equivalent to an affirmation (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 119, and GKC 474 §150.e).
- Ruth 2:8 tn Heb “my daughter.” This form of address is a mild form of endearment, perhaps merely rhetorical. It might suggest that Boaz is older than Ruth, but not necessarily significantly so. A few English versions omit it entirely (e.g., TEV, CEV).
- Ruth 2:8 tn The switch from the negative particle אַל (ʾal, see the preceding statement, “do not leave”) to לֹא (loʾ) may make this statement more emphatic. It may indicate that the statement is a policy applicable for the rest of the harvest (see v. 21).
- Ruth 2:8 tn Heb “and thus you may stay close with.” The imperfect has a permissive nuance here.
- Ruth 2:8 sn The female workers would come along behind those who cut the grain and bundle it up. Staying close to the female workers allowed Ruth to collect more grain than would normally be the case (see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 61, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 121).
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “let your eyes be upon” (KJV, NASB similar).
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “they.” The verb is masculine plural, indicating that the male workers are the subject here.
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “and go after them.” The pronominal suffix (“them”) is feminine plural, indicating that the female workers are referred to here.
- Ruth 2:9 tn Male servants are in view here, as the masculine plural form of the noun indicates (cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “the young men”).
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “Have I not commanded the servants not to touch [i.e., “harm”] you?” The idiomatic, negated rhetorical question is equivalent to an affirmation (see v. 8). The perfect is either instantaneous, indicating completion of the action concurrent with the statement (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 107, 121-22, who translates, “I am herewith ordering”) or emphatic/rhetorical, indicating the action is as good as done.
- Ruth 2:9 tn The juxtaposition of two perfects, each with vav consecutive, here indicates a conditional sentence (see GKC 337 §112.kk).
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “vessels (so KJV, NAB, NRSV), receptacles”; NCV “water jugs.”
- Ruth 2:9 tn Heb “drink [some] of that which” (KJV similar); in the context “water” is implied.
- Ruth 2:9 tn The imperfect here either indicates characteristic or typical activity, or anterior future, referring to a future action (drawing water) which logically precedes another future action (drinking).
- Ruth 2:10 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:10 tn Heb “she fell upon her face and bowed to the ground” (KJV, NASB similar).
- Ruth 2:10 tn Heb “Why do I find favor in your eyes…?” The expression מָצַא חֵן בְּעֵינֶי (matsaʾ khen beʿeney, “to find favor in the eyes of [someone]”) is often characterized by the following features: (1) A subordinate or servant is requesting permission for something from a superior (master, owner, king). (2) The granting of the request is not a certainty but dependent on whether or not the superior is pleased with the subordinate to do so. (3) The granting of the request by the superior is an act of kindness or benevolence; however, it sometimes reciprocates loyalty previously shown by the subordinate to the superior (e.g., Gen 30:27; 32:6; 33:8, 10, 15; 34:11; 39:4; 47:25, 29; 50:4; Num 32:5; Deut 24:1; 1 Sam 1:18; 16:22; 20:3, 29; 27:3; 2 Sam 14:22; 16:4; 1 Kgs 11:19; Esth 5:8; 7:3; BDB 336 s.v. חֵן). While Boaz had granted her request for permission to glean in his field, she is amazed at the degree of kindness he had shown—especially since she had done nothing, in her own mind, to merit such a display. However, Boaz explains that she had indeed shown kindness to him indirectly through her devotion to Naomi (v. 11).
- Ruth 2:10 tn Heb “Why do I find favor in your eyes by [you] recognizing me.” The infinitive construct with prefixed ל (lamed) here indicates manner (“by”).
- Ruth 2:10 tn Heb “and I am a foreigner.” The disjunctive clause (note the pattern vav + subject + predicate nominative) here has a circumstantial (i.e., concessive) function (“even though”).
- Ruth 2:10 sn The similarly spelled Hebrew terms נָכַר (nakhar, “to notice”) and נָכְרִי (nokhri, “foreigner”) in this verse form a homonymic wordplay. This highlights the unexpected nature of the attentiveness and concern Boaz displayed to Ruth.
- Ruth 2:11 tn Heb “answered and said to her” (so NASB). For stylistic reasons this has been translated as “replied to her.”
- Ruth 2:11 tn Heb “it has been fully reported to me.” The infinitive absolute here emphasizes the following finite verb from the same root. Here it emphasizes either the clarity of the report or its completeness. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 153, n. 6. Most English versions tend toward the nuance of completeness (e.g., KJV “fully been shewed”; NAB “a complete account”; NASB, NRSV “All that you have done”).
- Ruth 2:11 tn The vav (ו) consecutive construction here has a specifying function. This and the following clause elaborate on the preceding general statement and explain more specifically what she did for her mother-in-law.
- Ruth 2:11 tn Heb “yesterday and the third day.” This Hebrew idiom means “previously, in the past” (Exod 5:7, 8, 14; Exod 21:29, 36; Deut 4:42; 19:4, 6; Josh 3:4; 1 Sam 21:5; 2 Sam 3:17; 1 Chr 11:2).
- Ruth 2:12 tn Heb “repay your work”; KJV, ASV “recompense thy work.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive of prayer (note the jussive form in the next clause).
- Ruth 2:12 tn Heb “may your wages be complete”; NCV “May your wages be paid in full.” The prefixed verbal form is a distinct jussive form, indicating that this is a prayer for blessing.
- Ruth 2:12 tn Heb “under whose wings you have sought shelter”; NIV, NLT “have come to take refuge.”
