SECTION XXVIII

 

Ruth 3:10-13

 

Text:

 

h2r4jt ,3f3k‘h!0k1c0k iAt!r7v‘i!n i„r4j*t7v L‚20x8j }0cˆ*yh2v h!1c vu`vh8k }‹*t v7fr0c r#nt`œ•u   h

:rh!A7g‘o!tu k„8‘o!t oh!rj8c8v

hˆ1ƒ h!Œ*g r*g*A‘k7ƒ *g2sh h‹1ƒ L7‘v`#a%g#t h„!r}nt`‘r#A4t k`‚ƒ h!t}rh!‘k*t h!1c v7*gu   th

:}7t kh„8j ,#A‚2t

:hа#Œ!n c‚r7e k„2t` A‚™h oˆ•du h1f`b7t k„2t`d ot (:hre tku ch,f) h‚1ƒ oܶb}n7t h1ƒ v7*gu   ch

Lˆ2k^td0k .`‡Ÿ0j•h t‘o!tu k7tdh cy L‚2k7tdh‘o!t r3e`c8c v‹h7vu v7kh88v | hbh1k   dh

:r3e`c8v‘s*g h„1c0f!A v׶u`vh‘h8j h1f`„b7t Lh‚!0k*td

 

Targum:

 

TANAKH

Translation

SEPTUAGINT

Translation

r#nt`ϥu

and he said

 

 

v7fr0c

being blessed

 

 

}‹*t

 

 

 

vu`vh8k

by HaShem

 

 

h!1c

my daughter

 

 

}0cˆ*yh2v

you showed

 

 

L‚20x8j

your kindness

 

 

i„r4j*t7v

the latter

 

 

‘i!n

greater than

 

 

iAt!r7v

the earlier

 

 

‘h!0k1c0k

not

 

 

,3f3k

to run

 

 

h2r4jt

after

 

 

oh!rj8c8v

the young men

 

 

‘o!t

whether

 

 

k„8

poor

 

 

‘o!tu

or whether

 

 

:rh!A7g

rich

 

 

v7*gu

and now

 

 

h!1c

my daughter

 

 

‘k*t

not

 

 

h!t}rh!

you be afraid

 

 

k`‚ƒ

all

 

 

‘r#A4t

that

 

 

h„!r}nt`

you said

 

 

‘v`#a%g#t

I will do

 

 

L7

for you

 

 

h‹1ƒ

for

 

 

g2sh

knowing

 

 

‘k7ƒ

all of

 

 

r*g*A

gate of

 

 

h!Œ*g

my people

 

 

hˆ1ƒ

for

 

 

,#A‚2t

woman of

 

 

kh„8j

valor

 

 

:}7t

you

 

 

v7*gu

and now

 

 

h1ƒ

for

 

 

oܶb}n7t

true

 

 

h‚1ƒ

that

 

 

(:hre tku ch,f)

 

 

 

ot

indeed

 

 

k„2t`d

kinsman-Redeemer

 

 

h1f`b7t

I am

 

 

oˆ•du

and also

 

 

A‚™h

there is

 

 

k„2t`

kinsman-redeemer

 

 

c‚r7e

nearer

 

 

:hа#Œ!n

than I

 

 

hbh1k

stay

 

 

v7kh88v

the night

 

 

v‹h7vu

he will be

 

 

r3e`c8c

in the morning

 

 

‘o!t

if

 

 

L‚2k7tdh

he redeems you

 

 

cy

good

 

 

k7tdh

let him redeem

 

 

‘o!tu

and if

 

 

t

not

 

 

.`‡Ÿ0j•h

he is willing

 

 

Lˆ2k^td0k

to redeem you

 

 

Lh‚!0k*td

and I will redeem you

 

 

h1f`„b7t

I am

 

 

‘h8j

life of

 

 

v׶u`vh

HaShem

 

 

h„1c0f!A

lie

 

 

‘s*g

until

 

 

:r3e`c8v

the morning

 

 

 

Peshitta

 

3:10 And Boaz said to her, Blessed be you of the LORD, my daughter; for you have shown more kindness in the latter days than at the beginning of your life in that you have not gone after young men, whether rich or poor.

 

3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; for I will do for you all that you ask of me; for all the family of our people know that you are a virtuous woman.

 

3:12 And now it is true that I am a near kinsman; however, there is another kinsman nearer than I.

