Ruth 2: Translation and Notes

Ruth 2

1. Now Naomi had a relative[1] through her husband, a man of renown[2] from the household of Elimelek, and his name was Boaz. 2. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go[3] to the fields to glean[4] the grain after someone in whose sight I might find favor.”[5] And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3. And she set out and came to glean in the fields after the harvesters; and by her luck she happened[6] upon a portion of the field which belonged to Boaz, who was from the family of Elimelek. 4. And right then Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the harvesters, “May Yahweh be with you,” and they said to him, “May Yahweh bless you.” 5. And Boaz said to his servant[7] who was set over the harvesters, “To whom does this young woman belong?” 6. And the servant who was set over the harvesters[8] answered and said, “The woman is a Moabite who returned with Naomi from the plateau[9] of Moab. 7. And she said, ‘Let me glean so that I may gather the sheaves after the harvesters.’ So she came and she has been standing from the morning until now, and she has not rested in the field at all.[10] 8. And Boaz said to Ruth, “Did you not hear, my daughter? Do not go to glean[11] in another field or[12] leave this one, but stay here close to my servant women. 9. “Keep[13] your eyes on the field which they are reaping and go after them. Have I not commanded my servants not to touch you? If you get thirsty then you may go to the vessels and drink from whatever the servants draw.”[14] 10. And she fell upon her face and bowed down to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found so much favor in your eyes that you acknowledge me[15] when I am a foreigner?”[16] 11. And Boaz answered and said to her, “What you did with your mother in law after her husband died was recounted to me in full: that you left your father and your mother and the land of your ancestry and went to a people you did not know, three days ago. 12. “May Yahweh recompense your deeds, and may your wages be full from Yahweh, the God of Israel, under whose wing you came to take refuge.” 13. And she said, “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me, and you have touched the heart of your handmaid though I am not one of your handmaids.” 14. And Boaz said to her[17] at lunchtime, “Come here and eat of the bread, and dip a piece in the vinegar.” So she sat next to the reapers and he got grain[18] for her, and she ate until she was full, and she left some.[19] 15. And she got up to glean, and Boaz ordered his servants, saying, “She will also glean among the standing sheaves, so don’t get on her case.[20] 16. And you will also take out from the reaped sheaves to leave for her to glean, and don’t rebuke her.” 17. And she gleaned in the field until the evening. And she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18. So she picked it up[21] and came to the city and showed her mother-in-law what she had gleaned. Then she took out and gave to her what she left after she was full. 19. And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today, and where did you work? Blessed be the one who acknowledged you!” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she worked. And she said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.”[22] 20. And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Yahweh, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead.” And Naomi said to her, “There is a man near to us who may redeem us.” 21. And Ruth the Moabitess said, “He also said to me, ‘You shall stay close to my servants until they finish my entire harvest.’” 22. And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, for you to go out with his maidservants so that they don’t harm you in another field.” 23. So she stayed close to Boaz’s maidservants to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. And she stayed with her mother-in-law.

[1] Q and several Hebrew manuscripts (39 Kennicott manuscripts, to be precise) have מודע. Ruth 3:2 has a form of the same, and LXX uses the same word for both.

[2] Based on the use of the term in Judg 6:12, 1 Kgs 11:28, and 1 Sam 9:1.

[3] Some prefer to read this as declarative, but Naomi’s response seems to me to indicate a cohortative reading is to be preferred.

[4] Second cohortative, but with waw-consecutive, indicating a purpose clause.

[5] Interpreting the imperfect modally.

[6] Literally the Hebrew reads, “And it happened her chance.”

[7] The author uses נער, which is grouped in the subsequent narrative with a number of forms of the noun in reference to Ruth as well as other male and female servants.

[8] Not in the Syriac.

[9] Based on the second of two forms of this noun: שדי.

[10] Based on the Greek. The Hebrew has, literally, “this her rest the house a few.” ביתה is likely the result of dittography after שבתה. Beyond this, however, the relationship between MT and LXX is unknown.

[11] The verb appears here in the qal, although it appears in the eleven other occurrences in the chapter in the piel.

[12] גם is used here.

[13] No verb appears in MT for this clause, but the sense is not hard to determine.

