Ruth 3
Pulpit Commentary
Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
Verse 1. - And Naomi, her mother-in-law, said to her, My daughter, shall not I seek out for thee a rest, that it may be well with thee? When Ruth had nothing more to do on the harvest-fields, where Boaz appeared daily, and was unremittingly gracious to her, she may have fallen into a pensive mood. Naomi was quick to note the varying 'nuances of feeling, and said "My daughter, shall I not seek out for thee a rest?" The expression rest, or resting-place, though in itself of generic import, was, when used in such circumstances as environed Ruth, quite specific in application, and would be at once understood. It was a home to which Naomi pointed, a home for her daughter's heart. In such a home, if warm and pure, there would be repose for the affections. "That it may be well with thee," or, "which shall (or may) be good for thee." Either translation is warrantable and excellent. The latter is the most simple, and is given by Carpzov and Rosenmüller; but the former is in accordance with a frequent idiomatic use of the expression, in which there is a change from the relative in result to the relative in aim, so that אֲשֶׁר יִיטַב is equivalent to לְמַעַן יִיטַב (see Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 6:3, 18; Deuteronomy 10:11, 25, 28). Naomi did not distinguish between rests that would be 'good, ' and other rests which would not be 'good.' Nor did she moralize on the idea of a rest, and affirm that it would be 'good' for her widowed daughter-in-law. She assumed that every true rest was 'good,' and, on the basis of that assumption, she sought out one for her devoted Ruth. Hence the superiority of the rendering that expresses aim to that which expresses the mere prediction of result.
And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
Verse 2. - And now is not Boaz, with whose young women thou wast, our relatives. Naomi opens her case. She had been studying Boaz all through the harvest season. She had been studying Ruth too. She saw unmistakable evidence of mutual responsiveness and attachment. And now she had a matured scheme in her head. Hence she brings up Boaz's name at once, and says, "Is he not our relative?" מודַעַת, an abstract term used concretely, meaning literally" acquaintance," but here "relative," or "kinsman" (see Ruth 2:1). Lo, he is winnowing barley on the threshing-floor tonight. Literally, "Lo, he is winnowing the threshing-floor of barley." The Hebrews could idiomatically speak of "the threshing-floor of barley," meaning "the threshing-floor-full of barley." The barley lay heaped up in Boaz's threshing-floor, and he was changed in winnowing it. He threw up against the wind the mingled mass that was on his floor, after the stalks had been carefully trodden or beaten. "Not far," says Dr. Horatio Hackett, "from the site of ancient Corinth, I passed a heap of grain, which some laborers were employed in winnowing. They used for throwing up the mingled wheat and chaff a three-pronged wooden fork, having a handle three or four feet long" ('Illustrations,' p. 106). "The winnowing," says Dr. Kitto, "was performed by throwing up the grain with a fork against the wind, by which the chaff and broken straw were dispersed, and the grain fell to the ground. The grain was afterwards passed through a sieve to separate the morsels of earth and other impurities, and it then underwent a final purification by being tossed up with wooden scoops, or shorthanded shovels, such as we see sculptured on the monuments of Egypt" ('Illustrations,' in loc., p. 40). In some of the Egyptian sculptures the winnowers are represented as having scoops in both hands. הַלַּיְלָה, tonight (Scottice, "the nicht"). The agriculturist in Palestine and the surrounding districts would often carry on his winnowing operations after sunset, taking advantage of the evening breeze that then blows. The Chaldee Targumist makes express reference to this breeze, explaining the word tonight as meaning in the wind which blows by night.
Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
Verse 3. - So then wash thyself, and anoint thyself, and dress thyself? This latter phrase is in the original, "and put thy garments on thee." The verb וְשַׂמְתְּי with its final yod, was the archaic form of the second person feminine, though still much cut down and contracted from its oldest form. See Raabe's 'Zuruckfuhring,' and note the conduct of the verb, in its relation to the pronominal suffixes, when these are affixed. And go down to the threshing-floor. The town of Bethlehem lay on the summit of "the narrow ridge of a long gray hill" (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 163), while the corn-fields, that gave the fortified place its name of Bread-town, stretched out expandingly in the valleys below. Dr. Robinson says, "We ascended gradually toward Bethlehem around the broad head of a valley running N.E. to join that under Mar Elyas The town lies on the E. and N.E. slope of a long ridge; another deep valley, Wady Ta'amirah, being on the south side, which passes down north of the Frank Mountain toward the Dead Sea, receiving the valley under Mar Elyas not far below. Toward the west the hill is higher than the village, and then sinks down very gradually toward Wady Ahmed ('Biblical Researches,' vol. 2. p. 158). Let not your presence be known to the man before he has finished eating and drinking. It would have been imprudent and impolite to have discovered her presence while his servants and himself were busied in operations which required to be actively prosecuted while the breeze was favorable, and the light of the moon serviceable. Ruth was to wait till the servants, having finished their work and their repast, had retired to their respective homes. The master, as Naomi knew, would remain gratefully and joyfully on the spot, to keep watch in the midst of his cereal treasures, and under the still magnificence of the broad canopy of heaven. Speaking of Hebron, Dr. Robinson says, "Here we needed no guard around our tent. The owners of the crops came every night and slept upon their threshing-floors to guard them, and this we had found to be universal in all the region of Gaza. We were in the midst of scenes precisely like those of the Book of Ruth, when Boaz winnowed barley in his threshing-floor, and laid himself down at night to guard the heap of corn" ('Biblical Researches, ' vol. 2. p. 446). Boaz's heart, when all was quiet around him, would be full of calm and comfort. He would pace about his well-heaped threshing-floor contentedly, contemplatively; and, as he paced, and thought, and adored, the figure of the beautiful and industrious gleaner might persist in coming in within the field of meditation. It might linger there, and be gladly allowed to linger.
And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
Verse 4. - And let it be, when he lies down, that thou take note of the place where he lies; and go, and uncover the parts about his feet, and lay thee down; and he shall declare to thee what thou shalt do. The denominative word מַרְגְּלֺלתָיו - freely rendered in King James's version "his feet" - we have rendered "the parts about his feet." It is the exact opposite of מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו, which never means "his head," but is always translated correctly either "his pillows" or "his bolster." It denotes "the supports on which the head was laid in lying;" and מַרְגְּלות, having reference to members of the body which do not need such supports as the head, simply means "the places occupied by the feet." Naomi ventured, on a bold expedient to bring speedy rest to her daughter-in-law. But we assume that, with unmistaking feminine intuition, she saw, on the one hand, that Boaz was already deeply attached to Ruth, and, on the other, that Ruth reciprocated his attachment with pure intensity. Most probably we should also assume that she detected in Boaz a peculiar diffidence that caused him to shrink from making decisive advances in the way of declaring his affection. He had, however, unconsciously revealed himself, and made it clear to Naomi that he wished to divulge in words the depth of his honorable feelings. But again and again, as we may suppose, his sensitiveness overcame his resolutions. Hence Naomi's scheme to bring him to the point of declaration. It would have been reprehensible in the extreme had she not been absolutely certain of his wishes, on the one hand, and of his perfect honor and un-contaminable purity on the other. And even with that qualification, the scheme would have been imprudent and improper, and utterly unfeminine, had it not been the case that, in virtue of an ancient and much-prized Hebrew law, Ruth was entitled to call upon her nearest of kin to fulfill the various duties of a responsible kinsman. Still, notwithstanding the existence of this law, we may rest assured that the sensitive gleaner would never have summoned up courage to ask Boaz to discharge to her the duties of kinship, unless she had been sure that the thrills that vibrated within her own heart were responsive to subtle touches, on his part, of spirit with spirit.
And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
Verse 5. - And she said, All that thou sayest I will do. There is no need for adopting into the text the K'ri "to me," after the expression, All that thou sayest." It is a mere "tittle," indeed, whether we omit or insert the pronoun; yet it was not found in the manuscripts that lay before the Septuagint and Vulgate translators.
