Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Esau, Adah, Oholibamah & Basemath (Genesis 36:1-3).

These are the descendants of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Oholibamah is such a wonderful name.

    TRiG.

  • Dash1

    Oooh! Pick me! Pick me! I  know the answer to this one!

    So in Genesis 26:34, it says Esau (at the ripe age of 40–man with commitment problems, it seems) marries Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.  Two wives, same year. Yeah, that’ll work. (Of course, maybe it worked in a way that would get the Bible shelved in the “Adults Only” section of the bookstore if anybody really thought about it.) So then, in Genesis 28:9, Esau heads on over to Ishmael’s place (Uncle Ishmael, is that?) and marries Cousin Mahalath.

    Then, in Genesis 36, we get what appears to be a summing up of Esau’s wives. So the daughter of Elon the Hittite is now Adah, not Basemath, and Cousin Mahalath is now called Basemath, and we have the newly arrived Oholibamah of the name that sounds like a very small state university in the lower Midwest (“this week, John, we’ll be watching Michigan against Perdue, followed by Washington at UCLA; meanwhile, Pitt takes on Carnegie Mellon and Slippery Rock continues its rivalry with Oholibamah for the Pottage Bowl”).

    Meanwhile Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite is nowhere to be found in Genesis 36.  This is starting to sound like a very strange card game, in which Esau renames two wives, discards one, and takes a new one from the pile.  Or perhaps someone needs to investigate that suspicious mound of freshly turned earth out in the back pasture.

    I think a standard “literal reading” response–and I see it’s out there on the web as well–is that “Basemath,” the name applied to two wives, is actually an epithet or description. And I see that at least one source in Google Books, labeled “Esau’s Wives,” is still arguing this as of 2004. The idea is that Esau nicknames Adah “Basemath,” which means “fragrant.” Then when she dies, he gives the nickname to Wife #3, Mahalath.

    Because the one thing a woman really likes is being called by the nickname you used for your previous wife. 

  • christopher_y

    Whereas Basemath sounds like a requirement for enrolling on a physics course. Possibly on Airstrip One. “Applicants will demonstrate Basemath and fluency in Newspeak.”

  • patter

    “…when she dies…”

    He changes her name to beushim, because she’s no longer as pleasant to be around.

  • Nicanthiel

    Isn’t it just?

    And, with a little bit of stretching, can turn into “O, Holy ‘Bama” ;)

  • Foreigner

    “… well, Jim, the Oholibamah State U roster are all sons of Esau, of course, so I’m not giving much for Slippery Rock’s chances this year. Given that level of family rapport, I’m calling it for the Hairies by twelve.”

  • Lori

    IDK, Biblical families aren’t so much known for their rapport.

    It could just as easily be “… well, Jim, the Oholibamah State U roster are all sons of Esau, of
    course, and with the level of in-fighting among them I really like Slippery Rock’s chances this year. The Hairies could end up sacking their own quarterback as easily as the Rocks’. I’m calling it for the Rocks’ by nine.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    All these “-th” names made me imagine that the guy was taking Dragons from Pern as his wives.

    No, I don’t really want to imagine how that sex would play out. 

  • http://twitter.com/Didaktylos Paul Hantusch

    Dragons of Pern do it in flight …

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

     Oholibamah -> O-holy-bama? Obviously a prophetic reference to our current President!

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    In my brief exposure to Newmath back in second grade, we covered a bit of Basemath – I distinctly remember my teacher saying that Basemath 2 wasn’t practical.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oho-huhwhat? I still can’t say that name right even after reading it three times. O.o

  • AnonymousSam

    They have to think about it? Heck, just read Ezekiel 23 and tell me that’s not pornographic. :p

  • P J Evans

    Oholibamah gets a mentions in Sayers’s Busman’s Honeymoon, too.

  • Makabit

    ‘Basemath’, as it’s pronounced in modern Hebrew is closer to ‘Bosmat’. But pronounced as the KJV anglicizes it, yes, it has that Pern-dragon feel to it.

  • Makabit

    So in Genesis 26:34, it says Esau (at the ripe age of 40–man with commitment problems, it seems) marries Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.  Two wives, same year. Yeah, that’ll work.

    Haven’t got the text in front of me, but possibly the two women are cousins?

  • Foreigner

    Point. I did once know a football (soccer) team with eight brothers on it, but they didn’t play any differently from any other team in our league (i.e. they were rubbish).

  • Dash1

    Haven’t got the text in front of me, but possibly the two women are cousins?

    Is there a reason for assuming they’re cousins?

    Actually, I was originally thinking this was an ancient Middle Eastern version of Big Love. But now I’m starting to think of another option…

    First season commercial:
    Voiceover: “Coming soon on HBO: Esau Isaacson looks like a typical herder. But under the name Edom, he runs the smartest undercover operation in the Middle East.”
    Scene: early morning. Several women sitting around under a palm tree, sewing, spinning, chatting. Esau emerges from a nearby tent.
    Esau: “Good morning, angels.”

    Second season teaser:
    Scene: Ishmael’s tent. Esau, Ishmael and Mahalath.
    Esau: “You see, the pharoahs, the Great Kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Amalekites, and the Hivites, they take what they want. But the ordinary sheep-herder or Hebrew peasant doesn’t have that kind of power. We provide [pregnant pause] leverage.”
    Title: “Episode 14. Code Name ‘Fragrant.’”

  • Makabit

    No special reason to think they are related, except that the fathers are of the same nation, and it crosses my mind that if Esau is making a deal for land, marrying the daughters of two brothers who have a claim to it might solidify his position. Could be a lot of other things, as well. I assume that the multiple marriages take place as he becomes a wealthier and more established man.

    I like yours better though.


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