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Biblical People

Biblical People: Asenath

Pharaoh later gives Joseph a wife. Her name is Asenath, and she is the daughter of the priest Potiphera. This is likely a strategic move, in hopes that Asenath will influence Joseph to accept Egyptian ways and beliefs. In this way, the king uses her as his pawn. He expects her to influence her husband for her country. She has no say in his plan. 

Though we know Joseph is attractive and powerful, he’s also an outsider, not even allowed to eat at the same table as the Egyptians. Asenath is forced to marry a foreigner. There is no hint of love or affection between the two. Though this could be a good life for her, it’s surely not the life she wanted.

Asenath and Joseph have two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. The descendants of each boy become tribes of Israel and receive an allotment of territory in the Promised Land. We know nothing else of the relationship between Asenath and Joseph. We don’t know if he influences her to embrace God or not, but in looking at the life of Joseph, we see no hint that she distracts him from his faith or causes him to embrace her people’s way of life.

When others try to use us, do we become their pawn or make our own path?

[Discover more about Asenath in Genesis 41:45, 50 and Genesis 46:20.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.