Lesson 7, Ruth 2:8-13

וַיֹּאמֶר בֹּעַז אֶל־רוּת הֲלוֹא שָׁמַעַתְּ בִּתִּי אַל־תֵּלְכִי לִלְקֹט בְּשָׂדֶה אַחֵר וְגַם לֹא תַעֲבוּרִי מִזֶּה וְכֹה תִדְבָּקִין עִם־נַעֲרֹתָי

(Ruth 2:8)

Note that the “a” sound in general is “ah” — when “e” ends a syllable it is “uh” as in “maroon” (MUH-roon) — “e” with a consonant after it rhymes with “bed” — “ie” here should rhyme with “pie”:

va-yoe-mer bo-az el-root ha-loe sha-ma-at-te beetee al-taylkhee leel-koat be-sa-day a-khayr ve-gam loe ta-avooree mee-zay ve-khoe teed-bakeen eem-na-a-ro-tie:

At this point in the class, I feel no need to list and explain every word. I am choosing only to explain words that may give the student some trouble.

  • הֲלוֹא This word will give novice Hebrew learners fits. You will not find it listed in the Holladay lexicon under this spelling or even under לֹא or לוֹא. The student should first notice that this is the interrogative ה (as the vowel marks it as something other than the definite article). The similarity of לוֹא to לֹא is your clue that this is what the word means (so this is the plene [full] spelling of a word usually with the short spelling). The meaning of this word is further obscured by most English translations which choose not to render Boaz’s statement as a question. הֲלוֹא שָׁמַעַתְּ בִּתִּי should be rendered as a question, such as: “Have you not heard, my daughter?”
  • שָׁמַעַתְּ Perfect 3fs שׁמע.
  • בִתִּי The noun בַּת with the 1cs suffix.
  • אַל־תֵּלְכִי Begins with negation (אַל negates Imperfect forms of the verb). תֵּלְכִי Imperfect 2fs.
  • לִלְקֹט The presence of ל before a verb is a sign of an Infinitive Construct (the “to” form of a verb). The root here is לקט.
  • תַעֲבוּרִי This is an unusual spelling (but it is listed in Holladay). Imperfect 2fs עבר.
  • מִזֶּה = “from this” and is used as a complement to the verb, better rendered “from here.”
  • תִדְבָּקִין Imperfect 2fs דבק with extraneous נ used at the end (called a “paragogic” nun, scholars debate whether it enhances the meaning or is simply a speech pattern).
  • נַעֲרֹתָי The noun נַעֲרָה with the 1cs suffix.


VERSE 9: עֵינַיִךְ בַּשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר־יִקְצֹרוּן Starts with a verbless clause. The second part has a verb, יִקְצֹרוּן, but it seems as if the first part needs one as well. The verb “is” or “are” can be indicated without being written. So the first two words could be translated “your eyes are on the field.” Some think such a verbless clause (a “null copula” clause) can have a Jussive meaning (“[let] your eyes be on the field”). יִקְצֹרוּן Imperfect 3mp קצר. The next verb, וְהָלַכְתְּ, is a vav-conversive with the Perfect 2fs הלך being reversed into a future or imperative sense. אַחֲרֵיהֶן is simply the 3mp suffix added to a familiar word. For הֲלוֹא see above on 2:8. צִוִּיתִי Perfect 1cs צוה. The particle לְבִלְתִּי negates the verb which follows it. נָגְעֵךְ is the Infinitive Construct (the “to” form) of נגע with the 2fs suffix as object of the verb. וְצָמִת is another difficult one since the third root letter has disappeared, א which does not typically disappear, and there is no sh’va under the ת at the end as one would expect. It is the Perfect 2fs of צמא. Similarly וְשָׁתִית vav-conversive of Perfect 2fs שׁתה but with unusual spelling. יִשְׁאֲבוּן has a paragogic nun, but as you have grown used to these, you should be able to figure out the root and parsing (person, gender, number, form).

VERSE 10: This verse requires less explanation and I will give simply a few hints. וַתִּפֹּל is from the root נפל. The 3fs suffix has been added to פָּנֶים in construct form (drop the מ). וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ will give you fits until you get used to this unusual form. Some call it a Hishtafel verb. You could simply know for now it is vav-conversive 3fs and the וּ at the end is a contraction of ווּ. It means “she prostrated herself.” In אָרְצָה the locative ה has been added to the end to indicate that is is a direction of movement. לְהַכִּירֵנִי Hiphil Infinitive Construct (the “to” form) of נכר with 1cs suffix. The JPS commentary explains this as part of a wordplay as the root נכר means both “show favor” and “foreigner.” Thus, she asks Boaz, “Why have I found favor in your eyes to favor [from נכר] me though I am a foreigner [from נכר]?”

VERSE 11: הֻגֵּד is a Hophal Infinitive Absolute (the rare Hophal form is the passive of a Hiphil) and right after it comes הֻגַּד (different vowel under ג) which is the Hophal Perfect 3ms. It is something like “reporting, it has been reported” and the לִי makes it “reporting, it has been reported to me”). It probably means “it has been throughly reported to me.” וַתַּעַזְבִי vav-conversive from the Perfect 2fs עזב. Many nouns are used here with the 2fs suffix including מוֹלַדְתֵּךְ which is from מוֹלֶדֶת (listed in Holladay). If you look up תְּמוֹל in Holladay you’ll see that תְּמוֹל שִׁלֹשׁוֹם together is an expression for “heretofore, before.”

VERSE 12: יְשַׁלֵּם Imperfect 3ms שׁלם in the Piel form generally means complete or pay. In this case the meaning is pay, as in reward. וּתְהִי is a shortened form (Jussive) which is deceiving and is really a vav-conversive 3fs of היה (so in Jussive sense “may it be”). It is feminine because the subject of the verb is the next word מַשְׂכֻּרְתֵּךְ (“your wages”), which is feminine. In מַשְׂכֻּרְתֵּךְ שְׁלֵמָה there is an understood “are” between the two words. מֵעִם need not be translated “from with,” but simply “from.” לַחֲסוֹת Infinitive Construct (the “to” form) of חסה.

VERSE 13: נִחַמְתָּנִי Piel Perfect 3fs with 1cs suffix as object of verb. Ruth thanks Boaz for speaking עַל–לֵב (unusual use of עַל here, more like לְ) followed by שִׁפְחָתֶךָ which is שִׁפְחָה with 2fs suffix attached as a possessive. לֵב is a word pair (construct) with שִׁפְחָתֶךָ. The אָנֹכִי in the final clause makes it emphatic since אֶהְיֶה is 1cs Imperfect and already has “I” in it. כְּאַחַת is the preposition כ in front of the construct (word pair) form of אַחַת (“one”).


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