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Basemath, Bashemath

BASEMATH, BASHEMATH băs’ ə măth, BASMATH băs’ măth (בָּ֣שְׂמַ֔ת, fragrant). 1. Basemath, one of Esau’s wives, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite (Gen 26:34). Because she was a Canaanite, Esau’s marriage to Basemath (as well as to other Canaanites) ignored Jehovah’s wishes that Abraham’s descendants keep themselves separate from the Canaanites, esp. in marriage. Esau’s marriage to Basemath, therefore, brought great bitterness to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau also married Adah, a daughter of Elon, the Hittite, who appears as a possible sister of Basemath (Gen 36:2).

2. Basemath, another wife of Esau, a daughter of Ishmael and a sister of Nebaioth (36:3). Basemath is known as Mahalath (28:6-9). Esau sought a wife from among Abraham’s descendants when he saw that Jacob’s marriage to Abraham’s kin brought pleasure to Isaac and a blessing to Jacob.

Basemath was the mother of Reuel, whose sons, Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah are also designated as Basemath’s sons. These men were prominent figures in Edom.

3. Basemath, a daughter of Solomon and wife of Ahimaaz, an officer under Solomon, whose task it was to provide food for the king’s household one month of the year (1 Kings 4:15).