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Ruth 4:3-4

Context
4:3 Then Boaz said to the guardian, 1  “Naomi, who has returned from the region of Moab, is selling 2  the portion of land that belongs to our relative Elimelech. 4:4 So I am legally informing you: 3  Acquire it before those sitting here and before the leaders of my people! 4  If you want to exercise your right to redeem it, then do so. 5  But if not, then tell me 6  so I will know. 7  For you possess the first option to redeem it; I am next in line after you.” 8  He replied, “I will redeem it.”

1 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9.

2 tn The perfect form of the verb here describes as a simple fact an action that is underway (cf. NIV, NRSV, CEV, NLT); NAB “is putting up for sale.”

sn Naomi…is selling. The nature of the sale is uncertain. Naomi may have been selling the property rights to the land, but this seems unlikely in light of what is known about ancient Israelite property laws. It is more likely that Naomi, being a woman, held only the right to use the land until the time of her remarriage or death (F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther [WBC], 202-4). Because she held this right to use of the land, she also had the right to buy it back from the its current owner. (This assumes that Elimelech sold the land prior to going to Moab.) Since she did not possess the means to do so, however, she decided to dispose of her rights in the matter. She was not selling the land per se, but disposing of the right to its redemption and use, probably in exchange for room and board with the purchaser (Bush, 211-15). If this is correct, it might be preferable to translate, “Naomi is disposing of her rights to the portion of land,” although such a translation presumes some knowledge of ancient Israelite property laws.

3 tn Heb “and I said [or perhaps, “thought to myself”], ‘I will [or “must”] uncover your ear, saying’”; NAB “So I thought I would inform you”; NIV “I thought I should bring the matter to your attention.”

4 tn The phrase “before those sitting here and before the leaders of my people” appears to refer to the leaders who were specially chosen as witnesses (v. 2) and the larger group of community leaders standing by. It is possible, however, that the phrases “before those sitting here” and “before the leaders of my people” are appositional and that both refer to the ten leaders mentioned in v. 2 (cf. NLT “in the presence of these witnesses”).

5 tn Heb “if you will redeem, redeem” (KJV, NASB, NRSV all similar); NCV “If you want to buy back the land, then buy it.”

6 tn Heb “but if he will not redeem, tell me.” Most English versions emend the third person verb form (“he”) to the second person form because Boaz is addressing the closer relative. But it is possible that he briefly addresses the witnesses and refers to the closer relative in the third person. See J. M. Sasson, Ruth, 118.

7 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verb form with vav indicates purpose or result.

8 tn Heb “for there is no one besides you to redeem, and I am after you” (NASB similar).



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