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I was reading the story of Naomi and Ruth, and it mentions Orpah, the other daughter-in-law basically abandons Naomi and is the mother of Goliath.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpah

What positive qualities does Orpah have that someone would name their child after her, i.e. Oprah Winfrey?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Jayarathina Madharasan, Wikis, Caleb May 5 at 11:11

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for starters you are misreading Ruth there is no Oprah in the book of Ruth. The scripture is Ruth 1:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. and incidentally Biblical names are quite common even in the modern day. Even though I believe that your question is more for humor than for inquisitiveness, casting aspersions on a person especially one we do not know intimately is not humorous, and I suspect that you might not be one of her close buddies. –  Bye May 5 at 2:49
    
Not all names are given for their positive qualities and you seem to be conflating Oprah with Orpah. Given the logical fallacy and the logical disconnect, it's not apparent to me what sort of content would actually comprise an answer to this question as worded. –  Caleb May 5 at 11:13
    
@Caleb, The Wikipedia article asserts that Oprah Winfrey's first name is actually "Orpah". In the source referenced from Oprah's Wikipedia page, Oprah says that everyone mispronounces her name, so she just goes with Oprah. BTW, I've fixed the spelling in reference to the woman in Ruth. –  mojo May 5 at 12:59
    
@mojo Okay I can buy that, but what does this have to do with Christianity? Why Oprah's parents (or the parents or any Orpah) used the name seems to be off topic here. If the question were about the why of a Biblical name in context, then maybe.... –  Caleb May 5 at 13:08
    
@Caleb I read the thesis as "What's good about Orpah?" This could include opinion, but any good treatment ought to rely on the text and perhaps archaeology. –  mojo May 7 at 18:38

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know how much I would rely on the rabbinic literature (referred to in the Wikipedia article). It at least seems unlikely that Orpah would move from Moab to Phillistia. If she turned back from following Naomi, it was probable that she did so to return to her family in Moab. It is at least not generally accepted in Christendom that Orpah is Goliath's mother.

Otherwise, I don't know that Orpah should be vilified for her decision. It seems somewhat selfish compared to Ruth's, but it need not be thought of as abandonment. Having a family was a big deal to a woman, and going with Naomi to her foreign home was not necessarily the most practical choice. Being a widow was synonymous with poverty. Naomi herself told her daughters-in-law to return to their homes. Orpah at least exercised some amount of pragmatic reasoning instead of living out an obligation to her mother-in-law.

I am not a part of or close to African American culture, so I cannot speak for them from close ties. It seems that, as a group, they have a tendency to identify with the oppressed, so perhaps it was a decision by Oprah Winfrey's parents to remember this other daughter-in-law who gets almost no attention because of Ruth's choice.

Another possible reason could be that (almost) any Bible name is better than all non-Bible names. I don't necessarily subscribe to this philosophy, but there are Christians with such practices. It's not always done with a thorough understanding, but it is, at least, a sincere act, and we all trust God to listen to our hearts.

Addendum

Here is a quote from Oprah Winfrey concerning her name.

Oprah Winfrey: I was born, as I said, in rural Mississippi in 1954. I was born at home. There were not a lot of educated people around and my name had been chosen from the Bible. My Aunt Ida had chosen the name, but nobody really knew how to spell it, so it went down as "Orpah" on my birth certificate, but people didn't know how to pronounce it, so they put the "P" before the "R" in every place else other than the birth certificate. On the birth certificate it is Orpah, but then it got translated to Oprah, so here we are. But that's great because Oprah spells Harpo backwards. I don't know what Orpah spells.

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I really like your answer –  Glowie May 5 at 11:43

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