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3:16 "How did things go with you, my daughter?" literally 'Who are you, my daughter?' already the early versions recognised the difficulty with this expression and tried to smooth it - as NRSV does. One hardly greets someone as "my daughter" yet at the same time asks "Who are you?". Am 7:2,5 give some support to NRSV's translation. (Cf. 2QRuthb which already read "what" in place of "who".)
Why does Boaz become "the man" here? He has already been fully identified to the characters as well as to us by this point.
3:17 "You must not go back... empty-handed" at 1:21 we noticed the thematic importance there of the word "empty", here it forms a kind of reminder and contrast. Ruth here returns "not empty" because Boaz has made her a promise rather than because of the barley (though six measures was no mean quantity!), for Boaz word is worth as much as the action.
3:18 As Naomi now confirms to Ruth and to the reader: "Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today." The words "how the matter turns out" makes no mention of God's providence, indeed by its formulation it seems to exclude divine care. However we have already met such a phrase in 2:3. Here too the underlying assumption of the author is clear, there are no accidents with God. All that happens is his doing.
As at 2:23 the word "wait" (literally 'sit' or 'live') introduces a pause in the telling, and thus the narrator signals the intermission between acts.
© Dr Tim Bulkeley, 2004.
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Tim Bulkeley, "Ruth: Genre" in Study Notes on Ruth http://www.hypertextbible.org/ruth/genre.htm [downloaded today's date].
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