"In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab."- Ruth 1:1

So when exactly during the era where the judges ruled (I'm assuming that these are judges from the Book of Judges) did the events of the Book of Ruth occur? Were they some time after the Battle of Gibeah?

I'm surprised that there's little extrabiblical Jewish commentary on this.


In general, the era of the "judges" is the period between Joshua's conquest of Canaan, and the founding of the Israelite monarchy, initially under King Saul, approximately 350 years. The final Judge was Samuel who anointed both King Saul and King David.

From Matt 1:5 we discover that Boaz' mother was Rahab, almost certainly the Rahab of Jericho, This Rahab obviously married Salmon (Ruth 4:12, 1 Chron 2:11).

Thus, it appears that the story of Ruth was early in the period of the judges (Ruth 1:1), after the conquest of Jericho.

The timing of the battle of Gibeah (Judges 19-21) is unknown but much debated.

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If Rahab was 90 when she begot Boaz[cf.], this would have occurred about 13 years before the reign of Eglon(57[cf. 2] - 20[1Sa 7:2] - 2[cf.]) = 35 years for Rahab(20?) to live through plus 8[Jdg 3:8] + 27[90-63] to get to a theoretical 90 years old, which 27 years into a 40 period of peace would have been 13 years before Eglon[Jdg 3:11-12]). If Boaz then lived something like 150 years after this(Jacob himself lived to be 147 for example - Gen 47:28), it would mean that the book of Ruth took place around the era which followed the reign of Jabin king of Canaan(Jdg 5:31). Of course this is only an estimate.

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