Everybody loves a good Levirate Marriage story. Personally, I prefer the Ruth story over Tamar's (though that's interesting as well). But I have questions regarding the "sandal tossing" custom found in the Ruth passage. I cited the passage below of the process by which Ruth and her inheritance was given over to Boaz:
Now this was the custom in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning exchanging, to confirm all things: a man drew off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour; and this was the attestation in Israel.-- So the near kinsman said unto Boaz: 'Buy it for thyself.' And he drew off his shoe. And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people: 'Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I acquired to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place; ye are witnesses this day. Ruth 4:7-10
- Where does this custom come from?
- Was this common in ancient negotiations/contracts? It seems from the text that the scribes felt they needed to explain to the readers that this was done according to "the manner in [a] former.. time" as if the readers would be unfamiliar with it too.
- Do we have any other sources, biblical or not, which report a similar incident?
- Are you aware of any scholarly articles that comment or elaborate on this elusive custom?
- How/Why does a tossing of a sandal come to represent "Nice doing business with you?"
- What does the tossing of the sandal symbolize?
Thanks! (You can't see me, but I'm tossing a sandal at you).