Ruth 4:9-17

Ruth 4:9-17
Proper 5 – A Women’s Lectionary


Then BoazA said to the eldersB and allC the people,D

Notes on verse 9a

A “Boaz” = Boaz. Perhaps from azaz (to be strong in a literal or figurative sense, overcome, be impudent). This is Boaz, a personal name as well as what one of the pillars at the Temple was called. It means “quickness” or “in strength” or “by strength” or “in him…is strength.”  See
B “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
C “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
D “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

“You are witnessesE todayF that I have acquiredG from the handH of NaomiI

Notes on verse 9b

E “witnesses” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince.
F “today” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
G “acquired” = qanah. This is to acquire, create, purchase, own. Its root may mean to smith or to produce.
H “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
I “Naomi” = Noomi. From no’am (pleasantness, favor, delight, suitableness, grace); from naem (to be pleasant, beautiful, sweet, or agreeable in a literal or figurative sense). This is Naomi or Noomi, whose name means “pleasant” or “my delight” or “sweet.” See

all that belonged to ElimelechJ and all that belonged to ChilionK and Mahlon.L 

Notes on verse 9c

J “Elimelech” = Elimelek. 6x in OT– all in Ruth. From el (God, a god) + melek (king, royal). This is Elimelech, a name meaning “God is king” or “God of the king.”
K “Chilion” = Kilyon. 3x in OT– all in Ruth. From killayon (failing, destruction); from kalah (to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed). This is Chilion or Kilyon, a name meaning “coming to an end” or “man of finality” or “wasting away” or “pining” or “consuming.” See
L “Mahlon” = Machlon. 4x in OT– all in Ruth. Perhaps from chalah (properly, this is to be worn; hence, being weak, sick, or afflicted; it can also mean to grieve or, positively, to flatter or entreat). This is Mahlon or Machlon, a name meaning “sick” or “sickly” or “man of sickness” or “man of entreaty.” See

10 I have also acquired RuthM the Moabite,N the wifeO of Mahlon, to be my wife,

Notes on verse 10a

M “Ruth” = Ruth. 12x in OT. From raah (to associate with someone, cultivate) OR from reuth (a female neighbor, a mate, friend, another); {from ra’ah (to tend a flock, pasture, or graze; to rule or to associate with someone; figuratively, ruler or teacher)} OR from raah (to see, show, stare, think, view; to see in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ruth, a name meaning “friendship” or “friend” or “associate” or “vision” or “view” or “beauty.” See
N “Moabite” = Moabi. 16x in OT. From Moab (Moab or Moabite; meaning “from her faither” or “seed of a father” or “desirable land”); perhaps from ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Moabite or Moab. See
O “wife” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.

to maintainP the dead man’sQ nameR on his inheritance,S

Notes on verse 10b

P “maintain” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
Q “dead man’s” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
R “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
S “inheritance” = nachalah. Related to nachal (to inherit, occupy, distribute, take as heritage). This is properly something that was inherited. It can mean occupancy generally or, more particularly, an heirloom or an estate. This can be an inheritance, gift, possession, or portion.

in order that the name of the dead may not be cut offT from his kindredU and from the gateV of his native place;W today you are witnesses.” 

Notes on verse 10c

T “cut off” = karat. This is to cut down, cut off, or make a covenant (idiom for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant”). It can also mean to destroy, fail, or consume.
U “kindred” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.
V “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
W “native place” = maqom. Related to “maintain” in v10. From qum (see note P above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

11 Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LordX makeY the womanZ who is comingAA into your houseBB

Notes on verse 11a

X “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
Y “make” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
Z “woman” = ishshah. Same as “wife” in v10. See note O above.
AA “coming” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
BB “house” = bayit. Probably from banah (to build, make, set up, obtain children; to build literally or figuratively). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.

like RachelCC and Leah,DD who togetherEE builtFF up the house of Israel.GG

Notes on verse 11b

CC “Rachel” = Rachel. From the same as rachel (a ewe, sheep). Its root may refer to travelling. This is Rachel, meaning “ewe.”
DD “Leah” = Leah. From laah (to be weary or exhausted, parched, faint, or tired; to be impatient or have a hard time; figuratively, being grieved or disgusted). This is Leah, meaning “weary” or “wild cow.” See
EE “together” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
FF “built” = banah. Related to “house” in v11. See note BB above.
GG “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “Elimelek” in v9. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + El (see note J above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.

May you produce childrenHH in EphrathahII and bestowJJ a name in Bethlehem;KK 

Notes on verse 11c

HH “produce children” = chayil From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength..
II “Ephrathah” = Ephrath. 10x in OT. From the same as apher (covering, ashes, bandage); from the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense) OR from parar (to divide, split) OR from apar (to be exhausted). This is Ephrath or Ephrathah. It is a female name and the name of several places, including Bethlehem. It may mean “fruitfulness,” “exhausted,” “worthless,” or “fruitful.” See
JJ “bestow” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
KK “Bethlehem” = Beth lechem. Related to “house” and “built” in v11. From bayit (see note BB above) + lechem (bread, food, loaf; food for people or for animals); {from lacham (to eat, feed on; figuratively, to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction)}. This is Bethlehem, meaning “house of bread.”

