Oholah and Oholibah

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In the Hebrew Bible, Oholah (אהלה) and Oholibah (אהליבה) (or Aholah and Aholibah in the King James Version and Young's Literal Translation) are pejorative 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 chapter 23 of the Book of Ezekiel.[1]

There is a pun in these names in the Hebrew. Oholah means "her tent", and Oholibah means "my tent is in her".[2]

The Hebrew prophets frequently compared the sin of idolatry to the sin of adultery, in a reappearing rhetorical figure.[3]: 317  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:[4]: 18 

And she doted upon concubinage with them, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Thus thou didst call to remembrance the lewdness of thy youth, when they from Egypt bruised thy breasts for the bosom of thy youth.

— Ezekiel 23:20–21[5]


In the divergent Theology of the Cathars, the heterodox Christian movement thriving in the 12th to 14th Centuries, Oholah and Oholibah inspired the belief that the Cathar Invisible Father had two spiritual wives, Collam and Hoolibam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ezekiel 23:4 (KJV); Ezekiel 23:4
  2. ^ Adele Berlin; Marc Zvi Brettler (17 October 2014). The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 2350. ISBN 978-0-19-939387-9.
  3. ^ Coogan, Michael D. (2009). A brief introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in its Context. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195332728. OCLC 243545942.
  4. ^ Kim, Won Whe (2016). "Chapter 2: History and Cultural Perspective". In Park, Nam Cheol; Kim, Sae Woong; Moon, Du Geon (eds.). Penile Augmentation. Springer. pp. 11–26. ISBN 978-3-662-46752-7.
  5. ^ Ezekiel 23:20–21