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Elimelech meaning

אלימלך
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🔼The name Elimelech in the Bible

There is only one Elimelech in the Bible, and he is remembered in the harrowing story of Naomi and Ruth (Ruth 1:2):

Elimelech of Bethlehem decides to flee from famine and take his wife Naomi and two sons Mahlon and Chilion to Moab. When he passes away, Mahlon marries Orpah and Chilion marries Ruth, both Moabite women. But after ten years, Mahlon and Chilion die as well.

Orpah decides to go back to her family but Ruth accompanies Naomi on her journey back to Bethlehem. Once there, Ruth meets and marries Boaz, and becomes an ancestor of king David, and later Jesus the Nazarene.

🔼Etymology of the name Elimelech

The name Elimelech consists of two elements. The first part is the word אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:

The second element of our name comes from the noun מלך (melek), meaning king:

The letter י (yod) that sits in between the two elements may be a possessive yod, which would turns the el-part into my el or el of. But it may also belong to the second element and create an third person form of the verb מלך: he is (being) a king.

🔼Elimelech meaning

For a meaning of the name Elimelech, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary take the yod as part of the verb and translate our name as God Is King. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names sees the yod as possessive and reads God Of The King.

The name מלכיאל (Malchiel) is the reversal of Elimelech.

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