Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oholibamah?





Scripture

Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite;
(Genesis 36:2 NASB)
These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush and Jalam and Korah.
(Genesis 36:14 NASB)
These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah.
(Genesis 36:18 NASB)
These are the children of Anah: Dishon, and Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah.
(Genesis 36:25 NASB)
Now these are the names of the chiefs descended from Esau, according to their families and their localities, by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Jetheth,
(Genesis 36:40 NASB)
chief Oholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon,
(Genesis 36:41 NASB)
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:11 NASB)

Observation

Often in scriptures we find something incredibly obscure. Here is the name of a woman, Oholibamah, who has become fascinating to us because of her name. But who in the world was she and what did she do? The simple answer is that she was one of Esau's wives. The curiosity comes in when she is listed in verses 40-41 as a chief. Why would a woman be listed here among this list of men? Evidently this woman is unusual for her day and carried with her some type of power or authority. She is of a royal line and her name itself means "most high tent" or "tent shrine."

Application

Oholibamah has been lost to history. Searching the commentaries the silence on the presence of this woman is deafening. Perhaps it was assumed that there were two Oholibamah's in the same chapter, one who was the wife of Esau and the other a man who was a royal -- a duke, a chief, or a priest. However, that is highly unlikely and it is more likely that she was both the wife of Esau and a royal leader of her day. However, this is the way that God works. In Luke's Gospel we are told that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, but those that are humble will be exalted. Oholibamah has never been exalted, and more than likely because of her gender has simply been ignored. But is there more to the story?

In Matthew's genealogy of Jesus Christ we find another obscure woman, Tamar. Tamar was an Edomite woman, who could have been from the very line of Oholibamah. Therefore could this obscure woman, Oholibama, a priestess, have actually been part of the line and seed of David that would eventually give birth to the Messiah? Wouldn't it be just like God to reach into history and take a person on the very margins and exalt them?! How much more marginalized can you be? She is the wife of Esau -- the "non-chosen" one. She is a woman. She is a leader when she's not supposed to be one.

Oholibamah stood up and fulfilled the purposes which were laid out for her in life, even when the odds were stacked against her. What we know of her is that she must have been a woman of great character to have been remembered as the "most high tent." Esau's very character is changed when he meets with his brother years later. What kind of influence may Oholibamah have had on her husband? He no longer sought revenge, but peace with his brother and his brother's family. She retained her royalty and royal character throughout her marriage and motherhood, being listed as the leader of a royal clan. And yet, history has forgotten her. Somehow, I don't think that God has!

When you feel lost and forgotten, remember that you are called to simply be faithful. We are called to fulfill the purpose for which we have been created and as we grow in the grace of God we are drawn to his ultimate goal for us. It doesn't matter whether history records us, or forgets us. God will never forget us, and if we are faithful, he can do things in and through us that we would have never imagined. May Oholibama be an example for us all.

Prayer

Lord, my desire is to be faithful to you this day and every day. Please, lead me. Amen.

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