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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Aug 28 08:24:34 EDT 2007

Dear George:

On 8/27/07, George Athas <george.athas at moore.edu.au> wrote:
> You want *me* to lighten up?!?!    ;-D
> Seriously, though...
> The text actually does imply that Boaz had been drinking (3.3).

More than that, it actually states that. But enough to get dead drunk?
There is no indication of that.

> ... 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.

Actually the overnighter was planned, not just the result of getting
drunk then falling down where one is. That's why I suggested that Boaz
had either brought a blanket or otherwise was ready to keep his feet
warm over night.

> ... 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?

Because they wanted to catch him when he was having a good time and
emotionally least ready to turn them down.

> ... If there was no 'hanky panky' (either actual or implied), why the need
> for secrecy?

>From the narrative, we get that this was to be a men's only party,
sort of like the men's only clubs that used to exist (before political
correctness closed them down). Ruth was crashing the party.

> ... What did it add?


> ... Why the need to wait for Boaz to be asleep
> after his eating and drinking?

Because the other men would be asleep as well.

> ... Also, Ruth was all dolled up. It appears she
> was not merely appealing to Boaz' good and generous nature.

If you are going to present a task that has the potential of being
onerous, might as well present it in as appealing way as possible to
maximize the probability of it getting carried out.

> ... The episode has
> affinities with the story of Lot and his two daughters, and Judah and Tamar
> in Genesis.
But also very important differences, to both.

> 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.
It is that same attention to legality that makes it very unlikely that
Boaz knowingly did anything more than what the text says he did. After
all, there were very strong legal prohibitions against sleeping with
someone else's wife, and until the closer kinsman rejected Ruth, she
was legally his, not Boaz'.

> Finally, the word $oQ refers more specifically to the shin or lower leg. The
> lower leg is also known as K:Ra(

KR( is used only for legs of animals, and then only in dual or plural.

> ... and the thigh is YaReK (or YaRKaH). The
> word ReGeL is more generic for the limb as a whole.

We often use "feet" in the same way in English. The same with "hand".
This is more of a metaphorical use than a literal use of the terms.
The question here is, is the term being used metaphorically, or
literally. I read it literally.

> ... 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),

Qere here, like what I guesstimate for 90% of qeres, is not original,
rather added to soften the statement to fit the sensibilities of later
generations or to clarify the text to fit their understanding of the
text. In this case, it is for the former. (I think only about 10% of
qeres are to try to deal with a corrupted text.)

> as well as Isa 6.2; 7.20; and Exod 4.25. Interestingly, the word YaD is also
> a euphemism (see Isa 57.8).
In Isaiah 57:8, is YD a noun or a verb?

In Exodus 4:25, what touched what? The cut off foreskin touching
Moses' foot, or his wife touching Moses' ...? It can be read
grammatically correctly either way.

> 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.
Incidentally, the word KNP when used in connection with clothing,
where it is used in enough detail to recognize the type of clothing,
referred to a large piece of clothing, such as a cloak or a pancho,
not something small like a kilt.

But here we cannot be sure that Ruth meant a piece of clothing at all,
rather KNP can be understood in its metaphorical use as a place of
refuge, in the same way as a mother bird spreads her wings over her
chicks. In fact, I think that that is the preferred reading of Ruth
> Best Regards,
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774

Karl W. Randolph.

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