And the name of the man was Elimelech ,.... Which signifies "my God is King", as he was King over Israel. In the times of the judges, the government was a theocracy; the judges were raised up immediately by the Lord, and ruled under him; the Targum calls him a great man, and so Jarchi; and it is very likely he was, especially if it be true what is said the Jewish chronology F21 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 12. p. 34. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 8. 1. , that he was the brother of Salmon, prince of the tribe of Judah; and it is certain that Boaz the son of Salmon was a kinsman of his, 2:1 ,
and the name of his wife Naomi ; which signifies "sweet, pleasant", very likely a comely person, and of a sweet disposition; a name of the same signification with Naamah, the sister of Tubalcain, Genesis 4:22 and according to the Talmudists she was Elimelech's brother's daughter; for they say F23 T. Bab Bava Bathra, fol. 91. 1. , that Elimelech, Salmon, and the kinsman (spoken of in this book), and the father of Naomi, were all of them the sons of Nahshon, prince of the tribe of Judah; the same Jarchi observes on 1:22 .
and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion ; which seem to have their names from weakness and consumption, being perhaps weakly and consumptive persons; and it appears they both died young. It is a tradition of the Jews, mentioned by Aben Ezra, that these are the same with Joash and Saraph, who are said to have dominion in Moab, 1 Chronicles 4:22 which is not likely:
Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah : Jarchi interprets Ephrathites by men of worth and esteem; and the Targum is,"Ephrathites, great men of Bethlehemjudah'but no doubt they were called so, because Ephratah was one of the names of Bethlehem, Genesis 35:19 so called from its fruitfulness; though Aben Ezra thinks it had its name from Ephratah the wife of Caleb; but it was so called in the time of Moses, as in the passage referred to:
and they came into the country of Moab, and continued there ; unto their death; all excepting Naomi, who returned when she heard the famine was over.