Ruth 2:13




Š×#,7j0p!A c±2k‘k*g 7¯}r„8c1s h‚1fºu hÐbÜ7¯}n8jÐb h±1ƒ «hÐb`s4t Šh‹£bh2g0c i«2j‘t7m}n#t r#nt`¯•u¸   dh

:Šh#,`j0p!A ,„8j*t0ƒ vÜ£h0v#t t±µ «h1f`b7tºu









and she said




may I find








in your eyes




my lord








you comforted me




and for




you spoke












of your servant




and I am








I am




as one of




your servant girls






2:13 Then she said to him, Because I have found favor in your sight, my lord, and you have comforted me and have spoken kindly to your handmaid, let me become like one of your maid-servants.


Stone’s Translation


2:13 Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord, because you have comforted me, and because you have spoken to the heart of your maidservant, though I am not even (as worthy] as one of your maidservants.”




2:13 Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens. 



Ruth 2:13 hJ de; ei\pen eu{roimi cavrin ejn ojfqalmoi'" sou kuvrie o{ti parekavlesav" me kai; o{ti ejlavlhsa" ejpi;

kardivan th'" douvlh" sou kai; ijdou; ejgw; e[somai wJ" miva tw'n paidiskw'n sou


Ruth 2:13 Then she said, “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord; for you have comforted me and have spoken to your maidservant's heart, and behold I shall be as one of your servant girls.” 



Peshat Level:




2:13 Then she said: "May I find favor with you, my lord. Verily, you have comforted me by declaring me eligible to join the congregation of the Lord and you have spoken comfortingly to your maidservant by assuring me of possessing the world to come, like a righteous woman, although I have not the merit of having a portion in the world to come even with the least of your maidservants."




2:13  I am not (even) as one of your maidservants I am not (even as) esteemed as one of your maidservants.



Gemarah Level:



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth V:5 THEN SHE SAID: LET ME FIND FAVOUR IN THY SIGHT, MY LORD... THOUGH I BE NOT AS ONE OF THY HANDMAIDENS (II, 13). He said unto her, ‘Heaven forefend! Thou art not as one of the handmaidens (amahoth) but as one of the matriarchs (imahoth).’



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez



2:13 She said, “May I find favor in your eyes, my lord, because you have comforted me, and because you have spoken to the heart of your maidservant, though I am not even (alt: though I shall not be) like one of your maidservants.”


“In gratitude for your comforting words and your kind welcome, and for the honor you accorded me by deigning to speak to me, I will devote my entire life to being nothing else but (tkt vhvt vk) your hand­maiden.”


Aware that the Torah says: “An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter the congregation of God” (Deuteronomy 23:4), Ruth thought that her status would not even equal that of a freed Canaanite maidservant: “I shall not be like one of your maidservants.” And Boaz had comforted her by declaring it permissible for her to enter God’s congregation.


Moreover, he had gladdened her heart by assuring her a share in the World to Come together with the righteous.


Or else, Ruth protested that she was not even as righteous as one of his maidservants. Although our sages assure even a maidservant in the land of Israel of a share in the World to Come, Ruth thought herself unworthy of it, let alone meritorious of a portion with the righteous.


Then she added: “Before you spoke to me so kindly I would not have dared ask you for anything. Now that you have been kind to me and comforted me, I ask to find favor in your eyes in the future as a member of your household, although I am not worthy of being even of your maidservants.”


Just as Abigail was to say, “May you remember your maidservant” (1 Samuel 25:31) to hint that David wed her, possibly too Ruth said, “May I find favor in your eyes” to hint that Boaz should wed her. For “a woman’s favor,” our sages declare, “is upon her husband”; it is mea­sured by the man’s willingness to marry her.


Conversely, the scripture says, “if it comes to pass that she does not find favor in his eyes ... he shall send her forth out of his house” (Deuteronomy 24:1).


Ruth hoped he would wed her because she found “favor in your eyes” even if she was unworthy. Indeed, from his comforting words it appeared that she would “not be like one of your maidservants,” but his wife and the mainstay of his home.


Abraham Ibn Ezra





13. She then said, "May you regard me favorably..." Once Boaz informed Ruth why she had found favor in his eyes, she petitioned that she would continue to do so.


For you have comforted me. She intended that by his first assurance that he would protect her and provide for her from the leket of his fields, he comforted her for the loss of her husband which had left her bereft of financial support. By his second promise, and spoken encouragingly to your maidservant, she understood that Boaz considered her like one of his own maidservants who had converted to Judaism and as a Jewess was guaranteed a reward in the World to Come. Ruth exclaimed that this was a tremendous honor to her because, though I am not even [as worthy] as one of your maidservants -she had considered herself inferior and less deserving than they and now Boaz had raised her to the status of being equal to them.