- Ruth 2:13 tn Heb “I am finding favor in your eyes.” In v. 10, where Ruth uses the perfect, she simply states the fact that Boaz is kind. Here the Hebrew text switches to the imperfect, thus emphasizing the ongoing attitude of kindness displayed by Boaz. Many English versions treat this as a request: KJV “Let me find favour in thy sight”; NAB “May I prove worthy of your kindness”; NIV “May I continue to find favor in your eyes.”
- Ruth 2:13 tn Heb “my master”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “my lord.”
- Ruth 2:13 tn Or “comforted” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT).
- Ruth 2:13 tn Heb “spoken to the heart of.” As F. W. Bush points out, the idiom here means “to reassure, encourage” (Ruth, Esther [WBC], 124).
- Ruth 2:13 tn Ruth here uses a word (שִׁפְחָה, shifkhah) that describes the lowest level of female servant (see 1 Sam 25:41). Note Ruth 3:9 where she uses the word אָמָה (ʾamah), which refers to a higher class of servant.
- Ruth 2:13 tn The imperfect verbal form of הָיָה (hayah) is used here. F. W. Bush shows from usage elsewhere that the form should be taken as future (Ruth, Esther [WBC], 124-25).
- Ruth 2:13 tn Or “will never be the equivalent of one of your maidservants” (see F. Bush, Ruth [WBC], 107).
- Ruth 2:13 tn The disjunctive clause (note the pattern vav [ו] + subject + verb) is circumstantial (or concessive) here (“even though”).
- Ruth 2:14 tn Heb “eat” (so KJV, NRSV).
- Ruth 2:14 tn Heb “your portion”; NRSV “your morsel.”
- Ruth 2:14 tn The Hebrew verb צָבַט (tsavat) occurs only here in the OT. Cf. KJV, ASV “he reached her”; NASB “he served her”; NIV “he offered her”; NRSV “he heaped up for her.” For discussion of its meaning, including the etymological evidence, see BDB 840 s.v.; R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 174; and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 125-26.
- Ruth 2:14 tn Heb “and she ate and she was satisfied and she had some left over” (NASB similar).
- Ruth 2:15 tn Or “commanded” (so KJV, NASB, NCV).
- Ruth 2:15 tn Heb “even between”; NCV “even around.”
- Ruth 2:15 tn Heb “do not humiliate her”; cf. KJV “reproach her not”; NASB “do not insult her”; NIV “don’t embarrass her.” This probably refers to a verbal rebuke which would single her out and embarrass her (see v. 16). See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 176-77, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 126.
- Ruth 2:16 tn The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verb for emphasis. Here שָׁלַל (shalal, “pull out”) is a homonym of the more common Hebrew verb meaning “to plunder.” An Arabic cognate is used of drawing a sword out of a scabbard (see BDB 1021 s.v.).
- Ruth 2:16 tn Heb “do not rebuke her” (so NASB, NRSV); CEV “don’t speak harshly to her”; NLT “don’t give her a hard time.”
- Ruth 2:17 tn Heb “she beat out” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT). Ruth probably used a stick to separate the kernels of grain from the husks. See O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 63.
- Ruth 2:17 tn Heb “there was an ephah.” An ephah was a dry measure, equivalent to one-tenth of a homer (see HALOT 43 s.v. אֵיפָה). An ephah was equivalent to a “bath,” a liquid measure. Jars labeled “bath” found at archaeological sites in Israel could contain approximately 5.8 gallons, or one-half to two-thirds of a bushel. Thus an ephah of barley would have weighed about 29 to 30 pounds (just over 13 kg). See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 179.sn This was a huge amount of barley for one woman to gather in a single day. It testifies both to Ruth’s industry and to Boaz’s generosity.
- Ruth 2:18 tc MT vocalizes ותרא as the Qal verb וַתֵּרֶא (vattereʾ, “and she saw”), consequently of “her mother-in-law” as subject and “what she gathered” as the direct object: “her mother-in-law saw what she gathered.” A few medieval Hebrew mss (also reflected in Syriac and Vulgate) have the Hiphil וַתַּרְא (vattarʾ, “and she showed”), consequently taking “her mother-in-law” as the direct object and “what she gathered” as the double direct-object: “she showed her mother-in-law what she had gathered” (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV, NLT). Although the latter has the advantage of making Ruth the subject of all the verbs in this verse, it would be syntactically difficult. For one would expect the accusative sign אֶת (ʾet) before “her mother-in-law” if it were the direct object of a Hiphil verb in a sentence with a double direct object introduced by the accusative sign אֶת, e.g., “to show (Hiphil of רָאָה, raʾah) your servant (direct object marked by accusative sign אֶת) your greatness (double direct object marked by accusative sign אֶת) (Deut 3:24). Therefore the MT reading is preferred.
- Ruth 2:18 tn Heb “that which”; the referent (how much grain) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:18 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:18 tn Heb “and she brought out and gave to her that which she had left over from her being satisfied.”
- Ruth 2:19 tn Heb “said to her.” Since what follows is a question, the translation uses “asked her” here.
- Ruth 2:19 tn Or “blessed” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV). The same expression occurs in the following verse.
