In my previous post I talked about the book of Ruth, a gem of a short-story in the Hebrew Bible. Now that I’ve explained how the plot works, I’d like to make just a couple of points about what it is trying to teach, starting with a comment about an episode that many readers over the years have found rather intriguing.
It is definitely one of the confusing and suggestive passages in the book. It comes in chapter 3, where Ruth and her rich (and drunk) relative Boaz end up asleep together on the threshing floor, and in the dark Ruth “stealthily uncovered his feet.” The next day he arranges to marry her. What???
Different cultures, using their different languages, use different euphemisms for sexual organs. In older English literature, for example, a man’s penis is sometimes referred to as his “member.” Hebrew had its own euphemism for genitals. They were called
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