And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
Verses 6, 7. - And she went down to the threshing-floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law had enjoined. And Boaz ate and drank, and his heart was comfortable; and he went to lie down at the end of the heap; and she came softly, and uncovered the parts about his feet, and laid herself down. The translation in King James's version, "and his heart was merry," is perhaps stronger than there is any occasion for. The word rendered "was merry," - viz., יִיטַב - is literally "was good." The Septuagint word is ἠγαθύνθη. After the labors of the evening, Boaz had a relish for his simple repast. It was good to him. Hence he ate and drank to his heart's content, enjoying with grateful spirit the bounties of a gracious Providence. By and by he retired to rest, amid visions perchance of a brightened home, which just helped to reflect on his consciousness a stronger resolution than he had ever formed before to make known his affection At length he slept. The Syriac translate adds interpretatively, "in a sweet sleep or the floor." Ruth then stepped cautiously forth to play her delicate part. She stole softly to the sheltered spot where he lay. She gently uncovered the margin of the cloak, which lay over the place where his feet were laid. She laid herself down noiselessly. The Arabic translator adds, "and slept beside him" - a most unhappy interpretation. Nothing but sin would be so far away as sleep from the eyes, and mind, and heart of the anxious suitor.
And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.
And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
Verse 8. - And it came to pass at midnight that the man started in a fright; and he bent himself over, and lo, a woman was lying at his feet. He had awaked, and, feeling something soft and warm at his feet, he was startled and affrighted. What could it be? In a moment or two he recovered his self-possession, and bending himself up and over, or "crooking himself, to see and to feel, lo, a woman was lying at his feet. The Chaldee Targumist tumbles into a ludicrous bathos of taste when endeavoring to emphasize the startle and shiver which Boas experienced. He says, "He trembled, and his flesh, became soft as a turnip from the agitation. How could the most peddling and paltering of Rabbis succeed in betraying himself into such a laughable puerility and absurdity? The explanation, though of course it is not the least atom of justification, lies in the fact that the Chaldee word for "turnip" is לֶפֶת while the verb that de notes "he bent himself" is the niphal of לָפַת. The use of the expression "the man," in this and several of the adjoining verses, is apt to grate a little upon English ears. Let us explain and vindicate the term as we may, the grating is still felt. No matter though we know that "the rank is but the guinea stamp," the grating is felt inevitably. It is a result of that peculiar growth in living language that splits generic terms into such as are specific or semi-specific. We have gentleman as well as man, and embarrassment is not infrequently the result of our linguistic wealth. In the verse before us, and in some of those that go before, we should be disposed, in our English idiom, to employ the proper name: "And it came to pass at midnight that ' Boaz' started in a fright."
And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
Verse 9. - And he said, Who art thou? And she said, I am Ruth, thy handmaid; and thou hast spread thy wings over thy handmaid, for thou art kinsman. The Syriac translator spoils the question of Boaz by metamorphosing it from "Who art thou?" into "What is thy message?" Tremulous would be the voice of Ruth as she replied, "I am Ruth, thy handmaid." What she said in continuance has been very generally, and by Driver, among others ('Hebrew Tenses,' p. 135), misapprehended. Not by Raabe, however. It has been regarded as a petition presented to Boaz - "Spread thy wings (or, thy wing) over thy handmaid, for thou art kinsman." The literal translation, however, and far the more delicate idea, as also far the more effective representation, is, "And thou hast spread thy wings over thy handmaid, for thou art kinsman." Ruth explains her position under Boaz's coverlet as if it were his own deliberate act. Such is her felicitous way of putting the case. It is as if she had said, "The position in which thy handmaid actually is exhibits the true relation in which thou standest to thy handmaid. She is under thy wings. Thou hast benignantly spread them over her, for thou art kinsman." The Masorites have correctly regarded כנפ as a scriptio defectiva for the dual of the noun, and hence have punctuated it כְּנָפֶך, "thy wings." The majority of interpreters, however, have assumed that the word is singular, and have hence translated it as if it had been punctuated כְּנָפְך. The dual reading is to be preferred. Boaz himself had represented Ruth as having come trustfully under the wings of Yahveh (see Ruth 2:12). She accepted the representation. It was beautifully true. But, as she was well aware that God often works through human agency, she now recognized the Divine hand in the kindness of Boaz. "Thou hast spread thy wings over thine handmaid." She was under his wings because she had come under the wings of Yahveh. She felt like a little timid chicken; but she had found a refuge. It is the wings of tender, gentle, sheltering care that are referred to. There is only indirect allusion to the typical coverlet under which she lay. For thou art kinsman (see Ruth 2:20). The native modesty of Ruth led her to account for her position by a reference to the law of kinship. She had rights, and she stood upon them. She conceived that Boaz had correlative duties to discharge; but we may be sure that she would never have made the least reference to her rights, or to the correlative duties which she regarded as devolving on Boaz, had she not known that his heart was already hers.
