SECTION XX

 

Ruth 2:17-18

 

Text:

 

:oh!r`g`}a v‚7ph2t0ƒ h„1v篽•u v7y󺣥k‘r#A4t ,2t 珁`c0j*•u c#r7g7v‘s*g v„3s78c y‚28k}•u   zh

v7r„!,╲‘r#A4t ,‚2t š7k‘i#!•u 玹2mǒ•u v7y󫋍k‘r#A4t ,2t š„7,╪4j t#r‚2•u rh!g7v tūc7•u 玹7!•u   jh

:š7g0c7!n

 

Targum:

 

TANAKH

Translation

SEPTUAGINT

Translation

y‚28k}•u

and she gleaned

 

 

v„3s78c

in the field

 

 

‘s*g

until

 

 

c#r7g7v

the evening

 

 

珁`c0j*•u

and she threshed

 

 

,2t

 

 

 

‘r#A4t

what

 

 

v7y󺣥k

she gathered

 

 

h„1v篽•u

and he was

 

 

v‚7ph2t0ƒ

about ephah

 

 

:oh!r`g`}a

barleys

 

 

玹7!•u

and she carried

 

 

tūc7•u

and she took

 

 

rh!g7v

the town

 

 

t#r‚2•u

and she saw

 

 

š„7,╪4j

her mother-in-law

 

 

,2t

 

 

 

‘r#A4t

what

 

 

v7y󫋍k

she gleaned

 

 

玹2mǒ•u

and she brought out

 

 

‘i#!•u

and she gave

 

 

š7k

to her

 

 

,‚2t

 

 

 

‘r#A4t

what

 

 

v7r„!,╲

she had left over

 

 

:š7g0c7!n

from to be filled her

 

 

 

Peshitta

 

2:17 So she gleaned in the field until I evening, and beat out what she had gleaned; and it was about an ephah of barley.

 

2:18 And she took it up and went into the city; and she showed her mother-in-law what she had gleaned; and she gave her of the food which was left over after she had eaten and was satisfied.

 

Stone抯 Translation

 

2:17 she gleaned in the field until evening, and she beat out what she had to Naomi gleaned; it was about an ephah of barley.

 

2:18 She carried it and came to the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and she took out and gave her what she had left over after eating her fill.

 

KJV

 

2:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.

 

2:18 And she took [it] up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.

 

Septuagint

Ruth 2:17 kai; sunevlexen ejn tw'/ ajgrw'/ e{w" eJspevra" kai; ejrravbdisen a} sunevlexen kai; ejgenhvqh wJ" oifi kriqw'n

Ruth 2:18 kai; h\ren kai; eijsh'lqen eij" th;n povlin kai; ei\den hJ penqera; aujth'" a} sunevlexen kai; ejxenevgkasa Rouq

e[dwken aujth'/ a} katevlipen ejx w|n ejneplhvsqh

 

Ruth 2:17-18 And she gleaned in the field until evening; and she beat out what she had gleaned with a rod, and about an ephah of barley was produced. 18 And she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and bringing it forth, Ruth gave to her what she had left over from what satiated her.

 

 

Peshat Level:

 

Targum

 

2:17 So she gathered ears of grain in the field until evening, then she threshed the ears of grain that she had gathered, and the amount was about three se抋h of barley.

 

2:18 She carried it and went up to the city, where her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. Then she took out of the bag the food which she had left over after being satisfied, and gave it to her.

 

 

Gemarah Level:

 

 

Midrash Level:

 

Midrash Rabbah

 

Ruth V:8 SO SHE GLEANED IN THE FIELD UNTIL EVEN... AND IT WAS ABOUT AN EPHAH (ib. 17). How much is an ephah? R. Johanan said: Three se'ahs, as we have learnt: the ephah is three se'ahs. AND SHE TOOK IT UP AND WENT INTO THE CITY.

 

 

Zohar Level:

 

 

Other Commentaries:

 

Me抋m Lo抏z

 

2:17 She gleaned in the field until the evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

In compliance with Boaz抯 instructions not to pick in other fields, Ruth remained in 搕he field of Boaz, picking the leket. She did not gather shikechah, for she perceived that the reapers were 揻orgetting sheaves for her sake, and she would not accept charity from Boaz. Nevertheless, Boaz抯 reapers left her so much leket that she did not finish gathering it all until evening.

 

When at last she finished, she did not go home immediately to rest from her hard day抯 work, but first beat out her grain, both to spare Naomi the labor and to lighten the load she would have to carry in to the city.

 

The combined result of Boaz抯 generosity, Ruth抯 industriousness, and God抯 blessing was that in a single day she had gathered the remark璦ble quantity of an ephah of barley梐 ten-day food supply. (An ephah is ten omer or three seah.)

 

2:18 She carried [iti and came to the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned; and she took out and gave her what she had left over after eating her fill.

 

Having beaten out the grain, Ruth was able to carry the entire ephah into the city in a single trip with no assistance. Although her burden was heavy, happiness made her feet light, and she went directly home to avoid contact with undesirable elements.

 

Upon her arrival, Ruth did not show off her pickings. Naomi 搒aw (tr,u) for herself, and was pleased (another meaning of tr,u) with the quality and quantity of 搘hat she had gleaned and with the fact that Ruth had already beaten it out.

 

Realizing that Naomi felt sorry about having nothing to serve her daughter-in-law when she came home hungry and tired from the field, Ruth immediately 搕ook out. .. what she had left over after eating her fill and told Naomi that she had already eaten well in the field. Although she was tired from the long trek home, Ruth 揼ave her the food to eat before eating herself.