- Ruth 2:19 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:20 tn Heb “Blessed be he to the Lord, who has not abandoned his loyalty.” The formula has (1) the passive participle “blessed,” followed by (2) a person (in this case “he”), followed by (3) the preposition and noun “to the Lord,” followed by (4) the relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher, “who”). The issue is whether the relative pronoun refers back to the Lord or to Boaz (“he”). Many English versions translate: “May he [Boaz] be blessed by the Lord, who has not abandoned his loyalty to the living and dead.” In this rendering the pronoun אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher) appears to refer to “the Lord” not abandoning his loyalty. But it actually refers to Boaz as is clarified by the similar construction in 2 Sam 2:5. The formula there says, “May you [plural] be blessed to the Lord, who you [plural] have extended such kindness to your master Saul.” The plural verb after “who” clarifies that the clause does not refer to the Lord. As a formula, the אֲשֶׁר (ʾasher) clause, “who…,” modifies the person(s) to be blessed by the Lord, noting something the person(s) did to warrant the blessing. (Since the content of the clause provides a reason, it is fair to translate אֲשֶׁר [ʾasher, “who”] as “because.”) Some translations make the subordinate clause into a separate sentence, but this does not fully clarify the issue, e.g. “The Lord bless him…He has not stopped showing his kindness” (NIV). See B. A. Rebera, “Yahweh or Boaz? Ruth 2.20 Reconsidered,” BT 36 (1985): 317-27, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 134-36. By caring for the impoverished widows’ physical needs, Boaz had demonstrated loyalty to both the living (the impoverished widows) and the dead (their late husbands). See R. B. Chisholm, From Exegesis to Exposition, 72.
- Ruth 2:20 tn Heb “to the living and the dead” (so KJV, NASB).
- Ruth 2:20 tn The Hebrew term גָּאַל (gaʾal) is sometimes translated “redeemer” here (NIV “one of our kinsman-redeemers”; NLT “one of our family redeemers”). In this context Boaz, as a “redeemer,” functions as a guardian of the family interests who has responsibility for caring for the widows of his deceased kinsmen.
- Ruth 2:21 tn On the force of the phrase גָּם כִּי (gam ki) here, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 138-39.
- Ruth 2:21 tn Heb “with the servants who are mine you may stay close.” The imperfect has a permissive nuance here. The word “servants” is masculine plural.
- Ruth 2:21 tn Heb “until they have finished all the harvest which is mine”; NIV “until they finish harvesting all my grain.”
- Ruth 2:22 tn Naomi uses the feminine form of the word “servant” (as Boaz did earlier, see v. 8), in contrast to Ruth’s use of the masculine form in the preceding verse. Since she is concerned for Ruth’s safety, she may be subtly reminding Ruth to stay with the female workers and not get too close to the men.
- Ruth 2:22 tn Heb “and they will not harm you in another field”; NRSV “otherwise you might be bothered in another field.”
- Ruth 2:23 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 2:23 tn Heb “and she stayed close with”; NIV, NRSV, CEV “stayed close to”; NCV “continued working closely with.”
- Ruth 2:23 sn Barley was harvested from late March through late April, wheat from late April to late May (O. Borowski, Agriculture in Ancient Israel, 88, 91).
- Ruth 2:23 tn Heb “and she lived with her mother-in-law” (so NASB). Some interpret this to mean that she lived with her mother-in-law while working in the harvest. In other words, she worked by day and then came home to Naomi each evening. Others understand this to mean that following the harvest she stayed at home each day with Naomi and no longer went out looking for work (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 140). Others even propose that she lived away from home during this period, but this seems unlikely. A few Hebrew mss (so also Latin Vulgate) support this view by reading, “and she returned to her mother-in-law.”
- Ruth 3:1 tn The phrase “sometime later” does not appear in Hebrew but is supplied to mark the implicit shift in time from the events in chapter 2.
- Ruth 3:1 tn Heb “My daughter, should I not seek for you a resting place so that it may go well for you [or which will be good for you]?” The idiomatic, negated rhetorical question is equivalent to an affirmation (see 2:8-9) and has thus been translated in the affirmative (so also NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Ruth 3:2 tn Heb “Is not Boaz our close relative, with whose female servants you were?” The idiomatic, negated rhetorical question is equivalent to an affirmation (see Ruth 2:8-9; 3:1) and has thus been translated in the affirmative (so also NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Ruth 3:2 tn Heb “look, he is winnowing the barley threshing floor tonight.”sn Winnowing the threshed grain involved separating the kernels of grain from the straw and chaff. The grain would be thrown into the air, allowing the wind to separate the kernels (see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 65-66). The threshing floor itself was usually located outside town in a place where the prevailing west wind could be used to advantage (Borowski, 62-63).
- Ruth 3:3 tn The perfect with prefixed vav (ו) consecutive here introduces a series of instructions. See GKC 335 §112.aa for other examples of this construction.
- Ruth 3:3 tn For the meaning of the verb סוּךְ (sukh), see HALOT 745-46 s.v. II סוך, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 150. Cf. NAB, NRSV “anoint yourself”; NIV “perfume yourself”; NLT “put on perfume.”
- Ruth 3:3 tc The consonantal text (Kethib) has the singular שִׂמְלֹתֵךְ (simlotekh, “your outer garment”), while the marginal reading (Qere) has the plural שִׂמְלֹתַיִךְ (simlotayikh) which might function as a plural of number (“your outer garments”) or a plural of composition (“your outer garment [composed of several parts]).”tn Heb “and put your outer garment on yourself”; NAB “put on your best attire.” The noun שִׂמְלָה (simlah) may refer to clothes in general (see R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth [NICOT], 197, n. 7) or a long outer garment (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 150-51). Mourners often wore mourning clothes and refrained from washing or using cosmetics (Gen 38:14, 19; 2 Sam 12:20; 14:2), so Ruth’s attire and appearance would signal that her period of mourning was over and she was now available for remarriage (see Bush, 152).
