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In Ruth 2:8, Boaz instructs Ruth to keep close to the young women. Furthermore, he warns the young men not to touch her (2:9) nor rebuke her (2:16).

Yet when Ruth reports Boaz's speech to Naomi, she says that he told her to keep close to the 'young men'.

Naomi replies by directly changing it to say 'young women' and the narrator backs it up by saying Ruth stayed with the young women. (2:22-23)

Do you think this is

  1. Ruth portrayed as a non-native hebrew speaker who slips up (young men and young women have similarities in how they sound)
  2. Ruth portrayed as particularly eager to be with the young men but receiving a correction from a cautious Naomi
  3. Or something else?

1 Answer 1

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The story of Ruth in Ruth 2 is one of consummate kindness and generosity by Boaz to the desperately poor Ruth. Boaz does this by several means:

  • Boaz welcomes Ruth to his field and encourages her to continue to glean on his property, V8, 9
  • Boaz also tells her, for her safety, to stay among the other servant girls, V8
  • Boaz orders the young men to leave her alone and not to rebuke her even if she gleans among the sheeves, V15
  • Boaz offers her shelter and food at lunch time, V14
  • Boaz also instructs the harvesters to deliberately leave some extra stalks and grain behind for Ruth, V16

Now, it is true that Ruth worked with the young women as per V8 & 9. However, the place where they worked was following the harvesters to collect the uncollected grain stalks. Therefore, both are true.

Further, Ruth said that she was instructed to stary with the young men, because they worked for Boaz and would be safe among them as opposed to working in another field belonging to someone else.

Lastly, assuming Ruth was not the only person gleaning, then the best gleanings would be found close behind the harvesters, ie, near the young men harvesting. Gleaners who followed Ruth would have less to find.

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  • True, the young women would be following close behind the young men gleaming, to pick up what was dropped or missed. I read the Moabite Stone using a Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon and only found a few words not in the Lexicon. Thus, there is little evidence of the Moabite language being different, and Ruth has lived and spoke with Naomi's family from Israel for my years.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 28 at 13:06

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