Did the book of Ruth take place before, during, or after Israel took over Moab?

  • Welcome to the site Harry. Please take the Tour and have a look at the FAQ (scroll down to the page bottom and look left) to get a sense of how the site works. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


There are two records of Moab being subject to Israel:

  1. During the time of King David as per 2 Sam 8:2 & 1 Chron 18:2
  2. Much later during the later kings of Israel as per 2 Kings 3:4

Now, according to Ruth 1:1, the story of Ruth occurred during the time the "Judges" ruled Israel, that is well-before the time of monarch of king David. Indeed, part of the purpose of the book of Ruth was to record the origin of David's great grandmother, Ruth the wife of Boaz, whose son was Obed, whose son was Jesse whose son was David, Ruth 4:21, 22.

The reference in Judges 3:30 is probably NOT that Israel ruled Moab, but that Israel had freed themselves from Moab's rule under the leadership of Ehud, as confirmed by Judges 11:25.

Therefore, the answer to the OP's question is, the story of Ruth is placed in a time well before Israel ruled Moab. Further we can probably assume that it must have occurred during a time when Israel and Moab were at peace which suggests that it was after the time of the Judge Ehud.

  • +1 - I'd add that the date of authorship is probably considerably later. The author was looking at Moab through the eyes of his own time. Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 18:21
  • @DanFefferman - yes, the question who wrote Ruth and when is an entirely different matter.
    – Dottard
    Commented Sep 26, 2023 at 20:49

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