 

3:13 Now, tarry this night and lodge here till dawn, and it shall be in the morning, if he will perform to you the part of a kinsman, well, let him do it; but if he is unwilling to do the part of a kinsman to you, then, as the LORD lives, if he does not do the part of a next of kin to you, I will do the part of a kinsman to you; then he said to her, Lie down until the morning.

 

Stones Translation

 

3:10 And he said, You are blessed of HASHEM, my daughter; you have made your latest act of kindness greater than the first, in that you have not gone after the younger men, be they poor or rich.

 

3:11 And now, my daughter, do not fear; whatever you say, I will do for you; for all the men in the gate of my people know that you are a worthy woman.

 

3:12 Now while it is true that lam a redeemer, there is also another redeemer closer than I.

 

3:13 Stay the night, then in the morning, if he will redeem you, fine! Let him redeem. But if he does not want to redeem you, then [I swear that] as HASIIEM lives, I will redeem you! Lie down until the morning.

 

KJV

 

3:10 And he said, Blessed [be] thou of the LORD, my daughter: [for] thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.

 

3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.

 

3:12 And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.

 

3:13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, [that] if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, [as] the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

 

Septuagint

Ruth 3:10 kai; ei\pen Boo" eujloghmevnh su; tw'/ kurivw/ qew'/ quvgater o{ti hjgavquna" to; e[leov" sou to; e[scaton uJpe;r to; prw'ton to; mh; poreuqh'naiv se ojpivsw neaniw'n ei[toi ptwco;" ei[toi plouvsio"

Ruth 3:11 kai; nu'n quvgater mh; fobou' pavnta o{sa eja;n ei[ph/" poihvsw soi oi\den ga;r pa'sa fulh; laou' mou o{ti

gunh; dunavmew" ei\ suv

Ruth 3:12

kai; o{ti ajlhqw'" ajgcisteu;" ejgwv eijmi kaiv ge e[stin ajgcisteu;" ejggivwn uJpe;r ejmev

Ruth 3:13 aujlivsqhti th;n nuvkta kai; e[stai to; prwiv eja;n ajgcisteuvsh/ se ajgaqovn ajgcisteuevtw eja;n de; mh;

bouvlhtai ajgcisteu'saiv se ajgcisteuvsw se ejgwv zh'/ kuvrio" koimhvqhti e{w" prwiv

 

Ruth 3:10-13 And Boz said, Blessed are you by the LORD GOD, daughter! For you have made your latter kindness better than the first, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now daughter, do not fear; what-ever you may say, I will do for you; for all the tribe of my people has known that you are a woman of dignity. 12 And now, truly I am next of kin; even so, there is a kinsman closer than I. 13 Lodge here for the night, and in the morning it shall be, that if he will take the privilege of a kinsman for yougood; let him do it; but if he does not wish to take the privilege of a kinsman for you, then I will take the privilege of a kinsman for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning.

 

 

Peshat Level:

 

Targum

 

3:10 Said he: "Blessed be you before the Lord, my daughter. The last good deed which you have done is better than the first. The first was that you became a proselyte, and the last, that you made yourself like a woman who waits for a small brother-in-law until he grows up, refraining from following young men, whether poor or wealthy, in order to carry on immoral relations with them.

 

3:11 "And now, my daughter, do not fear. What you say to me I will do for you, since it is known to all who sit at the gate, the Great Sanhedrin, of my people, that you are a righteous woman and have the strength to bear the yoke of the commandments of the Lord.

 

3:12 "Now, in truth, I am a redeemer, but there is also another redeemer who is better qualified to redeem than am I.

 

3:13 "Lodge here, and in the morning, if the man qualified to redeem you according to the Torah redeems you, very well, let him redeem you. But if he is unwilling to redeem you, then I will redeem you. I swear by an oath before God, that I will do just as I have spoken to you. Sleep now until the morning."

 

Rashi

 

3:10 Than the first which you did for your mother-in-law.

