Ruth 2:20
And Naomi said to her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said to her, The man is near of kin to us, one of our next kinsmen.
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(20) Who hath not . . .—It is not clear whether the grammatical antecedent is God or Boaz. Either way a good sense is obtained. As our lost dear ones had kindness shown them of old, so we too now. If Boaz is the antecedent, it may seem curious that Naomi (knowing that she was dwelling near to a kinsman of her husband’s, and, further, one who had shown kindness before they departed to Moab) should not have made herself known to him. It is, at any rate, a proof of the independence of her character. However, the name once named evidently suggests the train of thought which at length leads Naomi to appeal to him for a kinsman’s special aid, the aid of the Goel or redeemer.

One of our next kinsmen.—One of those who must redeem.

Ruth 2:20. His kindness to the living and to the dead — That is, the kindness which he formerly showed to my husband and his sons while they were living, he now continues to us their relicts.2:17-23 It encourages industry, that in all labour, even that of gleaning, there is profit. Ruth was pleased with what she gained by her own industry, and was careful to secure it. Let us thus take care that we lose not those things which we have wrought, which we have gained for our souls' good, 2Jo 1:8. Parents should examine their children, as Naomi did, not to frighten or discourage them, so as to make them hate home, or tempt them to tell a lie; but to commend them if they have done well, and with mildness to reprove and caution them if they have done otherwise. It is a good question for us to ask ourselves every night, Where have I gleaned to-day? What improvement have I made in knowledge and grace? What have I done that will turn to a good account? When the Lord deals bountifully with us, let us not be found in any other field, nor seeking for happiness and satisfaction in the creature. We lose Divine favours, if we slight them. Ruth dutifully observed her mother's directions. And when the harvest was ended, she kept her aged mother company at home. Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land; her vanity ended in disgrace, Ge 34. Ruth kept at home, and helped to maintain her mother, and went out on no other errand than to get provision for her; her humility and industry ended in preferment.Blessed be he of the Lord ... - We may gather from Naomi's allusion to the dead that both her husband and son had been faithful servants of Jehovah, the God of Israel. His kindness to the dead consisted in raising up (as Naomi hoped) an heir to perpetuate the name; and, in general, in His care for their widows.

One of our next kinsmen - The word here is גאל gā'al, the redeemer, who had the right:

(1) of redeeming the inheritance of the person;

(2) of marrying the widow;

(3) of avenging the death. (See Leviticus 25:25-31, Leviticus 25:47-55; Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Deuteronomy 19:1-13.)

Since these rights belonged to the next of kin, גאל gā'al came to mean the nearest kinsman.

20. the man is … one of our next kinsmen—Hebrew, "one of our redeemers," on whom it devolves to protect us, to purchase our lands, and marry you, the widow of his next kinsman. She said, "one of them," not that there were many in the same close relationship, but that he was a very near kinsman, one other individual only having the precedence. And to the dead, i.e. which he formerly showed to those who are now dead, to wit, my husband and his sons whilst they were living, and now continues to us, their wives, who are now alive.

One of our next kinsmen; Heb. one of our redeemers, or avengers, to whom it belongs to avenge our persons, and to redeem our lands, and to marry thee, the widow and relict of his next kinsman, as is expressed, Ruth 3:9. She saith one of them, not that there were many who were immediately such, but that he was a very near kinsman, and one to whom that office belonged, in case of the refusal of one person, of whom she rightly conjectured that he would refuse, as he did. And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, blessed be he of the Lord,.... Or the Lord bless him with all kind of blessings, temporal and spiritual; and as he has blessed him already, may he be blessed more and more:

who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead; he had been kind to Elimelech and to his sons, who were now dead, and he continued his kindness to the reliefs of them, Naomi and Ruth, who were living, and was kind to them for the sake of the dead; and showing kindness to them expressed his respect to the memory of the dead:

and Naomi said unto her; continued her speech to her, and added to what she had said:

the man is near of kin to us; a near relation of ours, meaning by her husband's side: yea:

one of our next kinsmen; the nearest we have, there was but one nearer than he: the word for kinsman here is "Goel", a redeemer; for to such who were in the degree of kindred as Boaz was, and he that was nearer still than he to them, belonged the right of redemption, and therefore were called by the name of "Goel", a redeemer, as Ben Melech observes; they had a right to avenge the blood of the slain, to redeem their houses and possessions, if sold or mortgaged, and their persons by marrying them, and raising up seed to a deceased brother, or kinsman.

And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the {h} dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.

(h) To my husband and children, when they were alive, and now to us.

