2:8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, 1 my dear! 2 Do not leave to gather grain in another field. You need not 3 go beyond the limits of this field. You may go along beside 4 my female workers. 5
3:12 Now yes, it is true that 6 I am a guardian, 7 but there is another guardian who is a closer relative than I am.
4:6 The guardian said, “Then I am unable to redeem it, for I would ruin my own inheritance 8 in that case. You may exercise my redemption option, for I am unable to redeem it.” 9
1 tn Heb “Have you not heard?” The idiomatic, negated rhetorical question is equivalent to an affirmation (see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 119, and GKC 474 §150.e).
2 tn Heb “my daughter.” This form of address is a mild form of endearment, perhaps merely rhetorical. It might suggest that Boaz is older than Ruth, but not necessarily significantly so. A few English versions omit it entirely (e.g., TEV, CEV).
3 tn The switch from the negative particle אַל (’al, see the preceding statement, “do not leave”) to לֹא (lo’) may make this statement more emphatic. It may indicate that the statement is a policy applicable for the rest of the harvest (see v. 21).
4 tn Heb “and thus you may stay close with.” The imperfect has a permissive nuance here.
5 sn The female workers would come along behind those who cut the grain and bundle it up. Staying close to the female workers allowed Ruth to collect more grain than would normally be the case (see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 61, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 121).
6 tc The sequence כִּי אָמְנָם כִּי אִם (ki ’omnam ki ’im; Kethib) occurs only here in the OT, as does the sequence כִּי אָמְנָם כִּי (Qere). It is likely that כִּי אִם is dittographic (note the preceding sequence כִּי אָמְנָם). The translation assumes that the original text was simply the otherwise unattested וְעַתָּה כִּי אָמְנָם, with אָמְנָם and כִּי both having an asseverative (or emphatic) function.
8 sn I would ruin my own inheritance. It is not entirely clear how acquiring Ruth and raising up an heir for the deceased Elimelech would ruin this individual’s inheritance. Perhaps this means that the inheritance of his other children would be diminished. See R. L. Hubbard, Jr., Ruth (NICOT), 245-46.
9 tn Heb “redeem for yourself, you, my right of redemption for I am unable to redeem.”
sn Here it appears that the acquisition of Ruth along with the land was an obligatory package deal (“When you acquire the field from Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth…”). On the other hand, Boaz viewed marriage to Ruth as voluntary in 3:13 (“If he does not want to redeem you, I will redeem you”), and presented the acquisition of the field as voluntary in 4:4 (“If you want to exercise your right…but if not, tell me!”). Initially, Boaz makes the transaction appear to be a mere land deal in 4:4. When the nearest relative jumped at the land offer, Boaz confronted him with the attendant social/family obligation of marrying Ruth to raise up an heir for the deceased to inherit this very land. By conducting the transaction in public where the close relative would need to save face, Boaz forced him either to reject the offer entirely or to include Ruth in the deal – but he could not take the land and reject Ruth. Either way, Ruth would be cared for and Elimelech’s line continued. But if he took Ruth, the acquisition of the land would be more economically burdensome than beneficial, so he yielded his purchase option to Boaz. For discussion, see F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 229-33.