Category Archives: Detailed Translation Notes

Translation Notes, Ruth 2:1-3

It would be a good idea also to get a head start on next week’s passage (2:4-16) which will be much longer.


  • וַתֹּאמֶר vav-conversive 2fs אמר
  • רוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה Ruth the Moabitess.
  • אֶל–נָעֳמִי Is the preposition אֶל making Naomi the indirect object.
  • אֵלְכָה–נָּה Imperfect 1cs הלך with cohortative ה ending and particle of entreaty or courtesy נָּה attached. See article on “Cohortatives and the Particle of Entreaty.”
  • הַשָּׂדֶה noun with definite article.
  • וַאֲלַקֳטָה This is not a vav-conversive because the verb form is cohortative (asking permission). The vav here simply means “and.” Imperfect 1cs לקט with cohortative ה ending. Note the vowel under the ל, that it is pronounced “o” as in “low”.
  • בַשִּׁבֳּלִים The preposition ב prefixed to the masculine plural form of the noun שִׁבֹּלֶת
  • אַחַר has several meanings but is used here in the sense of “after” or “behind.”
  • אֲשֶׁר is the relative particle which can mean “that” or “which” or “who” to begin a clause. Ruth is asking permission to glean after “[one} who . . .” or “whomever . . .”
  • אֶמְצָא–חֵן Imperfect 1cs מצא with חֵן noun ms as the direct object of the verb.
  • בְּעֵינָיו The preposition ב is prefixed, followed by עֵינֵי (the plural construct (word pair form, genitive) of עַיִן), with the 3ms suffix ו attached.
  • וַתֹּאמֶר vav-conversive 2fs אמר
  • לָהּ The preposition ל with the 3fs suffix.
  • לְכִי Imperative (command verb) fs הלך
  • בִתִּי The noun בַּת with the 1cs suffix.

TRANSLATION COMMENTS, 2:1, 3-7. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Detailed Translation Notes, Translation Insight

Translation Notes, 1:19-22

For this week’s class: Ruth 1:19-22. Reading: Esekenazi xxxix-xlviii, 23-26. We will also talk about Shaddai, Hiphil and Niphal verbs, and more..


  • וַתֵּלַכְנָה is the vav-conversive 3fp of הלך.
  • שְׁתֵּיהֶם is the number two in construct (word pair, genitive) form with the 3mp suffix attached (“[the] two of them”). How can the suffix be masculine when the referents are female and the verb is feminine (we should expect שְׁתֵּיהֶן)? This may possibly be another example of words deliberately “mispronounced” to give an archaic effect to the story (although this example does not occur in the speech of Naomi, where most similar examples do). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Detailed Translation Notes, Translation Insight

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

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

Ruth 1:1, Detailed Translation Notes (Lesson 1 Supplement)

In general, the translation notes I give here will seek to avoid giving a rendering in English. I want you to make your own translation and see why different versions of the Bible might make different choices. In each lesson, I will give detailed translation notes on some verses and simple summaries on others.

  • The first word וַיְהִי is often the first word in a book of narrative (story). It is like “once upon a time” in some ways. It comes from the verb “to be” and is a past tense form, in masculine or neuter 3rd person (“he” or “it”), with “and” in front of it. Very few versions even bother to translate the first word in Ruth. One version, the ASV, renders “it came to pass.” Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Detailed Translation Notes, Lessons