Book of Ruth in Biblical Timeline

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 Nahshonthe 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.

Conclusion

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.