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Ruth: The Unseen Redeemer

A New Commentary on the Book of Ruth

Introduction: 

This commentary focuses on the personal and social message of the book of Ruth, and specifically on the personality or Ruth and her relationships with Naomi. My working assumption is that Naomi was a unique and brave woman, and that Ruth, her daughter-in-law, recognized these qualities in her and admired her. When Naomi’s world collapsed following the death of her husband and children, Ruth decided to pull her out of the depression into which she has sunk. Since Ruth knew that Naomi will refuse to feel dependent and needy by receiving help from others, she worked behind the scenes, to the extent of erasing her own personality, in order to give Naomi the feeling that she rehabilitated her world through her own efforts and with the guidance of God. The story is written by a master, and as we shall see, the verbs associated with movement such as come, go, return, get up, and sit, are guiding verbs. Additionally, there are verbs and expressions which repeat themselves in a mirror structure, and as a transition from the negative to the positive, as well as such which predict later actions and processes. Since this is the focus of my commentary, I will not dwell on the question of Halakhic accuracy in the book of Ruth in issues such as the laws of conversion and the Levirate law. However, I will call the readers’ attention to these problems, each one in its place. 

Chapter 1:1. And it happened in the days when the Judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land, and a man went from Bethlehem to sojourn in the Plains of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2. And the man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Khilyon, Ephrathites, from Bethlehem of Judah. And they came to the Plains of Moab and they were there. 3. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died, and she together with her two sons were left. 4. And they took for themselves Moabite wives. The name of one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelled there some ten years. 5. And the two of them, Mahlon and Khilyon, died as well, and the woman was left of her two children and of her husband. 6. And she rose, and her daughters-in-law, and turned back from the Plains of Moab, for she had heard in the Plains of Moab that the Lord has singled out His people to give them bread. 7. And she went out from the place where she had been, with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to go back to the land of Judah. 8. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, go back each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal faithfully with you as you have done with the dead and with me. 9. May the Lord grant to you that you find a settled place, each of you in the house of her husband. And she kissed them, and they raised their voice and wept. 10. And they said to her, but with you we will go back to your people. 11. And Naomi said, go back my daughters, why should you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb who would be husbands to you? 12. Go back my daughters, go, for I am too old to have a husband. Even had I thought I have hope, this very night I shall have a husband and bear sons. 13. Would you wait for them till they grew up? Would you become imprisoned by them and not marry others? No, my daughters, for it is far more bitter for me than for you [alt. translations: I feel very sorry for you / I am bitter because of you] because the Lord’s hand has come out against me. 14. And they raised their voice and wept once more, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, and Ruth clung to her. 15. And she said, look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods, go back after your sister-in-law. 16. And Ruth said, do not plead with me to forsake you, to turn back from you. For wherever you go I will go, and wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people is my people and your God is my God. 17. Wherever you die I will die and there will I be buried. So may the Lord do to me or even more, for only death will part you and me. 18. And she saw that she was insisting on going with her and she ceased speaking to her. 19. And the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem, and as they came to Bethlehem that the whole town was astir over them, and the women said, is this Naomi? 20. And she said to them, do not call me Naomi, call me Mara! For Shaddai has dealt great bitterness to me. 21. I went out full, and empty did the Lord bring me back. Why should you call me Naomi when the Lord has borne witness against me, and Shaddai has done me harm? 22. And Naomi came back and her daughter-in-law with her, who was coming back from the Plains of Moab, and they had come to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Chapter 2: 1. And Naomi had a kinsman through her husband, a man of worth from the clan of Elimelech, and his name was Boaz. 2. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, let me please go to the field, and glean from among the ears of grain after I find favor in his eyes. And she said to her, go my daughter. 3. And she went, and she came, and she gleaned in the field behind the reapers, and her chance was chanced that she came upon the plot of Boaz, of the clan of Elimelech. 4. And Boaz was coming from Bethlehem, and he said it to the reapers. may the Lord be with you! And they said, may the Lord bless you! 5. And Boaz said to his lad who was stationed over the reapers, whose is this young woman? 6. And the lad stationed over the reapers answered and said, she is a young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the Plain of Moab. 7. And she said, please let me glean and gather from among the sheaves behind the reapers. And she has come and stood since the morning till now, and she barely gathered anything to take home. 8. And Boaz said to Ruth, hear my daughter, do not go to glean in another field, and also do not pass on from here, and so shall you cling to my young women. 9. Your eyes be on the field in which they weep and go after them. I have commanded the lads not to touch you, and should you be thirsty, you should go to the pitchers and drink from what the lads draw from the well. 10. And she fell on her face and bowed to the ground and said to him, why should I find favor in your eyes to recognize me when I am a foreigner? 11. And Boaz answered and said to her, it was indeed told me, all that you did for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death, and that you left your mother and your father in the land of your birth to come to people that you had not known before. 12. may the Lord reward your actions, and may your recompense be complete from the Lord, God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to shelter. 13. And she said, may I find favor in the eyes of my Lord, for you have comforted me and have spoken to the heart of your servant, when I could scarcely be like one of your slave girls. 14. And Boaz said to her at mealtime, come here and eat of the bread, and dip your crust in vinegar. And she sat alongside the reapers and he picked roasted grain for her and she ate, and she was sated, and left some over. 15. And she rose to glean, and Boaz commanded his lads, saying, among the shaves also she may glean, and you shall not harass her. 16. And you will also pick for her sheaves, and leave behind, and she will glean, and you will not scold her. 17. And she gleaned in the field until evening, and she beat out what she had gleaned, and it came to almost an ephah of barley. 18. And she carried it and came to town, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and she took out and gave to her what she had left over after being sated. 19. And her mother-in-law said to her, where did you glean today and where did you work, may he who recognized you be blessed. And she told her mother know whom she had worked with, and she said, the name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz. 20. And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law blessed is he to the Lord, who has kept His faithfulness with the living and with the dead. And Naomi said to her, the man is related to us, he is of our redeeming kin. 21. And Ruth the Moabite said, moreover, he said to me, to my lads should you cling until they finish all the harvest that is mine. 22 And Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, it is good my daughter that you shall go with his young women, and that they not trouble you in another field. 23. And she clung to Boaz’s maidens to glean till the barley harvest and the wheat harvest were finished, and she sat [at home] with her mother-in-law.

