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Rut 2:20

2:20 Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be rewarded by the Lord because he 1  has shown loyalty to the living on behalf of the dead!” 2  Then Naomi said to her, “This man is a close relative of ours; he is our guardian.” 3 

Rut 4:14-15

4:14 The village women said to Naomi, “May the Lord be praised because he has not left you without a guardian 4  today! May he 5  become famous in Israel! 6  4:15 He will encourage you and provide for you when you are old, 7  for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, has given him birth. She 8  is better to you than seven sons!”
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[2:20]  1 tn Many English versions translate this statement, “May he [Boaz] be blessed by the Lord, who has not abandoned his loyalty to the living and dead.” In this case the antecedent of אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “who”) would be the immediately preceding “the Lord.” However, this understanding of the construction is not accurate. The antecedent of אֲשֶׁר is Boaz, not the Lord. Elsewhere when אֲשֶׁר follows the blessing formula בָּרוּךְ (barukh, Qal passive participle) + proper name/pronoun, it always introduces the reason the recipient of the blessing deserves a reward. (For this reason one could analyze אֲשֶׁר as a causal conjunction in this construction.) If אֲשֶׁר refers to the Lord here, then this verse, unlike others using the construction, gives no such reason for the recipient being blessed. 2 Sam 2:5, which provides the closest structural parallel to Ruth 2:20, supports this interpretation: בְּרֻכִים אַתֶּם לַיהוָה אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם הַחֶסֶד הַזֶּה עִם־אֲדֹנֵיכֶם עִם־שָׁאוּל, “May you [plural] be blessed by the Lord, you who [plural]/because you [plural] have extended such kindness to your master Saul.” Here אֲשֶׁר refers back to the second plural pronoun אַתֶּם (’atem, “you”) in the formula, as the second plural verb עֲשִׂיתֶם(’asitem) after אֲשֶׁר indicates. Though יְהוָה (yÿhvah) is in closer proximity to אֲשֶׁר, it is not the antecedent. The evidence suggests that Ruth 2:20 should be translated and interpreted as follows: “May he [Boaz] be blessed by the Lord, he who [i.e., Boaz]/because he [i.e., Boaz] has not abandoned his loyalty to the living and dead.” Cf. NIV, NCV, CEV, NLT. See B. A. Rebera, “Yahweh or Boaz? Ruth 2.20 Reconsidered,” BT 36 (1985): 317-27, and F. W. Bush, Ruth, Esther (WBC), 134-36. By caring for the impoverished widows’ physical needs, Boaz had demonstrated loyalty to both the living (the impoverished widows) and the dead (their late husbands). See R. B. Chisholm, From Exegesis to Exposition, 72.

[2:20]  2 tn Heb “to the living and the dead” (so KJV, NASB).

[2:20]  3 tn The Hebrew term גָּאַל (gaal) is sometimes translated “redeemer” here (NIV “one of our kinsman-redeemers”; NLT “one of our family redeemers”). In this context Boaz, as a “redeemer,” functions as a guardian of the family interests who has responsibility for caring for the widows of his deceased kinsmen.

[4:14]  4 tn Or “redeemer.” See the note on the phrase “guardian of the family interests” in 3:9. As the following context indicates, the child is referred to here.

[4:14]  5 tn The “guardian” is the subject of the verb, as the next verse makes clear.

[4:14]  6 tn Heb “may his name be called [i.e., “perpetuated”; see Gen 48:16] in Israel.”

[4:15]  7 tn Heb “and he will become for you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age” (NASB similar).

[4:15]  8 tn Heb “who, she”; KJV “which is better to thee.”

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