English: unfoldingWord® Translation Notes

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Ruth front

Introduction to Ruth

Part 1: General Introduction

Outline of Ruth
  1. How Ruth came to Bethlehem with Naomi (1:1–22)
  2. Boaz helps Ruth as she gleans (2:1–23)
  3. Boaz and Ruth at the threshing floor (3:1–18)
  4. How Ruth became the wife of Boaz (4:1–16)
  5. Obed born to Ruth and Boaz; the genealogy of David (4:13–22)
What is the Book of Ruth about?

This book is about a non-Israelite woman named Ruth. It tells how she came to join the people of Yahweh. The book also explains how Ruth became an ancestor of King David.

How should the title of this book be translated?

This book traditionally has the title Ruth because she is the main person in it. Translators can use a title such as The Book about Ruth. (See: How to Translate Names)

When did the events in the Book of Ruth occur?

The story of Ruth is set during the time when there were judges in Israel. This was after the people of Israel had entered into the land of Canaan, but before they had a king. The “judges” were men and women whom God chose to help the Israelites defeat their enemies. These leaders usually continued to help the people by deciding disputes among them. They also helped them make important decisions. Many of these leaders served all the people of Israel, but some of them may have served only certain tribes.

Part 2: Important Religious and Cultural Concepts

Why does Scripture include a book about a woman from the foreign land of Moab?

In a period when Israel was often unfaithful to Yahweh, a woman from Moab shows great faith in him. The Israelites’ frequent lack of faith in Yahweh is contrasted with the faith of this woman from a foreign land. (See: faithful, faithfulness, trustworthy)

What important marriage custom is found in the Book of Ruth?

Israelites practiced what is called levirate marriage. In this custom, the closest male relative of a man who died without any children was obligated to provide for his widow by marrying her. Usually this would be one of the man’s brothers. Any children born to them were to be regarded as children of the dead man. They did this so that the dead man would have descendants. If the closest relative did not marry the woman, another relative could fulfil this obligation.

What was a kinsman-redeemer?

A person’s close relative or relatives were expected to act as kinsmen-redeemers (2:20 ULT) for him or her. They were responsible to provide for a relative in need, fulfil obligations of levirate marriage, and buy back land into the family that had been sold to someone outside of the family. In the Book of Ruth, Boaz is one such kinsman-redeemer.

What was gleaning in the Book of Ruth?

In Israel, poor people were allowed to follow after the men who harvested a field. These gleaners picked up stalks of grain that the harvesters missed or dropped. In this way, poor people were able to find some food. Ruth became a gleaner in a field belonging to Boaz.

What is covenant faithfulness or covenant loyalty?

A covenant is a formal, binding agreement between two parties that one or both parties must fulfill. Covenant faithfulness or covenant loyalty is when a person does what they said they would do, according to the covenant that they had made. God made a covenant with Israel, in which he promised that he would love and be faithful to the Israelites. The Israelites were to do the same toward him and toward each other.

The Book of Ruth shows that what kinsmen-redeemers do for their relatives is part of Israel’s duties in God’s covenant with them. The story of Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi gives examples to all of Israel of the good effects of covenant faithfulness. (See: covenant faithfulness, covenant loyalty, covenant love)

What function did city gates have in the ancient Near East?

City gates in the time of Boaz were meeting places for the city elders. Elders were honored men who decided business matters and legal matters together. The city walls were thick, especially at the entryways, and the gates had guard towers beside and above them. Therefore the gateway opening provided a large shady area for public meetings, and there were places for important people to sit. For this reason, Boaz and the other elders sat in the gateway.

Some English Bible versions speak of Boaz sitting at the city gate, but it may be best for translators to make clear that Boaz sat in the city gateway.

Part 3: Important Translation Issues

How does the Book of Ruth change from one topic to another topic?

The Book of Ruth often changes to new topics or new parts of the story. The ULT uses various words to indicate these changes, such as so, then, and now. Translators should use the ways most natural in their own languages to signal these changes.

Ruth 1

Ruth 1 General Notes

Structure and formatting

It happened in the days when the judges ruled

The events of this book occur during the period of Judges. The book is concurrent with the book of Judges. To understand the historical context of the book, the translator may wish to review the book of Judges.

Special concepts in this chapter

Women without a husband or children

In the ancient Near East, if a woman lacked a husband or sons, she was considered to be in a dire circumstance. She would not have been able to provide for herself. This is why Naomi told her daughters to remarry.

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter


The actions of Ruth the Moabite are intended to contrast with the actions of Naomi the Jew. Ruth shows great faith in Naomi’s God, while Naomi does not trust in Yahweh. (See: faith and trust, trusted, trustworthy, trustworthiness)

Ruth 1:1


It was or This is what happened. This is a common way of beginning a historical story. (See: Introduction of a New Event)

בִּ⁠ימֵי֙ שְׁפֹ֣ט הַ⁠שֹּׁפְטִ֔ים

during the time when judges led and governed Israel (See: Connect — Simultaneous Time Relationship)


This refers to the land of Israel. Alternate translation: “in the land of Israel” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)


a man. This is a common way of introducing a character into a story. (See: Introduction of New and Old Participants)

Ruth 1:2

אֶפְרָתִ֔ים מִ⁠בֵּ֥ית לֶ֖חֶם יְהוּדָ֑ה

The name Ephrathites refers to the people from the clan of Ephrathah, who lived in the area around Bethlehem. Alternate translation: “from the clan of Ephrathah, from Bethlehem, in Judah.”

Ruth 1:3

הִ֖יא וּ⁠שְׁנֵ֥י בָנֶֽי⁠הָ׃

Naomi had only her two sons remaining with her

Ruth 1:4

וַ⁠יִּשְׂא֣וּ לָ⁠הֶ֗ם נָשִׁים֙

married women. This is an idiom for marrying women. They did not take women who were already married. (See: Idiom)


Naomi’s sons married women who were from the tribe of Moab. The Moabites worshiped other gods.

שֵׁ֤ם הָֽ⁠אַחַת֙…וְ⁠שֵׁ֥ם הַ⁠שֵּׁנִ֖ית

the name of one woman was … the name of the other woman was

כְּ⁠עֶ֥שֶׂר שָׁנִֽים

About ten years after Elimelek and Naomi came to the country of Moab, their sons Mahlon and Kilion died.

Ruth 1:5

וַ⁠תִּשָּׁאֵר֙ הָֽ⁠אִשָּׁ֔ה מִ⁠שְּׁנֵ֥י יְלָדֶ֖י⁠הָ וּ⁠מֵ⁠אִישָֽׁ⁠הּ

Naomi was widowed and both her sons died.

Ruth 1:6


the women who married Naomi’s sons

שָֽׁמְעָה֙ בִּ⁠שְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב

she had heard while still in the country of Moab. It is implied that the news came from Israel. Alternate translation: “she had heard from someone who came from Israel while she was in the region of Moab” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)


This is the name of God that he revealed to his people in the Old Testament.


God saw their need and provided good harvests for them. Alternate translation: “had helped the Israelites”

לָ⁠תֵ֥ת לָ⁠הֶ֖ם לָֽחֶם׃

Bread here refers to food in general. Alternate translation: “giving them abundant harvests, so that they had plenty of food.” (See: Synecdoche)

Ruth 1:7

וַ⁠תֵּלַ֣כְנָה בַ⁠דֶּ֔רֶךְ

and they walked along the road. To walk down a road means to travel along it by foot.