Chapter 3: 1. And Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, my daughter, I seek for you a settled place, so it will be well for you.  2. And now Boaz, our kinsman, with whose young women you were, is winnowing the barley threshing-floor tonight. 3. And you should bathe and anoint yourself, and put on your garments, and go down to the threshing floor. Do not let yourself be known to the man till he is finished eating and drinking. 4. And when he lies down, you should know the place where he lies down, come in, uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what you should do. 5. And she said to her, whatever you say to me I will do. 6. And she went down to the threshing floor and did all that her mother-in- law commanded her. 7. And Boaz ate and drank, and he was of good cheer, and he came and laid down at the edge of the stack of barley. And she came stealthily and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8. And it happened at midnight when the man trembled and twisted, and [he saw that] a woman was lying at his feet. 9. And he said, who are you. And she said, I am Ruth, your servant, may you spread your wing over your servant for you are redeeming kinsman. 10. And he said blessed are you to the Lord my daughter. You have done better in your latest faithfulness than in the first, for not going after the young men whether poor or rich. 11. And now my daughter do not be afraid. Whatever you say I will do for you, for all my townspeople know that you are a worthy woman. 12. And now though in fact I am redeeming kin, there is also redeeming kin closer than I. 13. Spend the night here, and it shall be in the morning, should he redeem you he will do well to redeem, and if he does not want to redeem you, I myself will redeem you as the Lord lives. Lie here till morning.   14. And she lay at his feet till morning, and she arose before a man could recognize his fellow man. And he said, ley it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor. 15. And he said give me the shawl that you have and hold it out. And she held it out, and he measured six shares of barley, and he put it on her, and he came into town. 16. And she came to her mother-in-law and she said, who are you my daughter. And she told her all that the man had done for her. 17. And she said theses six shares of barley he gave me, for he said, you should not come empty-handed to your mother-in-law. 18. And she said, sit my daughter till you know how the matter will fall out, for the man will not rest if he does not settle the matter today.

Chapter 4: 1. And Boaz had gone up to the gate and he sat down there, and there the redeeming kin of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, and he [Boaz] said, turn aside and sit down here so-and-so and he turned aside and sat down. 2. And he took ten men of the town’s elders and said, sit down here, and they sat down. 3. And he said it to the redeeming kin, the parcel of the field that was our brother’s Elimelech, was sold by Naomi who came back from the Plain of Moab.  4. And I thought, I shall reveal in your ear and say, acquire it, in the presence of those sitting, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you would redeem, redeem! And if you will not redeem tell me that I may know, for there is none but you to redeem and I am after you. And he said I will redeem. 5. And Boaz said on the day you acquire the field, from the hand of Naomi, and from the hand of Ruth the Moabite, the wife of the dead [man] you will also acquire, to raise up the name of the dead [man] on his estate. 6. And the redeeming kin, said I cannot redeem for me, lest I spoil my estate, you redeem my obligation of redemption, for I cannot redeem. 7. And thus it was in former times in Israel concerning redemption and concerning exchange to fulfill every condition, a man would remove his sandal and give it to his fellow man. And this was the evidence in Israel. 8. And the Redeemer said to Boaz you acquire it, and he removed his sandal. 9. And Boaz said to the elders and to all the people, you are witnesses that I today that I have acquired all that belonged to Elimelech, and to Mahlon and Khilion, from the hand of Naomi. 10. And also Ruth the Moabite, wife of Mahlon I have acquired for myself as a wife, to raise up the name of the dead man on his estate, that the name of the dead we not be cut off from his brothers and from the gate of his place. You are witnesses today! 13. And all the people at the gate and the elders said, we are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman coming into your house like Rachel and like Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel! May you prosper in Ephratha, and make your name be renowned in Bethlehem. 12. And may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, from the offspring which the Lord will give you by this young woman. 13.And Boaz took Ruth the Moabite and she became his wife, and he came to her, and the Lord granted her conception and she bore a son. 14. And the women said to Naomi, blessed is the Lord who has not deprived you of a redeemer today, and let his name be known in Israel. 15. May he be for you one who restores life, and one who supports your old age, for your daughter-in-law, whom you love, gave birth to him, and is better for you than seven sons. 16. And Naomi took the child the placed him  in her lap and became a nurse for him. 17. And the neighboring women called him a name, saying, a son is born to Naomi, and they called his name Oved, who was the father of Jesse father of David. 18. And these are the descendants of Perez. Perez begat Hezron. 19. And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Aminadav. 20. And Aminadav begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salma. 21. And Salmon begat Boaz and Boaz begat Oved. 22. And Oved begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. 

Epilogue:
The Rabbis said in the Midrash (Bava Batra 14:2) that Ruth’s name is derived from רוה – to satiate thirst, because she was the grandmother of David, who satiated God’s thirst for songs and praises. According to the interpretation I suggested here, Ruth was the first one to satiate thirst. Ruth helped Naomi, who became so embittered that she renamed herself Mara, like the bitter lake the Israelites encountered in the desert, to find the sweetness of life. Just as Moshe threw into the water of Mara a piece of wood without special qualities, in order for the Israelites to find the sweetness of the water, so Ruth threw away any selfishness or special character traits she had, in order for Naomi to discover, as if it were through her own efforts, the sweetness in her life. Perhaps because David had the merit to sit on his grandmother Ruth’s knees, and hear from her how one could always find the strength to see good and never give up, he was able to open his book with Ashray and seal it with Hallelujah, despite all the tragedies and difficulties of his life, which he does not fail to mention between those two joyous bookends.

Sources:

  1. This alludes to the expression “in those days there was no king in Israel, and each person did as he wished”, which appears three times in the book of Judges (17:6; 18:1; 21:25; and with slight differences in 19:1). In Judges the expression appears in association with transgressions of idolatry, robbery, murder, promiscuity, rape, civil war, and kidnapping, and its appearance here signals that Elimelech’s action is negative, and that it happens in a context of total mayhem and disrespect for the law.
  2. Bethlehem’s name means the house of bread.
  3. A house is a permanent place whereas a field is a temporary shelter. He leaves the house which promises bread and goes to a field, with the purpose of being a temporary visitor, a sojourner. It is interesting to note that the reason for the commandment to reject the Moabites is that they did not welcome the Israelites with bread. Elimelech act is presents as illogical, as he moves from a place called “House of Bread” to a place known for its reluctance to give bread.