 

Naomi was astonished at the quantity Ruth had picked, and her astonishment was compounded when Ruth gave her the leftovers of the meal in the field, for it showed that there, too, she had been blessed. A little food had been more than enough to satiate her.

 

Abraham Ibn Ezra

 

 

Malbim

 

17. She gathered. Ruth did not take from the piles of shich'cha, but only from the leket. She also did not gather among the heaps, but only in the field.

 

Until evening. She worked constantly until nightfall and therefore gathered a large amount.

 

She then threshed what she had gathered. In order that she would be able to carry the grain to the city and would not be burdened with the chaff and straw.

 

It was about an eiphah-measure of barley. This is the approximate amount of leket found in a field which produces four-and-a-half cur (according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, Pe'ah, the [average] amount of leket produced is four kav per cur).[1]

 

18. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gathered. Naomi saw and was amazed, for the amount she had gathered could not ordinarily be gleaned in one day. Besides the grain, Ruth had in her possession food which was left over from the meal she was provided with by Boaz.

 

Alshich

 

(17) So she gleaned in the field until the evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned and it amounted to about an 慹phah of barley.

 

As we explained, Ruth had no intention of gathering from the heaps or taking from among the sheaves. She gleaned only in the field, i.e., from stalks left in the field. Proof of this is supplied by the small amount she was left with at the end of the day an ephah of barley. Had she taken from the sheaves, she would have had much more. Moreover, the text emphasizes that it was about an ephah, indicating that it was not a complete ephah. In addition, she was gathering barley, whose kernels are significantly larger than those of wheat. Had she gathered wheat, the kernel content would have been far less.

 

(18) She carried it and came to the town. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She took out and gave her what was left over after she had eaten her fill.

 

Why was it necessary to imform us that she took the barley home with her? Would we expect her to leave it there, or to remain in the field herself? Furthermore, once Na抩mu had seen her, she had obviously seen her bundle, too! Why the need to inform us that 搒he saw what she had gleaned?

 

It also seemned that Ruth deliberately left over so that she could give some of her gram to Na抩nai. The word vrh,uv judicates a positive actiou of leaviug over. Had it been left over by chauce, the phrase, vgca hrjt r,udv (left over after having eaten her fill), would have been more suitable. To make matters even more difficult, it has already been stated that she left over[2]. Why the ueed to repeat that fact here?

 

A Suspicious-Looking Bundle?

 

In the previous verse we learned that she beat out the stalks. Why was this necessary? There must have been some significance in this or else the prophet would not have reported it. The most obvious explanation is that she had to beat it into a compressed area amounting to an ephah, so that she could carry the load into town without asking for help. Had the grain remained in stalk form, she would have had to ask the aid of a passerby and, as the Midrash tells us (Ruth Rabbah 5:15), the people of that generation were steeped in immorality. Consequently, it was extremely difficult to find someone who could be trusted. Besides this, once all the grain was tied up in a sack, it would not be so conspicuous when she arrived in town. Thus, there was less chance that she would be degraded for collecting her daily sustenance from the fields. As it was, she had suffered enough shame in the fields already. By beating the stalks to pulp, the grain was confined to her sack and was not jutting out for all to see.

 

Now we can truly understand the addition of the word ta,u. The meaning is: She carried it herself, and came to the town inconspicuously. Her mother-in-law was the only one who saw what she had gleaned.

 

These words, her mother-in-law saw..., may also intend to convey that Na抩mi was staring with surprise at Ruth抯 bundle, wondering how she could have collected so much in just a single day.

 

Ruth noticed Na抩mi抯 look of amazement and thought to herself: 揚erhaps she suspects that one of the reapers has had his eyes on me and gave me this bundle because he wanted to show his affection for me. She will think that it was wrong of me to have accepted the gift. This was especially so in a time when the people were so immoral (Midrash Ruth Rabbah 5:15) that the reapers were known to have stolen grain to pay prostitutes for their services. Indeed, Boaz would sleep near the pile of grain to prevent his workers from engaging in such licentious behavior.

 

The Blessing Brings a Miracle

 

In order to allay Na抩mi抯 suspicions, Ruth gave her everything that was left after she had eaten her fill. With this she was hinting that God had blessed the little she had so that she would be satisfied and could even leave over.

 

As we pointed out,[3] the words vrh,uv rat ,t, that which she had left over, indicate that due to Ruth抯 righteousness, she was miraculously able to leave over after eating her fill, even though in normal circumstances there would not have been enough. This phenomenon took place so that Na抩mi would realize that Ruth had not accepted any sort of gift from a doting benefactor. For if that were the case, God would not have blessed her with the ability to leave over, since 搕he Holy One does not perform miracles for the benefit of deceivers (Talmud Berachoth 58a).

 

Alternatively, Na抩mi was meant to understand that God had blessed Ruth by enabling her to leave over, so she should not wonder how she had managed to gather so much. Once Na抩mi had realized that her intentions were pure by seeing this miraculous state of events, she proceeded to ask her, Where did you work...?

 

 

 



[1] An eiphah is three se'im and a se'ah is six kavim. As such, an eiphah consists of eighteen kavim. According to the Talmud Yerushalmi, a field of four-and-a-half cur would produce eighteen kavim of leket which is the equivalent of one eiphah.

[2] The Aishich is referring to verse 14: She ate, uxis satisfied and left over. There he explains that the term r,u,u means as follows: Boaz supplied her with only enough for herself, but since the grain was blessed in her merit, it was reckoned as if she herself left over the food.

[3] See footnote, page 213