Ruth 1:8

לִ⁠שְׁתֵּ֣י כַלֹּתֶ֔י⁠הָ

her two sons’ wives or the widows of her two sons


Naomi was talking to two people, so languages that have a dual form of you would use that throughout her talk. (See: Forms of You)

לְ⁠בֵ֣ית אִמָּ֑⁠הּ

to the home of each of your mothers


covenant faithfulness is what someone does who is fulfilling all of his obligations and loyalties to another person. See the discussion in the introduction.


to your husbands, who died. Naomi was referring to her two sons that had died. (See: Idiom)


your husbands, who died (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Ruth 1:9

יִתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ לָ⁠כֶ֔ם וּ⁠מְצֶ֣אןָ

May Yahweh give you or May Yahweh allow you to have

וּ⁠מְצֶ֣אןָ מְנוּחָ֔ה

Rest here does not refer to sitting down to rest. It means a place where these women would belong, a home for them, which would include the security that comes through marriage. (See: Metaphor)

בֵּ֣ית אִישָׁ֑⁠הּ

This means with new husbands, not with their previous husbands who died or with someone else’s husband. House refers to both a physical house that belongs to the husband, and to the protection from shame and poverty that a husband provides. (See: Metonymy)

וַ⁠תִּשֶּׂ֥אנָה קוֹלָ֖⁠ן וַ⁠תִּבְכֶּֽינָה

To raise the voice is an idiom for speaking loudly. The daughters cried out loud or wept bitterly. (See: Idiom)

Ruth 1:10


When Orpah and Ruth said we, they were referring to themselves and not Naomi. So languages that have inclusive and exclusive we would use the exclusive form here. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive ‘We’)


Here you is the singular form referring to Naomi. (See: Forms of You)

Ruth 1:11

לָ֥⁠מָּה תֵלַ֖כְנָה עִמִּ֑⁠י

This is a rhetorical question. Alternate translation: “It does not make sense for you to go with me.” or “You should not go with me.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

הַֽ⁠עֽוֹד־לִ֤⁠י בָנִים֙ בְּֽ⁠מֵעַ֔⁠י וְ⁠הָי֥וּ לָ⁠כֶ֖ם לַ⁠אֲנָשִֽׁים

This is a rhetorical question. Naomi uses this question to say that she cannot have other sons for them to marry. Alternate translation: “Obviously it is not possible for me to have any more sons who could become your husbands.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

Ruth 1:12

זָקַ֖נְתִּי מִ⁠הְי֣וֹת לְ⁠אִ֑ישׁ

The reason a husband would be important can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “I am too old to marry again and bear more children” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

כִּ֤י אָמַ֨רְתִּי֙ יֶשׁ־לִ֣⁠י תִקְוָ֔ה גַּ֣ם הָיִ֤יתִי הַ⁠לַּ֨יְלָה֙ לְ⁠אִ֔ישׁ וְ⁠גַ֖ם יָלַ֥דְתִּי בָנִֽים

This rhetorical question begins here and continues into the next verse. Naomi uses this question to say that she cannot have other sons for them to marry. Alternate translation: “Even if it were possible that I could expect to marry right away and also give birth to sons right away,…” (See: Rhetorical Question)

יָלַ֥דְתִּי בָנִֽים

bear children or deliver baby boys

Ruth 1:13

אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִגְדָּ֔לוּ הֲ⁠לָהֵן֙ תֵּֽעָגֵ֔נָה לְ⁠בִלְתִּ֖י הֱי֣וֹת לְ⁠אִ֑ישׁ

Naomi completes the rhetorical question she began in the previous verse, and asks a second rhetorical question which emphasizes the same meaning. Alternate translation: “…you would not wait until they were grown up so that you could marry them. You would need to marry a husband before then.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִגְדָּ֔לוּ הֲ⁠לָהֵן֙ תֵּֽעָגֵ֔נָה לְ⁠בִלְתִּ֖י הֱי֣וֹת לְ⁠אִ֑ישׁ

This refers to the practice of levirate marriage, in which it is expected that, if a married man dies, one of his brothers will marry the man’s widow. See the introduction for more explanation.

מַר־לִ֤⁠י מְאֹד֙

Bitterness is a metaphor for grief. Alternate translation: “It greatly grieves me” (See: Metaphor)

יָצְאָ֥ה בִ֖⁠י יַד־יְהוָֽה

The word hand refers to Yahweh’s power or influence. Alternate translation: “Yahweh has caused terrible things to happen to me” (See: Metonymy)

יָצְאָ֥ה בִ֖⁠י יַד־יְהוָֽה

What Yahweh has done can be stated clearly. Alternate translation: “Yahweh has taken away our husbands” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 1:14

וַ⁠תִּשֶּׂ֣נָה קוֹלָ֔⁠ן וַ⁠תִּבְכֶּ֖ינָה

This means that they cried out loud or wept bitterly. (See: Idiom)

וְ⁠ר֖וּת דָּ֥בְקָה בָּֽ⁠הּ

Ruth clung to her. Alternate translation: “Ruth refused to leave her” or “Ruth would not leave her” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 1:15


Pay attention, because what I am about to say is both true and important


the wife of your husband’s brother or Orpah. Use the most natural way in your language to refer to this person. (See: Introduction of New and Old Participants)


Before Orpah and Ruth married Naomi’s sons, they worshiped the gods of Moab. During their marriage, they began to worship Yahweh. Now, Orpah was going to worship the gods of Moab again.

Ruth 1:16

וּ⁠בַ⁠אֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּלִ֨ינִי֙

where you live

עַמֵּ֣⁠ךְ עַמִּ֔⁠י

Ruth is referring to Naomi’s people, the Israelites. Alternate translation: “I will consider the people of your country as being my own people” or “I will consider your relatives as my own relatives” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 1:17

בַּ⁠אֲשֶׁ֤ר תָּמ֨וּתִי֙ אָמ֔וּת

This refers to Ruth’s desire to spend the rest of her life living in the same place and town as Naomi. (See: Idiom)

יַעֲשֶׂ֨ה יְהוָ֥ה לִ⁠י֙ וְ⁠כֹ֣ה יֹסִ֔יף כִּ֣י

This is an idiom that Ruth uses to show that she is very committed to doing what she says. She is making a curse on herself, asking God to punish her if she does not do what she has said. Use the form that your language uses to do this. (See: Idiom)

כִּ֣י הַ⁠מָּ֔וֶת יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥⁠י וּ⁠בֵינֵֽ⁠ךְ

If anything other than death separates us from each other or if I leave you while you and I are both still alive

יַפְרִ֖יד בֵּינִ֥⁠י וּ⁠בֵינֵֽ⁠ךְ

This is an idiom that refers to the space between two people. Alternate translation: “separates the two of us” or “comes between us.” (See: Idiom)

Ruth 1:18

וַ⁠תֶּחְדַּ֖ל לְ⁠דַבֵּ֥ר אֵלֶֽי⁠הָ

Naomi stopped arguing with Ruth

Ruth 1:19


This sentence introduces a new event in the story. (See: Introduction of a New Event)

כְּ⁠בֹאָ֨⁠נָה֙ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם

This is a background clause, explaining that the new event took place after Naomi had returned to Bethlehem with Ruth. (See: Connect — Background Information)


The town refers to the people who live there. Alternate translation: “everyone in the town” (See: Metonymy)


Here entire is hyperbole. Many of the residents of the town were excited, but some of the residents may not have been excited by this news. (See: Hyperbole)

הֲ⁠זֹ֥את נָעֳמִֽי

Since it had been many years since Naomi lived in Bethlehem and now she no longer has her husband and two sons, it is likely that the women were expressing doubt that this woman was actually Naomi. Treat this as a real question, not a rhetorical one.

Ruth 1:20

אַל־תִּקְרֶ֥אנָה לִ֖⁠י נָעֳמִ֑י

The name Naomi means my delight. Since Naomi lost her husband and sons, she no longer feels that her life matches her name.


