Ruth 2:14: Boaz's Superabounding Provision for Ruth

Verse 14:[1] 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 (Ruth 2:18) was sufficed, and left.



[And he said to her, etc.] [The construction varies. They connect at the time of eating, either with what precedes, in this manner:] But Boaz said to her at the time of eating, Come, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Arabic), that is, when he was about to take nourishment with his laborers (Junius). [Others with what follows:] Boaz said, at the time of refreshment come hither (Munster, thus Pagnine, Tigurinus, Syriac, Montanus). It matters little which you understand. But he understands the time of the midday meal. Compare Ruth 3:3 (Drusius).


[Eat bread] By the name of bread, according to the usage of the Hebrews, understand whatever food, and that even which is wont to be eaten with bread (Bonfrerius). Indeed, that it is speech about bread properly, is perceived from what follows (Piscator).


Bread in those simple and frugal times was the usual food of servants and the meaner sort, at least when they were engaged in such works as this, which required speed, and therefore must be quick in their eating, as well as in their work. Or bread may be here put for any food, as it oft is.


[And dip thy morsel in the vinegar, or, into the vinegar (Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), פִּתֵּ֖ךְ בַּחֹ֑מֶץ] That is, a fragment of thy food into the vinegar (Vatablus). A fragment, that is, of bread (Piscator). They were making use of vinegar because of the heat (Ibn Ezra in Munster, Vatablus, Drusius), both of the place and of the time (thus nearly Lyra). Vinegar has the greatest cooling power, Pliny’s Natural History 23:1. It cools those laboring in the heat, tightens the sinews, renews the strength, removes putrefaction. Whence even now in Italy rustics eat bread dipped in vinegar diluted with water, a cake, as it were. Note here the frugality of that age (Lapide). Vinegar is a common condiment, especially among the poorer sort (Bonfrerius). But the Chaldean translator by vinegar understands bread imbued with vinegar (Munster).


Vinegar; either simple vinegar, in which the poorer sort used to dip their bread, and so eat it in hot countries, as they did not only in Canaan, but afterwards in Italy; it being very proper, especially in those parts, for cooling them in those hot seasons, for strengthening their sinews, etc.; or vinegar mixed with other things to make some kind of sauce.


[She sat to the side of the reapers] Not over against them, lest they should be able to cast their eyes upon her face (Menochius out of Serarius). Now, by the name of reapers I understand those women that were reaping. For, in narrations of this sort the masculine gender also contains women, as a great many texts in Law demonstrate. For young women were not going forth fasting; neither would Ruth have joined herself more willing to men than to them (Serarius).


Beside the reapers; not with or among them, but at some little distance from them, and as one inferior to them, as she had acknowledged before in words, and now showeth it by her actions.


[And she gathered up crushed grain for herself, וַיִּצְבָּט־לָ֣הּ קָלִ֔י[2]] And he reached to her crushed grain (Septuagint, Munster, Pagnine, Drusius), that is, ears of grain parched with fire (Hebrews in Munster). It is a sort of meal so called from parching (Vatablus). He reached to her parched wheat (Montanus), or, parched grain (Tigurinus), parched ears (Junius and Tremellius), parched meal (Jonathan), fragments of broken up ears (Syriac), pearl barley (Arabic). The verb, צָבַט, if found only here (Munster). He reached, or set before, understanding, either Boaz[3] (Osiander), or, one of the reapers (Tigurinus Notes). Or it is able to be translated, crushed grain was reached to her. Such is, he reckoned it to him for righteousness, that is, it was reckoned, Romans 4 (Drusius).


Parched corn; a food in frequent use and some esteem with them. See 2 Samuel 17:28.


[And she carried off the rest[4]] And she left the rest (Drusius, similarly Junius and Tremellius). More was set before her than she was able to eat (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמֶר֩ לָ֙ה בֹ֜עַז לְעֵ֣ת הָאֹ֗כֶל גֹּ֤שִֽׁי הֲלֹם֙ וְאָכַ֣לְתְּ מִן־הַלֶּ֔חֶם וְטָבַ֥לְתְּ פִּתֵּ֖ךְ בַּחֹ֑מֶץ וַ֙תֵּשֶׁב֙ מִצַּ֣ד הַקּֽוֹצְרִ֔ים וַיִּצְבָּט־לָ֣הּ קָלִ֔י וַתֹּ֥אכַל וַתִּשְׂבַּ֖ע וַתֹּתַֽר׃


[2] קָלִי, parched grain, is related to קָלָה, to roast/parch.


[3] That is, Boaz reached.


[4] Hebrew: וַתֹּתַר.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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