  4. The names are symbolic. Elimelech – strength and kingship; Naomi – pleasantness; Mahlon – disease. Khilyon – annihilation.
  5. They came to be sojourners but eventually were there, meaning that their entities belonged to Moab, they were permanently there.
  6. Orpah – she who turns her back; Ruth – I believe it is connected to the root רוה, to satiate one’s thirst, as we will see later (1:20; 4:15). At this stage we still do not know which of the women married which of the sons.
  7. Naomi was left, as a remnant, after her family members were yanked from her life one after another. As we shall see later, she perceives those events as a blow directed at her by God, a blow which in her opinion was exaggerated and unjustified.
  8.  Rising is an act which requires courage. She had to shake off the passiveness which engulfed her, rise, and go back to Bethlehem.
  9. She is the one who rises and goes back, but her daughters-in-law, in her mind, do not belong in this journey, and she will later try to convince them to leave her alone.
  10.  She is not part of the people because she abandoned them and went to the Plains of Moab.
  11. She rescues herself; she pulls herself out of Moab. Though initially she shuts herself in her house in Bethlehem, and her return to the city seems pointless, the move of getting out of Moab proves to be the beginning of her redemption. Note that even though she is accompanied by Ruth and Orpah, the verb ותצא – she went out, refers to her alone.
  12. In Hebrew אשר היתה שם – she came to be a sojourner but became a part of the place.
  13. The combination of the roots הלך;שוב – to go and to turn back, go back or return, is a recurring motif in the plot. The irony is that her daughters-in-law cannot return to Judah because they were never there, and Naomi will later use that as an argument against them joining her.
  14. The confrontation between Naomi and her daughters-in-law will soon take place on the road, neither Moab and Judah, and a place where none of the three women belongs.
  15. Naomi tells her daughters-in-law that they cannot return to Bethlehem because it is not their place, and that their true place is each at her mother’s house.
  16. In Hebrew – חסד. We usually translate this word as charity or loving kindness but its original significance in the Bible is trustworthiness or loyalty. For example, in Psalm 86:2 David says that he awaits God faithfully for he is a חסיד. This is also the etymology of the Hebrew word for stork – חסידה, as the stork returns loyally to its nest every year (See Jer. 8:7).  Naomi praises Ruth and Orpah for being loyal to their dead husbands and to her.
  17. After praising Ruth and Orpah, Naomi transitions to a blessing with hidden criticism, and perhaps it is frustration with the fact that her sons married Moabite women: May you find rest – with me you cannot find rest. You will only settle down at the house of your future husbands. She says that they are done with being loyal to their dead husbands. The word מנוחה – rest, appears again in 3:1, this time in a positive sense, as Naomi seeks true rest – מנוח, for Ruth. This happens when Naomi recognizes the turn of events for the better, and tells Ruth that she wants the best for her.
  18. Ruth and Orpah respond to Naomi’s argument that they do not belong in Bethlehem, by saying that they belong with Naomi and her people. They joined the people when they married Naomi’s sons.
  19. Naomi repeats the verbs go back and go to reiterate her hopelessness.
  20. Naomi rejects their argument by saying she has no more sons for them to marry. It seems as if she is speaking of the levirate law, but that law does not apply to a brother born after his brother’s death. Rather, Naomi emphasizes her feeling of misery, and maybe hints that Ruth and Orpah are opportunistic and cling to her with the hope of marrying her children. She then tells them to go back, rejecting their argument that they belong with her people, and adds, why would you go with me, arguing that they do not belong with her personally.
  21. The root עגנ is unique in the bible, and it stems from the bi-radical root עג which means creating a circle. The significance of the root here is that Ruth and Orpah are warned not to draw a circle in which they will be imprisoned while waiting for their future husbands.
  22. I translated the original Hebrew כי מר לי מאד מכם, in three ways: A) it is far more bitter for me than for you – this claim of greater suffering is very common among people who share an experience of grief and loss, such as the death of a relative or surviving disasters, each one claims that his or her suffering is greater. B) I feel very sorry for you – Naomi shows her concern for Ruth and Orpah. C) I am bitter because of you – Naomi accuses her daughter-in-law in being the cause of her suffering. If her sons would not marry Moabite women, perhaps they would still be alive. This also explains the reluctance of Naomi to take them back with her, as they are a bitter reminder of her past and of her sons’ possible transgression.
  23. Naomi repeats this claim in verses 20-21. She feels that God singled her out and punished her unproportionally (See Lam. 3:12-13).
  24. Ruth’s reward for clinging to Naomi appears in 2:8 when she is told by Boaz to cling to his maidens.
  25. In Hebrew יבמתך – the root יבמ appears in the Bible in three contexts: in the story of Tamar and Onan (Gen. 38:1-10), in the discussion of the levirate law in Deuteronomy (25:5-10), and here. Our story is unique because the noun יבם usually describes the relationship between the surviving brothers and the widow, whereas here Ruth and Orpah are called each other’s יבמה. Previously, Naomi addressed an alleged attempt by Ruth and Orpah to continue Elimelech’s dynasty, but did not use the root יבם, rather arguing that there is no chance for success. Now she tells Ruth that her יבמה has returned, meaning that Orpah has turned her back on the idea of the levirate law.
  26. This is the third step in Naomi’s description of Orpah’s return: in verse 8 she spoke about returning to her mother’s house, in verse 9 she spoke about returning to the man, the future husband, and now she says that Orpah returned to her people and her gods, meaning that Orpah’s claim “we will return with you to your people” has been proven false. Naomi continues and tells Ruth return follow in the footsteps of her יבמה, her sister-in-law. There is a sensation of scorn or bitterness, as if Naomi says, “now you have proven who you are loyal to.”
  27. In Hebrew אל תפגעי בי – do not try to convince me but also, similarly to modern Hebrew, do not attack or offend me. Naomi’s attempt to convince Ruth to return to Moab hurts her, and Ruth’s reward for being so stubborn appears in 2:22, when Naomi’s describes Boaz’s protection of Ruth with the words “they will not attack you in another field.”
  28. the verb עזב is another recurring motif. Here Ruth tells Naomi that she will never abandon her. In 2:11 Boaz praises Ruth for abandoning her father and mother and following Naomi 2:16 Boaz commands his servants to let Ruth gather wheat as she wishes, using that verb – ועזבתם, and in 2:20, when Naomi transitions from despair to hope, she says that God did not abandon His faithfulness.