And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
Verse 10. - And he said, Blessed be thou of Yahveh, my daughter; thou hast made thy latter kindness better than the former, in not going after any young man, whether poor or rich. This verse is full of satisfactory evidence that Naomi was perfectly right in conjecturing that Boas, deep in love, was restrained only by diffidence from formally declaring himself. It shows us too that the chief ground of his diffidence was his age. He had been an acquaintance, and the equal in years, of Ruth's father-in-law, Elimelech, and the impression had got hold on him that the handsome young widow might feel repugnance to his suit. Hence, instead of being in the least degree offended by the steps she had taken, he was relieved, and felt full of gratification on the one hand, and of gratitude on the other. Blessed be thou by Yahveh. Literally, "to Yahveh," i.e. "in relation to Yahveh" (see Ruth 2:20). My daughter. His relative elderliness was in his mind. Thou hast made thy latter kindness better than the former. Michaelis has seized the true meaning of these words: "The kindness which thou art showing to thy husband, now that he is gone, is still greater than what thou didst show to him while he lived." Her employment of the word "kinsman," or goel, was evidence to Boas that she was thinking of the respect which she owed to her husband's memory. Her concern in discharging that duty of 'piety' struck the heart of Boaz; and all the more as, in his opinion, she might easily have found open doors, had she wished for them, in quarters where there was no connection of kinship with her deceased husband. "She did not go after any young man, whether poor or rich." She preferred, above all such, her first husband's elderly "kinsman." In the original the construction is peculiar - "in not going after the young men, whether a poor one or a rich one." He does not simply mean that she was free from vagrant courses and desires. Her character lay, to his eye, on a far higher level His meaning is that she deliberately refrained from "thinking of any young man. The plural "young men" is to be accounted for on the principle that when an alternate is assumed or postulated, there is, in actual contemplation, a plurality of individuals.
And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
Verse 11. - And now, my daughter, fear not: all that thou sayest I shall do to thee, for it is on all hands known in the gate of my people that thou art a truly capable woman. The word חָיִל in the expression אֵשֶׁת ךחיִל is of many-sided import, and has no synonym in English, German, Latin, or Greek. But every side of its import brings into view one or other or more of such affiliated ideas as strength, force, forces, capability - whether mental and moral only, or also financial; competency, substantiality, ability, bravery. All who had taken notice of Ruth perceived that she was mentally and morally, as well as physically, a substantial and capable woman. She was possessed of force, both of mind and character. She was, in the New England sense, of the expression, a woman of "faculty. She was full of resources, and thus adequate to the position which, as Boaz's wife, she would be required to fill. There was no levity about her, "no nonsense." She was earnest, industrious, virtuous, strenuous, brave. There was much of the heroine in her character, and thus the expression connects itself with the masculine application of the distinctive and many-sided word, "a mighty man of valor." The expression אֵשֶׁת חֲיִל occurs in Proverbs 12:4, where, in King James's version, it is, as here and in Proverbs 31:10, translated 'Ca virtuous woman" - "a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband." But it is not so much to moral virtue that there is a reference as to that general capacity which consists in "large discourse, looking before and after" ('Hamlet, ' 4:4). Compare the masculine expression אַנְשֵׁיאּחֲיִל in Exodus 18:21, 25, rendered, in King-James's version, "able men," and meaning capable or substantial men, who, however, as we learn from the additional characteristics that are specified, were to be likewise conspicuous for high moral worth. In Proverbs 31:10 there is the same reference to general capacity, as is evidenced by the graphic representation that follows - a representation that by no means exhausts itself in the idea of moral virtue. Ibn Ezra takes the whole soul out of the expression when he interprets it, both here and in Proverbs, as meaning "a woman possessed of riches." When Boaz says, "All that thou sayest I will do to thee," he means, "All that thou hast so winsomely and yet so modestly referred to in what thou didst say, I am prepared to do to thee. There was only one obstacle in the way, and that of a somewhat technical description. If that should be honorably surmounted, nothing would be more agreeable to Boaz s heart than to get nearer to Ruth "For," said he, "it is on all hands known in the gate of my people that," etc. Literally the phrase is, "for all the gate of my people know," a strange inverted but picturesque mode of expression. It was not "the gate of the people," but the people of the gate," that knew.
