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Two Sisters, Two Nations, Two Enemies

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Ruth and Naomi Painter: William Blake Date 1795 Bible Art Gallery

Ruth and Naomi Painter: William Blake Date 1795 Bible Art Gallery


The story opens with two Moabite sisters, Ruth and Orpah who married into the family of Elimelech, an Ephrathite of Bethlehem. When a famine broke out in Judah, Elimelech, his wife Naomi and their two sons went to the land of the Moabites which was east of Jordan. Eglon the father of the girls worshipped and sacrificed to the Moabite god Chemosh. He saw that Elimelech sons, Mahlon and Chilion were good sons and he gave his daughters in marriage to them,

However, Elimelech died, and his sons died when they lived in Moab for about ten years. Ruth and Orpah became widows. During this time, the famine in Judah had ended and Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem. She urged her daughters-in-law to return to their homeland so they could remarry for both were still young. Naomi told Ruth and Orpah she did not have any more sons for them to marry.


Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and said, " Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (v. 17) Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me" (Ruth 1:16-17).

Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem and she found favour in the eyes of Boaz a rich relative who married her. They had a son called Obed who bore a grandson Jesse, the father of King David.

Ruth was a faithful wife who gave herself to serve her mother-in-law and put her faith in the God of Israel. Thus she was grafted in to the Jewish genealogy and became the great grandmother of King David, and eventually the ancestress of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Faith in the Lord of Israel was rewarded and Ruth was grafted into the race.

Painter: Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld  Ruth in Boaz's field.  Date 1828

Painter: Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld Ruth in Boaz's field. Date 1828


Orpah differed from her sister Ruth for she returned to Moab where she married a Philistine from the giant race of the Rephaites. Orpah gave birth to Ishbi, the father of Barzillai, the father of Goliath of Gath. Orpah was very unhappy and longed for death because her son was involved in terrorism and murder. She had her chance of belonging to the family who believed in God, but she returned to the land of worshipping idols. Thus God rejected her.



Jacob was one of Abraham's twin grandsons and his name was changed by the angel of God when he returned to his father's land after an exile because he had cheated his twin brother, Esau of his birthright and fearing that his brother was going to kill him, he went to live with Laban, his mother's brother for about 20 years.

Jacob fell in love with his cousin, Rachel and worked for her father seven years so he could marry her. But his uncle cheated him and gave his older daughter instead and Jacob had to work another seven years before he could marry Rachel.

In all, Jacob worked for his uncle 20 years. His uncle's sons complained that he cheated them of their father's property.

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"And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee" (Genesis 31:3). So Jacob set out to return and took his two wives and eleven sons. He put his wives in different droves ahead of himself and he was alone that night when an angel of the Lord wrestled with him all night till day break. Jacob would not stop wrestling until the angel blessed him and said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Genesis 32:28).

The twelve sons or tribes of Jacob (renamed Israel) made up the tribes of Israel.


Philistia is the land of the Philistines (Psa. 60:8; 87:4; 108:9). They were a powerful sea people settling down in the coastal area from Joppa to south of Gaza. They were a strong rival to Israel

Originally, they came from Caphtor (Amos 9:7; Jer.47:4). They existed during the time of Raamses III (1195-1164 B.C.) of Egypt.

The government consisted of a league of five great cities, namely Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gath (Goliath was from Gath). From Gaza they controlled the caravan routes to Egypt and Arabia.

They had control of the iron monopoly and made use of various iron military weapons. The Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, axes, and sickles, etc. made of iron.

Previous to the time of Samson, Israel was overrun by the Philistines for forty years. Jonathan defeated the Philistines at Michmash (1 Sam. chap. 13 and 14). David also won victories over them (1 Sam. chaps. 17 and 18).

Remember that Orpah returned to Moab and married a Philistine and was the ancestress of Goliath of Gath.


The two sworn enemies, David and Goliath were the third generation of descendants of Ruth and Orpah. Ruth adopted the Israelites as her people and the God of Israel as her God. On the other hand, Orpah returned to her people and married a Philistine. The Philistines were cursed by God.

David, the youngest son of Jesse, grandson of Ruth and Boaz was born in Bethleham. He was valiant and slew a lion and a bear in defending his father's flock (1 Sam. 17:34-37).

The Philistines had gathered for war against Israel. The two enemies camped on opposite sides of a steep valley. Goliath, the Philistine champion who was over nine feet tall challenged the Israelites for forty days. No one took the challenge for the Israelites were afraid of the giant Philistine.

On visiting his brethren who were fighting against the Philistines, David was outraged by the cowardice of Saul's army and volunteered to fight Goliath, the giant Philistine. He took five stones from the brook and his sling and with one shot, he slew the mighty Goliath.

David relied not on his own might but in the power of God for he said, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come in to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defiled ... (1 Sam 17:45) And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands (vs 47).

With one sling shot, David killed Goliath the Philistine and gave victory to Israel over the Philistines.


Faith means a firm belief or trust in a person, thing, doctrine or statement.

