Ruth 3:15: Boaz's Gift to Ruth

Verse 15:[1] Also he said, Bring the vail (or, sheet, or, apron[2]) 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.



[Stretch out thy cloak, הָ֠בִי הַמִּטְפַּ֧חַת אֲשֶׁר־עָלַ֛יִךְ[3]] Give the sheet that is upon thee (Montanus, Pagnine), the cloak (Septuagint, Tigurinus), the kerchief (Jonathan), the garment (Syriac, Arabic), the apron (Junius and Tremellius). A sheet with which the belly is covered (Piscator). I understand here a woman’s girdle, which is also called an apron, that is, σιμικίνθιον, a narrow apron, Acts 19:12[4] (Drusius, similarly Bonfrerius). מִטְפַּחַת is found in Isaiah 3:22.[5] Therefore, it appears that among the Hebrews the Apron had its name from spreading out, because it was spread out over the belly. טֶפַח is a palm, that is, a hand spread out (Piscator).


The veil, or, the apron, such as women ordinarily wear.


[He measures six modii[6] of barley, and placed it upon her] Question: How was Ruth able to carry so many modii with her arms? for the constituted one hundred and sixty libras[7] (Menochius, thus nearly Bonfrerius). That is a burden equal to a strong man: the apron of one woman would not hold these (Bonfrerius). Response: Barley is lighter than wheat (Bonfrerius out of Serarius). Now, she was a woman of virtue, verse 11, that is, of strength (Lapide). I have seen women carrying burdens of such weight that I was astounded (Menochius). [But the Hebrew words have it otherwise.]


[שֵׁשׁ־שְׂעֹרִים] Verbatim: six of barleys (Montanus, Septuagint). [They supplement it in a variety of ways.] Six measures (ephahs[8] [Tigurinus], modioli [Munster], sata[9] [Jonathan]) of barley, or barleys (Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, Castalio, English, Dutch, Vatablus). Six omers, etc. (Bonfrerius). This was a familiar measure, and the tenth part of an Ephah; of which sort also she was also easily able to carry, and to contain in her apron (Bonfrerius). Six barleys, that is, measures of barleys; for in construct an ellipsis of a prior substantive is not unusual (Glassius’ “Grammar” 158).


Six measures; known and usual measure: it is not determined how large those measures were, but this the nature of the thing shows, that they were no larger than one woman could carry in her veil, or apron.


[She entered into the city, וַיָּבֹ֖א הָעִֽיר׃] And he entered, etc. (Munster, Tigurinus, Dutch, Junius and Tremellius), namely, Boaz; into the city (Jonathan), to accomplish was he had promised to Ruth, as the following chapter shows. [Some connect it with what precedes.] Placing this upon her, he entered, etc. (Munster, Tigurinus). He that measured, that placed it upon her, appears to be the same that entered, since in the Hebrew there is no change in who is being supposed: nevertheless, it is to be referred to Ruth, because what follows, and she came to her mother-in-law, is to be referred to her (Bonfrerius). She entered into the city (Pagnine, English, similarly Castalio). The masculine is put in the place of the feminine, as is often the case (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הָ֠בִי הַמִּטְפַּ֧חַת אֲשֶׁר־עָלַ֛יִךְ וְאֶֽחֳזִי־בָ֖הּ וַתֹּ֣אחֶז בָּ֑הּ וַיָּ֤מָד שֵׁשׁ־שְׂעֹרִים֙ וַיָּ֣שֶׁת עָלֶ֔יהָ וַיָּבֹ֖א הָעִֽיר׃


[2] Hebrew: הַמִּטְפַּחַת.


[3] מִטְפַּחַת is related to the verb טָפַח, to extend or spread.


[4] Acts 19:12: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons (σιμικίνθια), and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”


[5] Isaiah 3:22: “The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples (וְהַמִּטְפָּחוֹת), and the crisping pins…”


[6] A modius was approximately two dry gallons.


[7] The libra is about twelve ounces.


[8] An ephah was approximately eight dry gallons.


[9] A satum contains about three dry gallons.

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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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