The Use of blṭ in Ruth 3:7

in Vetus Testamentum
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Often, scholars debate whether to read the book of Ruth as a polemic against the disparagement of Moabites. Scholars who offer a non-polemical interpretation should provide an alternative explanation for Ruth’s Moabite identity as B. Porten does in a very brief article from 1976. The present article provides further support for Porten’s argument by drawing attention to a possible pun, noted by T. Linafelt, on the word blṭ in Ruth 3:7.

Vetus Testamentum

A Quarterly Published by the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament




M. Weinfeld, “Ruth, Book of”, EncJud 14, p. 522.


B. Porten, “Structure, Style, and Theme of the Scroll of Ruth”, Association for Jewish Studies Newsletter 17 (1976), pp. 15-16; J. Schipper, Ruth: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (ayb 7D; New Haven, 2016), pp. 38-44.


Zakovitch, Das Buch Rut, p. 50.


Schipper, Ruth, p. 41. For other verbal correspondences, consult T. Linafelt, Ruth (Berit Olam; Collegeville, mn, 1999), p. 52.


Eskenazi and Frymer-Kensky, Ruth, p. xxi.


Porten, “Structure, Style, and Theme of the Scroll of Ruth”, p. 16; cf. Gen Rab. 41:10; H. Fisch, “Ruth and the Structure of Covenant History”, vt 32 (1982), pp. 425-37.


Schipper, Ruth, pp. 40-44, 186-88.


Schipper, Ruth, pp. 9, 81-82, 185-87.


Garsiel, Biblical Names, p. 252; B. Porten, “The Scroll of Ruth: A Rhetorical Study”, Gratz College Annual of Jewish Studies 7 (1978), pp. 23-49, here p. 46; J. M. Sasson, Ruth: A New Translation with a Philological Commentary and a Formalist-Folklorist Interpretation (2nd ed.; Sheffield, 1999), p. 19; Schipper, Ruth, p. 9.


Schipper, Ruth, pp. 84, 126.


Garsiel, Biblical Names, p. 252. I note another consonantal anagram involving the term “I would uncover” (’glh) in 4:4 and the term “the kindred redeemer” (hg’l) in 4:1, 6, 8 (Schipper, Ruth, pp. 8, 164).


Schipper, Ruth, pp. 168, 177. I also note that the legal terminology in Ruth 4 rarely clarifies the legal transactions that it describes. Rather, it creates rhymes, puns, assonance and alliteration (Ruth, pp. 9, 164, 168, 177).


Linafelt, Ruth, p. 52; cf. LaCocque, Ruth, p. 95. I would like to thank B. Porten for reminding me of this pun in a private conversation at the 2015 Annual International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.


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