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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919

Abstract

DE VAAL-STANTON, Milda. The meaning and implications of Ruth 4:5: A grammatical, socio-cultural and juridical investigation. Old testam. essays [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.3, pp.674-693. ISSN 2312-3621.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2312-3621/2015/v28n3a7.

Uncertainty about the meaning of the problematic word compilation •-”- in its specific context in Ruth 4:5 creates a lack of clarity on the events which take place in Ruth 4. Such lack of clarity is reflected in the diversity of ancient and modern translations of this verse. It is uncertain whether the Moabite immigrant Ruth is described as also selling the land or whether she is merely seen as part of the sale transaction. The traditional view implies that a levi-rate marriage is involved in the narrative of this chapter. This interpretation creates multiple juridical problems. This article proposes that a usufruct is sold rather than land. Understanding and applying this legal concept can correct the misunderstanding of the verse. The problem is approached through a syntactical and grammatical analysis and justified in terms of the ideology in the book of Ruth. It is suggested that Ruth 4:5 should be rendered with, "The day you acquire the (right/usufruct in respect of) the field from the hand of Naomi and from (the hand of) Ruth, the Moabite woman, the wife of the deceased, you (also) acquire (her) in order to maintain the name of the deceased over his inheritance. "

Keywords : Ruth 4:5; women's inheritance rights; usufruct; redemption; levirate marriage.

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