- Ruth 3:3 tc The consonantal text (Kethib) has וְיָרַדְתִּי (veyaradti, “then I will go down”; Qal perfect first person common singular), while the marginal reading (Qere) is וְיָרַדְתְּ (veyaradet, “then you go down”; Qal perfect second person feminine singular) which makes more much sense in context. It is possible that the Kethib preserves an archaic spelling of the second person feminine singular form (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 144-45).
- Ruth 3:3 tn Heb “until he finishes eating and drinking”; NASB, NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV “until he has finished.”
- Ruth 3:4 tn Heb “and let it be when he lies down”; NAB “But when he lies down.”
- Ruth 3:4 tn Some define the noun מַרְגְּלוֹת (margelot) as “the place for the feet” (see HALOT 631 s.v.; cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), but in Dan 10:6 the word refers to the legs, or “region of the legs.” For this reason “legs” or “lower body” is the preferred translation (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 152). Because “foot” is sometimes used euphemistically for the genitals, some feel that Ruth uncovered Boaz’s genitals. For a critique of this view see Bush, 153. While Ruth and Boaz did not actually have a sexual encounter at the threshing floor, there is no doubt that Ruth’s actions are symbolic and constitute a marriage proposal.
- Ruth 3:4 tc The consonantal text (Kethib) has וְשָׁכָבְתִּי (veshakhavtiy, “then I will lie down”; Qal perfect first person common singular), while the marginal reading (Qere) is וְשָׁכָבְתְּ (veshakhavet, “then you lie down”; Qal perfect second person feminine singular) which makes more sense. It is possible that the Kethib preserves an archaic spelling of the second person feminine singular form (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 144-45).
- Ruth 3:4 tn The words “beside him” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons; cf. NLT “lie down there.”
- Ruth 3:4 tn The disjunctive clause structure (vav [ו] + subject + verb) highlights this final word of instruction or signals the conclusion of the instructions.
- Ruth 3:5 tn Heb “she said to her.” The referents (Ruth and Naomi) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:5 tn The Hebrew imperfect is used, even though Naomi’s instructions appear to be concluded. The imperfect can sometimes express actions which although (strictly speaking) are already finished, yet are regarded as still lasting into the present, or continuing to operate in it (GKC 316 §107.h).
- Ruth 3:5 tc The MT (Kethib) lacks the preposition אֵלַי (ʾelay, “to me”) which is attested in the marginal reading (Qere). Many medieval Hebrew mss agree with the marginal reading (Qere) by including the phrase.
- Ruth 3:5 tn Heb “everything which you are saying I will do.” The Hebrew word order emphasizes Ruth’s intention to follow Naomi’s instructions to the letter.
- Ruth 3:6 tn Heb “and she did according to all which her mother-in-law commanded her” (NASB similar). Verse 6 is a summary statement, while the following verses (vv. 7-15) give the particulars.
- Ruth 3:7 tn Heb “and Boaz ate and drank and his heart was well and he went to lie down at the end of the heap”; NAB “at the edge of the sheaves.”
- Ruth 3:7 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:7 sn Ruth must have waited until Boaz fell asleep, for he does not notice when she uncovers his legs and lies down beside him.
- Ruth 3:7 tn See the note on the word “legs” in v. 4.
- Ruth 3:7 tn The words “beside him” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Cf. TEV “at his feet”; CEV “near his feet.”
- Ruth 3:8 tn Heb “trembled, shuddered”; CEV, NLT “suddenly woke up.” Perhaps he shivered because he was chilled.
- Ruth 3:8 tn The verb לָפַת (lafat) occurs only here, Job 6:18, and Judg 16:29 (where it seems to mean “grab hold of”). Here the verb seems to carry the meaning “bend, twist, turn,” like its Arabic cognate (see HALOT 533 s.v. לפת, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 163).
- Ruth 3:8 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, NASB). The narrator invites the reader to view the situation through Boaz’s eyes.
- Ruth 3:8 sn Now he saw a woman. The narrator writes from Boaz’s perspective. Both the narrator and the reader know the night visitor is Ruth, but from Boaz’s perspective she is simply “a woman.”
- Ruth 3:8 tn Heb “[at] his legs.” See the note on the word “legs” in v. 4.
- Ruth 3:9 tn When Boaz speaks, he uses the feminine form of the pronoun, indicating that he knows she is a woman.
- Ruth 3:9 tn Here Ruth uses אָמָה (ʾamah), a more elevated term for a female servant than שִׁפְחָה (shifkhah), the word used in 2:13. In Ruth 2, where Ruth has just arrived from Moab and is very much aware of her position as a foreigner (v. 10), she acknowledges Boaz’s kindness and emphasizes her own humility by using the term שִׁפְחָה, though she admits that she does not even occupy that lowly position on the social scale. However, here in chap. 3, where Naomi sends her to Boaz to seek marriage, she uses the more elevated term אָמָה to describe herself because she is now aware of Boaz’s responsibility as a close relative of her deceased husband and she wants to challenge him to fulfill his obligation. In her new social context she is dependent on Boaz (hence the use of אָמָה), but she is no mere שִׁפְחָה.
