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.
B. Porten, “Structure, Style, and Theme of the Scroll of Ruth”, Association for Jewish Studies Newsletter17 (1976), pp. 15-16; J. Schipper, Ruth: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (ayb 7D; New Haven, 2016), pp. 38-44.
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.
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.