And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
Verse 12. - And now it is the case of a truth that while I am a kinsman, there is yet a kinsman nearer than I. Or the rendering might with greater brevity be given thus: And now of a truth I am a kinsman; and yet there is a kinsman nearer than I. The survivals of a very ancient style of elaborately-detailed composition are here preserved. The archaism, however, was not quite appreciated by the Mazorites, who, in accordance with the spirit of the age in which they flourished, took but little note of the philological development, historical and prehistorical, of the language they were handling. Hence they suppressed the אִם in K'ri, though faithfully preserving it in C'tib. The particles, standing up and semi-isolated, palaeolithic-wise, might be accounted for in some such way as is shown in the following paraphrase: "And now (I declare) 'that' of a truth (it is the case) 'that if (I declare the whole truth) I (am) a kinsman, and also there is a kinsman nearer than I." Boas was of that strictly honorable cast of mind that he could not for a moment entertain any project that might amount to a disregard of the rights of others, even although these rights should fly violently in the teeth own personal desires.
Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.
Verse 13. - Abide here tonight; and it shall come to pass in the morning, if he will act to thee the part of a kinsman, well; he shall act the kinsman's part: and if it please him not to act to thee the kinsman's part, then sure as Yahveh is alive, I will act to thee the kinsman's part. Lie still till the morning. Love is quick-witted. Boaz's plan of operations would formulate itself on the spur of the moment; but the remainder of the night would doubtless be spent in maturing the details of procedure. The aim would be to secure, as far as honor would permit, the much-wished-for prize. There would be, moreover, we need not doubt, much conversation between them, and mutual consultation, and arrangement. A large letter, a majuscula, occurs in the first word of the verse - לִינִי - which the smaller Masora ascribes to the Oriental or Babylonian textualists. It had, no doubt, been at first either a merely accidental, or a finically capricious, enlargement; but, being found, mysteries had to be ex-cogitated to account for it; - all mere rubbish. "Tonight" is a perfect translation of הַלַּיְלָה, for the to is simply the common definite article in one of its peculiar forms, perhaps peculiarly crushed and defaced (see note on Ruth 3:2).
And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
Verse 14. - And she lay at the place of his feet until morning: and she arose ere yet a man could distinguish his neighbor. In the original it is "the places of his feet" (see ver. 4). Time would rapidly fly past. Sleep there would be none to either the one or the other. In mutual modesty they guarded each other's honor. Thoughts and feelings, narratives and projects, would be freely interchanged. Their mutual understanding would become complete. At length there began to be the first faint tinge of paleness streaking into the dark. Ruth arose, and prepared to depart. It is added, For he had said, - or, more literally, "And he had said," - Let it not be known that 'the' woman came to the threshing-floor. This has been to critics a puzzling clause. The conjunction in the foreground, a mere copulative, has occasioned difficulty. It is thoroughly Hebraistic. But of course it does not here introduce to notice something merely added to what goes before, of the nature of a parting injunction or request addressed to Ruth. The articulated phrase "the woman," as distinguished from "a woman," the expression in King James's version, renders such an interpretation impossible. The Targumist explains thus: "and he said to his young men." But the whole tenor of the preceding narrative proceeds on the assumption that there were no servants on the premises or at hand. Other Rabbis, and after them Luther and Cover-dale, interpret thus: "and he said in his heart," or, "and he thought." Unnatural. The difficulty is to be credited, or debited, to simplicity of composition, and the habit of just adding thing to thing aggregatively, instead of interweaving them into a complex unity. In the course of their many interchanges of thought and feeling, Boaz had expressed a desire, both for Ruth s sake and for his own, that it should not be known that she had come by night to the threshing-floor. The narrator, instead of introducing this expression of desire in the way in which it would directly fall from the lips of Boaz, "Let it not be known that thou didst come," gives it in the indirect form of speech, the oratio obliqua, as his own statement of the case. It is as if he had introduced a parenthesis or added a note in the margin. The ἅπαξ λεγόμενον טָרְום -instead of טֶרֶם- was most probably not a later form, as Berthean supposes, but an older Hebrew form that had died out of use long before the days of the Masorites.
Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
Verse 15. - And he said, Allow me the wrapper which is upon thee, and hold on by it; and she held on by it; and he measured six measures of barley; and he put it on her, and went to the city. The expression "Allow me," literally, "Give (me)," was a current phrase of courtesy. The verb employed - יָהַב - was common Semitic property, ere yet the mother-tongue was subdivided into Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, Arabic. The wrapper which is upon thee. The word for wrapper occurs nowhere else except in Isaiah 3:22, where it is translated, in King James's version, "wimple." Here it is rendered "vail," and, in the margin, "sheet or apron," - all of them unhappy translations. So is the rendering of the Targumist, סוּדְרָא, i.e. sudarium, or "napkin." N.G. Schroder discusses the word at great length in his masterly 'Commentarius Philologico-Criticus de Vestitu Mulierum Hebraearum,' pp. 247-277. He would render it pallium or palla In consequence of national peculiarities in articles of dress, especially in ancient times, it is best to avoid a specific, and to employ a generic translation. When Boaz said, "Give me the wrapper," he did not ask that it should be handed to him. He had already put his hand upon it, and was engaged in hollowing out a scoop or cavity. Hence he said, on the one hand, "Allow me," and, on the other, "Hold on by it." And he measured six measures of barley. The particular measure referred to is unspecified. It is not only mere dream on the part of the Targumist, but it is dream involving almost sheer impossibility, that the measures were seahs, i.e. two ephahs. The Targumist had to bolster up his dream by adding another, viz., that Ruth got miraculously strength to carry the load. Load, indeed, there undoubtedly was; and no doubt it would be as great as she could conveniently carry. And likewise, in accordance with the primitive simplicity of manners, the magnitude of the burden would be demonstration to Naomi of Boaz's satisfaction with the "measures" which, in full motherliness of spirit, she had planned. And he went to the city. The Vulgate and Syriac versions, as also Castellio, Coverdale, and various other translators, but not Luther, have assumed that we should read וַתָּבְלֺא, "and she went," instead of וַיָּבְּלֺא, "and he went." So too Wright. But there seems to be no good reason for making the change. If there had been no division into verses, then the departure of both Boaz and Ruth on their respective routes, or in their respective order of sequence, would have been recorded close together: "and 'he' went to the city, and 'she' went to her mother-in-law" - each, let us bear in mind, with the heart elate.
And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
Verse 16. - And she went to her mother-in-law. And she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she narrated to her all that the man had done to her. The question, "Who art thou, my daughter?" is not put by Naomi, as Drusius supposes, because it was still so dusk that she could not properly distinguish Ruth. The address, "My daughter," shows that she had no difficulty in determining who the visitor was. But there is something arch intended. "Art thou Boaz's betrothed?" Michaelis translates, "What art thou?" Unwarrantably as regards the letter, but correctly as regards the spirit of the interrogatory.
And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
Verse 17. - And she said, These six measures of barley he gave to me; for he said, Thou must not go empty to thy mother-in-law. The C'tib omission of "to me" after "for he said" is most likely to be the original reading. A fastidious Rabbi would rather originate this insertion than the omission.
Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.
Verse 18. - And she said, Sit still, my daughter, till that thou know how the affair will fall out, for the man will not rest unless he complete the affair today. In saying, Sit still, my daughter, it is as if Naomi had said, "There is no occasion for restless anxiety. Let your heart be at ease till that thou know how the affair will fall out." In the Hebrew the noun is without the article. But in English it must be supplied, unless a plural be employed - "how 'things' will fall out.' דָּבָר, thing, i.e. think. Compare the corresponding relation between the German sache and sagen.

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