If one has faith in God, anything can be accomplished. The greater the faith, the more can be accomplished. If one's faith is small, one can only accomplish some minor miracle. Faith can be divided into:

Cruden's Complete Concordance (I) Historical faith which is a belief in the truthfulness and accuracy of the Scriptural narrative and teachings (Jas 2:17, 24). (II) Saving faith is the acceptance by the intellect, affection, and will of God's favour extended to man through Christ. This faith produces a sincere obedience in the life and conversation. The firm foundation of faith is the essential supreme perfection of God: his unerring knowledge, immutable truth, infinite goodness, and almighty power.

David's faith in the Lord God gave him victory over Goliath, his third cousin by birth through Orpah. The two Moabite sisters married to two Israelite brothers from Bethlehem eventually became the great grandmothers of two warring nations, Israel and Philistia. The Philistines fled before the Israelites when David defeated Goliath.

David's faith is the second type of faith which is called "Saving Faith" as outlined in Cruden's Concordance. David great faith in the Lord God made the shepherd boy kill the hated giant Goliath with just one sling shot. He accomplished victory over the Philistines which the whole army of Saul could not. Thank the Lord God, David did slay Golilath through his magnificent child like and complete faith in the power and might of God. He had been brought up in the faith of the Lord God. Hallelujah!


The faith of Ruth can be compared and contrasted with that of her sister, Orpah. Both were strangers to the Lord God for their father worshipped and sacrified to the Moabite god Chemosh. Both were married to Israelite brothers for about ten years before their husbands died leaving them widows. During the ten years of marriage, they were introduced to the God of Israel, but when their husbands died, Ruth hung on to the faith, but Orpah did not. Ruth took the high road and put her complete trust in her husband's family and in their God for she uttered that their people would be her people and their God, her God. Where Naomi, her mother-in-law would die, there she would die. She showed complete trust and submission to God and her husband's family.

On the other hand, Orpah reacted differently. She left after her husband died and went back to the land of Moab and resumed her previous life from where she left off. She was rejected by God. If pagans became Christians and then reverted back to their former paganish and irreligous life, God would have none of them. They would be shunned by God too. There is no turning back just like Lot's wife who became a pillar of salt.

Ruth was a model Christian and she must have taught her son Obed what she had learnt and in turn passed the knowledge down to her great grandson, David. Thus, God's will was established in Ruth and passed down to David. Praise and thank God for the virtuous and completely submissive Ruth, who became the ancestress of Jesus, the Messiah. Praise and thank the Lord God. Amen.

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© 2008 einron


sobeitcharlie on November 03, 2017:

WOW !!! Our God is The Awesome God. I stumbled onto TWO SISTERS and very happy that I did. It is very intriguing, and inline with the way our God accomplish His Perfect Will and Purpose. It makes me believe that Abba Yahweh could use us or our children to accomplish His Perfect Will and Purpose. Make you wonder, doesn't it.. Thank you for this information.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 16, 2014:

Thank you for your comments. God bless.

woman on knees on December 16, 2014:

waaal i like it thank you so much read the bible with wisdom and understanding

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on August 21, 2014:

I do not know where you got the information that she slept with 100 men and a dog. Go back and check your information again.

PETER OTIENO on August 21, 2014:

Am confused with this information because in first hand information it says Orpha is the Mother of Goliath and she begot her after sleeping with 100 men and a dog here am getting the father of Goliath is the son of Orpha and He is the third generation of Orpha now which is which kindly help me. God bless you

Peter Uganda.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on March 17, 2014:

God has a plan for every one in this world and He uses each for His purpose in this world. The Bible stresses on the importance of Obedience and Reward in the Old Testament.

Blessings - Deu. 28:1-14

Leirip Takal on March 16, 2014:

I don't study History.....but was reading the story of Naomi, Ruth, Orpah and Boaz this morning in the whole book of Ruth (Old Testament) and the story is very very interesting. The message here is that GOD has PLANS for our lives, our families, our work, our ministry, etc. etc........ in generations to come yet!! I questioned myself as to what happened to/with Orpah? where did she go after kissing her mother-in-law good-bye?; was she ever re-married?; what was here life after that? Someone is saying she has re-married someone from the Philistine.....this story is very interesting.....The scripture did not talk further on Orpah's but only continued the story on Ruth's side. May be the message here is, we need to focus on the examples of Ruth's life and how (being a window herself) she has struggled through life, the faith she had in GOD, the willingness to look after her mother-in-law and followed her back to Jerusalem (even being a foreigner herself) , obeying GOD, etc...... We see that Ruth was PREPARING a way for ETERNAL LIFE for the world. Ruth might not know this herself BUT this was GOD's Plan. The generations behind Ruth benefited on Ruth's OBEDIENCE and FAITH in God.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on October 25, 2012:

"Sorry, I am afraid I am unable to help you. I got this from a Jewish source, but I can't remember where because after writing it, I destroy the notes. It could be from Israel Today or other Jewish source."

anonymous on October 24, 2012:

The book of Ruth never states that the two women are sisters. It does not state their fathers' names. Orpah's name is only mentioned twice. Once she leaves Naomi, she is never mentioned again. Even Naomi refers to Orpah as Ruth's sister-in-law (Ruth 1:15). Ruth is indeed an ancestor of David, but the results of Orpah's decision are no where in the Bible. May I ask what your sources are? It's a very interesting article.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on April 25, 2012:


The connection is definitely feasible. History is fascinating and it shows that God rewards those who love and obey Him without question.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on April 24, 2012:

Very interesting connection between the genealogical lines of Ruth and Orpha. I had not heard that, but sounds quite reasonable. And following God certainly sets in place a different pathway/outcome than not!

