But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." Ruth 1:16-17
The book of Ruth opens by telling us that the story took place during the time of the Judges. This tells us that the book was written after the time of the Judges, probably after King David was anointed, since he is mentioned at the end of the book. It also tells us that the story took place during one of Israel's darkest times--a time of war, famine, treachery, idolatry, and as Judges 21:25 sums up the era, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Some scholars say that Ruth lived during the judgeship of Gideon because the famine that is mentioned (Judges 6:3, 4) could be the one mentioned in Ruth 1:1; however, famines were common in those days. Matthew 1:6 lists Rahab (Joshua 2) as the mother of Boaz. This would seem to argue for an earlier date for the story of Ruth, unless several generations are assumed but not listed between Rahab and David in Matthew's genealogy, as some scholars feel. However, if we work backward in the genealogy from David to Ruth, the dates on the timeline are a good estimate.
Genesis 46:2-7 Judges 2:6-19 Jacob settles in The time of the Judges Saul anointed David's reign Egypt (1876 B.C) (1375-1050 B.C) 1049 B.C. ? (1011-971 B.C.) |__________________________|______________|______________|__________________|_____ Ruth (1126-1105 B.C.)????
Likewise, we cannot establish with certainty WHO wrote the book of Ruth, although Jewish tradition attributes it to Samuel, the last judge over Israel. Some scholars believe it's unlikely that Samuel wrote the book of Ruth because of the mention of David in the last verse; Samuel died (I Samuel 25) when David was still relatively young.
Some helpful hints during your study:
b -Indicates a reading assignment for the lesson
n -Indicates a question to be answered from the text
? -Indicates a question aimed at introspection or discussion
All text references will be taken from the NIV; however, any version you prefer to use is fine.
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