Have you ever heard the name Orpha? No, not Oprah. Orpha? Orpha is named in the Bible. People named in the Bible are popular because of the person or personality they represent. Orpha, although not well known, gives us an important lesson.
What do we know about Orpha? Ruth 1 tells us that Orpha was married to one of Naomi and Elimelech's sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Although neither man's name is connected specifically with Orpha or with her sister Ruth, historical research says that Orpha was married to Chillion. Did you catch that? Yep, Orpha was Ruth's sister.
Historical research also tells us that Orpha and Ruth were thought to be sisters, the daughters of King Eglon of Moab. Their marriages were a political move towards a potential relationship with Israel. Once their father in law and their husbands die, they are left without financial or political support.
What do they do? Do they go with Naomi or do they stay and return to their father. At first they both want to go with Naomi, but as time goes by, Orpha decides to stay in Moab. We see two sisters with similar upbringing. Raised in the same household and then married into the same household. They were part of a Moab family and part of a Hebrew family. Similar and yet different.
Why did Orpha decide to stand still in her yesterday. Was the travel too hard for her? Did she decide she wanted to keep the luxury she was accustomed to, after all she was a princess in Moab? Was she just too afraid of the unknown that would be her life in Israel? She already knew what she was going to encounter if she stayed at home. She already knew the bad and the good she could expect. It was familiar and comfortable. Was it all about the known versus the unknown. Was it the fear of the unknown kept her stuck?
Did Orpha know God? Ruth sure did, so we could assume that she was introduced to the Hebrew beliefs and knew of The One True God.
Should I stay or should I go? That was the question that both sisters had to answer for themselves. Stuck between what they knew and what they don't know. Orpha decides to stay. She returns to her father, to her idol worship and her godless life. Another bit of historical context purposes that Orpha is also the mother of Goliath and the giant soldiers mentioned in 2 Samuel 21. A bit of a twist on the story.
Orpha decided to stay. She stayed in what she knew. Was it fear of the unknown or because she liked what she knew? Her choices lead her down her path. If the historical facts are true, she became the mother of David's opposition, and her sons were killed in battle as opponents of The One True God.
Ruth chose to walk into the unknown. She chose God. She chose life. She becomes the grandmother to King David and great grandmother to King Solomon (the wisest guy ever) and ultimately she is part of the family line of Jesus (The Christ! for goodness sakes).
Ruth didn't stay stuck. Ruth and her sister had a choice. We all have a choice. We can walk with God or not. What do you choose?
Ruth 1: 4 and 16 AMP
4) "They took wives from the Moabite women; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth. They lived there about ten years;"
16) "But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God."