  29. The verb שוב appears here to describe the movement which Ruth refuses to do: she will not turn back from Naomi, she will not turn back in the footsteps of Orpah’s, and she will only turn back with Naomi to Bethlehem, to Naomi’s people.
  30. I shall go wherever you go – הלכ is the second half of the pair לשוב וללכת  which repeats throughout this chapter: Elimelech goes to Moab, Naomi goes on the road, Naomi tries to convince Ruth to go away from her, and now Ruth declares that she will go wherever Naomi goes.
  31. Your people is my people and your God is my God – here Ruth pledges allegiance to Naomi as a response to Naomi’s argument that Ruth should return, like Orpah, to her people and to her gods.  The midrashic commentary is that Naomi tried to prevent Ruth from converting to Judaism, but the text offers no basis for this interpretation. Rather, this is a spontaneous and heartfelt proclamation which shows that Ruth anticipated of Naomi’s arguments. She practically tells Naomi that there is no point in arguing with her, because she will cling to Naomi, like glue, until the day she dies. It seems that Naomi is unhappy, but it is possible that Ruth’s words touched her deeply. Ruth’s approach is essential when trying to help a person who feels despair, deep agony, and loneliness following loss. The first step is to give that person the feeling that he is not alone.
  32. Now that Ruth has accepted upon her the God of Israel, she can make an oath with the unique name, YHWH, and prove her loyalty to Naomi.
  33. Death will part us – this is a commitment to friendship and loyalty till the last moment, as well as a proclamation that this loyalty does not depend on Naomi’s ability to bear sons or Ruth’s hope to marry one of them.
  34. The meaning of the root אמצ is usually strong, or in the combination אמצ-לב, stubborn or brave. Naomi understands that Ruth is determined and stops talking to her. She not only stops trying to convince Ruth to leave her, but rather stops talking altogether, completely detaching herself and showing unwillingness to accept Ruth. She keeps walking with Ruth silently, which probably hurt Ruth deeply, but Ruth keeps quiet and adheres to her mission, to restore Naomi’s soul.
  35. The verb הלכ which appears also in the previous verse, is used to describe their walking the long road and their arrival at Bethlehem. The verb used is not שוב – return, but rather בוא – to come or arrive, as if they have come to Bethlehem for the first time in their lives. This is true for Ruth but apparently not for Naomi, but their reception explains this anomaly.
  36. The news about her their arrival spread rapidly, but when the women saw Naomi, they did not recognize her. This Naomi, different and tormented, did arrive at Bethlehem for the first time in her life, and that is why previously it is written that they came, and not returned to Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Ruth is completely ignored, another blow to the young widow.
  37. The new and different Naomi seeks also a new name – מרה, bitter, a name which conveys her bitterness, which is directed at God who made her life extremely bitter, above and beyond what she thought she deserved. The name Mara is also the name of the bitter to which the Israelites arrived following the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 15:22-27) This is the allusion that led me to write that the name of Ruth is derived from רוה, to satiate one’s thirst, because Ruth taught Naomi not to be bitter and to drink from the sweet water of life.
  38. Here there is a chiastic parallelism, ABC in the first half of the verse, BCA in the second half. In the first half Naomi is active and in the second half it is God, in the first half Naomi is full and in the second she is empty, in the first half we find הלכ – to go or walk, and in the second half שוב – to go back. Again, we see the pair הלכ ושוב – to go and go back.
  39. This, apparently, is an acceptance of the verdict, but Naomi immediately says “Shaddai has done me harm” meaning the she thinks that God has caused her greater harm than she deserves. Later, we will see how Ruth orchestrates events to make Naomi to announce that God has never abandoned her (2:20).
  40. The verb שוב appears twice in the verse and both appearances relate to Naomi alone. We should read the verse thus: Naomi returned, she who returned from the fields of Moab, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her. The proof for that reading is the end of the verse: “and they came to Bethlehem” meaning that only Naomi returned to Bethlehem, but when we use the verb בוא, to come, we can say that both of them came.
  41.  Introduction to chapter 2: This chapter holds the key to Ruth’s plan, which she probably formed even before leaving Moab. Ruth knew that Naomi is a noble spirit who sank into the abyss of depression because of the tragedies she has experienced. Naomi seeks to blame someone for these tragedies, and she might have accused her husband who took the family to Moab, her sons who married Moabite women, her daughters-in-law, she herself for letting all these happen, and even God who punished her exceedingly. Ruth understood that as long as Naomi is trapped in the cycle of despair, agony, and blame, she will not be able to rehabilitate herself and become Naomi that Ruth once knew. Ruth also knows that Naomi is a proud woman and will not accept from anyone, let alone her daughter-in-law, whom she blames for her son’s death and whom she tried to prevent from coming with her to Bethlehem. Ruth therefore Works stealthily and with great sophistication, in order to bring Naomi to a situation where she will initiate a process of rising and being redeemed, unaware that Ruth has been the one pulling the strings.   
  42.  The word relative or kin in Hebrew is derived from the root ידע – to know or recognize. It is a verb which symbolizes not only family relationship but also a more personal and intimate connection, and perhaps it hints to the future marriage of Boaz and Ruth. The root  ידע and its synonym הכיר, are central to the story (see הכיר in 2:10; 2;19; and ידע in 2:11;3:2; 3:11; 3:14; 3:18; 4:4).
  43. The chapter opens with information about Naomi’s relative Boaz. The name is a symbolic – there is strength in him. The man is described as a worthy man, in 3:11 he calls Ruth a worthy woman, and in the blessing to both after their marriage in 4:11 it says and be worthy in Bethlehem. The information about Boaz reveals Ruth’s plan to us. She knows about Boaz and plans to reach his field and contact him, in order for him to marry her and reestablish the estate of her dead husband, but she does it with great sophistication.
  44. The verb הלכ – to go, appears twice in this verse, when Ruth asks Naomi for permission to glean in the fields, and in Naomi’s answer “go my daughter”.
  45. Ruth said that she will glean after the one in whose eyes she finds grace, but she already knows it is going to be Boaz. This is demonstrated in verse 10 – after the first stage succeeded and Boaz paid attention to her, she asks “why did I find grace in your eyes”. After he answers, she replies with “I will find grace in your eyes” in verse 13, as if stating a fact.
