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Oholibamah

Genesis 36:14:
These are the sons of Esau's wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah son of Zibeon: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah

Oholibamah may also be the woman known as Basemath. She had three sons with Esau.


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Orpah

Ruth 1:4:
These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years

As with other characters, the Bible provides little information about Orpah. Orpah was the wife then widow of Chilion, Naomi's son. She and her family lived in Moab. She was a "foreigner" and based on Numbers 25:1-18 and Numbers 22:3 there appears to have been tension between the Israelites and the Moabites. When her husband died, she, Naomi and Ruth were left with a male in the household.

Ruth 1:6-15:

Then she started to return with her daughters-in-law from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had considered his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah. But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back each of you to your mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband." Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, "No, we will return with you to your people." But Naomi said, "Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me." Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. So she said, "See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law."

With no males to provider for them, the women were left without provision. Naomi decided to take Orpah and Ruth back to Israel where she had heard God was blessing the people. On the way, however, Naomi decides to send her daughters-in-law back to their "mother's house". Naomi wants the women to find provision in remarriage. Orpah obeyed her mother-in-law and returned to her own people. Ironically, many commentators have chastised Orpah for returning home, while at the same time claiming women in particular should obey. Orpah did not only what Naomi asked, but what her society required of her.


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"The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A, and are used by permission. All rights reserved."
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