Ruth 2:23




c#A„2Ż•u oh×!—1j8v rh±1m0eť oh„!r`g}Ľ8v‘rh1m0e ,¨‚k0ƒ‘s*g yÜ2ż8k0k «z*g`«c ,¨‚r4g•b0c e›8c0s!Ż•u   df










and she stayed close




to servant girls of








to glean








to be finished




harvest of




the barleys




and harvest of




the wheats




and she lived








her mother-in-law






2:23 So she kept close by the maid-servants of Boaz to glean until the end of the barley harvest and of the wheat harvest; and Ruth dwelt with her mother-in-law.


Stone’s Translation


2:23 So she stayed close to Boaz’ maidens to glean, until the end of the barley harvest and of the wheat harvest. Then she stayed [at home] with her mother-in-law.




2:23 So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.     



Ruth 2:23 kai; prosekollhvqh Rouq toi'" korasivoi" Boo" sullevgein e{w" ou| sunetevlesen to;n qerismo;n tw'n kriqw'n kai; tw'n purw'n kai; ejkavqisen meta; th'" penqera'" aujth'"


Ruth 2:23 And she stuck by the young maidens of Boöz, to glean until the end of the barley and the wheat harvest; and she stayed with her mother-in-law.



Peshat Level:




2:23 So she joined up with the maidservants of Boaz, reaping until the completion of the harvest of barley and the harvest of wheat. And she dwelt with her mother-in-law.



Gemarah Level:


Talmud Babli


Yerushalami Nedarim 8:4  [If one vows: “until the harvest,” the vow is binding until the beginning of the wheat harvest, and not (only) until the beginning of the barley harvest (which is earlier). And though it is written: “the barley harvest and the wheat harvest” (which would seem to equate them), the setting of the verse is the south of Eretz Israel (where they are, indeed, of equal importance), whereas that of the (above) Baraitha is the Galil (where the “big” harvest is the wheat harvest)]



Midrash Level:


Midrash Rabbah


Ruth V:11 AND RUTH THE MOAVITESS SAID: YEA, HE SAID UNTO ME: THOU SHALT KEEP FAST BY MY YOUNG MEN (II, 21). R. Hanin b. Levi said: In truth she was a Moavitess, for Boaz said to her, Abide here fast by my maidens (II, 8), while she said, BY MY YOUNG MEN. SO SHE KEPT FAST BY THE MAIDENS OF BOAZ TO GLEAN UNTO THE END OF BARLEY HARVEST AND OF WHEAT HARVEST (ib. 23). R. Samuel b. Nahman said: From the beginning of the barley harvest until the end of the wheat harvest is three months.



Zohar Level:



Other Commentaries:


Me’am Lo’ez


2:23 So she cleaved to Boaz’s young women to glean until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest. Then she dwelt with her mother-in-law.


Throughout the three-month harvest season, Ruth picked all day and slept by night in the field with Boaz’s young women. She probably acquired many new young friends, but her thoughts cleaved to her mother-in-law as if she dwelt together with her.


According to a different interpretation, Ruth “cleaved to Boaz’s young women” only “to glean.” Every evening she trudged back to the city so that Naomi would not be alone, and she did not abandon her bitter old mother-in-law for the company of happy young friends.


Naomi, seeing Ruth’s steadfast devotion, decided to arrange a match for her with Boaz. But first the mandatory three-month waiting period before a convert may marry would have to elapse.


The harvest season drew to a close, and with it the convert’s waiting period, but Ruth “dwelt with her mother-in-law,” and made no effort to seek a husband.


Abraham Ibn Ezra





23. And so she did: She joined Boaz's girls to gather until the end of the barley harvest and wheat harvest. The Midrash relates that this lasted for three months, which is the amount of time necessary for a female convert to wait in order to marry.[1] Therefore, at the conclusion of this time, Naomi began her efforts for Ruth to be redeemed by levirate marriage.


[Then she] stayed [at home] with her mother-in-law. In spite of the inordinate amount of time which Ruth required to glean and to be with the young female harvesters, this was only for the purpose of gleaning. This is borne out by, She joined Boaz's girls to gather. However, once the work was done, she returned to Naomi and did not visit her contemporaries, for the love of her mother-in-law was dearer to her than anything else.




(23)So she stayed close to Boaz’s maidseruants to glean until the end of the barley and wheat harvest. She dwelt with her mother-in-law.


In this verse we learn of Boaz’s aspirations and his desire to take Ruth for a wife. At first she was advised to remain with his maidservants only while the first field was being harvested. These young women were the personal attendants of Boaz’s first wife, and they were eager that someone fill the vacancy, so that they would again have the privilege of waiting on Boaz’s wife.


It was not their intention to remain in the fields for the whole harvest season. But, when Boaz saw how adamant Na’omi was that Ruth stay close to his maidservants for the full three months of the season, he went beyond his duty and begged them to stay with Ruth until the end of the wheat harvest.


We see how sincere Boaz was about marrying Ruth, for he was preparing her to be waited upon by these same maidservants after marriage.


There are several more difficult points in this verse that require clarification.


Why is it stressed that she remained gleaning until the end of the season? What is so relevant about the fact that she dwelt with her mother-in-law? Where else could she have lodged?


The Midrash (Ruth Rabbah 5:11) says concerning this verse: “R. Shmuel bar Nachman says: From the beginning of the barley harvest to the end of the wheat harvest is a period of three months. She dwelt with her mother-in-law. Then Na’omi her mother-in-law said to her... (3:1).”


The Midrash continues by quoting the next two verses in chapter three but does not explain them at all!


It seems that the Sages of the Midrash were bothered by the following difficulties: (1) In our verse we read that she gleaned until the end of the barley and wheat harvest. But isn’t it obvious? She could not continue to glean after that time, since the harvest season was over! (2) As we said, there was no one else she could have lodged with, so why is it necessary to tell us that she stayed with Na’omi? (3) The first clause in 3:2 seems redundant: Now Boaz our relative, with whose maidservants you have been.... The word v,gu, now, implies that we are being told something new, when in actual fact we know it already!


Ruth Had to Bide Her Time


As we explained at the end of chapter one, Na’omi did not seek to find Ruth a partner in life until the required three months of waiting after her conversion had passed. In this way we can be sure that she had not become pregnant from unholy gentile seed. Hence, v,unj ,t ca,u, she dwelt with her mother-in-law. She did not merely dwell with her. The word ca,u has the meaning of “she waited” as in asec ucahu They waited in Kadesh (Deuteronomy 1:46).


Following this, chapter three begins by relating Na’omi’s concern over Ruth’s future: My daughter, should I not seek security for you... Since the three months of waiting were over, she began to look for a suitable mate for Ruth. Now we can understand the Midrash. First, R. Shmuel quotes the last verses in chapter two as if introducing to us the principle of waiting three months before a convert can marry. These months coincided with the harvest season. During this time she lodged with her mother-in-law. Chapter three begins by relating that with the passing of the harvest season, Ruth was eligible for marriage to a Jew, and it is then that Na’omi began to seek security for her in the form of a suitable mate: “Only now that the three months are over can Boaz our relative be considered as a husband for you.”

[1] See Yevamos 42a and Even HaEzer 13:5.