[b-hebrew] uncovering Boaz' 'footsies' was Samson at Gaza - Judges 16:1

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Aug 24 02:14:14 EDT 2007


Dear George:

On 8/23/07, George Athas <george.athas at moore.edu.au> wrote:
> Both Ruth and Naomi were on the outer in terms of their society. Naomi had been married and had borne children. She, therefore, was no longer 'marriageable'. She could not revert to the status of 'virgin'. Ruth, however, did not have children. Hence, she could revert to the status of a 'virgin' and be remarried. This is precisely what Naomi encouraged her to do, but Ruth chose not to (Orpah, though, did).
>
I think there is more to this than directly related.

Apparently Naomi, at the time she became widowed and childless, had
passed menopause. That is implied in that she had no more children in
1:11–12. Therefore she could not serve the purpose of the Levirate
marriage.

However, since both Orpah and Ruth were Moabites, they were not
subject to the same rules as were Israelites, and one of those,
apparently, was that childless widows were allowed to remarry whoever
they wanted. While Orpah took advantage of that allowance, Ruth did
not, rather she took a risk in putting herself at the mercy of a
foreign society.

> So Naomi and Ruth have to try to get by on the fringe of society without anyone to protect them. This is what makes Boaz' treatment of Ruth exceptional -- he doesn't have to be nice to her, but he is.
>
It's not that easy. In Torah, there are rules for the care of widows
and orphans which the religiously observant were to follow. Now Boaz
recognized that as a close relative, he had a greater responsibility,
especially because Ruth was gathering for two people (notice, Boaz
repeatedly mentions Naomi). And let's admit it, apparently Ruth was a
good looking and still young widow as well as the curiosity factor
(foreigner who just a few days earlier came to live in the town).

> Also, you've brought a blanket into the narrative for Boaz' feet. Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, but we should acknowledge that the text itself doesn't mention it. I realise you're simply trying to fill in the gap which is there in the narrative, but I hope you acknowledge that this is what you are doing.
>
Yes, I know that's what I'm doing. The text mentions that he covered
his feet, the question is, with what? This was something beyond
regular work day clothing. A blanket is a logical possibility, though
upon second thought, a pile of straw left over from the threshing
would have worked just as well.
>
>
> Best Regards,
>
> GEORGE ATHAS
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774

Karl W. Randolph.


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