Ruth (Translated)

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Ruth was a Moabitish woman who married two men of Israel and became a direct ancestress of Jesus Christ. More particularly, she was the great grandmother of King David, the greatest of all the Kings of Israel.

Hers is a story of great faith, shown almost without flaw. She abandons the country of her own ancestors, to embrace another faith. She settles with a mother-in-law after both the men in their lives are dead, on land that neither seems able to manage effectively. According to the custom that prevailed in those days, she became a "charity case," though this was a charity one had to work for.

More than that, this story is rich in typology. Nearly every character in this story is a type:

Boaz is generous, is attentive to the needs of the poor, rewards Ruth for her loving service to Naomi, and finally plays the role of a redeemer. He is a type of his eventual descendant, Jesus Christ.

The unnamed kinsman (Hebrew: פלני אלמני, pelōnī ʼālmōnī, or literally, "Mr. So-and-so"[1]) who is willing to redeem the land alone but not to redeem Ruth, is a type of any person or institution that human beings think can redeem them, though no one can offer the redemption that Christ offers.

Naomi is a type of a believer to whom something bad has happened, and might not understand immediately that what seems a curse today will be a blessing tomorrow. She complains that God has brought her back empty-handed, but fails to recognize that having Ruth for a friend is a tremendous blessing in itself.[2] Her suggestion to Ruth that she make herself romantically attractive to Boaz seems like an attempt to obtain redemption by subterfuge. Ruth rejects the subterfuge and makes a straightforward request.

Orpah is a type of one who hears the message of God and turns away from it. Moab is a type of the world, and the Moabite national religion is a type of the belief systems of the world.

Ruth is a type of one who hears, believes, and is ready to leave everything with which she is familiar in order to claim the blessings of God. When she leaves her homeland, she also leaves her national religion behind, because only the Israelites had any concept of a God Who was everywhere.[2] She also demonstrates humility, thankfulness, and the ability to recognize a blessing when she receives it.

Chapter 1

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. This story happened in the days when the Judges ruled. Famine broke out in the land of Israel. A man from Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, went to stay as a resident alien in the country of Moab with his wife and two sons. This story took place, most likely, in 1321-1311 BC, in the era of the Biblical Judges. Judge Ehud held the leadership position at the time. Ironically, Ehud came to his leadership position by assassinating King Eglon of Moab and raising an insurrection against him. What makes the irony is that a prominent Israelite would actually go out of the Land and across the Jordan River, to live as a resident alien in the country of his people's enemies.

The word rendered "country" in the KJV translates as "fields" in Hebrew. In the era of this story, the most important value of land was the food one could produce from it. So "the fields" of a kingdom are its territory and especially its arable lands.

2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. This man's name was Elimelech, his wife was named Naomi and his sons where called Mahlon and Chilion. They where Ephrathites of Bethlehem in the country of Judah. They emigrated to the territory of Moab and took up permanent residence there. Literally, "they were there." Hebrew never explicitly uses the verb to be except to connote beginning to exist or, as in this case, staying in a place.
3 And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. There Elimelech died. His wife Naomi and their two sons survived him.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And there they married women of Moab: One was named Orpah, the other Ruth: They lived there for approximately ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then both Mahlon and Chilion died; and the woman (Naomi) was now bereaved of her two sons and her husband. Literally, "was remaining," meaning left alive when her husband and sons were dead.
6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. She then departed with her daughters in law, to repatriate from the territory of Moab. She had heard that the LORD had remembered His people and made the Land productive again. Literally, "He visited His people to give them bread."
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. For that reason she left the place where she then resided, and her two daughters-in-law left with her. They traveled to return to the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. Now Naomi told her daughters-in-law, Go back, each of you to your mother's house. May the LORD deal kindly with you, as kindly as you have dealt with your late husbands and with me.
9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. "May the LORD grant that you each find rest in the house of a new husband." Then she kissed them good-bye. Then they cried out, weeping, in loud voices.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. They said, "But we want to go back with you, to your people!"
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Naomi said, "Please turn back. What can you gain by going with me? Could I possibly bear more sons to grow up and marry you?" Naomi is thinking in terms of the levirate obligation that a surviving brother owes to a surviving sister-in-law. But that question is totally moot, because the sons of Naomi are both dead, and Naomi has no prospect of bearing any more.
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; "Turn back, my daughters! Go your own way! Listen: I am too old to have another husband. And even if I had any hope of that, even should I have a husband tonight, and he should make me pregnant with sons,
13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. "are you going to wait for them to grow up? Will you really go without having husbands until they are ready? No, my daughters. I feel very bitter for your sakes, that the hand of the LORD is raised against me."
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. They cried out and wept with loud voices all over again. This time Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. Naomi said, "Look: your sister-in-law is going back to her people, and to her gods. Go back after her."
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: But Ruth said, "Don't ask me to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I go. Wherever you take shelter, I also will take shelter. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.
17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. "Where you die, I will die, and I will be buried there. May the LORD punish me as severely as He sees fit if anything but death parts you and me." That last is a very solemn oath indeed.
18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. When Naomi saw that Ruth was unshakably determined to go with her, she quit trying to talk to her that way.
19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? So the two of them traveled until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened that when they arrived in Bethlehem, everyone in the city talked about them. They said, "Is that Naomi?"
20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. And she told them, "Don't call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the All-sufficient One has been very bitter toward me. In Hebrew, "Mara" means "bitter." The word rendered "Almighty" actually means "He-who-suffices."
21 I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? "I went out full, and the LORD brought me home again empty. Why should you call me Naomi, when you can see that the LORD has brought me low, and the All-sufficient One has done me such harm?"
22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. So Naomi came back home.and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, came back with her out of the territory of Moab. They came to Bethlehem in the beginning of the month of Aviv. Literally, "in the beginning of barley harvest." The Israelites named their months for agricultural seasons. In those days, the month Aviv, the beginning of the religious year, began at the first new moon that the priests observed after the barley ears began to ripen. This generally meant the new moon next following the Spring Equinox. But the ancient Israelites were farmers above all, and not astronomers and certainly not astrologers.

