ESV - 4 Oholah was the name of the elder and Oholibah the name of her sister. They became mine, and they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
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Oholah and Oholibah were names given by God to the prophet Ezekiel to represent Israel and Judah, respectively, following the division of the original twelve tribes of Israel after the death of Solomon, as described in 1 Kings 12, when the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin (collectively referred to as Judah) remained loyal to Solomon's son Rehoboam, while the other ten northern tribes rebelled against Rehoboam, and became the northern kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, whom God had raised up as a rival to Solomon in judgment of the idolatry that characterized the later years of Solomon's reign, as described in 1 Kings 11. As with many biblical names, the names Oholah and Oholibah involve wordplay. Oholah (the name given to the ten tribes who rebelled) means "her own tent" or "her own tabernacle", since the northern kingdom of Israel established its own centers of worship at Bethel and Dan (rather than at Jerusalem)(1 Kings 12:26-33). Oholibah (the name given to the combined tribes of Judah and Benjamin) means "my tent (or tabernacle) is in her", indicating that the capital and center of worship for the southern kingdom of Judah was at Jerusalem, which God had established as the center of worship for the entire nation of Israel under David and Solomon (prior to Israel's division), and as it remained for the southern kingdom of Judah following the division of the unified kingdom after the death of Solomon).
In the Hebrew Bible, Oholah (אהלה) and Oholibah (אהליבה) (or: Aholah and Aholibah) are pejorative personifications, i.e. contemptuous/disparaging personifications, given by the prophet Ezekiel to the cities of Samaria in the Kingdom of Israel and Jerusalem in the kingdom of Judah, respectively. They appear in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 23. There is a pun in these names in Hebrew. Oholah means "her tent", and Oholibah means "my tent is in her". The Hebrew prophets frequently compared the sin of idolatry to the sin of adultery, in a reappearing rhetorical figure. Ezekiel's rhetoric directed against these two allegorical figures depicts them as lusting after Egyptian men in explicitly sexual terms in Ezekiel 23:20–21 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. (Repulsive imagery) The graphic imagery shows Egypt as a lusty male with whom the immoral or licentious female, Jerusalem, wanted intercourse. The reality behind the repulsive imagery was Judah’s obsessive desire for a political alliance with Egypt, which God thought indecent. When Judah turned to Egypt for help, Egypt happily obliged. Egypt desired to set up a small neutral country situated between the 2 larger hostile countries and serving to prevent the outbreak of regional conflict—in Israel to challenge Babylonian dominance in the ancient Near East. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled. OHOLAH o-ho'-la ('oholah; the King James Version Aholah): The exact meaning is a matter of dispute. As written, it seems to mean a tent-woman, or the woman living in a tent. With a mappik in the last consonant, it could mean "her tent." The term is used symbolically by Ezekiel to designate Samaria or the kingdom of Israel (Ezekiel 23:4,5,36,44). OHOLIBAH o-hol'-i-ba, o-ho'-li-ba ('oholibhah, "tent in her," or "my tent is in her"): An opprobrious and symbolical name given by Ezekiel to Jerusalem, representing the kingdom of Judah, because of her intrigues and base alliances with Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia, just as the name OHOLAH was given to Samaria or the Northern Kingdom, because of her alliances with Egypt and Assyria. There is a play upon the words in the Hebrew which cannot be reproduced in English. Both Oholah and Oholibah, or Samaria and Jerusalem, are the daughters of one mother, and wives of Yahweh, and both are guilty of religious and political alliance with heathen nations. Idolatry is constantly compared by the Hebrew prophets to marital unfaithfulness or adultery. --W. W. Davies
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