[b-hebrew] verb forms--perfect as future

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Fri Apr 13 17:26:17 EDT 2007

On 13/04/2007 21:45, michaelabernat9001 at sbcglobal.net wrote:
> Peter,
> I'm not sure that it was possible for Naomi to have sold the property in the 
> manner which you are describing for two reasons. First, as I understand the 
> inheritance rights given in Numbers 27:8-11, Naomi did not have any personal 
> claim to the property.
This objection applies equally to the immediate future as to the past, 
so it can't help us decide one way or the other. The point of the law in 
Numbers 27:8-11 was to prevent permanent transfer of land outside the 
clan, but temporary sale was possible until the Year of Jubilee, compare 
Leviticus 25:23-25. Although the Torah may not explicitly say that 
widows could temporarily sell their husband's property in this way, this 
is surely implied by "If anyone among you becomes poor" in verse 25. It 
actually makes more sense to say that Naomi had sold the property 
earlier than to make her the seller at this time, for if the land was 
simply Elimelech's land left unsold since his death and Naomi had no 
inheritance rights, then the nearest relative would not have had to buy 
it as it would have been his already by inheritance.

> It looks to me like Ruth 4:5 states that he had to marry Ruth to acquire the 
> property.
Indeed. This was a kind of levirate marriage, the buyer having the duty 
to raise up children for Elimelech and his sons.

> Second, Ruth 4:9 tells us that Boaz purchased the property directly from 
> Naomi.

Indeed! And in 4:5. But that proves that she had inherited it! But what 
does MIYYAD mean in this verse? Could it mean "on behalf of"? BDB 
glosses QNH MIYYAD here as "acquire at the hand of", which whatever it 
might mean seems to be different from "buy from". Also there is the 
puzzle in 4:5 that MIYYAD NA`OMI is followed by UME'ET RUT, which can 
hardly mean "and from Ruth". Something odd is going on here which can 
probably be understood only in terms of now obscure rules of inheritance 
and redemption of property. Also there is an anomalous non-past QATAL 
QANITA in 4:5, but there is some textual doubt here.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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