Samuel is suggested by some (Talmud) but is not likely.
circa 1000 B.C.
The last verses of the book trace Ruth’s descendants only to King David, strongly suggesting that the book was written during his reign.
Ryrie Study Bible, Introduction to the Book of Ruth, p. 402
Time covered in history:
The Biblical Timeline Book by Book:
Genesis…history from Creation through entry into Egypt
Exodus…history from Exodus through Sinai
Leviticus…one year after the Exodus…Laws for living & instructions for the use of the Tabernacle…given during the month & 20 days between the setting up of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:17) and the departure of the people from Sinai (Numbers 10:11).
Numbers…history, starting one month after the close of the book of Exodus and continuing through 39 years of wandering in the wilderness… concluding at the border to the Promised Land (Canaan)
Deuteronomy…the addresses given by Moses during the final months of his life while Israel was camped across from the Promised Land
Joshua…This book begins a new section of the Old Testament…the Historical books. It describes the conquest of the land of Canaan around 1400 B.C.
Judges…The events of Judges take place between 1380 & 1050 B.C. The period of history ends with the last Judge, Samson.
Ruth…The events of this book occurred during the time period of the Judges (the latter half of the twelfth century B.C.) This was a time marked by idolatry and unfaithfulness.
Ruth was a Moabitess…the descendants of Lot…a heathen people. Boaz was the son of Rahab, the harlot from Jericho.
God, in establishing the family which was to produce the world’s Savior, chose a beautiful heathen girl, led her to Bethlehem and made her the bride of Boaz. This is God’s grace. He adopts the Gentiles into Christ’s family.
What the Bible is All About, Henrietta C. Mears, p. 108
(1) Ruth herself shows that Gentiles could believe in the true God. (2) The book gives a partial lineage of David, and thus of Christ, and shows that Gentile blood was in the line of the One who became the Savior for all mankind. (3) Boaz, the kinsmen-redeemer…serves as a beautiful type of Christ…(4) The book is a moving example of the sovereignty of God in caring for His people…
Ryrie Study Bible, Introduction to the Book of Ruth, p. 402
- Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible that bears a woman’s name (Esther).
- Ruth is one of only four women named in the lineage of Christ (Tamar, Rahab, Bathsheba).
- Ruth had several admirable character qualities: hardworking, self-starter, loving, kind, humble, faithful and brave.
Ruth Renounces Her Past Ruth 1:1-22
Because of a famine...a man named Elimelech (means: my God is King), from Bethlehem, Judah (they were Ephrathites)...took his wife Naomi (means: pleasant, lovely), and sons Mahlon (means: puny), and Chilion (means: pining, whining), and went to Moab to live. While living there Elimelech died. The two sons married Moabite women...Orpah, and Ruth. They lived there 10 years and then the sons died, leaving no children. Naomi decided to return to Judah. She encourages her daughter-in-laws to return to their homes. Ruth renounced her Moabite gods for the true God of Israel and goes with Naomi. They return home. Naomi now wants to be called "Mara", which means "bitter". The trip from Moab (east of the Dead Sea) to the former home of Naomi in Palestine was over 100 miles and crossed mountains over 1 mile high (on foot!). They arrive at Bethlehem.
It is interesting that verse 16 is a verse that is often quoted in wedding ceremonies. However, here in its context…it is a vow given by a young woman to her mother-in-law.
Ruth Reaps in Her New Home Ruth 2:1-23
Boaz was a relative of Elimelech. Ruth goes to glean (gather up from the leftovers in the field intended for the poor after the barley harvest at the end of April, cf. Leviticus 19:19; 23:22) in the fields and comes to one owned by Boaz. He meets her and is very kind to her. When she asks why he has been so kind to her, he says that he has heard about her faithfulness to Naomi and he blesses her (:12). He gives her food.
Ruth 2:18-23-Ruth returns to Naomi and tells her what has happened. Naomi tells Ruth that Boaz is a "relative"...the Hebrew word is "kinsman-redeemer".
The word “kinsman” in Hebrew is “goel”. The law of the “goel,” or next of kin, is found in Leviticus 25, Numbers 25, and Deuteronomy 19 and 25.
The responsibilities of a kinsman-redeemer were:
(a) redeeming family property that had changed ownership;
(b) marrying a childless widow to raise up her children in her dead husband’s name (1:11-12; Deuteronomy 25:5,7-10).
There were three requirements of the kinsman-redeemer:
(a) He must be willing to redeem—Leviticus 25:25; Galatians 4:4-5
(b) He must be a kinsman—have the right to redeem—Leviticus 25:48-49; Ruth 3:12-13; Hebrews 2:11.
(c) He must have the power—the means to redeem. Ruth 4:4-6; John 10:11-18.
Boaz had several admirable character qualities: he was a man of his word (integrity), was sensitive to the needs of others (caring), had a keen sense of responsibility, was a successful and shrewd businessman.
Ruth Rests in Her Redeemer Ruth 3:1-18
Naomi sends Ruth to Boaz, that she might request of him to fulfill his responsibility as a kinsman redeemer. She instructs her to go to where they are threshing in the field and find Boaz. That night, after he has gone to sleep, she is to pull the blanket up and lie down under it at his feet. That night, Boaz suddenly wakes up and sees Ruth. He asks who she is and identifies herself. Then reminds him that he is a “relative”…a “kinsman-redeemer”. He is pleased that she has not tried to find a younger man to take her as a bride. He agrees to be her kinsman-redeemer…but tells her there is another kinsman-redeemer who is a closer relative than he is. Ruth returns home and leaves the matter with God.
Ruth Rejoices in Her Future Ruth 4:1-22
Boaz arranges a meeting with the closer kinsman redeemer. Upon hearing the facts, he steps aside and allows Boaz to fulfill the kinsman-redeemer’s responsibilities, including marriage to Ruth. Ruth presents Boaz with a male baby that is named Obed (meaning: servant).
Prayer: Lord, what a beautiful story. In Ruth, we see a woman of faith and dedication. In Boaz, we see a man of kindness. And in You, Lord…we see Your sovereignty and grace. Please let me have the character qualities of Ruth and Boaz. And, let me experience Your sovereignty and grace over my life.