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

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Tue Aug 28 01:43:53 EDT 2007

You want *me* to lighten up?!?!    ;-D
Seriously, though...
The text actually does imply that Boaz had been drinking (3.3). After all,
he was on the threshing floor -- a place associated with fertility and
festivity. I'm not suggesting that Boaz was enjoying an orgiastic romp, but
it was not uncommon for folk to enjoy themselves with a little (!) wine when
the day was done. They did, after all, spend the night there. Ancient
audiences reading/listening to Ruth would undoubtedly have made this
connection. Naomi certainly does (3.3).
A question I have of the narrative is why could not Ruth simply confront
Boaz at some other time, such as when he was awake and with his wits about
him? If there was no 'hanky panky' (either actual or implied), why the need
for secrecy? What did it add? Why the need to wait for Boaz to be asleep
after his eating and drinking? Also, Ruth was all dolled up. It appears she
was not merely appealing to Boaz' good and generous nature. The episode has
affinities with the story of Lot and his two daughters, and Judah and Tamar
in Genesis.
Also, the narrative suggests that Boaz certainly had the hots for Ruth. When
he interacts with the other kinsman-redeemer, he has a Freudian slip similar
to the one Naomi has in 3.4. In telling the other man about the added extras
that come with Naomi's property, he drops the 1cs verb QNYTY in there (4.5),
effectively saying "I acquire Ruth...". He betrays his own feelings at this
point. His appeal to the other kinsman, therefore, is not a purely objective
proposition. He is, rather, putting his own feelings on the line in order to
do what is legally right.
Finally, the word $oQ refers more specifically to the shin or lower leg. The
lower leg is also known as K:Ra( and the thigh is YaReK (or YaRKaH). The
word ReGeL is more generic for the limb as a whole. It can refer to just the
foot, or more holistically to the whole leg (cf. YaD, which can refer to the
hand or the arm as a whole). See Deut 28.57; Ezek 1.6; 16.25.
This generality inherent in the word ReGeL is probably why it is also used
as a euphemism for the genitals. See the Qere of 2 Kgs 18.27 (|| Isa 36.12),
as well as Isa 6.2; 7.20; and Exod 4.25. Interestingly, the word YaD is also
a euphemism (see Isa 57.8).
Read the text whichever way you want, folks. I think the text encourages us
to do just that. But it looks awfully sus in my books.

Best Regards, 

Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 


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