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

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References

2

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

4

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.

13

Zakovitch, Das Buch Rut, p. 50.

14

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

15

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

16

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.

17

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

20

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

21

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.

23

Schipper, Ruth, pp. 84, 126.

24

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).

25

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).

26

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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