  46. Naomi answers Ruth’s long request with two words, since for her it makes no difference. As much as she is concerned, she returned to Bethlehem to hide at home and wait for death and burial. It is true that in 3:3 we read that Naomi sold her field, which seems to suggest that she returned to a life of action and involvement, but as I will explain there, it means that the field is about to be sold, and that until that moment no one wanted to buy Naomi’s field.
  47. Ruth embarks on her journey with the intention to arrive at Boaz’s field, but she knows that asking for his field will attract unnecessary attention and right and raise suspicions that she is trying to establish contact with him. That is why she went and came – ותלך ותבוא, the keywords we have encountered in the first chapter are used here to show a deliberate action by Ruth. She went from one field to another, not asking questions and waiting to find out who the owner is. She repeats the process until she chances on Boaz’s field.
  48. In Hebrew ויקר מקרה – and her chance has happened. It was her chance, she owned it and it was a coincidence. If it were, the correct word would have ותקרה אל שדה בעז – she happened on Boaz’s field. Though it seems that this was the first field in which she arrived that day and the first day she spent in the fields in general, it is probable that she needed several days to find Boaz’s field. The proof to that is in verse 2:19 Naomi asks “where did you glean today”, and Ruth answers “the name of the man with whom I work today”, which means that there were other days as well.
  49. The question is perplexing. Why does the owner of the field care about the poor girls who glean the fallen sheaves? The answer is that Ruth made sure she stands out to attract Boaz’s attention. Maybe she did not change her Moabite garments, and maybe she looked different than the local girls of Bethlehem, but most probably she caught his attention by being passive. The other girls gleaning in the fields might have had dubious reputation. It could be that they would fight over the falling grains, or that they were too friendly with the reaping men, as alluded in verses 2:9, 2:22 and 3:10.
  50. Here, for the first time, there is a recognition of Ruth’s return to Bethlehem. Even though she was never there, the lad is the first to proclaim that she does belong with Naomi and she does return to Bethlehem.
  51. This is strange, since the Torah commands the owner of the field to let the poor people glean, so why does she ask for permission? The answer is that Ruth wanted to eb noticed.  She approaches the lad in the morning and asks for permission to glean, but then she stands still most of the time.
  52. The lad pays attention to her and remembers her, and comments to Boaz ותבוא ותעמוד – she came and stood. The first verb, בוא, describes motion, and we are familiar with it from the first chapter, while the second verb, עמד, describes passiveness and lack of movement.
  53.  In Hebrew זה שבתה הבית מעט – the commentators struggle with these words, and I believe that the intention of the lad is to say that Ruth gleaned very little and she does not have enough food to take back home with her. However, the author uses this strange combination deliberately, so two keywords in the book could be used. The first is the rootשוב , to return, which was central to the first chapter. This root will be used again at the end of the book, to say that the son who was born to Ruth restores, or returns, the soul and life of Naomi. The second word isבית  – house or home. This word appears in the book in key location and develops gradually from the negative to the positive. The first two appearance, which are negative, are found Naomi’s description of her daughters-in-law true loyalty. In 1:8 she says that each belongs in her mother’s house, and in 1:9 she says that each belongs in her husband’s house. Then there is our verse, in which the house is neutral and no ownership is indicated. Finally, there are three occurrences in 4:11-12, where we read of your [Boaz’s] house, the house of Israel, and the house of Perez. Those three occurrences show how Ruth has evolved from building the house of Boaz, whom she got to know in the field, to building the house of Israel, and then the house of Perez which is related to the dynasty of the house of David. Another dimension of the combinationשבתה הבית  – return and house, is stability and calmness, such as in Psalms 27:4 “I shall return to [also dwell in] the house of the Lord”, and Psalms 68:7 “God brings people back home”. This dimension has not been yet fulfilled for Ruth, as she does not have rest and calmness, hence the use of the word מעט – minimal or lacking.
  54. Boaz addresses Ruth with the affectionate term “my daughter”, and asks her to not go glean in other fields. We see again the keyword הלכ – go. Cling – compare to 1:14 and the commentary there.
  55. The fact that Boaz had to command his lads not to touch Ruth indicates that such incidents were common.
  56. Drink – it seems trivial to us, but in the past such a gesture showed tremendous generosity, because drawing water was an arduous task, as we can see with the story of Abraham’s servant and Rebecca (Gen. 24), and story of Jethro’s daughters and Moshe (Ex. 2). By instructing his lads to share their water with Ruth, Boaz elevates Ruth from a poor girl gleaning in the fields, to a level higher than that of his maid servants, one who deserves to drink the water drawn by the lads.
  57. Ruth knows the answer, but she wants him to express it in order to make it more forceful and embed it in his mind. Her question is carefully phrased, and corresponds to verse 2 above. She does not ask, the way Jacob asks Esau, “why would I find grace in the eyes of my Lord” (Gen. 33:15), because that question assumes that one does not deserve or does not need that special treatment. Ruth rather asks “why have I found grace” – please explain your behavior! Tell me what exactly do you see in me which is special? This is another stage in her path towards conquering Boaz.
  58. The word foreigner – נכריה, is derived from the same root as to להכירני – to recognize me, but has an opposite meaning. Ruth emphasizes her otherness, a fact which makes Boaz’s attention to truly stand out. The word נכריה also echoes the complaint of Rachel and Leah about their father (Gen. 31:15). They say that he treated them as foreigners, has sold them, and has taken their inheritance. They claim that a foreigner has no rights, and that would entitle Boaz to sell her away and take her possessions. Instead, he treats her respectfully, and elevates her to a status of one who is protected.
  59.  I was told – in Hebrew הוגד הוגד לי – the doubling of the verb is official and reminds us of the way God addresses the nation through the prophets. He continues to describe her actions in a way which resembles the commandment of God to Abraham to leave his homeland. Ruth now discovers, together with the readers, that her coming to Bethlehem reverberated throughout the city. Previously, the only reaction recorded in the book is that of the women’s choir, asking “is this Naomi?”, but now it turns out that Boaz knows about Ruth. He was told about her actions, and he describes them as a sacrifice Ruth made for Naomi, abandoning her family and heritage.
