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Orpah is a woman mentioned in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. She was from Moab and was the daughter-in-law of Naomi and wife of Kilion[1]. 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 tradition, she was extremely promiscuous upon her leaving Naomi and Ruth. She was called Orpah as a reference to the many men who sodomized her. Her other name Harafa is cognate of the word for threshing; that she allowed herself to be 'threshed' by many men as one would thresh wheat(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).


  1. Ruth 4:10
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Orpah. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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