Ruth 2:21-23: Naomi's Counsel to Ruth

Verse 21:[1] 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.



[This also he instructed me, גַּ֣ם׀ כִּי־אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֗י וגו״] Also (or, and indeed [Septuagint]) that he said to me (Montanus). And he said unto me also (Syriac, similarly the Arabic). He spoke additionally to me (Munster, Tigurinus). Also may he be blessed, because he said to me (Junius and Tremellius). An elegant ellipsis, to be supplied out of the preceding verse (Junius). This supplement would be satisfying, if that גַּם/also were of one affirming: But the Hebrew גַּם nowhere (that I know of) has the signification, but is a not of something greater. And so it is to be supplemented otherwise. Moreover, (understanding, thou knowest) that he said to me, etc.; that is to say, Boaz not only received me so humanely, but also (which is more) he said, etc. (Piscator). Also he surely said to me (Pagnine).


[That…I be joined to his harvesters] Hebrew: with those young men that are to me, or, that pertain to me[2] (Piscator, Drusius). Here, young men; but in verse 8, thou shalt cleave with my maidens (Drusius).


[Until all the crops are reaped] All the harvest, but the wheat, and the barley (Drusius, Bonfrerius).


All my harvest: Both barley and wheat harvest, as is said, verse 23.


Verse 22:[3] 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 (or, fall upon thee[4]) not in any other field.


[It is better, טוֹב] It is good, that is, it is honest, or, it is pleasing (Vatablus).


[That thou go out to reap] Hebrew: that thou wilt go out[5] (Piscator), understanding, to gather (Vatablus, Drusius). For, to reap (which the Vulgate supplies) pertains neither to Ruth, not to Boaz’s maidens (Drusius).


[Lest someone in another field resist thee, וְלֹ֥א יִפְגְּעוּ־בָ֖ךְ בְּשָׂדֶ֥ה אַחֵֽר׃] Lest they meet thee in another field (Pagnine, similarly the Septuagint), Jonathan, Montanus); so that they might not run into, or happen upon, thee in the field of another (Munster, Piscator, Vatablus); lest one oppose thee in the field (Tigurinus); lest men happen upon thee in another field (certain interpreters); and the reapers in another field be opposed to thee (Junius and Tremellius); lest on the estate of another thou shouldest be hindered (Castalio); lest they oppose thee, etc. (Drusius).


That they meet thee not in any other field: Whereby thou wilt both expose thyself to many inconveniences, which thou mayst expect from strangers; and incur his displeasure, as if thou didst either despise his proffered kindness, or doubt of the sincerity of his affections and offers.


Verse 23:[6] 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.


[She returned to her mother-in-law (thus Pagnine), וַתֵּשֶׁב] I think that the ancient translator read וַתָּשָׁב, and she returned (Drusius). That וַתֵּשֶׁב they translate, and she sat (Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, Montanus). To sit in the place of to remain, which is quite common (Drusius). She was living (Tigurinus); she dwelt (Vatablus). She sat, that is, she kept herself at home; she did not wander abroad, when she has no business abroad, as she did at the time of harvest (Piscator).


Dwelt: Hebrew, sat or continued at home, when she had despatched her occasions abroad, and did not wander or gad abroad, after the manner of idle persons and harlots, Proverbs 7:11, 12.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֖אמֶר ר֣וּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּ֑ה גַּ֣ם׀ כִּי־אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֗י עִם־הַנְּעָרִ֤ים אֲשֶׁר־לִי֙ תִּדְבָּקִ֔ין עַ֣ד אִם־כִּלּ֔וּ אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַקָּצִ֖יר אֲשֶׁר־לִֽי׃


[2] Hebrew: עִם־הַנְּעָרִ֤ים אֲשֶׁר־לִי֙.


[3] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֥אמֶר נָעֳמִ֖י אֶל־ר֣וּת כַּלָּתָ֑הּ ט֣וֹב בִּתִּ֗י כִּ֤י תֵֽצְאִי֙ עִם־נַ֣עֲרוֹתָ֔יו וְלֹ֥א יִפְגְּעוּ־בָ֖ךְ בְּשָׂדֶ֥ה אַחֵֽר׃


[4] Hebrew: יִפְגְּעוּ־בָךְ.


[5] Hebrew: כִּ֤י תֵֽצְאִי֙.


[6] Hebrew: וַתִּדְבַּ֞ק בְּנַעֲר֥וֹת בֹּ֙עַז֙ לְלַקֵּ֔ט עַד־כְּל֥וֹת קְצִֽיר־הַשְּׂעֹרִ֖ים וּקְצִ֣יר הַֽחִטִּ֑ים וַתֵּ֖שֶׁב אֶת־חֲמוֹתָֽהּ׃

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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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