The word in Hebrew used to describe Elimelech is ??? (?ish), which means "man." Numerous Jewish commentators state that the use of this word means that Elimelech was a wealthy man,[3][4] though they do not suggest that he was more wealthy than was Boaz. During the administration of Judge Ehud, one of several frequent famines struck the land of Israel. Boaz, a near relative of Elimelech, became involved when Ruth came to his field to glean grain.
When the barley and wheat harvests were concluded, Ruth made a frank proposal to him: she asked Boaz to marry her, and asserted her right under the law of kinship redemption to marry a near kinsman so that her son would inherit Elimelech's estate and thus keep the land within the family. The law also specified that the nearest male relative had the right and duty to redeem the estate. The next day, Boaz summoned his near relative and also summoned ten city councillors of Bethlehem to witness the transaction. Nearness of kinship is assigned by degree, then by nearness of a common ancestor, and finally by birth order. The traditional rabbinic sages have asserted that Elimelech and the unnamed kinsman (Hebrew: ???? ?????, peloni ?almoni, or literally, "Mr.
The unnamed kinsman's relationship to Elimelech was close enough to give him precedence, but not close enough that he would have heard that the estate was for sale in three months. One must also consider that the ancestry of Boaz has remarkably few generations and is an ancestry of long-lived men.
Thus the most likely connection among Elimelech, his unnamed kinsman, and Boaz is that Elimelech and his unnamed kinsman were first cousins, and that Boaz was Elimelech's great uncle.


We must assume that Elimelech had no brother, and that his father, grandfather, and uncle were all dead when Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, and Ruth asserted her redemption rights and asked for a redeemer. Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License unless otherwise noted.
Elimelech lived in an era in which few great leaders would receive appreciation from the people—but perhaps Elimelech also thought himself greater than he actually was.
Elimelech left the region, together with his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. He made her welcome, encouraged her to glean only on his land, and also thanked her for the kindness that she had shown to Naomi. At first the near kinsman was willing to buy the estate, but when Boaz informed him that he must marry a woman connected with the estate and allow their son to inherit it, the man balked. The Bible says only that Boaz was a near kinsman, and that another man, even more closely related to Elimelech, was living in Bethlehem at the time of the redemption transaction.
The degree of kinship between a decedent and a living relative is the number of persons, including the living relative, that one encounters in the shortest trace from one to the other in a genealogical table.
So-and-so,"[9] listed in the above table as "No-name") were brothers, that Naomi was his niece, and that Salmon was his other brother.[3] If this were true, then Boaz would have been Elimelech's nephew. This was probably unusual, especially in the tribe of Judah, which was the most prolific of all the twelve tribes of Israel, as the two general censuses clearly show.
This date does not appear in James Ussher's Annals, nor does Ussher treat the Elimelech and Ruth story at all.


He proposed to inquire directly of this man the next day, and pledged that he would marry her and redeem the estate if the other man would not. But if the unnamed kinsman were Elimelech's brother, then one would expect him to inquire after his brother's estate shortly after Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem.
The unnamed kinsman would take precedence over Boaz because, though he and Boaz would have the same degree of kinship to Elimelech, the unnamed kinsman would be the closer relative by one ancestry level.
Orpah returned to her own father's house, but Ruth swore fidelity to Naomi, to the people of Israel, and to the God of Israel, and so Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem toward the beginning of the harvest season (1 Abib 2692 AM). In fact, the Bible gives no indication that he knew anything about it until Boaz asked him about it before the town councillors. The unnamed kinsman would have even more precedence if, as seems likely, his grandfather was Boaz' older brother.
Some commentators suggest that Elimelech was simply trying to go to a land not stricken by famine,[3] while others suggest that Elimelech was deliberately shirking his duty to assist the poor at need.



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