  60. In Hebrew משכורתך – it is interesting to note that Boaz uses this word which is found only three other times, all in the context of the exchange between Lavan and Jacob (Gen. 29:15, 31:7, 31:41). Boaz tells Ruth, who said that she is a foreigner, like the daughters of Lavan, that he would not be like Lavan and that she will be fully rewarded.
  61. Here Boaz praises Ruth for coming to find shelter under the wings of God, and later in 3:9 she will ask him “please spread your wing over your maidservant”. The word wing – כנף, has a symbolic meaning of loyalty and continuing the legacy (see Num. 15:38, I Sam. 15:27, Ibid. 24:4, and Zech. 8:23), as well as a meaning of intimate relationship (see Deut. 23:1 and Ezek. 16:8). Both meanings are insinuated here.
  62. It is not explicitly mentioned that Ruth went through an official conversion process. It is probable that in Biblical times those interested simply accepted the commandments and joined the nation, and that there was no official procedure regulated by the courts, or even the concept of conversion. At a certain point, the new members of the nation would immerse to enter the Temple, and the men among them would also perform circumcision so they could eat of the Pesah sacrifice. Later, in the Rabbinic period, the rabbis established the process as we know it today. We find a reminiscent to such practices in the rabbinic discussion about one who converts by himself (Tosefta, Shabbat 8:5).
  63. Ruth’s response to Boaz is an expansion and deepening of his words. In addition to gratitude for his praise of her actions and his blessing her, she says “I will find grace in your eyes” – stating it as a fact. She further says that he comforted her, admitting that she felt mournful and depressed and that he elevated her spirit. By saying that, she makes him a savior and a hero and creates a stronger bond with him, even though she concludes with humility that she does not deserve to be among his maidservants.
  64. Ruth’s passiveness and shyness encourage Boaz to be more proactive towards her. He calls her to sit and eat with the reapers, which is another elevation in status.
  65. She comes and sits next to them, but does not eat, demonstrating restrain, and also showing that she feels undeserving. Boaz encourages her to eat, and as she does not respond, he himself serves her the food. Thus, Ruth manages to produce, by her passiveness, an act of bonding and intimacy.
  66. At this point we still do not know why she leaves food aside.
  67. The verb קום – to rise, echoes Naomi’s action after the death of her husband and sons, as she rose and got out of Moab.
  68. Though Ruth rises to glean, Boaz knows that she will not glean much, and commands his servants to help her indirectly by leaving sheaves behind, and also directly by picking up sheaves for her.
  69. His protection of her expands from commanding his servants not to touch her, to the admonitions to not harass and not scold her. Boaz now protects Ruth from physical, verbal, and emotional violence.
  70. Ruth beats the wheat in the field. This is uncommon. Usually, the right to beat out the wheat in the field signaled ownership and was therefore reserved to the landlord. (see Jud. 6:11). Ruth pretends to not know the custom, testing the boundaries of Boaz’s protection, and making herself, as if it were, a partner of Boaz.  Ruth was thus able to bring home an ephah of ready to grind grains (between 15-28 lbs.).
  71. In Hebrew ותשא – the root נשא appears previously in 1:4 in the context of marriage, and then in 1:9 in the description of Ruth and Orpah crying. There is here a transition of the verb from the tragic context of Naomi’s children’s marriage, their death, and the departure of Orpah, to a positive context of abundance.
  72. At the end of the first chapter we read about Naomi coming back empty handed, and by contrast, Ruth comes now with her hands full. Naomi immediately notices the tremendous amount of barley gleaned by Ruth, but before she has a chance to respond, Ruth surprises her by taking out the leftovers from her meal and offering them to Naomi. We now understand why Ruth did not finish her food – she wanted to intensify Naomi’s feeling of gratitude by providing ready to eat food. Usually, the poor people gleaning in the fields would arrive home at night with grain that had to be beaten, ground, and sifted before they were able to bake bread. Here, Ruth not only brings Naomi a great amount of already beaten barley, she has ready to eat food for her.
  73. Naomi is Indeed filled with gratitude and tells Ruth “may he who has recognized you be blessed”. She bestows that blessing on Ruth’s benefactor even before she knows who this person is, because his generosity towards Ruth already makes him an acquaintance. For the first time Naomi speaks in a positive spirit, and she uses the term להכיר – to know or recognize (see above 2:1 and 2:10).
  74. Ruth pretends she does not know that Boaz is a relative of Naomi.
  75. Naomi’s excited reaction shows the revolutionary transition she underwent. She is now emerging out of the abyss of despair and sees hope. Whereas in the previous verse she was just living the moment, happy for being shown generosity and receiving food, here she sees a glimpse of redemption and starts planning accordingly.
  76. She states that God did not abandon his faithfulness with the living – herself and Ruth, and the dead – Mahlon and Khilyon. This is a reversal of Naomi’s words in the beginning of the book, according to which Ruth and Orpah are the ones who remained faithful to the living and the dead, while God abandoned Naomi.
  77. She believes that Ruth does not know who Boaz is, and explains that he is not only a relative but a potential redeemer.  This statement prepares the readers for the conclusion of the story and the theme of redeeming the fields and the name of Elimelech’s clan.
  78. Boaz told Ruth “cling to my girls”, but she tells Naomi that he told her to cling to the lads, and Naomi responds “it is good that you go out with his girls”. In Midrash Ruth Rabbah, Rabbi Hanin ben Levy interpreted Ruth’s words negatively, saying “she is definitely a Moabite!” and accusing her of eyeing Boaz’s lads, though Boaz and Naomi stressed that she must cling to the girls. Rabbi Hanin’s interpretation, however, contradicts Ruth behavior and character traits, as Boaz’s praise to Ruth in 3:10 for not following the lads. On the other hand, some Bible scholars who were troubled by the incongruency of Ruth’s words suggested to correct them to say girls instead of lads, just as in the words of Boaz and Naomi. But according to my interpretation, Ruth’s words are accurate and carefully chosen. Ruth wanted Naomi to think she is the one who initiates the connection between Boaz and Ruth. Ruth therefore changes Boaz’s words, who told her to cling to his girls, and commanded the lads to not touch her, perhaps with the hope of becoming the redeemer and marrying her. Instead she tells Naomi that she will cling to the lads. Naomi responds by rebuking Ruth or nudging her slightly towards companionship with the girls, which will allow her later to pursue marriage with Boaz. Naomi now believes that she saved the day and reserved Ruth for Boaz.