This is a literal rendering of a Hebrew name meaning “bitter.” Since it is a name, you may choose to use the English form, which is Bitter, and use a footnote to explain that the English term gives the meaning of the Hebrew name (See: How to Translate Names)

Ruth 1:21

אֲנִי֙ מְלֵאָ֣ה הָלַ֔כְתִּי וְ⁠רֵיקָ֖ם הֱשִׁיבַ֣⁠נִי יְהוָ֑ה

When Naomi left Bethlehem, she had her husband and her two sons, and she was happy. Naomi blames Yahweh for the death of her husband and sons, saying that he has caused her to return to Bethlehem without them, and now she is bitter and unhappy.

עָ֣נָה בִ֔⁠י

has judged me guilty

הֵ֥רַֽע לִֽ⁠י

has brought calamity on me or has brought tragedy to me

Ruth 1:22

וַ⁠תָּ֣שָׁב נָעֳמִ֗י וְ⁠ר֨וּת

This begins a summary statement. English marks this by the word So. Determine how your language marks concluding or summary statements and follow that way here. (See: End of Story)

וְ⁠הֵ֗מָּה בָּ֚אוּ בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם בִּ⁠תְחִלַּ֖ת קְצִ֥יר שְׂעֹרִֽים

The sentence gives background information, explaining that Naomi and Ruth had arrived in Bethlehem around the time when the Israelites were starting to harvest their barley. (See: Background Information)

בִּ⁠תְחִלַּ֖ת קְצִ֥יר שְׂעֹרִֽים

the barley harvest. The phrase the harvest of barley can be translated with a verbal phrase. Alternate translation: “when the farmers were just beginning to harvest barley” (See: Abstract Nouns)

Ruth 2

Ruth 2 General Notes

Possible translation difficulties in this chapter

Do not go to glean in another field

Boaz said this because he could not guarantee Ruth’s safety in another person’s field. It seems that not everyone was as gracious and obedient to the law of Moses as Boaz was. (See: grace, gracious and law, law of Moses, law of Yahweh, law of God and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 2:1

וּֽ⁠לְ⁠נָעֳמִ֞י מוֹדַ֣ע לְ⁠אִישָׁ֗⁠הּ

Verse 1 gives background information about Boaz so that the reader will understand who he is. Your language may also have a specific way to give background information. (See: Background Information)

וּֽ⁠לְ⁠נָעֳמִ֞י מוֹדַ֣ע לְ⁠אִישָׁ֗⁠הּ

This sentence introduces the next part of the story, in which Ruth meets Boaz. Boaz is introduced here as a new participant in the story. Your language may also have a specific way to introduce new events or new characters in a story. (See: Introduction of New and Old Participants)

אִ֚ישׁ גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל

a prominent, wealthy man. This means that Boaz was prosperous and well known in his community, with a good reputation.

מִ⁠מִּשְׁפַּ֖חַת אֱלִימֶ֑לֶךְ

The use of the term clan here means that Boaz was related to Elimelek but did not have the same parents as Elimelek. The text is not saying that the clan was named after Elimelek or that Elimelek was the patriarch or leader of the clan.

Ruth 2:2

ר֨וּת הַ⁠מּוֹאֲבִיָּ֜ה

Here the story resumes. Indicate this in the way that your language restarts telling the events of a story after giving background information.


This is another way of saying that the woman was from the country or tribe of Moab.

וַ⁠אֲלַקֳטָּ֣ה בַ⁠שִׁבֳּלִ֔ים

and gather heads of grain left behind by the harvesters or and pick up heads of grain left behind by the harvesters

אֶמְצָא־חֵ֖ן בְּ⁠עֵינָ֑י⁠ו

The phrase in whose eyes I will find favor is an idiom which means “whoever will approve of me.” Ruth speaks of gaining someone’s favor as gaining permission or approval. Alternate translation: “who will be kind to me” (See: Idiom)


The eyes are a metonym that represents seeing, and seeing is a metaphor for knowledge, notice, attention, or judgment. Alternate translation: “who will decide [to be kind to me]” (See: Metaphor)


Ruth was caring for Naomi as if she were her own mother, and Naomi addressed Ruth affectionately as her daughter. If this is confusing in your language, use the term that would indicate this kind of close relationship between two women in your language.

Ruth 2:3

וַ⁠יִּ֣קֶר מִקְרֶ֔⁠הָ

This means that Ruth was not aware that the field that she picked to glean in belonged to Naomi’s relative Boaz.

מִ⁠מִּשְׁפַּ֥חַת אֱלִימֶֽלֶךְ

The use of the term clan here means that Boaz was related to Elimelek but did not have the same parents as Elimelek. The text is not saying that the clan was named after Elimelek or that Elimelek was the patriarch or leader of the clan.

Ruth 2:4


The word behold alerts us to the important event of Boaz arriving at the field and seeing Ruth for the first time. Your language may also have a specific way of alerting someone to pay careful attention to what happens next in the story. (See: Distinguishing Versus Informing or Reminding)

בָּ֚א מִ⁠בֵּ֣ית לֶ֔חֶם

The fields were an unspecified distance outside of Bethlehem.

יְבָרֶכְ⁠ךָ֥ יְהוָֽה

May Yahweh do good things for you. This is a general blessing.

Ruth 2:5

לְ⁠מִ֖י הַ⁠נַּעֲרָ֥ה הַ⁠זֹּֽאת

In that culture, women were under the authority of their male relatives. Boaz was asking who Ruth’s husband or father might be. He did not think that Ruth was a slave.


This servant was a young man who worked for Boaz and who told the rest of Boaz’s workers what to do.

הַ⁠נִּצָּ֖ב עַל

who was in charge of or who was managing

Ruth 2:7


To glean meant to pick up grain or other produce that the workers dropped or missed as they were harvesting. This was part of the law that God gave to Moses, that the workers should not go back over the field for this produce, so that it would be left in the field for the poor or for foreign travelers to pick up. See verses such as Leviticus 19:10 and Deuteronomy 24:21.


the hut or the shelter. This was a temporary shelter or garden hut in the field that provided shade from the sun where the workers could rest.

Ruth 2:8

הֲ⁠ל֧וֹא שָׁמַ֣עַתְּ בִּתִּ֗⁠י

This can be stated as a command. Alternate translation: “Listen to me, my daughter!” or “Note well what I am telling you, my daughter!” (See: Rhetorical Question)


This was a kind way to address a younger woman. Ruth was not the actual daughter of Boaz, but he was treating her kindly and respectfully. Use the term that communicates this in your language. (See: Idiom)

Ruth 2:9

עֵינַ֜יִ⁠ךְ בַּ⁠שָּׂדֶ֤ה

The eyes are a metonym that represents seeing. Alternate translation: “Watch only the field” or “Pay attention only to the field” (See: Metonymy)

הֲ⁠ל֥וֹא צִוִּ֛יתִי אֶת־הַ⁠נְּעָרִ֖ים לְ⁠בִלְתִּ֣י נָגְעֵ֑⁠ךְ

Boaz used this question to emphasize his hospitality—that he had already made provision to help Ruth. Alternate translation: “I have given the men strict instructions not to harm you.” (See: Rhetorical Question)


young male workers or servants. The words young men are used three times to refer to the young men who are harvesting in the field.

לְ⁠בִלְתִּ֣י נָגְעֵ֑⁠ךְ

This was a polite way of saying that the men were not to harm Ruth physically or assault her sexually, and possibly also that the men were not to stop her from gleaning in his field. (See: Euphemism)

מֵ⁠אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִשְׁאֲב֖וּ⁠ן הַ⁠נְּעָרִֽים

To draw water means to pull up water from a well or to take it out of a storage vessel.

