Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
I will. Hebrew and Septuagint may be read with an interrogation in the same sense. "Shall I not seek rest?" (Haydock) --- By this expression she means a husband, chap. i. 9. Marriage fixes the unsettled condition of women. (Calmet) --- Noemi being apprised of the law, entertained hopes that she could engage Booz to marry Ruth. (Haydock) --- Thus her penury would cease, and she would perhaps have children, as she earnestly desired. (Menochius)
Night. In Palestine, and other maritime countries, a breeze generally arises from the sea in the evening. It was then that Booz seized the opportunity of winnowing his barley; so that, at an early hour, he gave Ruth six measures, and retired to rest, beside some of the remaining sheaves (Calmet) in an adjoining apartment, erected for the protection of the reapers during the great heats, and to contain the corn in case of a shower. (Columella, i. 7. and ii. 51.) This shade was probably in the same field where Ruth had been gleaning. (Calmet) --- She might lawfully seize this opportunity (Haydock) to obtain an honest marriage. (Du Hamel)
Garments. External cleanliness has many attractions, Judith x. 3. Many editions of the Hebrew are very confused, by the improper insertion of i: "I will put the garments on thee, and get me down," &c. (Kennicott)
Sleepeth. People of fortune did not disdain to sleep among the corn.Non pudor in stipula placidam cepisse quietem,
Nec fœnum capiti supposuisse suo.----- Ovid, Fast. i. (Menochius)
--- Feet. It is said that women in the East, enter their husbands' bed at the feet, to shew their submission. (Calmet) --- Ruth was conducted on this occasion by a superior Being, who gave success to her undertaking, and disposed the mind of Booz (Theodor Merry. Hebrew, "good," yet by no means intoxicated. (Du Hamel; Menochius) --- It was formerly the custom, as it is still in many places, (Haydock) to conclude the harvest with a feast; (Calmet) on which day Cato observes, that the men and oxen did not work. (De re Rust. c. 131.) Hence the vacuna of Ovid. (Fast. vi.) (Tirinus) --- The pagans did this in honour of Jupiter and Ceres. But the true God had enjoined his people (Haydock) to offer the first-fruits to him, and to feast in his presence, Leviticus xxiii. 10., and Deuteronomy xxvi. 21. --- Sheaves, either of corn or of straw. (Septuagint) --- The Arabs and neighbouring nations still delight to rest upon the ground, with some clothes thrown over them. (Calmet)
Troubled. Hebrew may be rendered, "and turned himself, or felt," &c. (Calmet) --- He perceived something at his feet, when he awoke, and was in consternation, particularly when he perceived, through the glimmering light, a woman at his feet. (Haydock).
Kinsman. Hebrew, "a redeemer;" (Calmet) one bound to defend and to espouse a brother's widow, if others more nearly akin refuse. (Haydock) --- Ruth modestly admonishes him of this duty, and begs that he would take her to wife, (Calmet) as he might then have done without any other formality. (Serarius, q. vii.) --- We find a similar expression [in] Ezechiel xvi. 8., and Deuteronomy xxii. 80. Some think that she only asked for protection. The custom of the husband, stretching a part of his garment over his bride, was perhaps already established among the Hebrews. (Calmet) --- Hebrew and Septuagint, "stretch thy wing over," &c. Chaldean, "Let thy name be invoked upon thy handmaid, to take me to wife." (Menochius; Isaias iv. 1.)
Thy latter kindness; viz., to thy husband deceased, in seeking to keep up his name and family, by marrying his relation according to the law, and not following after young men: for Booz, it seems, was then in years. (Challoner) Salien supposes about seventy years old. (Haydock) --- The affection which Ruth had all along displayed towards her husband, deserved applause. (Calmet) --- Much more did her present endeavours to comply with God’s law. (Worthington)
Woman. Virtuous here may denote, "strong, generous," &c., Proverbs xxxi. 10. (Calmet) --- But it includes the assemblage of all virtues. (Haydock).
Than I. The Jews think that he was brother of Elimelech, while Booz was only his nephew. But they might be in the same degree; the other being only older. (Calmet)
Well. Hebrew tob. (Haydock) --- Hence the Jews would translate, "If Tob will redeem thee, let him." They say that Tob was the paternal uncle of Mahalon: but it is not probable that his proper name should be only here mentioned, and not [in] chap. iv. The Septuagint and Chaldean are conformable to the Vulgate and the opinion of the Jews is abandoned by most interpreters; (Calmet) and by the Protestant, "well, let him do the kinsman's part." (Haydock) --- Liveth. Chaldean, "Bound by an oath, before the Lord, I say that I will fulfil my promise unto thee."
Hither. The next kinsman might otherwise allege this as a pretext for not marrying her, (Salien) as people are but too apt to suspect the worst, though nothing amiss had passed between them. (Haydock) --- Booz consulted his own as well as Ruth's reputation: for the apostle admonishes us to abstain from every appearance of evil, 1 Thessalonians v. 22. (Menochius)
Mantle. The Syrian and Arabian ladies cover themselves all over with a large white veil, or piece of cloth, which has no hole", so that Ruth might conveniently carry the barley in it. --- Measures is not in [the] Hebrew or Septuagint. Most people supply ephi. St. Jerome, who has translated six bushels, (allowing three to the ephi; chap. ii. 17,) has understood that Booz gave Ruth two ephi. If we explain it of six ephi, the burden would be great enough, consisting of 180 pints or pounds of barley. Bonfrere would supply six gomers, each of which consisted of only the tenth part of the ephi, or three pints, in all 18. But such a present seems too inconsiderable. We may therefore stick to St. Jerome, whose six measures (Calmet--- modios, bushels; Haydock.) make about 60 pints; (Calmet) or, according to others, 160 pounds, which, though heavy, a woman might carry. The Septuagint insinuate, that Ruth carried the barley in her apron. (Menochius) --- And. Hebrew, "he went." But the text is probably corrupted. (Calmet)
What, &c. Hebrew, "Who art thou?" It was yet so dark that she did not know her. (Calmet)