  79. The root כלה – to finish or end, runs through the book and develops gradually from negative to positive. In the opening of the story it is found in the name of Khilyon, symbolizing his annihilation. In our verse it describes the process of Ruth’s familiarization with Boaz. In 3:3 it appears in the context of the bold move, initiated by Naomi, to get Ruth and Boaz together. In verse 3:18 Naomi says that Boaz will end this matter today, “the matter” being the redemption of the field, and with it, the redemption of Ruth and Naomi.
  80. Ruth sits with her mother-in-law – she pretends she has no plans and sits quietly with her mother-in-law, waiting for her to take initiative.  
  81. in this chapter Naomi is proactive. She tells Ruth that she seeks for her peace of mind and settling down – מנוחה. This is her own response to her argument, in the beginning of the book, that Ruth and Orpah can only settle down in the house of their future husbands.
  82. this is the second time Naomi uses the root טוב – good (previously in 2:22) and it expresses the change she is going through since the time she complained “Shaddai has dealth harshly with me” (1:21).
  83. see above 2:1.
  84. see above 2:2.
  85. There is a connection between the act of winnowing, spreading seeds, and the sexual act which leads to having descendants, since the word זרע in Hebrew means both seeds and descendants. The rabbis interpreted in that spirit the verse “sow your seed in the morning, and do not let off in the evening” (Eccl. 11:6 and Avoth deRabbi Nathan, chapter 3).
  86. Boaz might have done it at night for  practical reasons, such as the cooler weather, or because of the nightly breeze which helps in separating the wheat from the chaff. It is also probable that it was customary to perform such activities at night for good omen, as people believed that seeing the stacks of grains could cause the blessing of abundance to disappear. The We find this belief in the Talmud (Bava Metzia, 42:2): “one who is about to measure his granary should pray that it will be blessed before he sees it”.
  87. Naomi asks Ruth to groom herself, get down to the threshing hold, and entice Boaz to marry her. This request contradicts Ruth’s modest behavior as we have known her so far.
  88. The written form is וירדתי – I will go down, but it is read as וירדת – you shall go down. Some scholars say it is an influence of the Aramaic, but it could be a Freudian slip by Naomi, who subconsciously would have wanted to marry Boaz, as she said in 1:12 “would I marry a man tonight”, and note that in both verses the word הלילה – tonight, is mentioned. This is also true in the next verse where it written ושכבתי – and I will lie, but it is read ושכבת – you will lie.
  89. Here again is the root ידע – to know. Though Naomi uses it in the sense of Ruth introducing herself to Boaz, one cannot ignore the biblical connotation of ידע, which is more intimate.
  90. Naomi’s plan is carefully detailed. She tells Ruth not to get close to Boaz while he is still active in winnowing the threshing floor, or while eating, but rather after he ate and drank wine, when he is at ease and she can control the situation. We can hear an echo of the story of Lot and his daughters, a story which also brings about the birth of Moab, but the stories are different. In Lot’s story his daughters got him drunk and deceived him, while here Boaz drinks voluntarily, and his conversation with Ruth is under control. Lot is unaware of the incestual relationships, while Boaz id fully alert and nothing happens between him and Ruth.
  91. In Hebrew יגיד, as in 2:11 above – הוגד הוגד לי, I have been told. Ruth’s reward for her wonderful deeds, which were told to Boaz, is that Boaz will tell her what to do, meaning that he will plan their marriage.
  92. Naomi thinks that Ruth is passive and must wait for Boaz to tell her what to do.
  93. The word me, אלי, is read but not written. Maybe it alludes to the fact that Ruth erases her personality – there is no “me”. Ruth completely subjects herself to Naomi’s will and lets, and this message is repeated in the next verse.
  94. see comment on the root טוב – good, in 3:1 above.
  95. In Hebrew ויהי בחצי הלילה, a dramatic expression which appears in the Bible only once more (Ex.12:29) on the eve of Israel’s redemption from Egypt. Perhaps it is an allusion to the personal redemption of Ruth and Elimelech’s clan which is about to take place.
  96. See above 2:12.
  97. Ruth deviates from Naomi’s instructions. Naomi told her to remain passive and do whatever Boaz tells, and according to these instructions she should have simply answered “I am Ruth”. But Ruth keeps on talking and asks Boaz to spread his wings over her, and not only as a husband but as a redeemer as well. Ruth is not willing to put her plan at risk. Ruth takes this initiative because she does not want Boaz to offer to take her as a maidservant or even as his wife, but rather must have it done in context of redeeming the field and establishing descendants for her dead husband.
  98. This echoes Naomi’s words in 2:20.
  99. See above 3:1.
  100. Ruth’s first act was showing faithfulness to her dead husband and to Naomi, and her last act of faithfulness is following Boaz, also for the sake of her dead husband and Naomi her. The first act is expressed by walking – ותלך, after Naomi, and the last by not walking – לא הלכת, after the young men.
  101. The emphasis is on “to you” or “for you”. Boaz now understands that Ruth is the one pulling the strings and he is impressed by her. Boaz is willing to do as she says and gives her the lead, in contrast to the obedient image she projects earlier when Naomi speaks to her (3:1-4).
  102. Townspeople – in Hebrew, literally, the people at the gate. Boaz expresses willingness to perform the judicial process which takes place at the gate of the city, where the elders and the judges sit.  
  103. The Hebrew כי אמנם כי גואל אנכי is cumbersome and should have been אמנם גואל אנכי. The superfluous words might reflect Boaz’s concern that the other redeemer will accept the offer and will marry Ruth, and this concern cause him to hesitate and speak inaccurately.
  104. The word קרוב means close and relative. closer than me – previously (2:20) Naomi said that this man is close to us. Ruth probably knew of the other, closer relative, but she did not go to his field. It is possible that Ruth focused her efforts on Boaz because she heard Naomi speak about him, and correctly assumed that he is the one with the right character quality traits of a redeemer, who is willing to marry a widow and have his sons attributed to her late husband. Indeed, Boaz proves himself as a resourceful person and was able to convince the other redeemer to give up his right. The closer redeemer is presented as one who would like to have the inheritance of Naomi, but not take upon himself the commitment of establishing a name for the dead man. The author of the book does not grant that redeemer honor and does not even mention him by name.
