SECTION XVIII

 

Ruth 2:15

 

Text:

 

:7vnh1k0f*, t‚u y„28k} ohˆ!r7n^g7v ih‡2c o• r`nt2k uh7r7gb‘,#t z*g`c u8mh•u y28k0k o7e„7•u   uy

 

Targum:

 

TANAKH

Translation

SEPTUAGINT

Translation

o7e„7•u

and she got up

 

 

y28k0k

to glean

 

 

u8mh•u

and he ordered

 

 

z*g`c

Boaz

 

 

uh7r7gb‘,#t

his men

 

 

r`nt2k

to say

 

 

o•

also

 

 

ih‡2c

among

 

 

ohˆ!r7n^g7v

the sheaves

 

 

y„28k}

she gleans

 

 

t‚u

and not

 

 

:7vnh1k0f*,

you embarrass her

 

 

 

Peshitta

 

2:15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not harm her;

 

Stones Translation

 

2:15 Then she got up to glean, and Boaz ordered his servants, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves; do not embarrass her.

 

KJV

 

2:15 And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:

 

Septuagint

Ruth 2:15 kai; ajnevsth tou' sullevgein kai; ejneteivlato Boo" toi'" paidarivoi" aujtou' levgwn kaiv ge ajna; mevson tw'n dragmavtwn sullegevtw kai; mh; kataiscuvnhte aujthvn

 

Ruth 2:15 And she rose up to glean; and Boz commanded his servant boys saying, Let her also glean among the sheaves, and do not disgrace her!

 

 

Peshat Level:

 

Targum

 

2:15 When she arose to gather ears of grain, Boaz commanded his servants: "Let her gather even among the sheaves, and do not put her to shame.

 

 

Gemarah Level:

 

 

Midrash Level:

 

 

Zohar Level:

 

 

Other Commentaries:

 

Meam Loez

 

2:15 Then she rose to glean. And Boaz instructed his men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves; and do not embarrass (alt: prevent) her.

 

Although Boaz had spoken kindly to her and served her from his table, she did not rely on his support. Having finished eating, she immediately rose to glean, without stopping to rest after the meal and without waiting for the reapers to return to work.

 

In doing so, she also avoided attracting attention to herself from any of the workers.

 

The gladdening words she had heard from Boaz raised her spirits. She rose just as Jacob had picked up his legs (Genesis 29:1) after having heard good news.

 

When she was out of earshot, Boaz instructed his men to be kind and let her glean among the sheaves. By not doing so in her presence, he impressed upon them the sincerity of his words.

 

Paupers were generally not permitted to pick among the sheaves, lest they take stalks out of the sheaves themselves. When therefore the overseer had implied that Ruth was picking from among the sheaves (v. 7), Boaz instructed his workers that if she picked from among the heaps, and even took from the bound sheaves, to which she was not entitled, they should not stop her.

 

He ensured that plenty of grain would be available for her to pick, but emphasized let her glean. He would not give it to her, lest it be misconstrued as the gift that effects a marriage bond.

 

Another interpretation is that Boaz instructed his workers ~ that is, to say to her that she should pick among the sheaves. She would then not be embarrassed to do so.

 

Abraham Ibn Ezra

 

 

Malbim

 

15-16. Questions: Why does the verse repeat itself, saying, Do not shame her...and do not criticize her? And also, gather...and you shall leave [them So that] she may gather?

 

15. She then rose to gather. Ruth did not wait for them to say the zimun, invitation to the Grace after Meals, because women are not included in this, so she immediately arose from the table.

 

And Boaz ordered his lads, saying: "Let her also gather between the sheaves and do not shame her." He meant to say that if she should go to glean among the sheaves, do not investigate whether she took something from there lest she be embarrassed for being suspected of stealing.

 

Alshich

 

(15)Then she arose to glean. Boaz commanded his laborers, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves; do not embarrass her.

(16)Even make sure to pull out some for her from the heaps, to leave them for her to glean; dont rebuke her.

 

(i)Why does the prophet stress that she arose to glean? Obviously she could not have remained in her place!

(ii)Why did Boaz wait so long to instruct the laborers? Why didnt he instruct them earlier, while she was gleaning, before the meal?

(iii) The word rntk, saying, seems superfluous.

(iv) In verse 15 it is made clear that Ruth was allowed to take from the sheaves. Yet in verse 16, we read that Boaz instructed his laborers to pull out from the heaps, which are smaller than sheaves. If she was allowed to take from the sheaves, all the more so would she have been allowed to take from the heaps!

(v)Moreover, why the need to change from ohrng (verse 15) to oh,cm (verse 16)?

(vi) Once it has been established that she may take from the hape, does it not follow that they need not rebuke her?

