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ELIMELECH (Heb. אֱלִימֶלֶךְ; "God [or my God] is king"), the husband of *Naomi and father of Mahlon and *Chilion, from Beth-Lehem in Judah. Due to the famine in Israel during the time of the Judges, Elimelech crossed over to Moab, where he and his two sons died. Following their deaths, his wife Naomi returned to Beth-Lehem together with her daughter-in-law *Ruth (Ruth 1:1–3; 2:1, 3; 4:3, 9). There Ruth married *Boaz, one of Elimelech's relatives. The name itself is attested in the *El-Amarna letters of the 14th century b.c.e. as Ili-Milku, a variant of the name Milk-ilu, ruler of Gezer. In Ugaritic documents of the 13th century the name is written ʾImlk and pronounced either Ili-Milku or Ili-Malku.

add. bibliography:

W. Moran, The Amarna Letters (1992), 326; W. Watson and N. Wyatt (eds.), Handbook of Ugaritic Studies (1999), index, 841.