Monthly Archives: April 2013

Translation Notes, Ruth 1:8-18


  • וַתֹּאמֶר This is a vav conversive (see lesson 1) from the root alef-mem-reish and it is 3fs (3rd person feminine singular). One of the delightful things about Ruth for Hebrew students is the frequency of feminine forms of various verbs which are uncommon and sometimes rare in the Bible.
  • נָעֳמִי is the name, Naomi, and it derives from a root meaning pleasant. Think of modern Hebrew and the expression נעים מאד na-eem me-oad = very pleasant [to meet you]. The vowel under the ayin is the rare Kametz Hatuph (kametz with sh’va) which is pronounced as a long “o”. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Detailed Translation Notes, Translation Insight


The updated syllabus is available here as a PDF. Ruth Syllabus Updated

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement/Update

Translation Notes, Ruth 1:1-7


When a grammatical issue comes up for the first time, I will note it more carefully. As the class progresses, the “Translation Help” notes will grow shorter. I will be rather detailed concerning vs. 1 and more sparse with notes on vss. 2-7.

Vs. 1. Begins with the common Hebrew narration וַיְהִי which is the vav-conversive (a.k.a. vav-consecutive, consecutive imperfect, or preterite) form of היה. See below, “Narration Verbs and Vav-Conversive.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Detailed Translation Notes

Special Vocabulary in Ruth 1-2

This list is somewhat arbitrary. I included on it either words used multiple times which are convenient to memorize or words sufficiently strange to warrant advance notice to students who will be translating. Memorizing these will make translating Ruth 1-2 easier.

מֹאֲבִיּוֹת Moabitesses
כַּלָּה daughter-in-law, bride
מֵעֶה inner parts
זָקֵן be old, grow old
תּקְוָה hope, cord
שַׂבָּר wait, hope for
נעגן shut oneself off
מַר be bitter
חָמוֹת mother-in-law
יְבֵמֶת sister-in-law
קָצִיר harvest time
שְׂעֹרָה barley
לַקָּט glean
קֹצֵר reaper, harvester
הַכִּיר regard, recognize, observe
מוֹלֶדֶת kindred
שִׁלְשׁוֹם three days ago
עֹמֶר sheaf, bundle of grain
צֶבֶת bundles of grain
אָנָה where
הִטָה wheat

1 Comment

Filed under Translation Insight

April-May 2013 Class Schedule


  1. 1:1-7, Prologue: The Departure from Bethlehem
  2. 1:8-18, The Turning Point on the Road to Bethlehem
  3. 1:19-22, Return to Bethlehem
  4. 2:1-3, Home Alone: Starting Over
  5. 2:4-16, In the Field: Finding Food and Favor
  6. 2:17-23, Home Again


WEEK 1: Ruth 1:1-7, translate. Days of the Judges and a midrash, Elimelekh’s character and a midrash, Hebrew grammar (narration verbs, vav conversive, possessive suffixes). Hesed in Ruth, Hebrew grammar (cardinal numbers in absolute and construct, imperatives). Reading: Eskenazi (JPS Commentary), xv-xxxii and 3-10.

WEEK 2: Ruth 1:8-18, translate. Tikvah as the cord of hope, Hebrew grammar (interrogatives). Reading: Esekenazi xxxii-xxxviii, 10-23.

WEEK 3: Ruth 1:19-22, translate. Shaddai, Hebrew grammar (Hiphil and Niphal verbs). Reading: Esekenazi xxxix-xlviii, 23-26.

WEEK 4: Ruth 2:1-3, translate. Get head start on next section translating, Ruth 2:3-17. Chance and Divine purpose, Gleaning and Holiness, Hebrew grammar (particle of entreaty). Reading: Esekenazi xlviii-liii, 27-31.

WEEK 5: Ruth 2:4-16, translate (hopefully you got a head start last week). Wordplay in the Tanakh, Hebrew grammar (Hophal verbs, jussive forms of the verb). Reading: Esekenazi lii-lv, 31-42.

WEEK 6: Ruth 2:17-23, translate. Holiness beyond obligation, Adonai who does not abandon hesed, Hebrew grammar (relative clauses, complements and adjuncts of verbs). Esekenazi lvi-lxx, 42-47.

REQUIRED TEXTS (The publication dates indicate the required edition.)

  • Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Tikva Frymer-Kensky, The JPS Bible Commentary: Ruth. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2011).
  • William L. Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971 or later).

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES (not required for this course)
Ruth Rabbah (in the Midrash Rabbah collection).


Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement/Update