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

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Tue Aug 28 02:02:25 EDT 2007

Hi Bryant!
Thanks for pointing out this part of the narrative. However, in this case,
the 'part of a kinsman' is specifically the verb 'to redeem' -- G)L. This is
quite different from what I suspect you were getting at, namely Levirate
marriage. Boaz is not merely offering to be a sperm donor, but a redeemer
who acquires all property and persons at his own expense. A Levirate
'husband' is a temporary husband who does not in any way inherit the
property or persons of the deceased person. In fact, the whole Levirate
custom is aimed at preventing such a thing and perpetuating the line of a
deceased person. And in Ruth's case, that custom is not even an option
because her husband's brother was also dead.
In other words, the predicament is not merely that Ruth and Naomi have no
son, but that they have no one to protect them because they have no male
relative to provide for them. They are at the mercy of their larger clan.
They could, theoretically, be murdered and their property seized. But Boaz
does not do this -- he follows legal protocol to acquire Ruth and Naomi's
property. In this way, Ruth finds refuge/asylum under the wings of Yahweh
(cf. 2.12).
Note also the pun that is implied in this thematic statement: finding refuge
under the wings of Yahweh. The word for 'wings' (K:NaPiYM) is the same as
'skirt' or 'kilt'. By finding refuge under 'kilt' of Boaz, Ruth finds refuge
under the 'wings' of Yahweh. Ruth does not fold back a blanket or even some
hay when she approaches Boaz at the threshing floor -- it is his own kilt
that she strips back.

Best Regards, 

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


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list