Chapter 2

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. Now Naomi had a near relative of her husbands, a most prominent and wealthy citizen, belonging to Elimelech's family. His name was Boaz.
2 And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, "Please let me go into the field and glean barley ears in the land of anyone with whom I might find favor." And Naomi told her, "Go, my daughter." Gleaning was the welfare system of the day. The law instructed farmers never to harvest to the edge of their property, but always to leave the margin unharvested. Then any poor person in the village, willing to work, could go in and harvest what he needed from that margin. Furthermore, a harvester was not supposed to stoop and gather up every last kernel. Whatever fell to the ground, he must leave for gleaners. It let the harvesters gather the crop with minimal waste of time, and left something for those who couldn't even afford a farm.

Perhaps in that same spirit, the laws of the modern Republic of Israel forbid the grant or recognition of any patent on any invention or process having to do with agriculture.

3 And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. Off Ruth went. She came to the local farmlands, and started gleaning in the fields, walking behind the harvesters. And she happened to stray onto the farmland belonging to Boaz, kinsman of Elimelech.
4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. That very day, Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to his harvesters, "May the LORD be with you." They said in answer, "May the LORD bless you." The word rendered "behold" is a term of emphasis.
5 Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this? Then Boaz said to his field foreman, "To whom does this young woman belong?"
6 And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: The field foreman, in answer, said, "This is the young Moabitish woman who came back with Naomi out of Moabite country.
7 And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. "She said, 'Please let me glean and gather behind your harvesters from among the sheaves.' So I let her come in, and she has been working at it since this morning. She's still at it, though she did take a short break inside the house." The Israelites commonly tied bundles, or sheaves, of any grain and stood them upright to let them sprout before winnowing. Sprouted grains are known to be more nutritious than the conventional ground grains on most modern Western dinner tables.
8 Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: So Boaz told Ruth, "Listen to me carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field. Don't even go from here. I want you with my young women.
9 Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. "Keep your eyes on the part of the field they are harvesting, and follow along after them. Furthermore, I have ordered the young men not to touch you in any way. When you are thirsty, you may go to these water pots and drink the water the young men have drawn." This is probably the first anti-sexual-harassment policy on record. Furthermore, Boaz' water offer is the equivalent of a business person, running an office, letting a homeless person come into the office to do odd jobs and letting that person drink from the water cooler whenever he or she needs a drink.
10 Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? Ruth fell on her face and bowed low to the ground. She asked him, "How did I find such favor in your sight? Why should you even notice me, an immigrant alien?" Ruth is thinking like a Moabite. Those people were probably not nice to immigrants, and did not have the gleaning law or anything like it.
11 And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. Boaz, in answer, told her, "Everyone has told me, in full detail, about everything you did for your mother-in-law after your husband died. They told me how you left your father and mother, and the land of your birth, and came to a people you didn't even know before. Literally, "a people you did not know three days before." When men first began to count, they typically counted "one, two, many." Using "three" for "many" is idiomatic here.
12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. "May the LORD reward you for your work. May you receive a full reward from the LORD God of Israel, to Whom you have come to seek His protection." Literally, "to take refuge under His wings," a common Hebrew idiom.
13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. Then she said, "I hope I can find favor in your sight, my lord. You have comforted me, and shown friendship-from-the-heart to your handmaiden, though I do not rank with your handmaidens." Ruth is "blown away" with the kindness Boaz offers.
14 And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left. And Boaz told her, "At mealtime, you may come here, eat our bread, and dip your bread in the vinegar." Thus she sat beside the harvesters. He offered her parched grain, and she ate her fill, and had grain left over. Boaz adds one favor to another: now he lets her dine with his workforce, something the gleaning law did not require.
15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: When she had gone up to glean again, Boaz gave this order to his young men: "Let her glean even between and among the sheaves, and don't forbid her.
16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. "Furthermore, as you pass your sickles, let some grain fall to the ground on purpose for her to gather. Let them be, and don't forbid her to take them." In doing this, Boaz is actually taking full responsibility for Ruth's and Naomi's welfare, in the best way that the law and custom allow. This also preserves dignity on all sides.
17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley. So she gleaned in the field until evening. She beat out what she had gleaned, and had gathered about an ephah of barley. One ephah was roughly equal to one dry bushel.
18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed. Carrying this, she went into town. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She brought it out to Naomi, and also gave her the excess parched grain she had taken away with her from Boaz' table.
19 And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. Her mother-in-law asked her, "Where have you been gleaning today?" Where did you work? Let him be blessed who took notice of you." And she told her mother-in-law all about the man with whom she had worked. She said, "The man I worked with today is named Boaz."
20 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 dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "May he be blessed by the LORD, Who did not leave off his kindness to the living and the dead." Naomi further said to her, "This man is our next-of-kin! In fact, he can act as our kinsman-redeemer!" Naomi, for the first time, speaks of the levirate obligation never to let land pass out of the family. The family member who, according to this law, bought land from a family member in such a "fire sale" was called a kinsman-redeemer (Hebrew: כאל, ga'al). Typically the kinsman-redeemer also would marry any widow who lived on the land.
21 And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. Ruth the Mabitess said, "He also told me, 'stay and follow behind my young men until they have finished all my harvest.'"
22 And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field. Then Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, "It is good, my daughter, for you to go out with his maidens, so no one will happen on you in another field."
23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law. So she followed closely behind the maidens of Boaz, to glean until the end of the barley harvest, and the wheat harvest, and she lived with her mother-in-law. In other words, she stayed through the springtime until all grain harvests were gathered in. The month of the wheat harvest is Sivan.

