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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Basmath', בִּשְׂמִת , elsewhere more correctly Anglicized "Basmath," q.v.), the name of two females.

1. A daughter of Ishmael, the last married (B.C. 1926) of the three wives of Esau (Genesis 36:3-4; Genesis 36:13), from whose son, Reuel, four tribes of the Edomites were descended. When first mentioned she is called Mahalath (Genesis 28:9); while, on the other hand, the name Bashemath is in the narrative (Genesis 26:34) given to another of Esau's wives, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. It is remarkable that all Esau's wives receive different names in the genealogical table of the Edomites (Genesis 36) from those by which they have been previously mentioned in the history. Thus:


(Genesis 36:2-3.) (Genesis 26:34; Genesis 28:9 )

1. Adah, daughter of Elon. 2. Bashemath, d. of Elon.

2. Aholibamah, d. of Anah. 1. Judith, d. of Beeri.

3. Bashemath, d. of Ishmael. 3. Mahalath, d. of Ishmael.

Whatever be the explanation of this diversity of names, there is every reason for supposing that they refer to the same persons respectively, and we may well conclude with Hengstenberg that the change of all the names cannot have arisen from accident; and, farther, that the names in the genealogical table, which is essentially an Edomitish document, are those which these women respectively bore as the wives of Esau (Hengstenberg, Auth. d. Pent. 2:277; English transl. 2:226). This view is confirmed by the fact that the Seirite wife, who is called Judith in the narrative, appears in the genealogical account under the name of Aholibamah (q.v.), a name which appears to have belonged to a district of Idumaea (Genesis 36:41). The only ground for hesitation or suspicion of error in the text is the occurrence of this name Bashemath both in the narrative and the genealogy, though applied to different persons. The Samaritan text seeks to remove this difficulty by reading Mahalath instead of Bashemath in the genealogy. We might with more probability suppose that this name (Bashemath) has been assigned to the wrong person in one or other of the passages; but if so, it is impossible to determine which is erroneous. (See ESAU).

2. A daughter of Solomon and wife of one of his officers (1 Kings 4:15, A.V. "BASMATH").

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

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