Ruth 2:10

וַ⁠תִּפֹּל֙ עַל־פָּנֶ֔י⁠הָ וַ⁠תִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָ֑רְצָ⁠ה

These are acts of respect and reverence. She was showing honor to Boaz out of gratefulness for what he had done for her. It was also a posture of humility. (See: Symbolic Action)

וַ⁠תִּפֹּל֙ עַל־פָּנֶ֔י⁠הָ וַ⁠תִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָ֑רְצָ⁠ה

These are two descriptions of a single action. If this is confusing in your language, use only one description, as in the UST. (See: Doublet)

וַ⁠תִּפֹּל֙ עַל־פָּנֶ֔י⁠הָ

This is an idiom that means that she bowed low with her face to the ground. (See: Idiom)

מַדּוּעַ֩ מָצָ֨אתִי חֵ֤ן בְּ⁠עֵינֶ֨י⁠ךָ֙ לְ⁠הַכִּירֵ֔⁠נִי וְ⁠אָּנֹכִ֖י נָכְרִיָּֽה

Ruth is asking a real question.

מָצָ֨אתִי חֵ֤ן בְּ⁠עֵינֶ֨י⁠ךָ֙

The phrase found favor in your eyes is an idiom which means “you have approved of” someone. Ruth speaks of gaining someone’s favor as gaining their kindness or approval. Alternate translation: “you have been kind to me” (See: Idiom)


The eyes are a metonym that represents seeing, and seeing is a metaphor for knowledge, notice, attention, or judgment. Alternate translation: “in your judgment” or “that you decided” (See: Metaphor)


A foreigner is someone from another country. Even though Ruth had pledged her loyalty to the God of Israel in private, everyone knew that she was from Moab, not Israel. Often Israelites were not kind to foreigners, even though God wanted them to be kind to them. This shows that Boaz was living to please God.

Ruth 2:11

וַ⁠יַּ֤עַן בֹּ֨עַז֙ וַ⁠יֹּ֣אמֶר

Both answered and said describe the same action. If this is confusing in your language, you may want to use only one verb for this, as in the UST. (See: Doublet)

הֻגֵּ֨ד הֻגַּ֜ד לִ֗⁠י

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: People have reported to me or People have told me (See: Active or Passive)

הֻגֵּ֨ד הֻגַּ֜ד

Here two forms of the word for report are repeated in the original Hebrew text to emphasize the certainty or extent of the statement. (See: Idiom)

וַ⁠תֵּ֣לְכִ֔י אֶל־עַ֕ם

Boaz is referring to Ruth coming to dwell with Naomi in a village and community, a country, and religion that she did not know. (See: Metonymy)

תְּמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃

This is an idiom that means “recently” or “previously” (See: Idiom)

Ruth 2:12

יְשַׁלֵּ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה פָּעֳלֵ֑⁠ךְ

May Yahweh repay you or May Yahweh pay you back


This refers to everything that Boaz has just described in verse 11. Alternate translation: “your good deeds.”

וּ⁠תְהִ֨י מַשְׂכֻּרְתֵּ֜⁠ךְ שְׁלֵמָ֗ה מֵ⁠עִ֤ם יְהוָה֙

This is a poetic expression that is very similar to the previous sentence. Alternate translation: “May Yahweh fully give to you everything that you deserve” (See: Parallelism)

אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֖את לַ⁠חֲס֥וֹת תַּֽחַת־כְּנָפָֽי⁠ו

This is a metaphor that uses the picture of a mother bird gathering her chicks under her wings to protect them as a way to describe God’s protection for those who trust in him. Alternate translation: “in whose safe care you have placed yourself” (See: Metaphor)

Ruth 2:13


Here find favor is an idiom that means be approved of or that he is pleased with her. Alternate translation: “May you continue to approve of me” or “May you continue to be pleased with me” (See: Idiom)


The eyes are a metonym that represents seeing, and seeing is a metaphor for knowledge, notice, attention, or judgment. Alternate translation: “and accept me” (See: Metaphor)


Boaz is not Ruth’s master, but he is the owner of the field where she is gleaning. He is also a Jew and a prominent man in the city. Therefore, Ruth is honoring him by calling him her lord, and speaking of herself as his servant. Alternate translation: “Sir” or “master”

וְ⁠אָנֹכִי֙ לֹ֣א אֶֽהְיֶ֔ה כְּ⁠אַחַ֖ת שִׁפְחֹתֶֽי⁠ךָ

Ruth is expressing surprise and gratitude that Boaz is treating her as if she belongs among his workers, when she does not.

Ruth 2:14

לְ⁠עֵ֣ת הָ⁠אֹ֗כֶל

This refers to the midday meal.

וְ⁠טָבַ֥לְתְּ פִּתֵּ֖⁠ךְ בַּ⁠חֹ֑מֶץ

This was a simple meal eaten in the field. People would sit on the ground around a cloth that had a bowl of wine vinegar on it and pieces of broken bread. They would take a piece of bread and dip it in the wine vinegar to add flavor before they ate it.


The vinegar was a sauce into which they dipped bread. The Israelites made vinegar from grape juice that was fermented beyond the point of being wine. At the vinegar stage, the juice becomes very sour and acidic.

Ruth 2:15

וַ⁠תָּ֖קָם לְ⁠לַקֵּ֑ט וַ⁠יְצַו֩ בֹּ֨עַז אֶת־נְעָרָ֜י⁠ו

When Boaz spoke to his workers, it is likely that Ruth was far enough away not to hear Boaz’s instructions. Alternate translation: “And when Ruth got up to gather up grain, Boaz privately told his young men” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)


After she stood up

גַּ֣ם בֵּ֧ין הָֽ⁠עֳמָרִ֛ים

Here, the word even lets the workers know that they are to do above and beyond what they normally do. People who were gleaning were normally forbidden from working close to the harvested grain for fear that they might steal from the grain that was already harvested. But Boaz instructs his workers to let Ruth glean close to the bundles of grain.

Ruth 2:16

שֹׁל־תָּשֹׁ֥לּוּ לָ֖⁠הּ מִן־הַ⁠צְּבָתִ֑ים

take some stalks of grain out of the bundles and leave them for her or leave behind stalks of grain for her to collect. Here Boaz goes another step beyond what is normal, and tells his workers to drop some of the grain that was already harvested for Ruth to glean.

וְ⁠לֹ֥א תִגְעֲרוּ־בָֽ⁠הּ

do not cause her shame or do not speak harshly to her

Ruth 2:17


She separated the edible part of the grain from the hull and stalk, which are thrown away.

כְּ⁠אֵיפָ֥ה שְׂעֹרִֽים

An ephah is a unit of measurement equal to about 22 liters. Alternate translation: “about 22 liters of barley.” Use the normal measurement for grain in your language. (See: Biblical Volume)

Ruth 2:18

וַ⁠תִּשָּׂא֙ וַ⁠תָּב֣וֹא הָ⁠עִ֔יר

It is implied that Ruth carried the grain home. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

וַ⁠תֵּ֥רֶא חֲמוֹתָ֖⁠הּ

Then Naomi saw

Ruth 2:19

אֵיפֹ֨ה לִקַּ֤טְתְּ הַ⁠יּוֹם֙ וְ⁠אָ֣נָה עָשִׂ֔ית

Naomi asked the same thing in two different ways to show that she was very interested in knowing what had happened to Ruth that day. Use the way that your language shows excitement and interest. (See: Parallelism)


Here noticed is a metonymy that stands for not only seeing Ruth, but also doing something for her. Alternate translation: “the one who helped you” (See: Metonymy)

Ruth 2:20

בָּר֥וּךְ הוּא֙ לַ⁠יהוָ֔ה

Naomi is asking God to reward Boaz for his kindness to Ruth and herself.

אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹא־עָזַ֣ב חַסְדּ֔⁠וֹ

This can be stated positively: who has continued to be loyal. (See: Double Negatives)

אֲשֶׁר֙ לֹא־עָזַ֣ב

The word who is most probably referring to Yahweh, who has continued to be faithful to the living and the dead by acting through Boaz. A less likely possibility is that it is referring to Boaz.


Naomi and Ruth were the living. This can be stated differently to remove the nominal adjective the living. Alternate translation: “to the people who are still living” (See: Nominal Adjectives)


Naomi’s husband and sons were the dead. This can be stated differently to remove the nominal adjective the dead. Alternate translation: “the people who have already died” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

קָר֥וֹב לָ֨⁠נוּ֙ הָ⁠אִ֔ישׁ מִֽ⁠גֹּאֲלֵ֖⁠נוּ הֽוּא

The second phrase repeats and expands the first. This is a Hebrew style of emphasis. (See: Parallelism)


A kinsman-redeemer was a close male relative who had the responsibility to take care of any widows in the family. If one of his brothers died having had no children, he had the responsibility to marry the widow, if she was still of child-bearing age, to raise a child for his brother. He would also reacquire the land his relatives had lost due to poverty and redeem family members who had sold themselves into slavery. See the Introduction for more information.

Ruth 2:21

גַּ֣ם ׀ כִּי־אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֗⁠י

He even said to me. This indicates that what follows is beyond what they would have expected a landowner to say to Ruth.

עִם־הַ⁠נְּעָרִ֤ים אֲשֶׁר־לִ⁠י֙ תִּדְבָּקִ֔י⁠ן

Boaz was expressing confidence that his workers would not harm Ruth.

Ruth 2:22

תֵֽצְאִי֙ עִם

you work with

וְ⁠לֹ֥א יִפְגְּעוּ־בָ֖⁠ךְ

This could mean: (1) other workers might abuse Ruth or try to rape her or (2) in another field, the owner might interfere or stop her from gleaning while they are harvesting.

וְ⁠לֹ֥א יִפְגְּעוּ־בָ֖⁠ךְ

This is the reason why Ruth should continue to work with Boaz’s servants. If it is more clear in your language to state the reason before the result, you can state this part of the sentence first, as in the UST. (See: Connect — Reason-and-Result Relationship)

Ruth 2:23


Ruth worked in Boaz’s fields with his workers during the day, so she would be safe.

וַ⁠תֵּ֖שֶׁב אֶת־חֲמוֹתָֽ⁠הּ

Ruth went to Naomi’s home to sleep at night.

Ruth 3

Ruth 3 General Notes

Special concepts in this chapter

Boaz’s integrity

Boaz showed great integrity in this chapter by not having sexual relations with Ruth until they were married. He was also concerned with preserving Ruth’s good reputation. Displaying Boaz’s good character is an important point in this chapter.

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter

So that it may be well with you

Naomi wanted Ruth to have a secure home with a good husband who would care for her. She could see that Boaz would be the best husband for her. She also thought that Boaz, as a kinsman-redeemer, had an obligation to marry her. This could be true because, even though Ruth was a Gentile by birth, she had become part of Naomi’s family and part of the nation of Israel. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 3:1

וַ⁠תֹּ֥אמֶר לָ֖⁠הּ נָעֳמִ֣י

This sentence introduces the next part of the story, in which Ruth asks Boaz to perform the role of kinsman-redeemer for her and Naomi. (See: Introduction of a New Event)


Naomi is the mother of Ruth’s dead husband.


Ruth became part of Naomi’s family by marrying her son and became like a daughter to her by her actions in caring for Naomi after returning to Bethlehem.

הֲ⁠לֹ֧א אֲבַקֶּשׁ־לָ֛⁠ךְ מָנ֖וֹחַ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִֽיטַב־לָֽ⁠ךְ

Naomi uses this question to tell Ruth what she planned to do. Alternate translation: “I must look for a place for you to rest, so that you will be taken care of.” or “I must find a husband to care for you, so that you can live without worry.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

לָ֛⁠ךְ מָנ֖וֹחַ

This does not mean a place to rest temporarily from being tired. It means a place of permanent comfort and security, in a good home with a husband. (See: Metaphor)

Ruth 3:2


Naomi’s rhetorical question in verse 1 gave the reason for the advice that she is about to give to Ruth in verses 2-4. This word marks what follows as the result of verse 1. In other words, Naomi advises Ruth what to do (3:2-4) because she desires to find a good, secure home for Ruth (3:1) If it is more clear in your language to state the reason after the result, you may want to put verse 1 after verses 2-4, marked as verses 1-4 together. (See: Connect — Reason-and-Result Relationship)

הֲ⁠לֹ֥א בֹ֨עַז֙ מֹֽדַעְתָּ֔⁠נוּ

Naomi used this question to remind Ruth of something she had already told her (See 2:20), to introduce the reason for what she is about to say. Alternate translation: “As you know, Boaz is our relative.” (See: Rhetorical Question)

הָיִ֖ית אֶת־נַעֲרוֹתָ֑י⁠ו

If it helps for understanding, the translation can make explicit that she was working in the fields with these female workers. Alternate translation: “female workers you have been with in the fields” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)


The word Look indicates that the following statement is very important. (See: Distinguishing Versus Informing or Reminding)


he will be winnowing To winnow means to separate grain from the unwanted chaff by tossing both the grain and chaff into the air, allowing the wind to blow the chaff away.

Ruth 3:3


This is probably a reference to rubbing sweet-smelling oil on oneself, as a kind of perfume.

וְיָרַ֣דְתְּ הַ⁠גֹּ֑רֶן

This refers to leaving the city and going to the open, flat area where workers could thresh and winnow grain.

Ruth 3:4


Then do like this: This is a general instruction that introduces the next series of specific instructions that Naomi is about to give to Ruth. Translate this in the way that people would say this in your language. (See: Imperatives — Other Uses)


This is a background clause, explaining when Ruth should watch to see where Boaz sleeps. (See: Connect — Background Information)

וְ⁠גִלִּ֥ית מַרְגְּלֹתָ֖י⁠ו

This means to remove the cloak or blanket covering his feet (or legs). Perhaps this action by a woman could be interpreted as a proposal of marriage. (See: Symbolic Action)


The word used here could refer to his feet or his legs.


and lie down there

וְ⁠הוּא֙ יַגִּ֣יד לָ֔⁠ךְ אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעַשִֽׂי⁠ן

The specific custom of that time is unclear, but Naomi appears to believe that Boaz will understand Ruth’s action as a proposal of marriage. Boaz will then either accept or reject her offer.

וְ⁠הוּא֙ יַגִּ֣יד

When he wakes up, he will tell

Ruth 3:6

וַ⁠תַּ֕עַשׂ כְּ⁠כֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוַּ֖תָּ⁠ה חֲמוֹתָֽ⁠הּ׃

This statement summarizes the actions that Ruth will do in verse 7. If people understand from this that Ruth did these actions in verse 6 and then did them again in verse 7, then you could translate this sentence as and she obeyed her mother-in-law. Or if it would make the order of events more clear, you could move this sentence to the end of verse 7, then combine the verse numbers as a verse bridge (6-7). (See: Order of Events)

Ruth 3:7

וַ⁠יִּיטַ֣ב לִבּ֔⁠וֹ

Here heart stands for “emotions” or “disposition.” Boaz’s emotions or feelings were good. This does not imply that Boaz was drunk. Alternate translation: “and he felt good” or “and he was in a good mood” (See: Metonymy)

וַ⁠תָּבֹ֣א בַ⁠לָּ֔ט

Then she sneaked in or Then she came in quietly so that no one would hear her

וַ⁠תְּגַ֥ל מַרְגְּלֹתָ֖י⁠ו

and removed the covering from his legs


and lay down there

Ruth 3:8

וַ⁠יְהִי֙ בַּ⁠חֲצִ֣י הַ⁠לַּ֔יְלָה

This clause introduces a new event in the story, explaining when Boaz woke up. (See: Introduction of a New Event)


It is not clear what startled Boaz. Perhaps he suddenly felt the cold air on his feet or legs.