 

3:12 And now although it is true that (The word) ot, if, is written but not read. That is to say, (ot) conveys uncertainty, (for) there is certainly a redeemer closer than I, (who creates a doubt whether I will, in fact, redeem). [Another version of Rashi (states that both words) ot hf, that if, conveys uncertainty, and he was a definite (redeemer),] Rabbi Joshua the son of Levi said (Ruth Rabbah), Salmon (the father of Boaz) and Elimelech and Tov (the closer redeemer to whom Boaz referred) were brothers. Then what is (the meaning of verse 4:3, in which Boaz says to Tov), which belonged to our brother to Elimelech? A man always refers to (lit., calls) his uncle (as) his brother, as the matter is stated (Genesis 14:14), And Abram heard that his brother (Lot) was taken captive And was not Abraham his (Lots) uncle? So was Boaz to Elimelech the son of his brother, (and, consequently,) a relative (cousin) of Mahlon. But Tov, (Mahlons uncle,) was more (closely) related.

 

Closer than I For he (Tov) is a brother, while I (Boaz) am (only) the son of a brother.

 

3:13 Stay over this night Stay over (one more night) without a husband.

 

As the Lord lives She said to him With words (i.e., excuses) you (want) to send me away. (Immediately,) he jumped and swore to her that he was not sending her away with (mere) words. And some of our Rabbis said (Ruth Rabbah) (that) he swore to his evil inclination, for his evil inclinantion was inciting him, (saying) You are an unmarried man, and she is an unmarried woman. (Therefore,) come unto her! And he swore that he would not come unto her except through marriage.

 

Mishna

 

 

Avot 4:1 "Who is powerful? He who subdues his base instincts."

 

 

Gemarah Level:

 

Talmud Babli

 

Nedarim 37b If I be a redeemer It is written: if I be a redeemer, and read: I am indeed, a redeemer a halachah to Moses from Sinai.

 

 

Midrash Level:

 

Midrash Rabbah

 

Ruth VI:2 AND HE SAID: BLESSED BE THOU OF THE LORD, MY DAUGHTER. THOU HAST SHOWN MORE KINDNESS IN THE END THAN AT THE BEGINNING (ib. 10). R. Johanan and Resh Lakish and the Rabbis commented on this verse. R. Johanan said: One should never keep back from going to an elder to be blessed. Boaz was eighty years of age, and had not been vouchsafed children. But when that righteous woman prayed for him, he was immediately vouchsafed, as it is said, And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law: Blessed be he of the Lord (Rut II, 20). Resh Lakish said: Ruth was forty years of age and had not yet been vouchsafed children as long as she was married to Machlon. But as soon as that righteous man prayed for her, she was vouchsafed, as it is said, BLESSED BE THOU OF THE LORD, MY DAUGHTER. The Rabbis, however, say: Both of them were vouchsafed children only as a result of the blessings of righteous people, as it is said, And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said: We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman... like Rachel and like Leah (ib. IV, 11). THOU HAST SHOWN MORE KINDNESS IN THE END THAN AT THE BEGINNING, INASMUCH AS THOU DIDST NOT FOLLOW THE YOUNG MEN, WHETHER RICH OR POOR. R. Samuel b. R. Isaac said: A woman prefers a poor young man to a wealthy old man.

 

Ruth VI:2 AND NOW, MY DAUGHTER, FEAR NOT... AND NOW IT IS TRUE THAT I AM A NEAR KINSMAN; HOWBEIT THERE IS A KINSMAN NEARER THAN I (III, 11 f.). The Rabbis and R. Joshua b. Levi commented on this. The Rabbis were of the opinion that Tob, Elimelech, and Boaz were brothers, while R. Joshua said that Salmon, Elimelech, and Tob were brothers. It was objected to him: But it is written, Which was our brother Elimelech's (ib. IV, 3)? He answered: A man does not refrain from calling his uncle brother.

 

Ruth VI:2 TARRY THIS NIGHT (III, 13). This night you will spend without a husband, but you will not be without a husband for another night. AND IT SHALL BE IN THE MORNING, THAT IF HE WILL PERFORM UNTO THEE THE PART OF A KINSMAN, WELL; LET HIM DO THE KINSMAN'S PART; BUT IF HE BE NOT WILLING TO DO THE PART OF A KINSMAN TO THEE, THEN WILL I DO THE PART OF A KINSMAN TO THEE (ib. 13).