12 and, through the childrenLL that the Lord will giveMM you by this young woman,NN may your house beOO

Notes on verse 12a

LL “children” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.
MM “give” = natan. Same as “make” in v11. See note Y above.
NN “young woman” = naarah. From naar (child or a servant; a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence); perhaps from naar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a girl or young lady ranging anywhere in age from infancy to adolescence.
OO “be” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v11. See note X above.

like the house of Perez,PP whom TamarQQ boreRR to Judah.”SS

Notes on verse 12b

PP “Perez” = Perets. 15x in OT. From parats (to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse; to break out literally or figuratively). This is Perez, meaning “breach.”
QQ “Tamar” = Tamar. From the same as tomer (palm tree, the trunk of that tree, a post); from the same as tamar (palm tree). This is Tamar, a name and a place. It means “palm tree” or “free market.” See
RR “bore” = yalad. This is to bear or bring forth. It can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage. This is often used for birth or begetting.
SS “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”

13 So Boaz tookTT Ruth, and she becameUU his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive,VV and she bore a son.WW 

Notes on verse 13

TT “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
UU “became” = hayah. Same as “be” in v12. See note OO above.
VV “conceive” = heron. 3x in OT. From harah (to conceive or be pregnant – can be literal or figurative). This is conception, being pregnant, or giving birth.
WW “son” = ben. Related to “house” and “built” and “Bethlehem” in v11. From banah (see note BB above). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed beXX the Lord, who has not leftYY you this dayZZ without next-of-kin,AAA and may his name be renownedBBB in Israel! 

Notes on verse 14

XX “blessed be” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
YY “left” = shabat. This is to rest, stop, repose, cease working. By implication, it is to celebrate.
ZZ “day” = yom. Same as “today” in v9. See note F above.
AAA “next-of-kin” = gaal. This is to redeem someone or something according to kinship laws. So, it could be acting on a relative’s behalf to buy back their property, to marry one’s brother’s widow, etc. This could be more briefly translated as to redeem, acts as kinsman, or purchase. As a noun, it could be deliverer or avenger.
BBB “be renowned” = qara. Same as “bestow” in v11. See note JJ above.

15 He shall be to you a restorerCCC of lifeDDD and a nourisherEEE of your old age,FFF

Notes on verse 15a

CCC “restorer” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
DDD “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
EEE “nourisher” = kul. This is to hold in. So, it can be to contain, measure, guide, or feed. It can also mean to be able to or sustain.
FFF “old age” = sebah. 19x in OT. From sib (to have gray hair, become old). This is being gray or old.

for your daughter-in-lawGGG who lovesHHH you, who is moreIII to you than sevenJJJ sons, has borne him.” 

Notes on verse 15b

GGG “daughter-in-law” = kallah. Related to “all” in v9. Perhaps related to kalal (see note C above). This is bride or daughter-in-law and the term is used before and after marriage.
HHH “loves” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
III “more” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
JJJ “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.

16 Then Naomi took the childKKK and laidLLL him in her bosomMMM and became his nurse.NNN 

Notes on verse 16

KKK “child” = yeled. Related to “bore” in v12. From yalad (see note RR above). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
LLL “laid” = shith. This is to place, set, bring, appoint, consider, bring, array or look.
MMM “bosom” = cheq. Root may mean to enclose. This is bosom in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be arms, lap, or midst. It can also be care or cherish.
NNN “nurse” = aman. This is to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful. It is to put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid. This is where the word “amen” comes from.

17 The women of the neighborhoodOOO gavePPP him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They namedQQQ him Obed;RRR

Notes on verse 17a

OOO “women of the neighborhood” = shaken. From shakan (to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently; to abide or continue). This is resident or neighbor. It is related to mishkan, the Hebrew word for “tabernacle.”
PPP “gave” = qara. Same as “bestow” in v11. See note JJ above.
QQQ “named” = qara + shem. Literally, “called his name.” Qara is the same as “bestow” in v11. See note JJ above. Shem is the same as “name” in v10. See note R above.
RRR “Obed” = Obed. 10x in OT. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is Obed, a name meaning “worshiper” or “serving” or “servant” or “slave.” See

he became the fatherSSS of Jesse,TTT the father of David.UUU

Notes on verse 17b

SSS “father” = ab. Related to “Moabite” in v10. See note N above.
TTT “Jesse” = Yishay. Related to “wife” in v10. Perhaps from ish (see note O above) OR from the same as yesh (being, existence, substance). This is Jesse, a name which means “my husband” or “the Lord exists.” See
UUU “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”

Image credit: “Without Detaits” by Eissa Moussa, 2014.

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