ma'-ha-lath (machalath):

(1) In Genesis 28:9 the name of a wife of Esau, daughter of Ishmael, and sister of Nebaioth, called in 36:3, BASEMATH (which see). The Samaritan Pentateuch, however, throughout Genesis 36 retains "Mahalath." On the other hand, in 26:34 Basemath is said to be "the daughter of Elon the Hittite," probably a confusion with Adah, as given in 36:2, or corruption may exist in the lists otherwise.

(2) One of the 18 wives of Rehoboam, a grand-daughter of David (2 Chronicles 11:18).

(3) The word is found in the titles of Psalms 53 (the Revised Version (British and American) "set to Mahalath") and Psalms 88 (the Revised Version (British and American) "set to Mahalath Leannoth," margin "for singing"). Probably some song or tune is meant, though the word is taken by many to denote a musical instrument. Hengstenberg and others interpret it as indicating the subject of the Psalms.


James Orr

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'MAHALATH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.