 

Why Did Ruth Hurry?

 

There is indeed more to these verses than meets the eye. Earlier we read that Boaz gave her two fingersful of parched grain. It could not have taken her very long to eat this. While Boaz and the rest of the men were still eating she had finished, been satisfied, and she even left over some grain. She reckoned that if she remained in her place and waited until the rest had finished eating she may have been faced with an unpleasant situation on two counts: (1) It would appear as if she were waiting for them to give her more. (2) They would suspect her of deliberately remaining at the table so that she could have the chance to stare at one of the men. Or else, she wanted them to notice her. To avoid all this she arose from her place immediately to go and glean.

 

In truth, even this action can be viewed in a bad light, for it appeared as if she hurried to eat so that she could begin gleaning before Boazs workers finished eating. This would have given her time to loosen the bundles and take from them while no one was looking. It would seem as if the overseers suspicions were justified! Later, she could claim that she had only taken one stalk at a time, but no one would believe her.

 

Boaz told his workers to allow her to take from the sheaves and not embarrass her. He meant to say as follows: The only reason you have to suspect her is that she got up from her place in a hurry. Even if you find that she left all the single stalks lying on the ground and collected only from the sheaves, you must not question her or intimidate her by accusing her of taking unlawfully while no one was around. Boaz himself did not suspect her of cheating, but he did not want them to harbor any such idea either. We learn this from the way he spoke to his workers.

 

Gleaning between the Sheaves:

Was It Legal?

 

And she arose to glean. She immediately got up to take the leavings which were permitted by law. She did not intend to take unlawfully from the sheaves. Boaz knew that, but he was afraid that the others would slander her by claiming that she had gathered from the sheaves. He wanted to dismiss the possibility that such allegations be raised, even if they would be reinforced by the fact that the workers noticed her taking from between the sheaves. Moreover, even if there would have been no pretext for embarrassing her by claiming that she was cheating, they could have claimed that she was plotting to do so at some later stage.

 

Boaz could have publicly announced that she was allowed to collect between the sheaves. But then he would have been accused of having his eyes on her and of putting aside ethical considerations out of his affection for her. So he spoke only to the young men who were part of his household and familiar with his righteousness. They would not have suspected Boaz of such things, and later they would have told the laborers that she was allowed to glean between the sheaves without being bothered. The laborers in turn did not think that Boaz issued an order to treat Ruth any differently from the other women because of her beauty. They assumed that the order applied to all the women.

Now we can understand the addition of the word rntk saying. He told the servants of his household to say to the laborers. He did not tell them directly.

 

Why Did Boaz Favor Ruth?

 

Make sure to pull out some from the heaps. Again, this was addressed to his own private servants. The meaning is as follows: You may wonder what is happening and may have voiced your surprise at my strange actions by saying: We know how righteous our master is. Why is he favoring this girl and granting her the privilege of collecting from among the sheaves? Thus I told you that this girl is not like any other woman. She will not dare to take voluntarily from the sheaves. Furthermore, even if you make sure to pull out from the smaller bundles and leave the stalks on the ground to test her, I know that she will not touch them, but she will take only from the stalks that have fallen as prescribed by law.

 

She will not take from the heaps, even if they have obviously been forgotten and left behind. It goes without saying that she will not take from the larger sheaves. She will, however, be willing to pick the stalks that have fallen (yek). Do not rebuke her for not taking from the piles that have been forgotten (vjfa), for you will surely embarrass her.

 

There is another way to explain the addition of the word rntk saying, in verse 15. Boaz was really intending to tell them now that they should also pull out from the heaps and allow her to pick from them. However, he was afraid that they would suspect him of favoring her because he found her attractive. Thus, he allowed her only a small concession; namely, to collect stalks from between the sheaves. He warned the laborers not to embarrass her by alleging that she was waiting for an opportunity to grab one of the bundles themselves. Once he saw that no one suspected him of attempting to court her, he added, Make sure to pull out... (verse 16), so that she could take from the heaps unhindered. The word saying is inserted in verse 15, for it hints that at a later stage his instructions to the laborers were to include those given in verse 16, i.e., that they should allow her to glean from the heaps.

 

On both occasions Boaz tactfully addressed his laborers by giving the impression that he was concerned only for their welfare. He said: Do not embarrass her.. .do not rebuke her, which implied that he did not want them to sin by embarrassing her, for if her face would have grown red from shame, their deed would have been considered to be nothing less than bloodshed. Our Sages say (Talmud Bava Metzia 58b) that one who embarrasses his fellow in public does not merit a portion in the World to Come, and Boaz wished to save them from such a dishonor. Thus, he warned them Do not rebuke or embarrass her, for your punishment for such a course will be very severe.