 

Ruth VI:2 TARRY THIS NIGHT in this world which is all night, AND IT SHALL BE IN THE MORNING, IF THE GOOD ONE WILL REDEEM THEE, HE WILL REDEEM THEE. IT SHALL BE IN THE MORNING refers to the world which is all good. IF THE GOOD ONE WILL REDEEM THEE, the GOOD ONE is the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is said, The Lord is good to all (Psalm CXLV, 9). BUT IF HE WILL NOT REDEEM THEE, THEN WILL I REDEEM THEE; AS THE LORD LIVETH, LIE HERE TILL THE MORNING, and the fire subsided. R. Jose said: Three individuals found their Evil Inclination mastering them, and they fortified themselves against it by taking an oath, namely Joseph, David, and Boaz. Joseph, as it is written, How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God (Genesis XXXIX, 9). R. Huna said in the name of R. Idi: Is Scripture ever defective? It does not say and sin against the Lord but and sin against God; he swore to his Evil Inclination and said, By God, I will not sin nor do this evil! How do we know it of David? Because it is said, And David said: As the Lord liveth, nay, but the Lord shall smite him (I Sam. XXVI, 10). To whom did he take this oath? R. Eleazar and R. Samuel b. Nahman gave different answers. R. Eleazar said: He took an oath to his Evil Inclination; R. Samuel b. Nahman said: He took an oath to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, saying to him, ' As the Lord liveth, if you touch him, I swear that I will mingle your blood with his. How do we know it of Boaz? Because it is said, As THE LORD LIVETH, LIE DOWN UNTIL THE MORNING. R. Judah and R. Hunya commented on this. R. Judah said: All that night his Evil Inclination contended with him, saying, You are unmarried and seek a wife, and she is unmarried and seeks a husband. Arise and have intercourse with her, and make her your wife. And he took an oath to his Evil Inclination, saying, As the Lord liveth, I will not touch her, and to the woman he said, LIE DOWN UNTIL THE MORNING (III, 13)... IF HE WILL PERFORM UNTO THEE THE PART OF A KINSMAN, WELL; LET HIM DO A KINSMAN'S PART (ib. 13). R. Hunya said: It is written, A wise man is strong (be'oz); yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength (Proverbs XXIV, 5): read not be'oz (strong), but Boaz; ' A wise man is Boaz, and a man of knowledge increaseth strength, for he strengthened himself with an oath.

 

 

Zohar Level:

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 93b Another then discoursed on the text: And Joseph said to his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you, and they came near (Genesis XLV, 4). He said: Seeing that they were already standing by him, why did he tell them to come near? The reason was that when he said to them I am Joseph your brother, they were dumbfounded, seeing his royal state, so he showed them the sign of the covenant and said to them: It is through this that I have attained to this estate, through keeping this intact. From this we learn that whoever keeps intact this sign of the covenant is destined for kingship. Another example is Boaz, who said to Ruth, As the Lord liveth, lie down until the morning (Ruth III, 13). By this adjuration he exorcised his passion, and because he guarded the covenant he became the progenitor of the greatest lineage of kings, and of the Messiah, whose name is linked with that of God.

 

 

Other Commentaries:

 

Meam Loez

 

3:10 He said, Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! Your last kindness is greater than the first, by not going after the young men, whether poor or rich.

 

Ruth had feared that Boaz would curse her for approaching him at night on the threshing floor. But one who trusts in the Lord is raised high (Proverbs 29:25), and God inspired Boaz to bless her instead.

 

Already you are blessed of God, he said, included in the blessing of Abraham.

 

God had said to Abraham, All the families of the earth will be blessed (ufrcbu) through you (Genesis 12:3), and our sages interpret ufrcbu as grafted, drawing upon the cognate lhrcn Thus the blessing is a reference to all righteous converts who would be grafted to the tree of Israel.

 

Similarly. Rabbi Dosa ben Harkinas said to Rabbi Akiba [who was descended from a family of converts], Are you Akiba ben Joseph, whose name goes forth from one end of the earth to the other? May there be more [righteous converts] like you in Israel!

 

Thus, although Ruth had called herself your handmaiden, he replied that she was no less than my daughter.

 

He praised her for making a habit of kindness, which began with providing shrouds for her husband; to wit, May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the deceased (v. 1:8), embracing Judaism [which was a kindness to her soul], as it says, be your reward complete from the Lord ... beneath Whose wings you have come to refuge (v. 2:12), and in caring for the destitute NaomiIt has been fully related to me all that you have done for your mother-in-law (v. 2:11). But her latest act of kindnessseeking to marry the aged Boaz in order to perpetuate the name and soul of MachIonsurpassed all the rest. It was also iuatrv in, a result of the first, for one good deed leads to another.