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on August 13, 2011:

Sorry, I am afraid I am unable to help you. I got this from a Jewish source, but I can't remember where because after writing it, I destroy the notes. It could be from Israel Today or other Jewish source.

Hannah on August 13, 2011:

I have searched through the Hebrew text and cannot find where Eglon was the father of Orpah; nor can I find that Orpah was the ancestress of Goliath. Barzillai the Gileadites is mentioned as an honorable man; and Barzillai the Meholathite is also mentioned. Neither were the father of Goliath. No other person named Barzillai is mentioned the the Hebrew scriptures. Are you using additional sources? If so, I'm interesgted in knowing what they are. Thanx!

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on February 05, 2010:

Glad that you now comprehend the story. God is great. Isn't it awesome that Ruth who was obedient to the Lord became the ancestress of Jesus Christ, though she was a Moabite.

There is always hope for those who obey the Lord.

Debbie Clark on February 05, 2010:

The story of Ruth is one of my favorite, but I have to be honest and say it is hard for me to follow the genealogy sometimes. Thank you for putting it in simple terms for me to follow and understand. I find it amazing how God puts everything together and how everything works to fulfill His plan and purpose. Makes me wonder how significant my life and the lives of my family fit into His plan.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on January 26, 2010:

This is a real story of two sisters, Ruth and Orpah, two Moabite sisters who married two Jewish brothers. Their husbands died and their mother in law asked them to return to their homes.

Ruth followed her mother in law back to Israel, while Orpah married a Philistine, an enemy of the Jews.

Israel and Philistines were enemies.

Ruth returned to Israel with her mother in law and later married Boaz and David, king of the Israelites was their descendant. Jesus Christ come from the line of King David.

On the other hand, Orpah who married a Philistine was the ancestress of Goliath, the giant Philistine, and enemy of the Jews, who was killed by David.

Two sisters first married Jews. When their husbands died, both remarried again, Ruth married a Jew (Boaz) and Orpah, a Philistine. Hence there were two nations who were at war with each other.

The two enemies who fought each other out were David (Jew) and Goliath (Philistine).

Two sisters, Ruth and Orpah

Two nations, Israel and Philistia

Two enemies, David and Goliath

I hope you now understand the history of the two sisters.

cdcd36 on January 26, 2010:

what the heck is this all suppose to mean??? cuz im really confused with all of this??!! lol!!! can u guys help me out here plz???!!!

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on March 03, 2009:


Thanks for your comments. We are all descendants of Noah. It is easy to say why not be peaceful with one another, but sometimes it is not possible. We should all be tolerant of one another. What others think or feel is none of our business. We can still be separate but we need not murder, kill or maim others who do not behave or think as we do. Let the Lord judge them.

God bless.

cgull8m from North Carolina on March 03, 2009:

I agree with Livingfood, we can learn so much from history, but we don't and it repeats with deadly consequences. If one follows Noah, that means no other people lived except them, that means we all are descended from that boat, so why not be peaceful with one another.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 08, 2008:


David had two sisters, Zeruiah and Abigail (1 Chr. 2:16). They were not mentioned as Jesse's daughters.

2 Sam. 17:25 Abigail mentioned as the daughter of Nahash and sister to Zeruiah.

Some said that Zeruiah and Abigail's mother married Nahash and when he died, she married Jesse, thus making David their half-brother. Nahash was the king of the Ammonites.

Others report that Nahash stands for Jesse.

Evan on December 08, 2008:

How many sisters did David had?

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 07, 2008:


Thanks for your comments.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 07, 2008:


It is most probably true of India and Pakistan.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 07, 2008:


Thank you for your comments.

Exodus 20:5  "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (vs. 6) And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

I think I had seen a film called "The Bad Seed".  There is such a thing as the bad seed.  The actions of the parents teach their children what they should do or not do and it can pass on from generation to generation.  Children tend to imitate adults, especially the parents.

God bless.

LivingFood on December 07, 2008:

I love the story of Ruth, there is so much to learn from her! Thanks for writing this hub!

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 07, 2008:

One of the things I find so interesting is how these decisions that the women made didn't just impact them at that moment. They had effects that stretched generations later and met again. Our actions today are not nothing. They play various parts in His tapestry.

Great piece!!!!!

guidebaba from India on December 07, 2008:

Same is the case with India and Pakistan.

einron (author) from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 06, 2008:


Can you be more specific?

hubber-2009 from India on December 06, 2008:

the two sisters stole an important message from British soldiers and carried it to General Greene of the American Army?

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