Saturday, February 13, 2010


Samech is rare. The letter occurs only nine times in Ruth. Three of those are in the word חֶסֶד - kindness among other things, and one in a related root, חָסָה take refuge, or shelter, or trust.. E.g. Ruth 1:8

יעשה יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד
may יְהוָה deal with you kindly
In Ruth 1:17, we have the word יָסַף for adding
כֹּה יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה לִי וְכֹה יוֹסִיף
this יְהוָה deal with me and more
Ruth 2:7 - gather אָסַף, seems very close to adding
וְאָסַפְתִּי בָעֳמָרִים אַחֲרֵי הַקּוֹצְרִים
and gather among the sheaves after the reapers
Ruth 2:12 (mysteriously connected to 3:9 by the word כנף). I doubt this is a structural accident.
אֲשֶׁר-בָּאת לַחֲסוֹת תַּחַת-כְּנָפָיו
to whom you came to take refuge under his wings
Ruth 2:20 - kindness again
אֲשֶׁר לֹא-עָזַב חַסְדּוֹ
who has not left off his kindness
Ruth 3:3 - anoint, a relatively rare word and not the usual one for anointing or anointed which are related to מָשַׁח. Some people distrust etymology but I find it fascinating. How does language work and how did it begin? This word סוך has three homonyms that I see when scanning BDB meaning come to an end, cease, and hedge or fence, and reeds. These last two meanings seem related to סָכַךְ from which we get the feast of tabernacles חַג הַסֻּכֹּות (Leviticus 23:34).
וְרָחַצְתְּ וָסַכְתְּ
so wash yourself and anoint yourself
Ruth 3:10 - kindness again
הֵיטַבְתְּ חַסְדֵּךְ
you have made good your kindness
Ruth 4:1 - two instances of 'turn aside', a word that is also spelled with a שׂ and can mean apostatize.
וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה
 פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי
וַיָּסַר וַיֵּשֵׁב
and he said turn aside sit here -
what a coincidence!
and he turned aside and sat down

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