Also he said, Bring the veil that you have on you, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Vail—Rather a mantle, so in Isaiah 3:22.
She went.—This should be, if we follow the current Hebrew text, he went. The verb is masculine (yabho), and the distinction is shewn in the Targum, which inserts the name Boaz as the nominative. It must be allowed that a fair number of Hebrew MSS., as well as the Peshito and Vulgate, take the verb in the feminine. The LXX. is from the nature of the Greek language unable to mark the distinction. The clause. if we accept the current reading, will mean that Boaz went to the city to find the kinsman whose claim lay before his own, while Ruth, laden with six measures of barley, goes to her mother-in-law.Genesis 38:14. It seems rather to mean a kind of loose cloak, worn over the ordinary dress (see the margin).
Six measures - i. e. six seahs, in all two ephahs, twice as much as she gleaned Ruth 3:17, and a heavy load to carry; for which reason he laid it on her, probably placed it on her head. It is well known that women can carry great weights when duly positioned on their heads.
And she went into the city - The Hebrew has "he went," namely, Boaz, where, accordingly, we find him Ruth 4:1.The veil, or, the apron, such as women ordinarily wear.
Six measures; known and usual measure: it is not determined how large those measures were, but this the nature of the thing shows, that they were no larger than one woman could carry in her veil, or apron.
bring the vail which thou hast upon thee, and hold it; by which it appears that he rose also thus early, since he ordered her to bring her vail to him, and hold it with both her hands, while he filled it from the heap of corn: this vail was either what she wore on her head, as women used to do, or a coverlet she brought with her to cover herself with, when she lay down; the Septuagint renders it a "girdle", that is, an apron she tied or girt about her; which is as likely as anything: and when she held it, he measured six measures of barley; what these measures were is not expressed; the Targum is six seahs or bushels, as the Vulgate Latin version, but that is too much, and more than a woman could carry; unless we suppose, with the Targum, that she had strength from the Lord to carry it, and was extraordinarily assisted by him in it, which is not very probable; rather six omers, an omer being the tenth part of an ephah, and so was a quantity she might be able to carry:
and laid it upon her; upon her shoulder, or put it on her head, it being, no doubt, as much as she could well bear, and which required some assistance to help her up with it:
and she went into the city; of Bethlehem, with her burden; or rather he went (b); for the word is masculine, and to be understood of Boaz, who accompanied her to the city, lest she should meet with any that should abuse her; and so the Targum expresses it,"Boaz went into the city.''Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. the mantle] Only again in Isaiah 3:22; apparently a large wrap worn over the ordinary clothes.
six measures of barley] The measure to be supplied is uncertain: six seahs=two ephahs (i.e. bushels), which the Targ. gives, or six ephahs, would be too heavy to carry; hence it is suggested that six omers are meant = 3/6 of an ephah, Exodus 16:36. The gift is intended for Naomi, who would have to consent to the marriage, as standing in the relation of parent to Ruth. Mr S. A. Cook points out a parallel in a Babylonian tablet (KB. iv. P. 187, xi. lines 1–6), where the widowed mother is approached by the intending bridegroom; The Laws of Moses and the Code of H̬ammurabi, p. 75 n.Verse 15. - And he said, Allow me the wrapper which is upon thee, and hold on by it; and she held on by it; and he measured six measures of barley; and he put it on her, and went to the city. The expression "Allow me," literally, "Give (me)," was a current phrase of courtesy. The verb employed - יָהַב - was common Semitic property, ere yet the mother-tongue was subdivided into Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, Arabic. The wrapper which is upon thee. The word for wrapper occurs nowhere else except in Isaiah 3:22, where it is translated, in King James's version, "wimple." Here it is rendered "vail," and, in the margin, "sheet or apron," - all of them unhappy translations. So is the rendering of the Targumist, סוּדְרָא, i.e. sudarium, or "napkin." N.G. Schroder discusses the word at great length in his masterly 'Commentarius Philologico-Criticus de Vestitu Mulierum Hebraearum,' pp. 247-277. He would render it pallium or palla In consequence of national peculiarities in articles of dress, especially in ancient times, it is best to avoid a specific, and to employ a generic translation. When Boaz said, "Give me the wrapper," he did not ask that it should be handed to him. He had already put his hand upon it, and was engaged in hollowing out a scoop or cavity. Hence he said, on the one hand, "Allow me," and, on the other, "Hold on by it." And he measured six measures of barley. The particular measure referred to is unspecified. It is not only mere dream on the part of the Targumist, but it is dream involving almost sheer impossibility, that the measures were seahs, i.e. two ephahs. The Targumist had to bolster up his dream by adding another, viz., that Ruth got miraculously strength to carry the load. Load, indeed, there undoubtedly was; and no doubt it would be as great as she could conveniently carry. And likewise, in accordance with the primitive simplicity of manners, the magnitude of the burden would be demonstration to Naomi of Boaz's satisfaction with the "measures" which, in full motherliness of spirit, she had planned. And he went to the city. The Vulgate and Syriac versions, as also Castellio, Coverdale, and various other translators, but not Luther, have assumed that we should read וַתָּבְלֺא, "and she went," instead of וַיָּבְּלֺא, "and he went." So too Wright. But there seems to be no good reason for making the change. If there had been no division into verses, then the departure of both Boaz and Ruth on their respective routes, or in their respective order of sequence, would have been recorded close together: "and 'he' went to the city, and 'she' went to her mother-in-law" - each, let us bear in mind, with the heart elate. Deuteronomy 23:1; Deuteronomy 27:20, and Ezekiel 16:8, to the wing, i.e., the corner of the counterpane, referring to the fact that a man spreads this over his wife as well as himself. Thus Ruth entreated Boaz to marry her because he was a redeemer. On this reason for the request, see the remarks in the introduction to the chapter.
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