The Book of Ruth - when was it composed?

A brief personal perspective 

There are clues in the Book of Ruth which indicate that it was written a considerable time after the events which unfold therein. These are to be found in 1.1 ("long ago in the days before Israel had a King"), 4.7 ("in those days") and 4.17 ("who was the Father of David"). A fourth is in 4.18-22, which gives a family tree down to David.

Assuming these verses were not added later, the composition of Ruth would appear to date from at least the time of the reign of David (c1010BC to c970BC).

However, the story may have been composed earlier and embellished later. The following notes are important in endeavouring to support or refute either supposition and I have taken these into account in reaching my personal conclusion, which appears at the end of this article.

Considering all the above and discounting the possibility that the original text may have been added to later and the fact that David is mentioned twice in the final few verses5 leads me to conclude that Ruth must have been written during or after David's time.

1 Gen 38.29 and Num 26.21

2 Ruth 1.22 (KJV)

3 Ruth 1.1 (GNB)

4 Ruth 4.8

5 Ruth 4.17 and 22

Richard Farquharson, Maulden, Bedfordshire April 2016