This word shows that what follows was very surprising to Boaz. Use your language’s way of expressing surprise. (See: Exclamations)

אִשָּׁ֔ה שֹׁכֶ֖בֶת מַרְגְּלֹתָֽי⁠ו

The woman was Ruth, but Boaz could not recognize her in the darkness.

Ruth 3:9


Ruth was not one of Boaz’s servants, but she referred to herself as Boaz’s servant as a polite way to express respect to Boaz. Use your language’s way of expressing humility and respect. (See https://git.door43.org/unfoldingWord/en_ta/src/branch/master/translate/writing-politeness/01.md)

וּ⁠פָרַשְׂתָּ֤ כְנָפֶ֨⁠ךָ֙ עַל־אֲמָ֣תְ⁠ךָ֔

This was a cultural idiom for marriage. Alternate translation: “Please marry me” (See: Idiom)


See how you translated this term in 2:20.

Ruth 3:10

הֵיטַ֛בְתְּ חַסְדֵּ֥⁠ךְ הָ⁠אַחֲר֖וֹן מִן־הָ⁠רִאשׁ֑וֹן

You are demonstrating even more loving kindness now than before

הֵיטַ֛בְתְּ חַסְדֵּ֥⁠ךְ הָ⁠אַחֲר֖וֹן

This refers to Ruth asking Boaz to marry her. Boaz sees this as Ruth showing unselfish kindness and family loyalty to Naomi. By marrying Naomi’s relative, Ruth would also provide for Naomi, honor Naomi’s son, and continue Naomi’s family line.


This refers to the way that Ruth had earlier provided for her mother-in-law by staying with her and gleaning grain for food for them.

לְ⁠בִלְתִּי־לֶ֗כֶת אַחֲרֵי֙

because you have not looked for marriage among. Ruth could have ignored Naomi’s need and looked for a young and handsome husband for herself outside of Naomi’s relatives, but she did not. (See: Idiom)

Ruth 3:11


This phrase indicates that what came before in verse 10 is the reason for what follows in verse 11. This can be indicated with a word like Therefore. If it is clearer in your language to put the reason after the result, the order would be: Boaz is motivated to perform the role of kinsman-redeemer (verse 11) because he has seen how much kindness Ruth has shown to Naomi (verse 10). If you choose this order, you will need to combine the verses and the verse numbers (See: Connect — Reason-and-Result Relationship).


Boaz used this expression as a sign of respect toward Ruth as a younger woman. Use the form of address that would be appropriate in your language.

כָּל־שַׁ֣עַר עַמִּ֔⁠י

The gate was an area of the city where people gathered to do business, and the leaders met there to make decisions. So this was an idiom meaning “all of the important people in my city” (See: Idiom).

אֵ֥שֶׁת חַ֖יִל

a woman of good character, a good woman

Ruth 3:12


This phrase indicates that what follows is something else important that Ruth should pay attention to. Alternate translation: “You also need to know that” (See: Connecting Words and Phrases)

וְ⁠גַ֛ם יֵ֥שׁ

This phrase indicates a contrast between Boaz’s willingness to marry Ruth (verse 11) and the possibility of another man marrying her instead (verse 12). Alternate translation: “Even so, there is” (See: Connect — Contrast Relationship).

גֹּאֵ֖ל קָר֥וֹב מִמֶּֽ⁠נִּי

It was the duty of the male relative who was closest in family relationship to the man who died to help his widow. See how you translated kinsman-redeemer in 2:20 and make sure that it also makes sense here.

Ruth 3:13


redeem here means “marry according to our custom concerning widows.” Boaz is referring to the expectation that the closest male relative of Ruth’s dead husband would marry her and raise a son to carry on the dead man’s family name. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)


as surely as Yahweh lives or by the life of Yahweh. This was a common Hebrew vow that obligated the speaker to perform what he said. Use the normal phrasing for a vow in your language.

Ruth 3:14

וַ⁠תִּשְׁכַּ֤ב מַרְגְּלוֹתָיו֙

Ruth slept at Boaz’s feet. They did not have sex.

בְּטֶ֛רֶם יַכִּ֥יר אִ֖ישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵ֑⁠הוּ

This is an idiom that referred to a condition of darkness. Alternate translation: “while it was still dark” (See: Idiom).

Ruth 3:15


a thick piece of cloth worn over the shoulders for warmth


The actual amount is not stated. It was enough to be considered generous, yet small enough for Ruth to carry alone. Most scholars think it was around 25 to 30 kilograms.

וַ⁠יָּ֣שֶׁת עָלֶ֔י⁠הָ

The amount of grain was heavy, so Boaz put it on Ruth’s back so she could carry it.

וַ⁠יָּבֹ֖א הָ⁠עִֽיר

Most ancient copies have he went, referring to Boaz, but some have she went, referring to Ruth. Some English versions have “he” and some have “she” here. Most scholars believe that he went is the original meaning.

Ruth 3:16

מִי־אַ֣תְּ בִּתִּ֑⁠י

This appears to be an idiom that probably means What is your status, my daughter? In other words, Naomi is probably asking if Ruth is now a married woman. Alternatively, the question could mean simply Is that you, my daughter? (See: Idiom)


Ruth is actually Naomi’s daughter-in-law, but Naomi calls her my daughter as an endearment. Keep this translation if it is acceptable in your culture. Otherwise, use “daughter-in law.”

אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָֽשָׂה־לָ֖⁠הּ הָ⁠אִֽישׁ

all that Boaz had done for her

Ruth 3:17


See how you translated this in 3:15.

אַל־תָּב֥וֹאִי רֵיקָ֖ם

To go empty-handed is an idiom that means to go to someone with nothing to offer that person. Alternate translation: Do not go empty-handed or Do not go with nothing or You must take something (See: Idiom).

Ruth 3:18

שְׁבִ֣י בִתִּ֔⁠י

Sit is an idiom that means that Ruth should calmly wait. Alternate translation: “Wait here” or “Be patient” (See: Idiom)


See how you translated this in 1:11-13; 2:2, 8, 22; 3:1, 10, 11, 16.

אֵ֖יךְ יִפֹּ֣ל דָּבָ֑ר

This is an idiom that means “how the situation will turn out” or “what will happen.” (See: Idiom)

לֹ֤א יִשְׁקֹט֙ הָ⁠אִ֔ישׁ כִּֽי־אִם־כִּלָּ֥ה הַ⁠דָּבָ֖ר

This can be stated positively: the man will certainly settle this matter or the man will surely resolve this issue. (See: Double Negatives)

אִם־כִּלָּ֥ה הַ⁠דָּבָ֖ר

This matter refers to the decision about who will buy Naomi’s property and marry Ruth.

Ruth 4

Ruth 4 General Notes

Special concepts in this chapter

King David

Despite being a Moabitess, Ruth became an ancestress of David. David was Israel’s greatest king. It may be surprising that a Gentile would become a part of such an important lineage, but it reminds us that God loves all people. Ruth had great faith in Yahweh. This shows us that God welcomes all who trust in him.

