Daughter of Potipherah, prince priest of On; Joseph's wife; mother of Ephraim and Manasseh (Ge 41:50; 46:20). Her name is probably Egyptian, and means "she who is consecrated to Neith," the goddess of wisdom, a tutelary deity of On or Revelation Athom, the city of the sun god, the Athene of Greece. If it be the Hebrew name assumed on her conversion (as (See BITHIAH means "daughter of Jehovah") and union with Joseph, it may be from asan, "a storehouse," in allusion to Joseph's national service, and Ephraim's name meaning "fruitfulness".
Canon Cook makes it a compound of "Isis" and "Neith," two goddesses akin. The marriage into this idolatrous family seems to have borne evil fruit afterward in the idolatry of Joseph's descendants, Ephraim, and the calf worship. Foreigners had been raised to high rank by Pharaohs of the early empire; Joseph, as Abraham's descendant, would be regarded as of noble birth, and be admitted, especially at the command of an absolute king, into alliance with the haughty priest caste. His circumcision, if, as in after ages, it was then practiced in Egypt by the priests, would be a recommendation. However, as it is not represented in the monuments until the 19th dynasty, long after Joseph, he probably first introduced it.
Daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On, wife of Joseph and mother of Ephraim and Manasseh (Ge 41:45,50; 46:20). The name, like the other Egyptian names in the story of Joseph, is of a well-known late type, prevalent from about b.c. 950; it should probably be vocalized Asneit or Esneit, meaning 'belonging to Neit.' Neit was the goddess of Sais, and her name was especially popular in names from the 26th (Saite) Dyn., c. b.c. 664, and onwards for some two centuries.
Asenath is the heroine of a remarkable Jewish and Christian romance, in which she renounces her false gods before her marriage with Joseph; it can be traced back to the 5th cent. a.d., and is probably a good deal earlier.
F. Ll. Griffith.