While I was pregnant with my first born, one of the most important and enjoyable things in preparing to have a child was picking out a name. We did not come to ‘Ethan Alexander’ quickly nor ‘Brooke Eden-Grace’ . The task became tedious because we had to come to an agreement and there were so many varying factors…
The names we pick for our kids is based on what part of the world you come from and what language you speak, whether you like popular names or unusual names, whether you like using a family name or prefer not to…We had to eliminate names that meant nothing or meant something strange. We had to eliminate names that were difficult to pronounce or spell and names that could be turned into nasty or mean nicknames. We wanted names that would be prophetic and strong and speak something over the lives of our kids.
The Jewish culture places great emphasis on names and they give information about the child, the culture of he day, the times that the child was born or about the future and they can literally tell a mini story. Through out the scriptures the names of the people speak strongly about the culture, message and Jewish history.
The writer of Ruth spends the first part of chapter 1, intentionally giving us a detailed account of the family in this story but also drawing our attention to the their names. The meanings are really important to the message. They bring depth to what God wants us to see and hear.
I find it frustrating that the translators don’t actually translate the names the same way they translate everything else. They keep the original language in the story which means a hebrew would understand but we don’t. To read this story and understand the hebrew meaning and depth we read it as a Jewish person would read it and that means the names must be read with their intended meaning…
Elimilech: God is King
Naomi: pleasant, sweet, pleasure
Mahlon: weak, sickly
Killion: which means frail, to exterminate
We’ll start with the man whose name means God is King….: Elimilech.