What’s in a Name?

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. Ruth 1:1-5

The Book of Ruth is a great love story, a story of personal faithfulness, a story illustrating the law of levirate marriage, and a story involving the great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother of King David. Of interest is the meaning of the names of Elimelek’s family. Elimelek means my God is king, Naomi means happy, Mahlon means sickness, and Kilion means pining (ache, crave, grieve, hanker, mourn, yearn). By their names their marriage brought together a godly man and a joyful wife, a great couple. But the names of their sons indicate prophetically weak, sickly lives. Their deaths as young husbands are supported by their names. Enjoy the story of Ruth.