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Basemath, Bashemath, or Basmath (Hebrew: בָּשְׂמַת, Modern: Basmat, Tiberian: Bāśəmáṯ, "Sweet-smelling", Arabic: بسمة; "Sweet-smile") is a figure in the Book of Genesis. She was the daughter of Ishmael (or as Genesis 26:34-35 shows, Elon the Hittite), the niece of Isaac, and the third wife of Esau. (Genesis 36:2,3)

Before Esau married his third wife, he had named one of his Canaanite wives after Basemath,[need quotation to verify] probably because he knew of her[1] since they were cousins.[2] The wife whom Esau named as Basemath, was Adah the Hittite, his first wife. So after he married his third wife, Esau changed Basemath the Ishmaelite's name to Mahalath.[1] Esau sought this union with a non Canaanite, in an effort to reconcile his relationship with his parents,[3] namely with his father Isaac whose blessing he sought (Genesis 28:6-9). However, there is no record of his parents' approval for the union of Esau and Basemath (Mahalath). She bore a son, Reuel, to Esau. (Genesis 36:4)

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  1. ^ a b Phillips, J. Exploring Genesis: an expository commentary, (ISBN 0825434882, ISBN 978-0-8254-3488-4), 2001, p. 284
  2. ^ Mandel, D. The Ultimate Who's Who in the Bible, (ISBN 0882703722, ISBN 978-0-88270-372-5), 2007, p. 175
  3. ^ Easton, M. Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (ISBN 1596059478, ISBN 978-1-59605-947-4 ), 2006, p.236