(13)She said, “May I find favor in your eyes, my master, for you have comforted me and have spoken gently to your maidservant, though I am not worthy to be one of your maidservants”


Not Even a Maidservant!


Here Ruth gives the impression that she is not worthy of Boaz’s attention: “I owe you thanks not for making me feel important or promising me much happiness — but for having comforted me. But why does such a great and princely leader of Israel find it worthwhile to capture my heart if I am but a worthless girl? I presume that you regard me as one of your own maidservants. If that is so, do I really owe you thanks? You have not treated me any better than you would one of your other maidservsants. Still, since I consider myself not worthy enough to be your maidservant, I was honored by the manner in which you spoke to me.”


Note that Ruth says, “May I find favor in your eyes.” She used the future tense, which implies that up until that time she had not found favor! But if he had comforted her, and spoken kindly to her, wasn’t that because she had found favor in his eyes?


What she meant to say was: “I cannot believe that I have attained the level of one who has found favor in your eyes. However even this favor cannot compensate for the comforting things you said to me. Indeed, I have yet to find enough favor so as to repay you for your kindness. My wish is that I should continue to find favor in your eyes. You have been too kind to me, especially by telling me that I can remain with your girls and by instructing the men to leave me alone. In addition to all this, you spoke kindly to me by praising me as a righteous woman and promising that God will recompense me in full. All this, even though I am lower than one of your maidservants who has ritually immersed herself, thus accepting the yoke of Judaism or slavery. Such a woman is far greater than I, for she is under the command of a great man like you. This may all seem trivial to you, but these servants feel that they have a unique and privileged status.


“Alternatively, your kind words can be attributed to one of two hopes on your part. Either you wish to find favor in my eyes, or, you wish to be kind to me in the future, and consequently you have exaggerated in extolling my righteousness, so that later it should not seem strange if you are good to me. People will think that you are doing it not out of a desire for me or for some other reason, but purely because of my outstanding righteousness.”


Thus, she tells Boaz: “I wish that I might find favor in your eyes, my master, for I am comforted by knowing that the reason for your kindness is not because you wanted to find favor in my eyes, for who am I? I am not even fit to be your maidservant! It can only be because you wish to be good to me in the future, as I said.”


There is yet another way to understand these words. As we said, Ruth spoke of the future. When she asked: What have I done to deserve your favor? she meant to say as follows: “If there was a good reason for this favor and for the fact that you gave me so much attention, I might have suspected you “of believing the overseer’s slander, and covering up by attempting to console me. However, I do not see any reason for finding favor in your eyes, so what have I done to deserve it?”


Boaz replied: “In truth I did not see anything for myself that made me speak to you so kindly. But much had been related to me about you previously, so I could appreciate your true worth.”


Ruth responded: “If that is the case, and I really deserve to find favor in your eyes, I can understand why you have been so good to me. You comforted me, not only to raise my spirits and make me feel better by telling me that I am more worthy than I think. Your concern for me is genuine and your words have made a profound impression on your maidservant. Your words were not merely designed to make me feel at ease they were spoken from the heart, for you took the trouble to console me with so many words.”


The Four ‘Classes’ of Women


There are four categories of women mentioned in this passage. Firstly, there is the common gentile. The next level is a Jewish maidservant. She is a non-Jewish woman who, after immersing herself in a ritual bath, can live together with her Jewish master. On a higher level is a maidservant who is so worthy that she may serve in the household of Boaz. The highest level is a free woman who is worthy enough to associate with the female members of Boaz’s household.


When Ruth heard that Boaz gave her permission to stay close to the girls, she was a little surprised. Suddenly, she had been elevated from the lowest grade of stranger to the highest level she could hope to attain. Thus, she exclaimed: What have I done to find such favor? I am but a stranger... Boaz promised her that she would be elevated to an even higher level. God would recompense her by making her the progenitress of Solomon (vnka, see earlier on verse 12).


The Highest Grade


She responded to this by telling Boaz: “Though I told you that I was a stranger, you have elevated me to make me far greater than anything I could imagine. But I would have found favor in your eyes even if you would have only accorded me the title of maidservant, for if I am worthy enough to serve you, it is a great honor for me.”


She added the words, my master, to indicate that she would gladly have been willing to act as his maidservant. “The fact that you raised me to such a high level was not merely to console me, for you had already comforted me by instructing your maidservants to stay with me — and by promising me that God will recompense me. Do not think that since you are as a master to me and I am like a servant to you that I am talking very humbly to you, but in truth I believe myself to be lower than a maidservant. On the contrary, I admit to you that I consider myself to be lower than the lowest of your maidservants.”


The words, lh,ujpa ,jtf, like one of your maidserwnts, denotes the lowest of them. We find a similar concept in II Samuel (6:20), where the text has ohehrv sjt, one of the vain fellows. The meaning there is, too, “the vainest of vain fellows.” (The letter j is pointed with a patach for this reason.)