- Ruth 3:9 tn Heb “and spread your wing [or skirt] over your servant.” Many medieval Hebrew mss have the plural/dual “your wings” rather than the singular “your wing, skirt.” The latter is more likely here in the context of Ruth’s marriage proposal. In the metaphorical account in Ezek 16:8, God spreads his skirt over naked Jerusalem as an act of protection and as a precursor to marriage. Thus Ruth’s words can be taken, in effect, as a marriage proposal (and are so translated here; cf. TEV “So please marry me”). See F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 164-65.
- Ruth 3:9 tn Heb “for you are a גֹאֵל [goʾel],” sometimes translated “redeemer” (cf. NIV “a kinsman-redeemer”; NLT “my family redeemer”). In this context Boaz, as a “redeemer,” functions as a guardian of the family interests who has responsibility for caring for the widows of his deceased kinsmen. For a discussion of the legal background, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 166-69.sn By proposing marriage, Ruth goes beyond the letter of Naomi’s instructions (see v. 4, where Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would tell her what to do). Though she is more aggressive than Naomi told her to be, she is still carrying out the intent of Naomi’s instructions, which were designed to lead to marriage.
- Ruth 3:10 tn Or “blessed” (so NASB, NRSV).
- Ruth 3:10 tn Heb “my daughter.” This form of address is a mild form of endearment, perhaps merely rhetorical. A few English versions omit it entirely (e.g., TEV, CEV). The same expression occurs in v. 11.
- Ruth 3:10 tn Heb “latter [act of] devotion”; NRSV “this last instance of your loyalty.”
- Ruth 3:10 tn Heb “you have made the latter act of devotion better than the former”; NIV “than that which you showed earlier.”sn Greater than what you did before. Ruth’s former act of devotion was her decision to remain and help Naomi. The latter act of devotion is her decision to marry Boaz to provide a child to carry on her deceased husband’s (and Elimelech’s) line and to provide for Naomi in her old age (see Ruth 4:5, 10, 15).
- Ruth 3:10 tn Heb “by not going after the young men” (NASB similar); TEV “You might have gone looking for a young man.”
- Ruth 3:10 tn Heb “whether poor or rich” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); the more common English idiom reverses the order (“rich or poor”; cf. NIV, NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).sn Whether rich or poor. This statement seems to indicate that Ruth could have married anyone. However, only by marrying a גֹּאֵל (goʾel, “family guardian”; traditionally “redeemer”) could she carry on her dead husband’s line and make provision for Naomi.
- Ruth 3:11 tn Heb “do not fear” (so NASB); NRSV “do not be afraid.”
- Ruth 3:11 tn Heb “everything which you are saying I will do for you.” The Hebrew word order emphasizes Boaz’s intention to fulfill Ruth’s request. As in v. 5, the Hebrew imperfect is used (note “you are saying”), even though Ruth’s request appears to be concluded. According to GKC 316 §107.h, the imperfect can sometimes “express actions, etc., which although, strictly speaking, they are already finished, are regarded as still lasting on into the present time, or continuing to operate in it.” The imperfect אֶעֱשֶׂה (ʾeʿeseh) could be translated “I will do” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), but since there are legal complications which must first be resolved, it is better to take the form as indicating Boaz’s desire or intention, if the legal matters can be worked out.
- Ruth 3:11 tn Heb “all the gate of the town,” which by metonymy could refer to everyone in town (NIV “All my fellow townsmen”; NLT “everyone in town”), or only to the leaders and prominent citizens of the community (Boaz’s peers) who transacted business and made legal decisions at the town gate (NRSV “all the assembly of my people”).
- Ruth 3:11 tn Or “woman of strong character” (cf. NIV “woman of noble character”). The same phrase is used in Prov 31:10 to describe the ideal wife. Prov 31 emphasizes the ideal wife’s industry, her devotion to her family, and her concern for others, characteristics which Ruth had demonstrated.
- Ruth 3:12 tc The sequence כִּי אָמְנָם כִּי אִם (ki ʾomnam ki ʾim; Kethib) occurs only here in the OT, as does the sequence כִּי אָמְנָם כִּי (Qere). It is likely that כִּי אִם is dittographic (note the preceding sequence כִּי אָמְנָם). The translation assumes that the original text was simply the otherwise unattested וְעַתָּה כִּי אָמְנָם, with אָמְנָם and כִּי both having an asseverative (or emphatic) function.
- Ruth 3:12 tn Sometimes translated “redeemer” (also later in this verse). See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in v. 9.
- Ruth 3:13 tn Heb “if he redeems you”; NIV “if he wants to redeem”; NRSV “if he will act as next-of-kin for you.” The verb גֹּאֵל (goʾel) here refers generally to fulfilling his responsibilities as a guardian of the family interests. In this case it specifically entails marrying Ruth.
- Ruth 3:13 tn Or “good” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “well and good.”
- Ruth 3:13 tn Heb “let him redeem” (so NIV); NLT “then let him marry you.”
- Ruth 3:13 tn Heb “but if he does not want to redeem you, then I will redeem you, I, [as] the Lord lives” (NASB similar).
- Ruth 3:13 sn Sleep here. Perhaps Boaz tells her to remain at the threshing floor because he is afraid she might be hurt wandering back home in the dark. See Song 5:7 and R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 218.
- Ruth 3:14 tc The consonantal text (Kethib) has the singular מַרְגְּלָתוֹ (margelato, “his leg”), while the marginal reading (Qere) has the plural מַרְגְּלוֹתָיו (margelotayv, “his legs”). tn Heb “[at] his legs.” See the note on the word “legs” in v. 4.
- Ruth 3:14 tn Heb “and she arose before a man could recognize his companion”; NRSV “before one person could recognize another”; CEV “before daylight.”
