Tuesday, February 10, 2009

FFoB7: Removal of Sandal

What is going on with Ruth 4:7-8? What kind of disgusting practice this is that business transactions are sealed by the removal and handing over of one's shoe? Can you imagine how much single shoes you end up with as a businessman?

"Sandals were the ordinary footwear in the ancient Near East, but they were also a symbolic item of clothing, especially in the relationship between the widow and her legal guardian. This may have been due to the fact that land was purchased based on whatever size triangle of land the buyer could walk off in an hour, a day, a week or a month (1 Kings 21:16-17). Land was surveyed in triangles, and a benchmark was constructed of fieldstones to serve as a boundary marker (Deut 19:14). Since they walked off the land in sandals, the sandals became the moveable title to that land. By removing the sandals of her guardian, a widow removed his autorisation to administer the land of her household. Land transfers in the Nuzi texts also involved replacing the old owner's foot on the land with that of the new owner."
- The IVP Bible Background Commentary

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