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter

You must also acquire Ruth the Moabite woman

With the privilege of using the family’s land came the responsibility to take care of the widows of the family. Therefore, the relative who wanted to use Naomi’s land had to also help Ruth to have a son who would carry on the family name and inheritance and provide for her.

This was the custom in former times

This is a comment made by the writer of the text. This indicates that there was a considerable period of time between the events that occurred and the time when they were written down.

Ruth 4:1

וּ⁠בֹ֨עַז עָלָ֣ה הַ⁠שַּׁעַר֮

This clause introduces the next part of the story, in which Boaz takes the leading role as kinsman-redeemer and marries Ruth. Use your language’s way of introducing a new part of a story (See: Introduction of a New Event)


to the gate of the city or to the gate of Bethlehem. This was the main entrance to the walled town of Bethlehem. Inside the gate was an open area that was used as a meeting place to discuss community matters.


The word behold alerts us to the important event of Boaz seeing the exact person whom he wanted to see walking by. Your language may also have a specific way of alerting someone to pay careful attention to what happens next in the story. (See: Distinguishing Versus Informing or Reminding)


This was the closest living male relative to Elimelek. See how you translated kinsman-redeemer in 2:20.

פְּלֹנִ֣י אַלְמֹנִ֑י

Boaz did not actually say these words; instead, he called the kinsman-redeemer by his name. This is an idiom that means that this is a specific person but the name is not given. The narrator has substituted this general term for the person’s name either because the specific name is not important for the story or the man’s name had been forgotten. If your language has an idiom to refer to a specific person without using his name, use that here. (See: Idiom).

פְּלֹנִ֣י אַלְמֹנִ֑י

In many languages, this is an awkward and unnatural way for someone to address another person. A way to make this more natural could be to turn this into an indirect quotation as in the UST. A combination of indirect and direct quotation is also possible: “Boaz called him by name, and said, ‘Turn aside and sit down here.’” (See: Direct and Indirect Quotations).

Ruth 4:2

וַ⁠יִּקַּ֞ח עֲשָׂרָ֧ה אֲנָשִׁ֛ים

Then he chose ten men

מִ⁠זִּקְנֵ֥י הָ⁠עִ֖יר

from the leaders of the city

Ruth 4:3

חֶלְקַת֙ הַ⁠שָּׂדֶ֔ה…מָכְרָ֣ה נָעֳמִ֔י

It was the responsibility of the nearest kinsman to Elimelek to buy back the land that had belonged to Elimelek and to care for Elimelek’s family.

Ruth 4:4

אֶגְלֶ֧ה אָזְנְ⁠ךָ֣

This is an idiom that means “I should tell you” or “I should let you know” (See: Idiom).


in the presence of. Having these men as witnesses would make the transaction legal and binding.


redeem means to buy the land to keep it within the family.

אֵ֤ין זוּלָֽתְ⁠ךָ֙ לִ⁠גְא֔וֹל וְ⁠אָנֹכִ֖י אַחֲרֶ֑י⁠ךָ

In some languages, it may be confusing to say these things together: (1) there is no one to redeem the land, (2) only you can redeem the land, (3) then I can redeem the land. If that is so in your language, see the UST for a way that is more clear. (See: Connect — Exception Clauses)

וְ⁠אָנֹכִ֖י אַחֲרֶ֑י⁠ךָ

Boaz was the next nearest kinsman to Elimelek, and so had the second right to redeem the land.

Ruth 4:5


Boaz uses this expression to inform his relative of the additional responsibility he will have if he buys the land. Alternate translation: “When you buy the land, you also get”

מִ⁠יַּ֣ד נָעֳמִ֑י

Here the word hand represents Naomi, who owns the field. Alternate translation: “from Naomi” (See: Synecdoche)

וּ֠⁠מֵ⁠אֵת ר֣וּת…קָנִ֔יתָה

you must also marry Ruth (See: Idiom)


the widow of Elimelek’s son who died

לְ⁠הָקִ֥ים שֵׁם־הַ⁠מֵּ֖ת עַל־נַחֲלָתֽ⁠וֹ׃

that she may have a son to inherit the property and carry on her dead husband’s family name


Ruth’s husband was the dead. This can be stated differently to avoid the nominal adjective the dead. Alternate translation: “the man who died” or “her husband who died” (See: Nominal Adjectives)

Ruth 4:6

אַשְׁחִ֖ית אֶת־נַחֲלָתִ֑⁠י

The man would need to give some of his wealth in exchange for the property. Then if he were to marry Ruth, that property would belong to her son, not to his own children. In that way, he would be taking away from the wealth that his own children would inherit from him and giving it instead to the children that Ruth might bear. Alternate translation: “taking away from my own children’s inheritance.”

גְּאַל־לְ⁠ךָ֤ אַתָּה֙ אֶת־גְּאֻלָּתִ֔⁠י

You yourself redeem it instead of me

Ruth 4:7


Now this was the custom. The writer of the book stops telling the story in order to give some background information that explains the custom of exchange during the time of Ruth. Use your language’s way of giving background information in a story. (See: Background Information)


in earlier times or long ago. This implies that this custom was no longer practiced when the book of Ruth was written. (See: Background Information)


to his friend. This refers to the person with whom he was making the agreement. In this situation the near kinsman gave Boaz his sandal.

Ruth 4:8

וַ⁠יֹּ֧אמֶר הַ⁠גֹּאֵ֛ל

The events of the story start again here after the background information of verse 7. Use your language’s way of starting to tell the events of the story again.

Ruth 4:9

לַ⁠זְּקֵנִ֜ים וְ⁠כָל־הָ⁠עָ֗ם

This refers to all the people who were present at the meeting place, not to everyone in the town. (See: Hyperbole)

מִ⁠יַּ֖ד נָעֳמִֽי

The hand of Naomi represents Naomi. Since her husband and sons had died, the right to the property belonged to her. Alternate translation: “from Naomi” (See: Synecdoche)

כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֶֽ⁠אֱלִימֶ֔לֶךְ וְ⁠אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְ⁠כִלְי֖וֹן וּ⁠מַחְל֑וֹן

This refers to all the land and possessions of Naomi’s dead husband and sons.

Ruth 4:10


This connecting phrase indicates that the people sitting at the gate are witnesses to the fact that Boaz is buying back Elimelek’s family land for Naomi (4:9) and also to the fact that Boaz is claiming Ruth to be his wife (4:10). (See: Connecting Words and Phrases)

לְ⁠הָקִ֤ים שֵׁם־הַ⁠מֵּת֙ עַל־נַ֣חֲלָת֔⁠וֹ

See how you translated this phrase in 4:5. Alternate translation: “so that I might give her a son who will inherit the dead man’s property”

וְ⁠לֹא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת שֵׁם־הַ⁠מֵּ֛ת מֵ⁠עִ֥ם אֶחָ֖י⁠ו

Being forgotten is spoken of as if one’s name were being cut off from a list of people who had lived earlier. Alternate translation: “so that he will not be forgotten by his brothers’ descendants and by the people of this town” (See: Metaphor)

וְ⁠לֹא־יִכָּרֵ֧ת שֵׁם־הַ⁠מֵּ֛ת

This can be stated positively. Alternate translation: “so that his name will be preserved” (See: Double Negatives)

וּ⁠מִ⁠שַּׁ֣עַר מְקוֹמ֑⁠וֹ

The gate of the town is where the leaders gathered and made important legal decisions, such as decisions about who owns a piece of land. Alternate translation: “and among the important people of his town” (See: Metonymy)

עֵדִ֥ים אַתֶּ֖ם הַ⁠יּֽוֹם

You have seen and heard these things today, and can speak of them tomorrow

Ruth 4:11

הָ⁠עָ֧ם אֲשֶׁר־בַּ⁠שַּׁ֛עַר

the people who were meeting together near the gate

הַ⁠בָּאָ֣ה אֶל־בֵּיתֶ֗⁠ךָ

This has both a literal and a figurative meaning. As Ruth marries Boaz, she will move into his house. “House” can be a metonym the represents “family,” so this also refers to becoming part of Boaz’s family by being his wife. Alternate translation: “who is becoming part of your family” (See: Metonymy)

כְּ⁠רָחֵ֤ל ׀ וּ⁠כְ⁠לֵאָה֙

These were the two wives of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

בָּנ֤וּ…אֶת־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל

bore many children who became the nation of Israel

וַ⁠עֲשֵׂה־חַ֣יִל בְּ⁠אֶפְרָ֔תָה וּ⁠קְרָא־שֵׁ֖ם בְּ⁠בֵ֥ית לָֽחֶם

These two phrases are similar in meaning. The second phrase repeats somewhat and adds to the meaning of the first. This is a Hebrew style of emphasis. Alternate translation: “May you do good things in Bethlehem and become well-known for them.” (See: Parallelism).