  105. Boaz is probably concerned about Ruth and does not want to send her alone at night.
  106. This is the third time the word ותקם is mentioned in the book. In 1:6 Naomi rose with her daughters-in-law in what the first step towards getting out of their desperate situation. In 2:15 Ruth rose to glean, getting herself out of poverty and hunger, and finding grace in Boaz’s eyes. Here, her rising in the morning marks the day in which she will be redeemed. The root קום – to get up, rise, will be mentioned again in verses 4:4 and 4:10 in the context of establishing the name of the dead man over his inheritance and achieving redemption. Ruth was present in the first occurrences of ותקם, and she is also the one whose initiative and merit brought about the last rising – establish the name of her dead husband.
  107.  See above 2:10 and 2:19.
  108. Great quantity, between 30-45 lbs.
  109. Some want to correct and read ותבוא העיר – she came to town, to make it consistent with the flow of verbs speaking of Ruth, but the meaning is that Boaz left early and came to town before Ruth, and again the verb בוא – to come, is used.
  110. While Boaz comes to the city Ruth comes to her mother-in-law.
  111. Naomi does not recognize her, either because it was still dark outside, or because she lost her eyesight with age. It is also possible that Ruth now looked different, both externally and internally, and for the first time she exposes her inner energy and passion in front of Naomi, perhaps subconsciously.
  112. This reminds us of the Isaac’s words to his sons when they bring him offering. In that case, however, Jacob took the blessings from Esau by deception, Ruth is the one who toiled to achieve the blessing, while Orpah abandoned her right long ago.
  113. Ruth does not answer the question because Naomi already understands it is her, and instead tells Naomi what Boaz promised her. Ruth does not tell Naomi about her active part in securing the promise, as she wants to maintain the image of an obedient girl who follows others’ orders.
  114. She adds, as if innocently, that the man gave her barley so she would not come to Naomi empty-handed, but while this could be a flashback to what Boaz indeed said, it is also possible that Ruth wants to remind Naomi her complaint that God brought her back empty handed. That complaint is now remedied by Boaz who would not send Ruth back empty handed.
  115. Naomi again demands obedience from Ruth and tells her to sit down my daughter and wait, as she is confident that the matter will be concluded on that very day. 
  116. Boaz’s sitting in the gate is official and full of confidence, and it is the opposite of the way Ruth sits with Naomi at the end of chapter two and three.
  117. As if by chance, and compare to Boaz’s words above “do not pass away from here” (2:8).
  118. Boaz is an influential and important man, and the redeemer follows his instructions without questions, as do also the elders in the following verse.
  119. In Hebrew – פלוני – from פלא/פלה, unknown thing, and אלמוני from the אלם – keeping quiet, to signify one whose name is unknown, or is not mentioned.
  120. Not necessarily a brother but rather a relative.
  121. She did not sell yet, but rather put it up for sale. The proof is, as we will see shortly, that the purchase of the field could have been carried out only by a redeemer, who with the field acquires also the wife of the dead landlord.
  122. In Hebrew אגלה – a wordplay on the verb גאל – to redeem, which appears in the book of Ruth twenty-four times.
  123. Again, sitting in the context of authority and judgment.
  124.  It should have been written “the elders of our people”, or “the elders of the people”. These words are a premonition that this anonymous man will decline to redeem the field, and thus will exclude himself of the nation. The elders are therefore “the elders of my people”, Boaz’s people and not of the other redeemer. This also reminds us of the argument between Naomi and Ruth in the beginning of the book, regarding the question of belonging to the nation. In both cases the message is that it is not genealogy which decides who belongs to the nation but rather one’s behavior.
  125.  Boaz protracted introduction, thirty-six words long, is answered by the redeemer tersely, with two words, since the matter is simple and can be decided without hesitation.
  126.  Boaz surprises the redeemer and adds a factor to the sale – Ruth. He does not refer to her just as Ruth, but rather as Ruth the Moabite, the wife of the dead man. This is done deliberately to deter the redeemer. Boaz says that the woman is a Moabite, a foreigner, and the fact that her husband died marks her dangerous.
  127.  It is written קניתי – I will have acquired, but we read קניתה – you will have acquired, as in 3:3 and 3:4 above the written form signals the subliminal message of Boaz that he wants to acquire the field, even though he offers it to the redeemer.
  128. אשחית – destroy, the author echoes here the sin of Onan who destroyed his seed – שיחת ארצה, (Gen. 38:9).
  129. At the time of the writing of the scroll the practice of removing the sandal was already obsolete. This is not the removal of the sandal associated the levirate law but rather to the act of acquisition. In general, the concept of ייבום, the levirate law, is not congruent with the law as written in Deuteronomy. Even if we explain the word “our brother” in 4:3 as saying that Boaz and the redeemer were brothers of Elimelech, the levirate law would apply to Naomi and not to Ruth. Similarly, in the story of Tamar and Judah in (Gen. 32) the levirate law also does not follow the law of the Torah, which demands that one of the brothers of the deceased man will marry his widow, but rather seems to adhere to the laws of inheritance, where the next of kin is both the heir and the one responsible for the levirate law.
  130. Only here we learn who married whom. Khilyon, whose name means annihilation, married Orpah who turned her back on Naomi, while Mahlon’s widow Ruth pursues Naomi and her nation, and in a way cures her husband, whose name means disease.
  131. The root בוא – to come, is mentioned several times in the book regarding Ruth, but only now she comes to a resting place, to the house of Boaz. Previously she came to Bethlehem (1:19-22), she came to the field (2:3; 2:7), and she came to her mother-in-law )3:16).
  132. The last occurrence of the root בוא – come, completes the circle of Ruth’s life and unites her with Boaz.
  133. This might suggest that Ruth was sterile, and if this is so, she is compared by the author to the mothers of nation. There is a special connection to Sarah, because in 1:4  we read that Elimelech’s family spent ten years in Moab, and Abram and Sarai lived in Canaan for ten years without having children (Gen. 16:3).
  134. The women’s choir, which speaks here in a positive voice, is the remedy and reversal of the negative women’s choir in 1:19, the choir which said in wonder “is this Naomi?”
  135. This is also a counter reaction to Naomi’s complaint when responding to the choir above.
  136. This is a wordplay on roots ישב/שוב/שבת – to sit and to return, especially in regards to the enigmatic verse זה שבתה הבית מעט (2:7).

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