20. one of our near kinsmen] See marg. and note on Ruth 3:9. Here the word go’el occurs for the first time in the story.Verse 20. - And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, Blessed 'of' Yahveh be he who - . The expression is literally, "Blessed 'to' Yahveh be, he who," that is, "Blessed in relation to Yahveh be he who," or "Blessed be he! I carry the desire and prayer up to Yahveh," which just amounts, in meaning, to this: "Blessed ' by' Yahveh be he who." See other instances of the same construction in Genesis 14:19, and Psalm 115:15. Who has not let go his kindness to the living and to the dead. Some take these words to be descriptive of Yahveh. Others take them to be descriptive of Boaz. If they be regarded in the former point of view, then the foregoing clause must be rendered, not, "Blessed by Yahveh be he who," but, "Blessed be he by Yahveh who." Dr. Cassel assumes, but without any formal reasoning or apparent reason, that the reference of the relative is to Yahveh, and hence he makes out an ingenious argument in defense of the doctrine, that those who are dead to us are yet alive to God - the doctrine of immortality. It is strained. Yet Raabe thinks that the reference is to Yahveh, inasmuch as Naomi had as yet no evidence of Boaz's kindness to the deceased. The reason thus given for carrying the reference up to God is certainly unsatisfactory; for, looking at the subject from the human point of view, it is obvious that Boaz's peculiar kindness to the living was his kindness to the deceased; whereas, if we look at the case from the Divine point of view, it is difficult, if not impossible, to account for the discrimination between the living and the dead. The first feeling that sprang up in the heart of Naomi at the mention of the name of Boaz was one of adoration. The next was a generous desire in reference to Boaz himself. She prayed that he might be graciously recompensed by Yahveh for the kindness he had shown that day, both toward the living - Ruth and herself - and toward the deceased - Elimelech and his sons. A man of less noble nature might have been ready, in reference to relatives in reduced circumstances, to ignore the present, and to bury in oblivion the past. After giving scope to her feelings of adoration and benediction, Naomi, with the prompt and practical directness of a true woman, said to her daughter-in-law. The man is near to us, adding immediately, and with a rapid glance at bright contingencies that were in the region of the possible, He is one of our peculiar kinsmen (our Goelim). She meant that he was one of those peculiarly near kinsmen who had a right of redemption over' whatever lands may have formerly belonged to her, and the first right of purchase over whatever lands might yet remain in the possession of herself or of her daughter-in-law. Naomi and Ruth, though greatly reduced in circumstances, and painfully pent up in present straits, were far from being Paupers. They were proprietors (see Ruth 4:3, 5). But their property was not, for the time being, available for income or sustenance. It had either been farmed out on usufruct or allowed to lie waste. In the absence of the yod in מִלֺגּאֲלֵגוּ we have an instance of scriptio defectiva, as distinguished from scriptio plena. Such defective manuscription might be expected to occur occasionally in transcription from dictation, when, as here, the presence or the absence of the letter made no difference in the pronunciation of the reader. Michaelis, however ('Mosaisches Recht,' § 137), and Gesenius ('Thesaurus,' in voc.), instead of regarding the absence of the yod as an instance of scriptio defectiva, have conjectured that מִלֺגּאֵל is a noun, or name, meaning the seemed in order of the Goelim. But, notwithstanding the ingenuity of the conjecture, there is not a shadow of evidence to evince that the Hebrews themselves ever knew of such a word. Nor does the supposition or subsumption of such a word in the least facilitate the construction on the one hand, or illumine the narrative on the other. This unassuming humility on the part of Ruth made Boaz all the more favourably disposed towards her, so that at meal-time he called her to eat along with his people (לה without Mappik, as in Numbers 32:42; Zechariah 5:11; cf. Ewald, 94, b. 3). "Dip thy morsel in the vinegar." Chomez, a sour beverage composed of vinegar (wine vinegar or sour wine) mixed with oil; a very refreshing drink, which is still a favourite beverage in the East (see Rosenmller, A. and N. Morgenland, iv. p. 68, and my Bibl. Archologie, ii. p. 16). "And he reached her parched corn." The subject is Boaz, who, judging from the expression "come hither," either joined in the meal, or at any rate was present at it. קלי are roasted grains of wheat (see at Leviticus 2:14, and my Bibl. Arch. ii. p. 14), which are still eaten by the reapers upon the harvest field, and also handed to strangers.

(Note: Thus Robinson (Pal. ii. p. 394) gives the following description of a harvest scene in the neighbourhood of Kubeibeh: "In one field nearly two hundred reapers and gleaners were at work, the latter being nearly as numerous as the former. A few were taking their refreshment, and offered us some of their 'parched corn.' In the season of harvest, the grains of wheat not yet fully dry and hard, are roasted in a pan or on an iron plate, and constitute a very palatable article of food; this is eaten along with bread, or instead of it.")

Boaz gave her an abundant supply of it, so that she was not only satisfied, but left some, and was able to take it home to her mother (Ruth 2:18.)

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