- Ruth 3:14 tn Heb “and he said” (so KJV, NASB, NIV). Some translate “he thought [to himself]” (cf. NCV).
- Ruth 3:14 tn Heb “let it not be known that the woman came [to] the threshing floor” (NASB similar). The article on הָאִשָּׁה (haʾishah, “the woman”) is probably dittographic (note the final he on the preceding verb בָּאָה [baʾah, “she came”]).
- Ruth 3:15 tn Or “cloak” (so NAB, NRSV, NLT); CEV “cape.” The Hebrew noun occurs only here and in Isa 3:22.
- Ruth 3:15 tn Heb “which [is] upon you”; NIV, NRSV “you are wearing.”
- Ruth 3:15 tn Heb “and she gripped it tightly and he measured out six of barley and placed upon her.” The unit of measure is not indicated in the Hebrew text, although it would probably have been clear to the original hearers of the account. Six ephahs, the equivalent of 180-300 pounds, is clearly too heavy, especially if carried in a garment. Six omers (an omer being a tenth of an ephah) seems too little, since this would have amounted to six-tenths of an ephah, less than Ruth had gleaned in a single day (cf. 2:17). Thus a seah (one third of an ephah) may be in view here; six seahs would amount to two ephahs, about 60 pounds (27 kg). See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 222, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 178.
- Ruth 3:15 tn The phrase “into the shawl” are supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:15 tc The MT preserves the third person masculine singular form וַיָּבֹא (vayyavoʾ, “then he went”; cf. ASV, NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT), while many medieval mss (supported by the Syriac and Vulgate) have the third person feminine singular form וַתָּבֹא (vattavoʾ, “then she went”; cf. KJV, NASB, TEV).
- Ruth 3:16 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Naomi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:16 tn Heb “said.” Since what follows is a question, the present translation uses “asked” here.
- Ruth 3:16 tn Heb “Who are you?” In this context Naomi is clearly not asking for Ruth’s identity. Here the question has the semantic force “Are you his wife?” See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 223-24, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 184-85.
- Ruth 3:16 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Ruth) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:17 tc The MT (Kethib) lacks the preposition אֵלַי (ʾelay, “to me”) which is attested in the marginal reading (Qere).
- Ruth 3:17 sn ‘Do not go to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’ In addition to being a further gesture of kindness on Boaz’s part, the gift of barley served as a token of his intention to fulfill his responsibility as family guardian. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 225-26, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 187.
- Ruth 3:18 tn Heb “she”; the referent (Naomi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Ruth 3:18 tn Heb “sit”; KJV “Sit still”; NAB “Wait here”; NLT “Just be patient.”
- Ruth 4:1 tn The disjunctive clause structure (note the pattern vav [ו] + subject + verb) here signals the beginning of a new scene.
- Ruth 4:1 tn Sometimes translated “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9.
- Ruth 4:1 tn Heb “look, the guardian was passing by of whom Boaz had spoken.”
- Ruth 4:1 tn Heb “turn aside” (so KJV, NASB); NIV, TEV, NLT “Come over here.”
- Ruth 4:1 tn The Hebrew idiom, פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי (peloni ʾalmoni) literally means “such and such” or “a certain one” (BDB 811-12 s.v. פְּלֹנִי. The idiom is used when one wishes to be ambiguous (1 Sam 21:3; 2 Kgs 6:8). Certainly Boaz would have known his relative’s name, especially in such a small village, and would have uttered his actual name. However the narrator refuses to record his name in a form of poetic justice because he refused to preserve Mahlon’s “name” (lineage) by marrying his widow (see 4:5, 9-10). This close relative, who is a literary foil for Boaz, refuses to fulfill the role of family guardian and is relegated to anonymity in a chapter otherwise filled with names and in contrast to Boaz’s prominence. Because the actual name of this relative is not recorded, the translation of this expression is difficult. Contemporary English style expects either a name or title, but the purpose of the expression is to remove his name. This is usually supplied in modern translations: “friend” (NASB, NIV, RSV, NRSV, NLT), “so-and-so” (JPS, NJPS). Perhaps “Mr. So-And-So!” or “Mr. No-Name!” makes the point. For discussion see Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative, 99-101; R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 233-35; F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 196-97.
- Ruth 4:1 tn Heb “and he turned aside” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “And he went over.”
- Ruth 4:2 tn Heb “and he took ten men from the elders of the town.”
- Ruth 4:3 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9.
- Ruth 4:3 tn The perfect form of the verb here describes as a simple fact an action that is underway (cf. NIV, NRSV, CEV, NLT); NAB “is putting up for sale.”sn Naomi…is selling. The nature of the sale is uncertain. Naomi may have been selling the property rights to the land, but this seems unlikely in light of what is known about ancient Israelite property laws. It is more likely that Naomi, being a woman, held only the right to use the land until the time of her remarriage or death (F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 202-4). Because she held this right to use of the land, she also had the right to buy it back from the its current owner. (This assumes that Elimelech sold the land prior to going to Moab.) Since she did not possess the means to do so, however, she decided to dispose of her rights in the matter. She was not selling the land per se, but disposing of the right to its redemption and use, probably in exchange for room and board with the purchaser (Bush, 211-15). If this is correct, it might be preferable to translate, “Naomi is disposing of her rights to the portion of land,” although such a translation presumes some knowledge of ancient Israelite property laws.