Chapter 3

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 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? Now Naomi, mother-in-law of Ruth, said to her, "My daughter, I should find you a place of rest, that will be good for you. Naomi wants to settle Ruth properly.
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. "That fellow Boaz, with whose young women you were working: he's a close relative, is he not? And guess what! Tonight he will be winnowing barley in the threshing-floor. The threshing-floor is a special, reserved area near any farming village. There a farmer winnows grain, separating it from the chaff.
3 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. "So: wash yourself, and rub oil into your skin, and put on your best clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but don't let him know you're there until he has finished eating and drinking. In the warm-weather climate of the region, sealing the skin with oil was quite a luxury.
4 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. "Now make sure of this: when he lies down, mark the place where he lies, go in, expose his feet, and lie down next to him. He will then tell you what to do next." This is the most controversial part of the whole Ruth story. Was Naomi telling Ruth to throw herself at Boaz? Exposing the feet at night when persons of the opposite sex were together was a very serious matter in that culture.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. Ruth said to her, "I will do everything you say." What Ruth must have thought of these orders, none can speculate.
6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. So she went down to the threshing floor, and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
7 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. When Boaz was finished eating and drinking, and he felt good, he went to lie down at the end of a pile of threshed grain. She came by stealth, exposed his feet, and lay down.
8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. It happened at midnight, that the man trembled and awoke with a start. And what should he see, but a woman lying at his feet! Boaz must have had a strange and troubling dream. He moved in response, and woke up, the same as anyone might do from a bad dream. Seeing this young woman lying that close to him would fill him with fresh alarm.
9 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. He said "Who are you?!?" In answer she said, "I am Ruth, your handmaiden. Spread the hem of your robe over your handmaid, because you are my kinsman-redeemer." "To spread the hem of one's robe over one" is a Hebrew idiom for a man marrying a woman. Ruth did not "dance around." Instead of trying to seduce him, or whatever Naomi was suggesting, she asked him frankly to marry her and perform the office of a kinsman-redeemer. As we shall see, honesty is the best policy, even in a connection like this.
10 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. So he said, "May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have now showed a greater kindness this time than you did at the beginning, by not running after a younger man, whether he be poor or rich." Ruth was not obliged to Naomi to fulfill any part of the levirate transaction. She would have been perfectly within her rights to marry a man younger than Boaz was. By the best reckoning available, Boaz was 124 years old at the time.
11 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. "And now, my daughter, have no fear. I will do everything for you that you ask. Everyone in town knows you are a woman of virtue.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. "Now while it is true that I am near of kin, there is another man nearer of kin to you than I am. This nearer kinsman was most likely Elimelech's first cousin and therefore the late Mahlon's first cousin once removed. Boaz was Mahlon's great-great uncle, therefore one degree further removed in kinship than was this never-named kinsman.
13 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. "Stay the night here. Tomorrow morning, if this near-kinsman will redeem you, let him redeem you. But if he will not redeem you, then I will, as the LORD lives! Lie down here until morning."
14 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. So she lay at his feet until morning. She got up before either could know the other. He said, "Don't let it be known that a woman came into the threshing-floor." Boaz wants to avoid scandal.
15 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. He also said, "Bring the shawl you are wearing, and hold it." As she held it, he measured out six standard barley measures, and set it on her shoulders, and went into town. The barley-measure referred to here was probably one-third ephah.
16 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. When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi said, "What happened, my daughter?" And Ruth told Naomi everything the man had done for her. The Hebrew is inexact, and better translates as "What happened" instead of "Who are you".
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law. And Ruth said, "He gave me these six barley measures. He told me, 'Don't go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.'"
18 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. Then Naomi said, "Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall out. This man will not rest until he settles this matter today."