 

Boaz went on to praise her for not seeking to marry a younger manperhaps even a relative of Elimelecheven though, as our sages observe, a woman generally prefers a poor young man to a rich old one. He also praised her for not having strayed after a rich manin contrast to the general decadence and immorality of the generation.

 

There are three types of converts, say our sages. One converts to eat, and of him it is written, To the convert in the gate shall you give it (Deuteronomy 14:21). A second converts to receive charity, and of him it is written. To the pauper and the convert shall you leave them (Leviticus 19:10). The third converts for the sake of heaven. Of him the Torah says, One statute for you and for the convert who dwells in your midst (Numbers 15:15). By not going after the young men, Ruth proved that she had converted purely for the sake of heaven, and therefore was blessed of God, Who cherishes sincere converts.

 

3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not. All that you say I will do for you. For all the gate of my people know that a woman of valor are you.

 

Fear not that I will turn you away because I am ashamed to marry a Moabite convert. On the contrary, all the people know that you are a righteous woman worthy of marrying the judge of Israel.

 

Neither fear that you have blemished your reputation by coming here tonight, or that I will not force this matter to a swift conclusion. No one will condemn your action, for all know that you act solely for the sake of heaven.

 

In addition, Boaz assured her that she would be spared the usual suffering of converts, which occurs because they had delayed their conversion, or came out of fear rather than out of love for God, or are ignorant of the details of Jewish law. As everyone knew, Ruth hastened to convert out of love for God, and was strong in bearing the yoke of His laws.

 

Thus Boaz had earlier said to her, be your reward complete from the Lord, God of Israel, beneath Whose wings you have come to shelter (v. 2:12), adding now that she was a woman of valor in regard to keeping the commandments.

 

The term khj, valor (numerical value 48) indicates that Boaz praised her for emulating Abraham, who abandoned idolatry at the age of forty-eight.

 

The numerical equivalent of khj also hints at the forty-eight times proselytes are mentioned in the Torah.

 

He further praised her for being totally a woman of valorhence ,t from aleph (t) to tav (,).

 

Moreover, her being a woman of valor took her out of the category of fatal wife, which designates a woman whose two successive husbands died [and whom one therefore should not marry]. That is, despite the fact that according to one opinion, Kilyon had married her by the law of levirate obligation (yibum) after the death of Machlon, and then he, too, died, she was not considered a fatal wife.

 

3:12 Now while it is true that [if] I am a redeemer, there is also a redeemer closer than I.

 

The redeemer of whom Boaz spoke was Tov. According to our sages, Salmon [father of Boaz], Elimelech, and Tov were brothers. Tov, being a brother of Elimelech, was a closer relative than Boaz, who was only a nephew. According to others, Tov, Boaz, and Elimelech were brothers, which would mean that Tov must have been older than Boaz and hence took precedence.

 

Since the closer relative had to be given the option of redeeming Machlons field, the outcome of the matter appeared to be uncertain, as reflected by the conditional ot, if. The text is read, however, hfbt ktud hf that I am a redeemer, without the word ot, to hint that there was actually no uncertainty. Boaz would indeed be the one to redeem her.

 

3:13 Stay this night. And it shall be in the morning, if he will redeem you, good! let him redeem. But if he does not want to redeem you, I will redeem you. As the Lord lives! Lie until morning.

 

Presented with a plea for a kindness that was not in his power to grant immediately, the righteous Boaz reacted with characteristic consideration for the feelings of others. He at once assured Ruth that she was truly deserving of the kindness, and then apologized for not being able to fulfill her request immediately, explaining that it depended on another. Tov had to be offered the opportunity of redeeming her first.

 

He asked her to stay the night because it was unsafe for a woman to venture out alone at this late hour, and on the other hand harmful to their reputations for him to escort her.

 

But when Ruth, who had gone to Boaz thinking he would become her husband, heard that Tov might marry her instead, she rose to leave. Boaz therefore repeated his request that she lie until morning.

 

She acquiesced and lay down, but her uncertainty about his response did not let her sleep. Was he trying to rebuff her with empty words? she wondered, perhaps aloud. Whereupon Boaz leaped up and swore (As the Lord lives!) that he meant what he had said, and told her to sleep peacefully, confident that she would soon be redeemed.

 

Our sages say that his evil inclination tried to entice him, saying, You are unmarried, and she is unmarried.... Whereupon he swore to his evil inclination that he would not approach her except by marriage. He purified his thought to the point that he was willing to forgo his opportunity to redeem her in favor of Tov.

