The story of Ruth occurred during the time of the judges ca. 1370 to 1041BC. By working backward from the date of David’s reign (approx. 1011–971 BC), the time period of Ruth would most likely be during the judgeship of Jair, ca. 1126–1105 B.C.
The story of Ruth covers about 11–12 years: 1) 10 years in Moab (1:1–18); 2) several months (mid-April to mid-June) in Boaz’s field (1:19–2:23); 3) 1 day in Bethlehem and 1 night at the threshing floor (3:1–18); and 4) about 1 year in Bethlehem (4:1–22).
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- Setting: read in the light of judges: God is faithful in the midst of Israel’s apostasy
- Genre: Short story; short prose narrative; limited number of characters; one central figure; limited chain of events over a limited time; nature of characters is revealed, not developed.
- Purpose: To record the divine intervention that protected the family of Naomi; to show how a nation at risk will be preserved by YHWH’s initiatives; to show how a foreigner becomes part of the covenant; to provide the ancestry of David.
- Main Themes: redemption; YHWH’s covenant faithfulness and love (e.g. the name of God appears 23 times in 85 verses).
- The Lord’s faithfulness – Ruth 1:8-9
- Ruth’s faith in the Lord – Ruth 1:16-18; Ruth 2:10-12
- The turning point: the Lord’s kindness – Ruth 2:20
- Redemption of the land & levirate marriage
- The ancestry of David – Ruth 4:13-22
Genre: Understanding Narrative
Background & Outlines
- Hebrew Calendar
- Chart: Bible History at a glance
- Blue Letter Bible: Old Testament Timeline
- Biblehub: Ruth Timeline
- BIblehub: Judges Timeline
- Biblehub: Ruth Overview
- Bible Atlas: Moab
- Bible Atlas: Bethlehem
- Ray C Stedman: Overview of the Book
- John MacArthur: Author, Date, Background
- NIV: Introduction to Ruth
- ESV: Introduction to Ruth
- ESV: Family of Ruth
- Charles Swindoll: Ruth (chart)
- Tyndale: Map of Divided Kingdom which shows Moab
- ESV: Map of Sojourn from Bethlehem to Moab
- Studylight: Map of Period of Judges
- Blue Letter Bible: Timeline from Creation to 4thC AD
Maps from Studylight.org
- Israel in Canaan from Joshua to Samuel to Saul
- The Tribal Allotments of Israel
- The Division of the Land Among the Tribes
- Levitical Cities and Cities of Refuge (1)
- The Levitical Cities (2)
- The Judges of Israel
- The Period of the Judges
- Ehud and the Oppression of the Moabites
- Deborah’s Victory over the Canaanites
- Gideon’s Battles with the Amalekites
- Jephthah and the Ammonites
- Samson the the Philistines
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
- American Tract Society: Ruth
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary : Ruth
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Ruth, Book of
- Fausset Bible Dictionary: Ruth
- Holman Bible Dictionary: Ruth
- Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Ruth
- Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Ruth, Book of
- Hastings’ Dictionary of the NT: Ruth
- Hawker’s Poor Man’s Dictionary: Ruth
- 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica:
- Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia: Ruth
- Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological & Ecclesiastical Literature: Ruth
- Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological & Ecclesiastical Literature: Ruth, book of
- The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia: Ruth, Book of
- Best Commentaries on Ruth – Tim Challies
- Top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Ruth by Keith Mathison
- Best Commentary on Ruth – Best Commentaries Reviews
- Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible:
- Matthew Henry: Ruth
- Albert Barnes Notes: Ruth
- Reformation Study Bible Notes: Ruth
- Geneva Study Bible: Ruth
- Precept Austin Commentaries & Sermons: Ruth
- Redeem (11X/3V) – Strong’s H1350 in Ruth 3:13; 4:4; 4:6; redeemer (1X) 4:14; relative (6X) 3:9; 3:12; 4:1; 4:3; 4:6; 4:8
- Relative (1X) – Strong’s H7138 in 2:20
- Precepts Austin: Kinsman Redeemer
- An Adjusted Symmetrical Structuring Of Ruth – A Boyd Luter
- The Book of Ruth and Hope in Hard Times – Timothy Paul Erdel
- Literary Structure in the Book of Ruth – Reg Grant
- Naomi in the Book of Ruth in Light of the Mosaic Covenant – Charles Baylis
- Goel in Ancient Israel: Theological Reflections on an Israelite Institution – R L Hubbard
- Living A New Life: Old Testament Teaching About Conversion – William D. Barrick
- The Purpose Of The Book Of Ruth – Louis B. Wolfenson
- The Chiastic Structure of Ruth 2 – A Boyd Luter and Richard Rigsby
- An Adjusted Symmetrical Structuring of Ruth – A Boyd Luter and Richard Rigsby
- Ruth “Quoque” —A Coquette? (Ruth 4:5) – Murray D. Gow
- New Life Amid the Alien Corn: The Book of Ruth – Michael E. W. Thompson
- The Goel in Ruth 4:14, 15 – Julius A Bewer
- Literary Structure and Theology in the Book of Ruth – Leif Hongisto
- Book of Ruth – Bible Survey
- Who was Naomi in the Bible?
- Who was Ruth in the Bible?
- Why did Ruth and Orpah make different decisions?
- Why was Ruth so loyal to Naomi?
- What is the story of Ruth and Boaz?
- What did it mean to spread the corner of your garment over someone?
- What is a kinsman redeemer?
- What is a levirate marriage?
- Why did the first kinsman redeemer refuse to marry Ruth?
Bible Study Helps
- Bible Study 101
- Interpreting Narratives
- Study Software & websites
- More Maps & Charts
- Hebrew word studies by Precepts Austin
- Books on how to study the Bible