The book of Ruth was written as a recollection of events about David’s ancestry after he became king of Israel around 1065 BC. In this post, we will investigate and plot Ruth in the Biblical timeline.
Ancestry of Boaz
Exod 6:23 Aaron took to himself Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, as wife; and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Luke 3:32-33 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
We are not interested in the actual genealogy of Boaz but genealogy that helps to identify the period of time. The sister of Boaz’s grandfather married Aaron.
Based on the mentioned verses, the genealogy of Boaz can be represented as in the above picture.
Salmon marries Rahab, Boaz’s mother
Num 1:2-3 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above–all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. … (7) “from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab;
Num 14:30 ‘Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.
Nahshon was counted in the first census of Israel. Except Caleb and Joshua, none of those who were counted in first census entered the promised land. For Salmon to marry Rahab, he must have enter the promised land. This means, Salmon was less than 20 years old during the first census. Hence, Salmon was born in 1457 BC (+/- 10 years).
Josh 6:25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Matt 1:5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
The children of Israel conquered Jericho 40 years after coming out of Israel. Hence, Salmon must be between 40-60 years old when he married Rahab. Hence, it is logical to assume Boaz was born within the next few years which must be anytime after 1428 BC.
Time of the Judges
Ruth 1:1 NOW it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.
Judg 2:8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. (16) Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
The book of Ruth itself gives a very clear indication that the story begins when the judges ruled the nation of Israel. The LORD gave judges after the death of Joshua. Joshua died in 1399 BC at 110 years. If Boaz was born around 1428 BC (conquering Jericho), he must be around 30 years of age when Joshua died. Adding 10 years for Elimelech’s trip to Moab and Naomi’s return and a few years for that generation to die, we get around 1385 BC which places Boaz to be around 40 to 50 years of age.
The events in the book of Ruth happened around 1385 BC, nearly two decades after the death of Joshua when Boaz was about 40 to 50 years old and five decades after Israel fought against Moab before entering the promised land.
The genealogy in Ruth 4:18-22 indicates that Boaz lived two generations before David, who was born in 1040 BC. David was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse. So that generation would take up about 40 years. The generation of Obed adds 30 more years so Ruth gave birth to Obed 70 years or so before David was born or about 1110 BC. So Boaz lived in the 12th century BC, not in the 14th and 13th centuries BC.
The timeline calculation in this post is based on the conquest of Jericho and Rahab being Boaz’s mother, hence, placing Boaz’s birth in ~ 1428 BC.
If we backtrack from David as you did, David was born in 1098 BC (not 1040 BC). David was 8th, so Jesse may have married 10 years earlier and born at least 40 years earlier. i.e, 1138 BC. 40 years a generation, gives us Obed’s birth around 1178 BC and Boaz’s birth around 1218 BC.
I do agree this is way off about 200 years. This is because, it is impossible to create a timeline based on the book of Judges since Judges co-existed, several overlaps and many ambiguities. Unfortunately, we had to live with 1 Kings 6:1 as source of truth that the time of Judges after Exodus until king Saul, was 399 years (or 359 years based on LXX).
If we consider 1 Kings 6:1 to be accurate, backtracking from 1098 BC (David’s birth) to 1428 BC (Boaz’s birth) is 330 years, and it nicely fits. Instead of 40 years a generation, we may look into the possibility of those in between marrying around 70 or even 80 like Jacob and Moses. Polygamy was also common on those days and the father’s age can be much greater when having offspring.
David’s reign as king began in 1010 at age 30 and he reigned 40 years
The timeline used here (under Timelines menu) is strictly based on Scripture with verse by verse plotting without external sources. This gives David’s birth to be 1098 BC.
I think that if you compare the line of kings in both Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom Starting with the last ones, Hoshea in North and Zedekiah in South and the dates of their reign, adding up all the years each reigned from the books of I and II Kings, you would come up with a different conclusion.
The comparison is located in Timelines (menu) -> Kings to Desolations but not sure what you are referring to that arrives a different conclusion.