 

It is instructive in this regard to contrast the righteous judge of Israel with the degenerate Persian king Ahasuerus. When the kings heart was glad with wine he ordered his queen to appear dressed in the royal crown and nothing else (Talmud) to show the peoples and the princes her beauty (Esther 1:10,11). On the other hand, after Boaz ate and drank and his heart was glad (v. 7), and he found a beautiful woman, adorned, perfumed, and ritually pure from immersion, lying at his feet, he swore to his evil inclination that he would not touch her.

 

This righteous mans words, vkhkv hbhk, stay this night, signify that only this night would Ruth stay alone, without a husband; the next morning she would be redeemed. Similarly, many generations later, the children of Israel would endure the night of exile, when they would be like a woman separated from her husband, with whom she will be reunited in the morning of her redemption. This is hinted at by hbhk which is composed of the end letters of the four exiles; Babylon (kcc), Media (hsn) Greece (iuh), and Rome (hnur).

 

In this regard the letter nun (b, numerically equivalent to 50), portends that the future exile would begin in the fiftieth generation, at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. Alternatively, the enlarged letter nun in certain texts alludes to the Messiah (a scion of Ruth), one of whose names was Yenon, iubh. [Thus it says, Yenon is his name (Psalms 72:17).]

 

Abraham Ibn Ezra

 

 

Malbim

 

10. He said [to her], "You are blessed [by] the ETERNAL, my daughter!" Boaz saw that Ruth's intentions were virtuous -for the sake of Heaven.

 

"You have surpassed your first [act of] kindness with your second," Boaz meant that Ruth's first act of kindness -which she performed with her husband at the time she married him was by choosing to wed a man of Israelite descent. Her choice of a young man may have been motivated at least by his youth and good looks. However, her latest kindness -which she wants to perform with the soul of her deceased husband by levirate marriage -is even greater by not going after young men, whether [they be] poor or rich, but rather that she has chosen an elderly man (Boaz himself). Boaz implied that to have taken a younger man, even if he was poor, would have been better for Ruth than to marry an older man. How much more so in light of the fact that Ruth could have found a young, wealthy person who would want to marry her for her beauty. Her choice of an old man in order to establish the name of her deceased husband is a tremendous act of kindness to him.

 

11. Since Boaz knew that he would not be able to perform levirate marriage immediately until after he asked the other redeemer, he was concerned that Ruth might think that he was not interested in "redeeming" her.

 

So now, my daughter, do not be afraid. Although you may think that I am avoiding you and do not want you, whatever you say I will do for you. I promise to perform levirate marriage with you as you requested, Spread your cloak over your maidservant, for you are a redeemer [Boaz meant that if it will be determined that he is the redeemer because the other redeemer will not desire to do so, then he will do whatever she says]. Also, Boaz assured her that she should not fear lest when he take counsel with the elders of the city that they will attempt to dissuade him from marrying her and say to him that it is beneath his dignity to marry a young Moabite woman -for all [the elders on my people [who sit at] the gateway [of the court] are aware that you are a woman of fortitude. Therefore all of them will agree to the marriage.

 

12. But now. It is impossible for me to consummate the levirate marriage immediately. Though I am a redeemer I cannot proceed because there is also a redeemer who is a closer relative than I, and must therefore be given the first right of redemption.

 

13. Stay [here] tonight. Boaz said, "You should remain till the morning" and then he would speak with him. If [the redeemer] [Tov[1]] redeems you, it is good! For he has the first right of redemption. But if he does not wish to redeem you, then I vow to you an oath that I will redeem you.

 

Then I, myself, will redeem you...as the ETERNAL lives. Boaz sensed that Ruth wanted to get up from lying at his feet and so he told her to stay until morning, meaning "Stay in that place" for I am not afraid lest my passion drive me to consummate our relationship tonight. The Midrash relates that Boaz swore to his yetzer ha-ra (evil inclination). The words as the ETERNAL lives apply to both conditions: if the man will redeem you, so be it -Boaz will not touch her as long as he has not spoken with him [this oath was to his yetzer ha-ra], and if he will not redeem her, then Boaz swore that he would.

 

Alshich

 

 



[1] Many commentators, including the Malbim, understand from the Hebrew text that the name of the other redeemer is Tov.