[14] Paragogic nuns all over this verse.

[15] Infinitive construct. The lamed indicates a sense of result or purpose.

[16] The first verb of this final clause must be slightly nuanced to fit, but the clause plays creatively off the repetition of the kaph, nun, yod, and resh: להכירני ואנכי נכריה.

[17] There is no mappiq in the /h/.

[18] This is the only occurrence of the verb צבט in the Hebrew Bible. In other Semitic languages it is used to mean “pick up” or “seize.”

[19] The Hebrew in this verse is remarkably terse, showing either archaizing or genuine antiquity.

[20] Literally, “don’t humiliate her.”

[21] There is no object for this verb in the Hebrew.

[22] A redundant verse which is remedied in the Greek.


7 responses to “Ruth 2: Translation and Notes

  • robertholmstedt


    Nice job here.

    A few quick notes:

    V. 4, note 7: the role of הנה has no direct connection to the verbal conjugation. And the context here suggests not the participle parsing of בא but the perfect parsing. I.e., this is what happened (perfective, with past temporal setting), not what was happening (durative, regardless of temporal setting).

    V. 6, note 10: the word שׂדה is not feminine and thus would never have the feminine ת. It is from a final yod (turned heh) root.

    V. 8, note 14: note “silluq” but “shureq”; and the prefix on the front means that it could never be parsed as a Qal passive participle.

    V. 10, note 17: the final /u/ is not an inflectional affix, but is the result of a (admittedly odd) contraction due to the final yod of the root חוי.

    V. 18, note 25: re-check the syntax of the Hifil — you would expect an את before חמותה if it were really a Hifil. The MT Qal is preferable here.

    V. 18, not 26: a tsere would never appear in the 3fs perfect form. The -ah affix preserves the open syllable structure so that the distinctive /i/ is not lowered (> e > a), as it is in the forms with a consonantal affix.

  • Daniel O. McClellan

    Thanks for the comments Robert! Most of these are impressions I noted in class or based on Campbell’s 1975 AB commentary, and so I’m happy for the corrections. Your name sounds familiar, and now that I think about it, you published a book on the Hebrew text of Ruth, didn’t you? The whole book of Ruth is my first set text, so that might be a good resource. Regarding your comments:

    n. 7: Yeah, I just came across another discussion in Bush’s Word commentary on this.

    n. 10: I just looked at Campbell initially (p. 50), but I just looked in HALOT and Jouon-Muraoka, and see what you’re talking about.

    n. 14: Both silly mistakes. This was clearly something I thought of in class without giving it any real thought.

    n. 17: This is definitely a word I need to spend more time with.

    n. 25: Another silly mistake.

    n. 26: Ditto.

  • robertholmstedt


    Yes, my Baylor handbook on Ruth came out not long ago.

    n. 10 — the /-t/ ending is only on the plural construct and the word is only singular in Ruth.

    Ruth is a great book on many levels. It’s good to see that you’re enjoying the Hebrew.


  • robertholmstedt

    Ok, my turn for a stupid memory mistake — שׂדה is, of course, used in the plural in Ruth. The issue is the apparent confusion between the mpl construct שׂדי and the occasional use of the by-form שׂדי for the singular. In any case, the absence of the f pl construct form שׂדות in Ruth is not a big issue.

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      I’m glad I’m not alone in making those mistakes. Oxford doesn’t seem to have your book in any of their 100+ libraries, so I’ve ordered a copy. I look forward to reading it (or filling it out. If I recall correctly, there are a number of spaces for translation and comments).

  • robertholmstedt

    Hi Daniel,

    Well, I hope you enjoy the book. It’s not a workbook, but a grammatical commentary, though (see the brief review on Charles Halton’s blog,

    I appreciate any feedback on usability, since I’m writing another one on Qoheleth.

    (By the way, if you’re really as young as your picture looks, you’re quite the prodigy.)

    • Daniel O. McClellan

      I’ll be happy to provide some feedback, although it probably won’t be as insightful as Charles’ reviews tend to be. The little picture by my comments is my daughter, although those pictures are out of date. She’s almost 17 months old now. It’s probably time to update them. She, by the way, already knows more sign language than I do.

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