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Asenath: The Seventh Matriarch

Asenath1

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel, Germany/Superstock Dying, the patriarch Jacob feebly lays his hands on his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, whose parents Joseph and Asenath emerge from the shadows of Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting.

“Pharaoh then gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him for a wife Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On… Before the years of famine came, Joseph became the father of two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On, bore to him.” Genesis 41:45, 50 (cf. 46:20).

The wife of Joseph, Asenath (Hebrew Asnat) is mentioned only in passing in Genesis. Her names means “she belongs to Nut [also known as Neith],” an Egyptian god of death and rebirth. Continue reading