- Ruth is one of two books in the Bible named after a woman. The other is Esther.
- Ruth is the only book in the Bible named after a Gentile woman. Additionally, this is not just any Gentile woman, this is a despised Moabite.
- The author is unknown.
- Some have suggested it was written by the prophet Samuel. This is the Jewish traditional view according to the Talmud.
Date of Authorship
- This is unknown and very debatable.
- Pre-Monarch: Some believe it was written before the reign of King David. They believe it was written by Samuel, and the final genealogy concerning David was a later addition.
- Monarch: Some believe it was written during the time of David and Solomon.
- Monarch: Some believe it was written after the time of David and Solomon, but before the exile.
- Exilic: Some believe it was written after the exile of Israel and Judah.
- The majority of Hebrew manuscripts place Ruth in the Writings section
- The Septuagint places Ruth in the History section
- Ruth is written of Israel in the days when the judges ruled. This was a cyclical season of rebellion, retribution, repentance, and restoration. During the time of retribution, God used both internal and external means to discipline his people.
- 1250 – 1050 BC (Sinclair Ferguson)
- 1160 – 1100 BC (Chuck Swindoll)
- Ruth was written to show God’s sovereign choice and hand in setting up David; this gives legitimacy to the Davidic Monarchy
- Ruth was written to legitimize mixed marriages and Gentile inclusion. This was a corrective against those who took the teachings of Ezra and Nehemiah too far. (Ezra 7:10; 9:1f; 10:3: Neh. 13:1f; 23)
- Ruth was written to show the beauty of human kindness. From God, Boaz, and Ruth, one sees generosity, charity, compassion, mercy, kindness, and sacrifice. This is shown to the poor, the widow, and the alien. (Look at Leviticus 19 and Romans 13.)
- Ruth was written to emphasize the responsibility one has towards their family.
- Ruth was written to show God’s providential to the Gentiles. God shows multi-ethnic grace.
- Ruth was written to highlight God’s sovereign and mysterious power. Nothing happens by chance or coincidence.
- Ruth was written to highlight God’s covenantal cursing and covenantal blessing.
- Ruth was written to show the costly nature of true faith and discipleship.
- Ruth was written to highlight the godly man. One sees the difference between Elimelech and Boaz. In the words of one commentator, “The book of Judges tells of the prophetess Debra who is strong as a man. The book of Ruth tells of a man who is tender as a woman.” (Paulus Cassel)
- Ruth was written to show the value of women and how God uses them to build his kingdom and church.
- Ruth was written to highlight Jesus — The ultimate “Kinsman Redeemer.” Within the book of Ruth, “redeem” or “redemption” is mentioned 23 times.