וַ⁠עֲשֵׂה־חַ֣יִל בְּ⁠אֶפְרָ֔תָה וּ⁠קְרָא־שֵׁ֖ם בְּ⁠בֵ֥ית לָֽחֶם

These phrases are a form of blessing. Use the style of blessing that is appropriate in your language. Alternate translation: “May you do good things in Bethlehem and may you become well-known for them.” (See: Imperatives — Other Uses).

וַ⁠עֲשֵׂה־חַ֣יִל בְּ⁠אֶפְרָ֔תָה

The area around the town of Bethlehem was known as Ephrathah, and that became another name for the town. Presumably this name came from the Israelite clan that settled in and around the city of Bethlehem.

Ruth 4:12

וִ⁠יהִ֤י בֵֽיתְ⁠ךָ֙ כְּ⁠בֵ֣ית פֶּ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־יָלְדָ֥ה תָמָ֖ר לִֽ⁠יהוּדָ֑ה

house stands for “family” or “clan.” Perez had many descendants who became large clans in Israel, including the clan of Ephrathah. Also, many of his descendents became important people. The people were asking God to bless Boaz in a similar way through Ruth’s children. (See: Metonymy)

יָלְדָ֥ה תָמָ֖ר לִֽ⁠יהוּדָ֑ה

Tamar, like Ruth, was also a widow. Judah fathered a son with Tamar, who continued the family name of her dead husband.

מִן־הַ⁠זֶּ֗רַע אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ לְ⁠ךָ֔

The people are asking for a blessing from Yahweh, that he would give Boaz many children through Ruth who would do good things, just as he did for Perez. Use the form of blessing that is appropriate in your language.

Ruth 4:13

וַ⁠יִּקַּ֨ח בֹּ֤עַז אֶת־רוּת֙ וַ⁠תְּהִי־ל֣⁠וֹ לְ⁠אִשָּׁ֔ה

These two phrases mean very much the same thing, as the second phrase repeats and expands the first. This is a Hebrew poetic style. The two phrases can be combined as in the UST. (See: Parallelism)

וַ⁠יִּקַּ֨ח בֹּ֤עַז אֶת־רוּת֙

This phrase indicates that Boaz did what he said he would do in verse 10. It does not imply any form of violence. Along with the following phrase, it simply means, So Boaz married Ruth or So Boaz took Ruth as a wife. Use a connecting word (like “so”) that indicates that this action by Boaz is a result of the agreement in verse 10. (See: Connect — Reason-and-Result Relationship)

וַ⁠יָּבֹ֖א אֵלֶ֑י⁠הָ

This is a euphemism that refers to having sexual intercourse. Alternate translation: “He had sexual relations with her” (See: Euphemism)

Ruth 4:14


These are the women of the town as mentioned in 1:19. This can be made clear if necessary. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

בָּר֣וּךְ יְהוָ֔ה

The women are praising God for what he has done for Naomi and Ruth. If it does not make sense in your language to “bless” God, use a word like “praise” or “we give thanks.” See the UST.

לֹ֣א הִשְׁבִּ֥ית לָ֛⁠ךְ גֹּאֵ֖ל הַ⁠יּ֑וֹם

This phrase can be expressed positively. Alternate translation: “who has provided you today with a kinsman to redeem you” (See: Double Negatives)

וְ⁠יִקָּרֵ֥א שְׁמ֖⁠וֹ

This is a blessing, stating that the women desire that Naomi’s grandson will have a good reputation and character. Use the form of blessing that is appropriate in your language.

Ruth 4:15

לְ⁠מֵשִׁ֣יב נֶ֔פֶשׁ

This phrase refers to how Naomi will again experience joy and hope in her life as a result of having this grandson. Alternate translation: “one who brings joy to you again” or “one who will make you feel young/strong again”

וּ⁠לְ⁠כַלְכֵּ֖ל אֶת־שֵׂיבָתֵ֑⁠ךְ

and he will take care of you when you become old


We know this because Use a connecting word or phrase that indicates that what follows (the fact that Ruth has borne him) is the reason for the women’s confident prediction of his character. If it makes more sense to put the reason first, then follow the order in the UST. (See: Connect — Reason-and-Result Relationship)

ט֣וֹבָה לָ֔⁠ךְ מִ⁠שִּׁבְעָ֖ה בָּנִֽים

seven represented the idea of completeness or perfection. This is a way to praise Ruth for how she has provided for Naomi by bearing a grandson for her by Boaz, when Naomi’s sons could not provide for her because they had died. Alternate translation: “better to you than any son” or “worth more to you than many sons” (See: Idiom)

Ruth 4:16

וַ⁠תִּקַּ֨ח נָעֳמִ֤י אֶת־הַ⁠יֶּ֨לֶד֙

Naomi picked up the child This refers to Naomi holding the child. Make sure it does not sound like she took him away from Ruth in any hostile way.

וַ⁠תְּהִי־ל֖⁠וֹ לְ⁠אֹמֶֽנֶת׃

and took care of him

Ruth 4:17

וַ⁠תִּקְרֶאנָה֩ ל֨⁠וֹ הַ⁠שְּׁכֵנ֥וֹת שֵׁם֙…וַ⁠תִּקְרֶ֤אנָֽה שְׁמ⁠וֹ֙ עוֹבֵ֔ד

The first phrase introduces the naming event, and the second repeats it in order to report the event. If this is confusing, the two phrases can be combined. So the neighbor women gave him the name Obed or The women of the neighborhood said … and they named him Obed

יֻלַּד־בֵּ֖ן לְ⁠נָעֳמִ֑י

It is as though Naomi has a son again. It was understood that the child was Naomi’s grandson, not her physical son, but he would carry on the family line of both Naomi and Ruth.

ה֥וּא אֲבִי־יִשַׁ֖י

Later, he became the father of Jesse It may be necessary to make it clear that much time passed between the births of Obed, Jesse, and David.

אֲבִ֥י דָוִֽד

father of King David. Though King is not stated, it was clear to the original audience that this David was King David. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

Ruth 4:18

תּוֹלְד֣וֹת פָּ֔רֶץ

the successive descendants of our clan, starting with Perez. Because it was mentioned earlier that Perez was the son of Judah, the writer continues listing the family line that came from Perez. Verse 17 was the end of the story about Naomi and Ruth, and verse 18 begins a final section that lists the family line of the clan of Ephrathah, showing how important Obed was as the grandfather of King David. Use a connecting word that signals that this is a new section. You may also need to make it clear that this verse refers to a much earlier time than the time period of the story.

Ruth 4:19


Use forms of these names that are natural in your language. (See: How to Translate Names)

Ruth 4:22


King David. See the note about David on 4:17. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)