- Ruth 4:4 tn Heb “and I said [or perhaps, “thought to myself”], ‘I will [or “must”] uncover your ear, saying’”; NAB “So I thought I would inform you”; NIV “I thought I should bring the matter to your attention.”
- Ruth 4:4 tn The phrase “before those sitting here and before the leaders of my people” appears to refer to the leaders who were specially chosen as witnesses (v. 2) and the larger group of community leaders standing by. It is possible, however, that the phrases “before those sitting here” and “before the leaders of my people” are appositional and that both refer to the ten leaders mentioned in v. 2 (cf. NLT “in the presence of these witnesses”).
- Ruth 4:4 tn Heb “if you will redeem, redeem” (KJV, NASB, NRSV all similar); NCV “If you want to buy back the land, then buy it.”
- Ruth 4:4 tn Heb “but if he will not redeem, tell me.” Most English versions emend the third person verb form (“he”) to the second person form because Boaz is addressing the closer relative. But it is possible that he briefly addresses the witnesses and refers to the closer relative in the third person. See J. M. Sasson, Ruth, 118.
- Ruth 4:4 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verb form with vav indicates purpose or result.
- Ruth 4:4 tn Heb “for there is no one besides you to redeem, and I am after you” (NASB similar).
- Ruth 4:5 tn Heb “in the day”; NASB, NIV “On the day.”
- Ruth 4:5 sn Acquire the field. This probably refers to the right to redeem and use the field. See the note on the word “selling” in v. 3.
- Ruth 4:5 tn Heb “from the hand of Naomi” (so NASB, NRSV).
- Ruth 4:5 tc The MT וּמֵאֵת (umeʾet) may be understood in two ways: (1) “and from” (vav conjunction “and,” plus preposition מִן [min] “from,” plus definite direct object marker אֵת) parallel to the preceding מִיַד (miyyad, “from [the hand of]”), suggesting the field would be purchased from Naomi and from Ruth; or (2) “and” (vav [ו] conjunction “and,” plus enclitic mem [ם], plus direct object marker [אֵת]) introducing the second part of the acquisition: the nearest kinsman would be acquiring the field and Ruth (for discussion see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 202). However, the BHS editors suggest reading גם את (“as well as…”; emphatic particle גם [“also”] and the definite direct object marker אֵת) introducing the second part of the acquisition: He would be acquiring the field and Ruth. This alternate reading is reflected in the Vulgate reading quoque (“and also”) and supported by parallel usage in v. 9, “I am acquiring the field from Naomi, and also (גָּם אֵת, gam ʾet) Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the deceased.”
- Ruth 4:5 tc The MT (Kethib) reads קָנִיתִי (qaniti, “I acquire,” Qal perfect first person common singular): “When you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, I acquire Ruth the Moabitess….” However, the marginal reading (Qere) is קָנִיתָה (qanitah, “you acquire,” Qal perfect second person masculine singular, reflected in second person masculine singular forms in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Syriac): “When you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess…” The Qere is probably original because the Kethib is too difficult syntactically and contextually, while the Qere makes perfect sense: (1) Boaz stated in 3:13 that the nearest kinsman had the first right to acquire Ruth if he wanted to do so, and only the Qere reading here presents him with that option; and (2) Boaz announces in 4:9-10 that he was acquiring the field and Ruth as a package deal in 4:9-10, and only the Qere reading here presents the nearest kinsman with the same package deal. The Kethib probably arose by a scribe trying to harmonize 4:5 with the first person common singular form in 4:9-10 without fully understanding the ploy of Boaz in 4:5. See F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 216-17.
- Ruth 4:5 tc The presence of two difficult textual problems in this line (see two preceding notes) has produced a combination of four different ways in which this line can be rendered: (1) “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must acquire [it] from Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the deceased” (KJV, NKJV); (2) “When you acquire the field from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you must acquire the wife of the deceased” (JPS, NJPS, NIV); (3) “When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the deceased” (NASB, NCV, TEV, RSV, NRSV, NLT); and (4) “When you acquire the field from Naomi, then I acquire Ruth the Moabitess the wife of the deceased” (REB). The third option is adopted here. sn Our deceased relative. This refers to Mahlon, viewed as Elimelech’s heir.
- Ruth 4:5 tn Heb “in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance” (NASB similar); NRSV “to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.”
- Ruth 4:6 sn I would ruin my own inheritance. It is not entirely clear how acquiring Ruth and raising up an heir for the deceased Elimelech would ruin this individual’s inheritance. Perhaps this means that the inheritance of his other children would be diminished. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 245-46.
- Ruth 4:6 tn Heb “redeem for yourself, you, my right of redemption for I am unable to redeem.”sn Here it appears that the acquisition of Ruth along with the land was an obligatory package deal (“When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth…”). On the other hand, Boaz viewed marriage to Ruth as voluntary in 3:13 (“If he does not want to redeem you, I will redeem you”), and presented the acquisition of the field as voluntary in 4:4 (“If you want to exercise your right…but if not, tell me!”). Initially, Boaz makes the transaction appear to be a mere land deal in 4:4. When the nearest relative jumped at the land offer, Boaz confronted him with the attendant social/family obligation of marrying Ruth to raise up an heir for the deceased to inherit this very land. By conducting the transaction in public where the close relative would need to save face, Boaz forced him either to reject the offer entirely or to include Ruth in the deal—but he could not take the land and reject Ruth. Either way, Ruth would be cared for and Elimelech’s line continued. But if he took Ruth, the acquisition of the land would be more economically burdensome than beneficial, so he yielded his purchase option to Boaz. For discussion, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 229-33.
