“And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”” Ruth 1:14-15 NLT
For years I’ve had compassion for Orpah, choosing to believe it was out of obedience to Naomi that she decided to go back to Moab at Naomi’s prompting despite her love for her mother-in-law. Because the scriptures don’t give us the rest of her story, I so wanted to believe that Orpah returned, still with a seed of the Lord planted within her heart that she would eventually allow to grow within her so that the Lord would use her as a beacon for others around her to be drawn to the one true God. Sounds nice, right? So much better than the common deduction that Orpah was so worldly and blatantly rejected Naomi and her God just when things started to look tough and therefore forfeited her chances of entering His holy family forever.
As I began thinking about what direction to take with this assignment, I felt the Holy Spirit compel me to Google and see if there was evidence that she did, in fact, have a major impact on history with her nation because of her connection to Naomi. I was sure I was going to find something to support my theory.
What I discovered left me staring open-mouthed at my screen. She most definitely had an impact on history…more than I could’ve possibly imagined! Turns out the Bible isn’t the only reference for this account in history. There are at least four others, and they give quite a bit more details that, unfortunately, shatter my theory. Those sources are: Encyclopedia Judaica, Jewish Encyclopedia, Midrash Rabbah and Midrash and Aggadah.
I still whole-heartedly believe that there is nothing that God cannot redeem to work for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), should we allow Him to do so; however, historical facts indicate such was not the case for dear Orpah.
According to these resources, Ruth and Orpah weren’t just sisters in-law, but actually biological sisters. Not only that, but they were Moabite princesses, daughters of Moabite King Eglon, referenced in Judges 3. So they were royalty of a cursed nation that married men of God’s chosen people. That’s not even the shocking part. The very same night that Orpah returned home, it’s recorded that she slept with 100 men…and a dog! One of these men she would marry and birth 4 sons to…a Philistine giant, creating an alliance between Moab and the Philistines. Her sons were Ishbibenob, Saph, Lahmi and…. Goliath. The same Goliath that young David, Ruth’s great-grandson would slay. These are also the giants that David and his warriors killed in 2 Samuel 21:15-22.
She birthed the enemies of her SISTER’S descendants!!!! Crazy to think all these people had the same blood running through their veins! Interestingly enough, the same way the father of the Israelites shares the same DNA with the father of the Muslims.
When Orpah chose to walk away from Naomi, she was walking into the very opposite of all that she could’ve had with the Lord. When we separate ourselves from the fellowship of others who are walking in step with the Lord, we gravitate back to our old life that produces death. This is what happened to Orpah even though I’m sure it wasn’t what she intended.
Whether she fully understood her choice or not, she believed it was the best choice for her future and it was good, the fact is it was a detrimental choice that sealed her fate. Any step toward a god besides the Only true God will result in devastation. At some point in our lives all of us, to some degree, have been at the crossroads where Orpah found herself, faced with a choice. Many of us have even made the wrong decision. Thankfully, God’s grace abounds WHEN we repent and make a U-turn. That’s when anything can be redeemed.
It’s imperative that we remember that not all good things are God things. We also need to remember there’s greater risk in pursuing what we feel is secure or good instead of pursuing the unknown that God is inviting us into. One thing you can bank on, His unknown will always result in blessing and greatness; and our way will always ultimately result in disappointment.
So for kicks, we decided to do a video blog for your entertainment to go along with this devotional post. This is just something extra for fun since Orpah has actually been the subject of deep discussion between Cindy and I for years and discovering this information finally laid that debate to rest. Bear with us, as we’re still new at this vlogging thing. Lol! Hope you enjoy!
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Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing and reading. Time and people are what she values most. You can read more about her here.