Genesis 36:3
And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.
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(3) Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth.—The Samaritan text reads Mahalath here, and in Genesis 36:4; Genesis 36:10; Genesis 36:17, as in Genesis 28:9. There can be little doubt that Mahalath is the right reading, but the versions, nevertheless, agree with the Masoretic Hebrew text, so that the error must have been of very ancient date. As Mahalath was of a Semitic stock, she would have her own Semitic name, and there would be no double translation of it, as in the case of the daughter of Elon.

36:1-43 Esau and his descendants. - The registers in this chapter show the faithfulness of God to his promise to Abraham. Esau is here called Edom, that name which kept up the remembrance of his selling his birth-right for a mess of pottage. Esau continued the same profane despiser of heavenly things. In outward prosperity and honour, the children of the covenant are often behind, and those that are out of the covenant get the start. We may suppose it a trial to the faith of God's Israel, to hear of the pomp and power of the kings of Edom, while they were bond-slaves in Egypt; but those that look for great things from God, must be content to wait for them; God's time is the best time. Mount Seir is called the land of their possession. Canaan was at this time only the land of promise. Seir was in the possession of the Edomites. The children of this world have their all in hand, and nothing in hope, Lu 16:25; while the children of God have their all in hope, and next to nothing in hand. But, all things considered, it is beyond compare better to have Canaan in promise, than mount Seir in possession.Esau took his wives. - From the word "his" we conclude that this sentence does not refer to his marrying these wives, but to his taking them with him when he removed from Kenaan. Hence, the sentence, after being interrupted by the intervening particulars, is resumed and completed in the sixth verse. The date of this event is therefore, some time after Jacob's flight to Padan-aram, and before his return. The daughter of Ishmael he only married after Jacob's departure, and by her he had one son who was born in Kenaan. We may therefore, suppose that, about eighteen years after Jacob's flight, Isaac had assigned to Esau a sufficient stock of cattle and goods for a separate establishment, the extent of Esau's portion and of that which Isaac had reserved for Jacob had become so great as to demand pasture grounds widely removed from one another, and Esau's former habits and his last matrimonial alliances had drawn him toward Mount Seir. He married his first wives when he was forty years of age Genesis 26:34, and as Jacob was seventy-seven when he left his home, at eighteen years after that date, Esau had been fifty-five years married to his first two wives, and somewhat less than eighteen to Ishmael's daughter.

Of the daughters of Kenaan. - This refers to the two following wives mentioned in this verse, and distinguishes them from the third, mentioned in the following verse, who is of the family of Ishmael. "Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite." On comparing the account of his two wives whom he married at forty with the present, the first, namely, Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite, no longer appears either by her own name, that of her father, or that of her tribe. Hence, we presume that in the course of the past forty-seven years she has died without male issue. This presumption is favored by the circumstance that the daughter of Elon the Hittite is now advanced into the first place. If it seems undesirable to anyone to make any presumption of this kind, we have only to say that in the absence of the connecting links in a historical statement like this, we must make some supposition to show the possibility of the events related. The presumption we have made seems easier and therefore, more likely than that the names of the individual, the father and the tribe, should be all different, and the order of the two wives reversed, and yet that the same person should be intended; and hence, we have adopted it as a possible arrangement, leaving to others the preference of any other possibility that may be suggested. For after all it should be remembered that testimony only could determine what were the actual circumstances. She who was formerly called Basemath appears here with the name of Adah. At a time when proper names were still significant, the application of more than one name to the same individual was not unusual.

Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibon the Hivite. - This may have been the fourth wife of Esau in the order of time, though she is here classed with the daughter of Elon, because she was of the daughters of Kenaan. "Daughter of Zibon" means his granddaughter, by the mother's side. "The Hivite" Genesis 10:17. Zibon is thus distinguished from the Horite of the same name Genesis 36:20. The Hivite race we have already met with at Shekem Genesis 34:2. They also held four cities a short way north of Jerusalem, of which Gihon was the chief Joshua 9:3, Joshua 9:7,Joshua 9:17. It was easy, therefore, for Anah the Horite to marry the daughter of Zibon the Hivite. "Basemath," previously called Mahalath.

2, 3. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan—There were three, mentioned under different names; for it is evident that Bashemath is the same as Mahalath (Ge 28:9), since they both stand in the relation of daughter to Ishmael and sister to Nebajoth; and hence it may be inferred that Adah is the same as Judith, Aholibamah as Bathsemath (Ge 26:34). It was not unusual for women, in that early age, to have two names, as Sarai was also Iscah [Ge 11:29]; and this is the more probable in the case of Esau's wives, who of course would have to take new names when they went from Canaan to settle in mount Seir. 1760 No text from Poole on this verse.

And Bashemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth,.... The eldest son of Ishmael, see Genesis 28:9; called there Mahalath. And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.
Genesis 36:3Esau's Wives and Children. His Settlement in the Mountains of Seir. - In the heading (Genesis 36:1) the surname Edom is added to the name Esau, which he received at his birth, because the former became the national designation of his descendants. - Genesis 36:2, Genesis 36:3. The names of Esau's three wives differ from those given in the previous accounts (Genesis 26:34 and Genesis 28:9), and in one instance the father's name as well. The daughter of Elon the Hittite is called Adah (the ornament), and in Genesis 26:34 Basmath (the fragrant); the second is called Aholibamah (probably tent-height), the daughter of Anah, daughter, i.e., grand-daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, and in Genesis 26:34, Jehudith (the praised or praiseworthy), daughter of Beeri the Hittite; the third, the daughter of Ishmael, is called Basmath here and Mahalath in Genesis 28:9. This difference arose from the fact, that Moses availed himself of genealogical documents for Esau's family and tribe, and inserted them without alteration. It presents no irreconcilable discrepancy, therefore, but may be explained from the ancient custom in the East, of giving surnames, as the Arabs frequently do still, founded upon some important or memorable event in a man's life, which gradually superseded the other name (e.g., the name Edom, as explained in Genesis 25:30); whilst as a rule the women received new names when they were married (cf. Chardin, Hengstenberg, Dissertations, vol. ii. p. 223-6). The different names given for the father of Aholibamah or Judith, Hengstenberg explains by referring to the statement in Genesis 36:24, that Anah, the son of Zibeon, while watching the asses of his father in the desert, discovered the warm springs (of Calirrhoe), on which he founds the acute conjecture, that from this discovery Anah received the surname Beeri, i.e., spring-man, which so threw his original name into the shade, as to be the only name given in the genealogical table. There is no force in the objection, that according to Genesis 36:25 Aholibamah was not a daughter of the discoverer of the springs, but of his uncle of the same name. For where is it stated that the Aholibamah mentioned in Genesis 36:25 was Esau's wife? And is it a thing unheard of that aunt and niece should have the same name? If Zibeon gave his second son the name of his brother Anah (cf. Genesis 36:24 and Genesis 36:20), why could not his son Anah have named his daughter after his cousin, the daughter of his father's brother? The reception of Aholibamah into the list of the Seirite princes is no proof that she was Esau's wife, but may be much more naturally supposed to have arisen from the same (unknown) circumstance as that which caused one of the seats of the Edomitish Alluphim to be called by her name (Genesis 36:41). - Lastly, the remaining diversity, viz., that Anah is called a Hivite in Genesis 36:2 and a Hittite in Genesis 26:34, is not to be explained by the conjecture, that for Hivite we should read Horite, according to Genesis 36:20, but by the simple assumption that Hittite is used in Genesis 26:34 sensu latiori for Canaanite, according to the analogy of Joshua 1:4; 1 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 7:6; just as the two Hittite wives of Esau are called daughters of Canaan in Genesis 28:8. For the historical account, the general name Hittite sufficed; but the genealogical list required the special name of the particular branch of the Canaanitish tribes, viz., the Hivites. In just as simple a manner may the introduction of the Hivite Zibeon among the Horites of Seir (Genesis 36:20 and Genesis 36:24) be explained, viz., on the supposition that the removed to the mountains of Seir, and there became a Horite, i.e., a troglodyte, or dweller in a cave. - The names of Esau's sons occur again in 1 Chronicles 1:35. The statement in Genesis 36:6, Genesis 36:7, that Esau went with his family and possessions, which he had acquired in Canaan, into the land of Seir, from before his brother Jacob, does not imply (in contradiction to Genesis 32:4; Genesis 33:14-16) that he did not leave the land of Canaan till after Jacob's return. The words may be understood without difficulty as meaning, that after founding a house of his own, when his family and flocks increased, Esau sought a home in Seir, because he knew that Jacob, as the heir, would enter upon the family possessions, but without waiting till he returned and actually took possession. In the clause "went into the country" (Genesis 36:6), the name Seir or Edom (cf. Genesis 36:16) must have dropt out, as the words "into the country" convey no sense when standing by themselves.
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