Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#24 - Who was Anah?

The daughter of Zibeon
"Anah the daughter of Zibeon" -- Genesis 36:2, 14

The brother of Zibeon
"These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah." -- Genesis 36:20

"The sons of Seir ... Zibeon and Anah" -- 1 Chronicles 1:38

The son of Zibeon
"And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father." -- Genesis 36:24

"The sons of Zibeon; Aiah, and Anah." -- 1 Chronicles 1:40



Smith's Bible Dictionary
(one who answers ), the son of Zibeon and father of Aholibamah, one of Esau’s wives. (Genesis 36:2,14,25) He is supposed to have discovered the "hot springs" (not "mules," as in the Authorized Version) in the desert as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. (B.C. 1797.)

Nave's Topical Bible
Son of Seir (Gen:36:20,24,29; 1Chron:1:38)
Father-in-law or mother-in-law of Esau. An error of copyist, probably, calls him daughter, instead of son, of Zibeon, the Hivite (Gen:36:2,14,24)
Called also BEERI (Gen:26:34)

Easton's Bible Dictionary
speech. One of the sons of Seir, and head of an Idumean tribe, called a Horite, as in course of time all the branches of this tribe were called from their dwelling in caves in Mount Seir (Gen:36:20,29; 1Chron:1:38).

One of the two sons of Zibeon the Horite, and father of Esau's wife Aholibamah (Gen:36:18,24).


Response by Looking Unto

January 29, 2006 / Volume 6, Issue 5


Response by H. J. Wolf

Anah (From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

a'-na ('anah, meaning uncertain; a Horite clan-name (Gen. 36)):

(1) Mother of Aholibamah, one of the wives of Esau and daughter of Zibeon (compare Genesis 36:2, Genesis 36:14, Genesis 36:18, Genesis 36:25). The Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Peshitta read "son," identifying this Anah with number 3 (see below); Genesis 36:2, read (ha-chori), for (ha-chiwwi).

(2) Son of Seir, the Horite, and brother of Zibeon; one of the chiefs of the land of Edom (compare Genesis 36:20-21 = 1 Chronicles 1:38). Seir is elsewhere the name of the land (compare Genesis 14:6; Isaiah 21:11); but here the country is personified and becomes the mythical ancestor of the tribes inhabiting it.

(3) Son of Zibeon, "This is Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness" (compare Genesis 36:24 = 1 Chronicles 1:40-41) The word ha-yemim, occurs only in this passage and is probably corrupt. Ball (Sacred Books of the Old Testament, Genesis, critical note 93) suggests that it is a corruption of we-hemam (compare Genesis 36:22) in an earlier verse. Jerome, in his commentary on Genesis 36:24, assembles the following definitions of the word gathered from Jewish sources. (1) "seas" as though yammim; (2) "hot springs" as though hammim; (3) a species of ass, yemim; (4) "mules." This last explanation was the one most frequently met with in Jewish lit; the tradition ran that Anah was the first to breed the mule, thus bringing into existence an unnatural species. As a punishment, God created the deadly water-snake, through the union of the common viper with the Libyan lizard (compare Gen. Rabbah 82 15, Yer. Ber 1 12b; Babylonian Pes 54a, Ginzberg, Monatschrift, XLII, 538-39).

The descent of Anah is thus represented in the three ways pointed out above as the text stands. If, however, we accept the reading ben, for bath, in the first case, Aholibamah will then be an unnamed daughter of the Anah of Genesis 36:24, not the Aholibamah, daughter of Anah of Genesis 36:25 (for the Anah of this verse is evidently the one of Genesis 36:20, not the Anah of Genesis 36:24). Another view is that the words, "the daughter of Zibeon," are a gloss, inserted by one who mistakenly identified the Anah of Genesis 36:25 with the Anah of Genesis 36:24; in this event, Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, will be the one mentioned in Genesis 36:25.

The difference between (2) and (3) is to be explained on the basis of a twofold tradition. Anah was originally a sub-clan of the clan known as Zibeon, and both were "sons of Seir"--i.e. Horites.

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