settings icon
share icon

Who wrote the book of Ruth? Who was the author of Ruth?

author of Ruth

The events recounted in the book of Ruth are situated in the period documented in the book of Judges, suggesting a common authorship. Although the biblical narrative positions Ruth as an interlude between the times of the judges and kings, the Hebrew Bible includes it in the Ketuvim (“Writings”) section alongside books like Esther, Daniel, and the Song of Solomon. Ruth is also part of the Megilloth, five scrolls often read at major festivals.

Jewish tradition attributes Samuel as the author of the book of Ruth, and there’s no real reason to doubt that Samuel wrote it. Some question the traditional view by citing the absence of corroboration from other biblical writers and the fact that Samuel died before David became king, making the inclusion of a Davidic genealogy in Ruth a problem. However, Samuel’s death only preceded David’s coronation by a matter of months, in all likelihood, allowing for Ruth to have been written after David’s anointing.

Some scholars have suggested that an unknown female author wrote Ruth. Though no one claims that Ruth herself wrote the book, the focus on women as the main characters has led to this alternative perspective. However, the absence of a name or any substantial clues makes this option speculative.

Another theory posits that an unknown author composed Ruth in the post-exilic period as a response to Ezra’s opposition to intermarriage with the Moabites (Ezra 9:1–2). Yet this view appears improbable, given the context. The actions of the Israelites in Ezra 9 were universally condemned (see Ezra 9:4), and it’s difficult to perceive how the book of Ruth could support intermarriage with pagans, as Ruth herself was a Moabite follower of the One True God (see Ruth 1:16).

Even if we set aside Samuel as the author of Ruth, it is more plausible that the book was written during the period of the kings, potentially to defend David’s kingship. The prophet Nathan has been considered as a possible author, as have other, unnamed prophets during the time of King Josiah.

Samuel is probably the human author of the book of Ruth. Whether it was Samuel or some other prophet of God, his literary skill was appreciable, and he produced what many regard as one of the best short stories ever written. Ruth, an ancestor of David and of Jesus Christ, played a vital part in the outworking of God’s redemptive plan, and her testimony shows how God can work through anyone committed to Him.

Return to:

Questions about the Bible

Who wrote the book of Ruth? Who was the author of Ruth?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: February 28, 2024