Ruth 4:4: Boaz's Legal Proposal, Part 2

Verse 4:[1] And I thought to advertise thee (Heb. I said I will reveal in thine ear[2]), saying, (Jer. 32:7, 8) Buy it (Gen. 23:18) 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: (Lev. 25:25) for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.



[What I wanted thee to hear, אֶגְלֶ֧ה אָזְנְךָ֣] I will reveal thine ear (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator, Munster); or, I will uncover thine ear (Piscator). Thus in 1 Samuel 9:15;[3] 20:13.[4] To reveal the ear of someone is to indicate something to him, and to warn of it (Vatablus). It is Metonymy of the intended effect: for, when ears are veiled, they are hindered from hearing clearly: therefore, so that one, whose ears are covered, might hear clearly, his ears are uncovered (Piscator). I decided to reveal in thy hearing (Junius and Tremellius). I will reveal to thine ear (Junius), or, in the presence of thine ear (Dutch). Similar expressions are: aurem vellere, to pluck the ear, Virgil in “Silenus”, the Cynthian plucked my ear, and warned me;[5] and, to excite, or to awake, and to open the ear, Isaiah 50:4, 5[6] (Serarius); and, to pierce the ear, Psalm 40:6[7] (Drusius). I thought to signify these things to thee (Tigurinus, English). I said in myself, I will reveal to thee (Tigurinus Notes). I reveal to thee, neither shall I conceal (Arabic, similarly the Syriac).


[Before all those sitting, and the ancestors, etc.[8]] Or, elders. Is this set down here ἐξηγητικῶς/exegetically? or rather does he call all the others besides the elders those sitting? I think that it is general of all those that were sitting there, and comprehends the Elders themselves also, of whom particular mention is then made; just as it is said, all Judea, and Jerusalem[9] (Drusius). He calls them sitting ones, who were sitting with him, or Judges (Vatablus). Others translate it, inhabitants (Drusius).


[Of my people] Hebrew: elders of my people; that is, of the Bethlehemites, or of my city. He does not say, the elders of the people, simply, which would signify something else (Drusius).


Before the elders of my people; before this assembly, that it may be legally and firmly made over to thee.


[If thou desirest to possess, etc., אִם־תִּגְאַל֙ גְּאָ֔ל וְאִם־לֹ֙א יִגְאַ֜ל הַגִּ֣ידָה לִּ֗י] If thou wouldest redeem, redeem; and if thou wouldest not redeem, indicate that to me (Montanus). [Some translate the יִגְאַל in the second person:] If thou wishest not to redeem (Pagnine, English, similarly Tigurinus, Castalio, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Arabic). [Others in the third person:] If he will not redeem (Piscator, Malvenda), avenge not (Drusius, similarly Junius in Piscator). If he redeem not, understanding, the one that has the right of redemption. A change of person is understood (Vatablus). The third person is written in the place of the second (Munster, Drusius), as the sense requires, whether it be an enallage, or an apostrophe[10] (Drusius). An apostrophe to the Elders first, then to the avenger (Junius). What prevents it from being supposed that it was faultily written יִגְאַל, instead of תִּגְאַל (Drusius)? Others: if it will not be redeemed (Dutch). [According to this version, either, in the place of יִגְאַל, he will redeem, it is to be read with other points, יִגָּאֵל, it will be redeemed; or, the rule is to be applied here, Active verbs sometimes assume the signification of passive verbs, by a peculiar idiom of the Hebrew tongue; like קָרָא, he called, that is, one called, Genesis 16:14, that is, it was called, etc.[11] Concerning which see Glassius’ Sacred Philology 3:3:23.] If no one wishes to redeem (Munster).


[There is no kinsman with thee excepted, אֵ֤ין זוּלָֽתְךָ֙ לִגְא֔וֹל] There is no one besides thee to redeem (Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator), that is, no one having the right (Piscator, Vatablus); namely, who is a nearer relative than thee (Drusius).

[1] Hebrew: וַאֲנִ֙י אָמַ֜רְתִּי אֶגְלֶ֧ה אָזְנְךָ֣ לֵאמֹ֗ר קְ֠נֵה נֶ֥גֶד הַֽיֹּשְׁבִים֮ וְנֶ֣גֶד זִקְנֵ֣י עַמִּי֒ אִם־תִּגְאַל֙ גְּאָ֔ל וְאִם־לֹ֙א יִגְאַ֜ל הַגִּ֣ידָה לִּ֗י וְאֵדַע֙ כִּ֣י אֵ֤ין זוּלָֽתְךָ֙ לִגְא֔וֹל וְאָנֹכִ֖י אַחֲרֶ֑יךָ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אָנֹכִ֥י אֶגְאָֽל׃


[2] Hebrew: וַאֲנִ֙י אָמַ֜רְתִּי אֶגְלֶ֧ה אָזְנְךָ֣.


[3] 1 Samuel 9:15: “Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear (וַֽיהוָ֔ה גָּלָ֖ה אֶת־אֹ֣זֶן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל, now the Lord had uncovered the ear of Samuel) a day before Saul came, saying…”


[4] 1 Samuel 20:13: “The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee (וְגָלִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־אָזְנֶ֔ךָ, then I will uncover thine ear), and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the Lord be with thee, as he hath been with my father.”


[5] Eclogue 6.


[6] Isaiah 50:4, 5: “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear (יָעִ֥יר לִי֙ אֹ֔זֶן) to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear (פָּתַֽח־לִ֣י אֹ֔זֶן), and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.”


[7] Psalm 40:6: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened (אָ֭זְנַיִם כָּרִ֣יתָ לִּ֑י): burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”


[8] Hebrew: נֶ֥גֶד הַֽיֹּשְׁבִים֮ וְנֶ֣גֶד זִקְנֵ֣י עַמִּי֒.


[9] See Luke 6:17; Matthew 3:5.


[10] That is, an exclamation addressed to an absent person.


[11] Genesis 16:14: “Wherefore the well was called (קָרָ֣א לַבְּאֵ֔ר, one called the well) Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

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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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