In bible (Ruth 4,7) it's written that before closing a deal, it was used that one of the sides took his shoes off:

Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.

In Talmud there is a debate on which side took his shoes off. One says it was Boaz (Buyer), and the second opinion says it was the second side (seller).

My question is if we can find some evidence in the history science which can supports one of the opinions?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's more about the Talmud than the Bible. – curiousdannii Jan 11 '20 at 12:47
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    I can ommit the Talmud mentioning. I mentined it because this is the first source I found gor the debate, but I found the same debate later on between the bible commentaries. (b.t.w. if I'm not mistaken, also Talmud consider as a commentaries of the bible for jewish. Isn't it?) – Foreign affairs Jan 11 '20 at 15:17

Since Boaz is taken by many (if not most) to be a figure of Christ and Ruth as a figure of the Church and since the man with one shoe is taken to be a figure of (some say) the first covenant or the legal rule as such, it does matter if there is thought to be ambiguity in regard to the issue of the shoe.

Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. Ruth 4:8 KJV

The referent (or antecedent) is 'kinsman'. The kinsman said ...

Although Boaz is mentioned next (said unto Boaz) it does not mean that the referent (antecedent) immediately changes to 'Boaz'. Grammatically, the referent/antecedent is still 'kinsman'.

It is he who takes off the shoe.

The question is, whose shoe did the kinsman loose ? His own or Boaz' ?

This is made clear by Deuteronomy :

Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house. Deuteronomy 25:9 :

Here the refused woman takes off the shoe of the kinsman who will not redeem and she spits in his face for not doing his brotherly duty towards her own (now deceased) husband.

But the kinsman of Boaz (nearer in relationship to Ruth and thus having precedence) admits of his own refusal and takes off his own shoe.

(Whether he spits in his own face is not recorded by the scripture.)

There is, of course, the issue of Ruth being not born of Israel but being a Moabitess. Therefore what rights does she have ?

Boaz does all that is needed for the Gentile woman and the man with one shoe does absolutely nothing. He has taken off his shoe and will make no further progress.

  • Are you sure of your reading? The question asked by Boaz may well read "Please relinquish your right so I may exercise it." – Joshua Jan 11 '20 at 23:56
  • @Joshua What question (of Boaz) do you mean ? – Nigel J Jan 12 '20 at 0:04
  • Boaz asked the closer kinsman what he was going to do. – Joshua Jan 12 '20 at 0:21
  • @Joshua I cannot find any question that Boaz asks of the kinsman. He commands the kinsman, yes. – Nigel J Jan 12 '20 at 0:57
  • Ruth 4:4 "and I though to inform you saying buy it back ... if you will redeem, redeem, but if not you will redeem tell me". There's a couple of different ways to read it, but the phrasing suggests that Boaz would rather do it himself. – Joshua Jan 12 '20 at 1:36

The one who is relinquishing his right to the property being transferred gives a sandal to the purchaser.

Pulpit Commentary one several commentaries found on the verse at bible hub says Verse 7. - And this was formerly a custom in Israel, on occasion of surrendering rights of kinship, or of selling and buying land, in order to confirm any matter; a man drew off his shoe and gave it to the other contracting party. This was attestation in Israel.

We give a free translation. The custom was significant enough. He who sold land, or surrendered his right to act as a kinsman in buying land, intimated by the symbolical act of taking off his shoe, and handing it to his friend, that he freely gave up his right to walk upon the soil, in favor of the person who had acquired the possession. Corresponding symbolical acts, in connection with the transfer of lands, have been common, and probably still are, in many countries. No doubt the shoe, after being received, would be immediately returned.

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