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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Asenath', א סְנִת , on the signif. see below; Sept. Ἀσενέθ v.r. Ἀσεννέθ ), the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On, whom the king of Egypt bestowed in marriage upon Joseph (Genesis 41:45; Genesis 46:20), with the view probably of strengthening his position in Egypt by this high connection, B.C. 1883. (See JOSEPH). She became the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:50). No better etymnology of Asenath has been proposed than that by Jablonski, who (Pansfh. Egypt. i, 56; Opuscul. ii, 208) regards it as representative of a Coptic compound, Assheneit. The latter part of this word he takes to be the name of Neith, the titular goddess of Sais, the Athene of the Greeks. and considers the whole to mean worshipper Nf Neith. Gesenius, in his Thesaurus, suggests that the original Coptic form was Asncith, which means who belongs to Neith: That the name refers to this goddess is the generally received opinion (in modern times Von Bohlen alone has, in his Genesis, proposed an unsatisfactory Shemitic etymology [see Lepsius, Chronicles d. dEgypter, i, 382]): it is favored by the fact that the Egyptians, as Jablonski has shown, were accustomed to choose names expressive of some relation to their gods; and it appears liable to no stronger objection than the doubt whether the worship of Neith existed at so early a period as that of the composition of the Look of Genesis (see Champollion, Pantheon Egyptienne, No. 6). Even this doubt is now removed, as it appears that she was really one of the primitive deities of Lower Egypt (Bunsen, Egypt's Place, i, 389), for her name occurs as an element in that of Nitocris (Neith-akri), a queen of the sixth dynasty (Wilkinson, in Rawlinson's Herodotus, ii, 142, note 2).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Asenath'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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