- Ruth 4:7 tn Heb “and this formerly in Israel concerning redemption and concerning a transfer to ratify every matter.”
- Ruth 4:7 tn Heb “a man removed his sandal and gave [it] to his companion”; NASB “gave it to another”; NIV, NRSV, CEV “to the other.”
- Ruth 4:7 tn Heb “the legal witness”; KJV “a testimony”; ASV, NASB “the manner (form NAB) of attestation.”
- Ruth 4:8 tc The LXX adds “and gave it to him” (cf. TEV, CEV), which presupposes the reading ויתן לו. This seems to be a clarifying addition (see v. 7), but it is possible the scribe’s eye jumped from the final ו (vav) on נַעֲלוֹ (naʿalo, “his sandal”) to the final ו (vav) on לוֹ (lo, “to him”), accidentally omitting the intervening letters.
- Ruth 4:10 tn Heb “in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance” (NASB similar).
- Ruth 4:10 tn Heb “be cut off” (so NASB, NRSV); NAB “may not perish.”
- Ruth 4:10 tn Heb “and from the gate of his place” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “from the court of his birth place”; NIV “from the town records.”
- Ruth 4:11 tn Following the jussive, the imperative with prefixed vav indicates purpose or result.
- Ruth 4:11 tn The phrase וַעֲשֵׂה־חַיִל (vaʿaseh khayil, literally, “do strength”) has been variously translated: (1) financial prosperity: “may you become rich” (TEV), “may you be a rich man” (CEV), “may you achieve wealth” (NASB), “may you prosper” (NKJV, NJPS); (2) social prominence: “may you become powerful” (NCV), “may you have standing” (NIV), “may you be great” (NLT), “may you do well” (NAB); (3) reproductive fertility: “may you produce children” (NRSV); and (4) social activity: “may you do a worthy deed” (REB).
- Ruth 4:11 tc Heb “and call a name.” This statement appears to be elliptical. Usually the person named and the name itself follow this expression. Perhaps וּקְרָא־שֵׁם (uqeraʾ shem) should be emended to וְיִקָּרֵא־שֵׁם (veyiqqareʾ shem), “and your name will be called out,” that is, “perpetuated” (see Gen 48:16, cf. also Ruth 4:14b). The omission of the suffix with “name” could be explained as virtual haplography (note the letter ב (bet), which is similar to כ (kaf), at the beginning of the next word). The same explanation could account for the omission of the prefixed י (yod) on the verb “call,” as י (yod) and ו (vav) are similar in appearance. Whether one reads the imperative (the form in the MT) or the jussive (the emended form), the construction indicates purpose or result following the earlier jussive “may he make.”
- Ruth 4:12 tn Heb “your house” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV).
- Ruth 4:12 tn Heb “and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, from the offspring whom the Lord gives to you from this young woman.”sn Perez is an appropriate comparison here, because (1) he was an ancestor of Boaz, (2) he was born to Tamar by a surrogate father (Judah) after the death of her husband, and (3) he had an unbroken line of male descendants extending over several generations (see vv. 18-22).
- Ruth 4:12 tn Heb “from the seed” (KJV, ASV both similar); NASB, NIV “through the offspring”; NRSV “through the children.”
- Ruth 4:13 tn Heb “and Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife and he approached her.” The verb לָקַח (laqakh), “to take,” acts as in idiom meaning “to take [a wife], to marry.” The phrase בּוֹא אֶל (boʾ ʾel) means “come to” or “approach,” but is also used as a euphemism for sexual relations.
- Ruth 4:13 tn Heb “gave her conception” (so KJV); NRSV “made her conceive”; NLT “enabled her to become pregnant.”
- Ruth 4:14 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9. As the following context indicates, the child is referred to here.
- Ruth 4:14 tn The “guardian” is the subject of the verb, as the next verse makes clear.
- Ruth 4:14 tn Heb “may his name be called [i.e., “perpetuated”; see Gen 48:16] in Israel.”
- Ruth 4:15 tn Heb “and he will become for you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age” (NASB similar).
- Ruth 4:15 tn Heb “who, she”; KJV “which is better to thee.”
- Ruth 4:16 tn Or “breast”; KJV, NRSV “in her bosom.”
- Ruth 4:16 tn Heb “his nurse,” but this refers to a dry nurse, not a medical attendant. Cf. NIV “and cared for him”; TEV “and took (+ good CEV) care of him.”
- Ruth 4:17 tn The name “Obed” means “one who serves,” perhaps anticipating how he would help Naomi (see v. 15).
- Ruth 4:18 tn Or “generations” (so KJV, NASB); NIV, NLT “family line.”sn The concluding genealogy demonstrates that the prayers of blessing made earlier were fulfilled. Boaz’s line did become like the line of Perez, and both Boaz and Obed became famous. God’s blessing upon Ruth and Boaz extended beyond their lifetime and immediate family, for their great descendant, David, became the greatest of Israel’s kings, and his descendant in turn, Jesus the Messiah, became greater still.
- Ruth 4:21 sn Salmon appears to be an alternate spelling of Salmah in the preceding line.
- Ruth 4:22 sn The theological message of the Book of Ruth may be summarized as follows: God cares for needy people like Naomi and Ruth; he is their ally in this chaotic world. He richly rewards people like Ruth and Boaz who demonstrate sacrificial love and in so doing become his instruments in helping the needy. God’s rewards for those who sacrificially love others sometimes exceed their wildest imagination and transcend their lifetime.