Why is Ruth called 'the wife of Mahlon' (Ruth 4:10) whereas in the beginning of the story she is the wife of Elimelech?

  • Where exactly is Ruth called the wife of Elimelech??
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 12:31
  • Elimelech was the husband of Naomi (Ruth 1:1-3), Ruth's (first) mother-in-law, not the husband of Ruth herself. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 16:13
  • @LeeWoofenden and curiousdanii Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, as the priest says in the old Latin rite in the Catholic Church. I made a HUGE blooper by careless reading of 'Ruth'. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 19:29
  • 1
    A small blooper. But you can delete the question if you don't want your blooper to remain public. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


You are mistaken:

The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion...They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. - Ruth 1:2,4 NIV [Emphasis added]

So it is Naomi, not Ruth who was the wife of Elimelech; the verse you cited gives the more specific information that Ruth married Mahlon whereas chapter 1 leaves it open as to whether it was Mahlon or Kilion that she'd married.

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