Definitions

Orpah

Orpah

Orpah, in the Bible, sister-in-law of Ruth.
Orpah is a woman mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. She was from Moab and was the daughter-in-law of Naomi and wife of Mahlon. After the death of her husband, Orpah and her sister-in-law Ruth wished to go to Judea with Naomi. However, Naomi persuaded Orpah to return to her people and to her gods (Ruth i. 4 et seq.).

In rabbinic literature, Orpah is identified with Harafa, the mother of the four Philistine giants; and these four sons were said to have been given her for the four tears which she shed at parting with her mother-in-law (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 42b).

According to a legend in a midrash, Orpah was a sister of Ruth, and both were daughters of the Moabite king Eglon (Ruth R. ii. 9). Her name was changed to “Orpah” because she turned her back on her mother-in-law (ib.; comp. Talmud Sotah l.c.) One source in the Talmud states that she was killed by King David's general Abishai, the son of Zeruiah (Sanhedrin 95a).

Oprah Winfrey was originally named 'Orpah' after the character, but a nurse misspelled the name on the birth certificate, resulting in the creation of the now-famous name.

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