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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Ashima

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(Heb. Ashima', אֲשִׁימָא, etymology unknown; Sept. Ἀσιμάθ ), is only once mentioned in the Old Testament as the god of the people of Hamath, whose worship the colonists settled by Shalmanezer introduced into Samaria (2 Kings 17:30). The Babylonian Talmud, in the treatise Sanhedrin (cited in Carpzov's Apparatus, p. 516), and the majority of Jewish writers (see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 236), assert that Ashima was worshipped under the form of a goat without wool; the Talmud of Jerusalem (Carpzov, ib.) says under that of a lamb. Elias Levita, a learned rabbi of the sixteenth century, assigns the word the sense of ape; in which he was, in all probability, deceived by the resemblance in sound to the Latin simia. Jurieu and Calmet have proposed other fanciful conjectures. Aben Ezra's ascription (Praef. ad Esth.) of the name to the Samaritan Pentateuch at Genesis 1:1, may be seen in Hottinger's Exercit. Antimo in. p. 40. The opinion, however, that this idol had the form of a goat appears to be the one best supported by arguments as well as by authorities (see Seyffarth, Systema astron. p. 154 sq.). This agrees with the Egyptian worship of Pan (see Selden, De diis Syr. p. 327, 305 sq.), as well as the appearance of the goat among the sacred animals delineated on the Babylonian relics (Millin, Monumens inedits, i, tab. 8, 9). Some have compared the Samaritan Ashmath (אשׁמת ) of Deuteronomy 14:5 (see Castell, Annot. Samar.), a kind of buck. Barkey, on the other hand (in the Biblioth. Brem. nov. I, i, 125 sq.; II, iii, 572 sq.), refers to the Phoenician god Esmun (Εσμοῦνος, Damasc. in Photii Biblioth. p. 242, 573; in Phoenician אשמן, Gesenius, Monum. Phcen. i, 136), corresponding to the god of health, the Greek AEsculapius (see Movers, Phoniz. i, 529 sq.). Hiller (Onomast. p. 609) proposes a Semitic etymology from the Arabic asamat, a title of the lion applied to the sun; and Lette (in the Biblioth. Brem. nov. I, i, 60 sq.) compares Asam, the Arabic name for a valley or river of the infernal regions. Gesenius (Comment. iub. Jesa. ii, 348) refers to Ashuma, or the genius (star) of Jupiter (the heaven), i.e. Mercury, of the Zend-Avesta (Bundehesh, iii, 66); but against this Kleuker (in loc.) objects that in the Paris edition (ii, 356) the name is Anhouma. (See Schulde, De Asima Hamathweor. idolo, Viteb. 1722.)

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ashima'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/ashima.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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