Chapter 4

Verse King James Version Proposed Conservative Translation Analysis
1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. Then Boaz went up to the town gate, and was sitting down there. Who should then come by but the very cousin whom Boaz mentioned to Ruth. He said to him, "Hey, ___! Come here and sit down!" And he came to Boaz and sat down. The Hebrew phrase rendered "such-a-one" (Hebrew: פלני אלמני, pelōnī ʼālmōnī) literally means "a certain one," or "so-and-so." The best rendition of that is a blank line. The scrivener of the Book of Ruth deliberately withholds this cousin's name.
2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. Then he selected ten of the town elders and said, "Sit down here." And they sat down. Boaz clearly has business to transact in front of the most prominent and least impeachable witnesses he can find.
3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: Boaz said to his cousin, "Naomi, who has come back from the territory of Moab, is selling a parcel of land that belonged to our relative, Elimelech. Remember: Elimelech was Boaz' great-great-nephew and the unnamed kinsman's first cousin. The Hebrew word for "brother" can mean any male relative.
4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. "I wanted to make this known to you, and to say it in front of our neighbors, and in front of the town elders. If you're willing to redeem this land, say you will redeem it now. If you are not willing to redeem it, tell me, so that I may know. There is no closer relative to redeem it but you, and I am next in line after you." And he said, "I am willing to redeem it."
5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy this field from the hand of Naomi, you also must buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the widow, to raise up the name of the dead man on his inheritance." Or in other words, the kinsman must marry Ruth, so that she may bear a son to inherit the land back. That is how the levirate law worked.
6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. So the cousin said, "I cannot buy it for myself. I would jeopardize my own inheritance if I did. You may redeem my right for yourself, because I can't redeem it." Exactly why the nameless cousin couldn't redeem the land, no scholar has ever been able to show definitively. Notice that he balked when he realized that marrying Ruth was part of the deal.
7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. The custom in former times in Israel, concerning land redemption and exchange, was this: to confirm any such transaction, a man would take off his sandal and give it to the other man. This constituted positive evidence in Israel.
8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. So the cousin said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." And he took off his sandal to seal the deal.
9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. So Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people of the town: "You are witnesses this day: I have bought everything that belonged to Elimelech, and everything that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon, from the hand of Naomi.
10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. "And furthermore, I have bought Ruth the Moabitess, wife of Mahlon, to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, so that the name of the dead will not be cut off from among his family, nor from this town gate. You are witnesses this day."
11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: So all the people in the town gate, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who came into your house, like Rachel and like Leah. These two built the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephratah, and be a household name in Bethlehem. Literally, "Let them call your name in Bethlehem."
12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman. "And let your house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, And may a famous Branch come from the seed the LORD will give you from this young woman." The elders were prophesying the coming of great descendants from Boaz, through this marriage.
13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. When he lay with her, the LORD caused her to fall pregnant, and she gave birth to a son.
14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. Then the woman said to Naomi, "May the LORD be blessed, because He has not left you this day without a kinsman. May this young son be a household name in Israel.
15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. "He shall be for you a restorer of our life, and a nourisher of your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you, a woman better for you than seven sons, has given birth to him."
16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. Naomi took the little boy and laid him on her chest, and she became his foster mother.
17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David. The women, her neighbors, gave him a name. They said, "Here is a son born to Naomi." So they gave him the name of Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, These are the annals of Pharez: Pharez became the father of Hezron,
19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, Hezron became the father of Ram, Ram became the father of Amminadab,
20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, Amminadab became father of Nahshon, Nahshon became father of Salmon.
21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, Salmon became father of Boaz, and Boaz became father of Obed.
22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. Obed became father of Jesse, and Jesse became father of David.


  1. "The Story of Ruth,", n.d. Accessed January 20, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Constable TL, "Notes on Ruth,", 2009. Accessed January 22, 2009.