ELIMELECH (ē-lĭm'ĕ-lek̆, Heb. ’ĕlîmelekh, my God is king). A man of Bethlehem-Judah who emigrated to Moab during a famine in Judah in the time of the judges (Ruth.1.2-Ruth.1.3; Ruth.2.1, Ruth.2.3; Ruth.4.3, Ruth.4.9). He and his sons died in Moab. He is remembered because his daughter-in-law Ruth was faithful to his widow Naomi.
ELIMELECH ĭ lĭm’ ə lĕk
, God is King
). A Bethlehemite, the husband of Naomi (Ruth 1:2
), a head among the families of Judah. He went to Moab to sojourn because of a famine in his homeland. Two sons were born to him, Mahlon and Chilion, who after their father’s death married daughters of Moab. Mahlon married Ruth, but died shortly thereafter. Boaz, being of the same family with Elimelech (Ruth 2:1
), and by right of kinship, purchased from Naomi the land formerly belonging to Elimelech. He also married Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Elimelech (Ruth 4:3
). From this marriage came David, a great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz. By marriage, Ruth the Gentile was brought eventually into the line of promise from Abraham to Christ.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(’elimelekh, "my God is king"; Abeimelech, Alimelek):
Elimelech was a member of the tribe of Judah, a native of Bethlehem Judah, a man of wealth and probably head of a family or clan (Ru 1:2,3; 2:1,3). He lived during the period of the Judges, had a hereditary possession near Bethlehem, and is chiefly known as the husband of Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ru and ancestress of David the king. Because of a severe famine in Judea, he emigrated to the land of Moab with his wife and his sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Not long afterward he died, and his two sons married Moabite women, Ru and Orpah. Ten years in all were spent in Moab, when the two sons died, and the three widows were left. Soon afterward Naomi decided to return to Judah, and the sequel is told in the Book of Ruth.
See Ruth; Naomi.