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וַיְהִי עֵשָׂו בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וַיִּקַּח אִשָּׁה אֶת־יְהוּדִית בַּת־בְּאֵרִי הַחִתִּי
וְאֶת־בָּשְׂמַת בַּת־אֵילֹן הַחִתִּי׃

When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite; (Gen 26)

The Hittites were "intrinsically" bad guys, one of the 7 "bad" nations. How did he take the "most Jewish" name that Leah used to thank G-d for her 4th son?

  • 2
    R. Dovid Tzvi Hoffman seems to agree with your question: יהודית – כמו יהודה שם שמציאותו אצל בני חת מעוררת תמיהה – Alex Mar 31 at 19:27
  • @AlBerko that article (and the answer below) indicates that Beeri isn't the one who came up with the name. – rosends Mar 31 at 19:47
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    Just a thought, but "Jews" were not really called "Yehudim" back then were they? Even if Yehudah was alive at this point, why would the entire House of Israel go by that name? – Sam Miller Apr 1 at 2:02
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Rashi in Bereishis 35,2 says that her real name (presumably her father called her) was Oholivomo but Eisav called her Yehudis to connote that she denied Idol worship and believed in One G-d to fool his father that he was righteous.

אהליבמה. הִיא יְהוּדִית, וְהוּא כִנָּה שְׁמָהּ יְהוּדִית לוֹמַר שֶׁהִיא כּוֹפֶרֶת בַּעֲ"זָ כְּדֵי לְהַטְעוֹת אֶת אָבִיו:

The Yerios Shlomo (Rav Shlomo Luria 16th century) explains:

כדי להטעות את אביו. וקשה ולבשמת למה לא כינה לה שם טוב כדי לרמאות את אביו והיה לו לעיל בפרשת תולדות (כו לד) להזכיר אותו שם כינוי אם היה לה וי"ל שעשו קרא לה שם אחר שאינה של עבודת אלילים אלא הכתוב קראה כך בשם עבודת אלילים לפי שכתוב לעיל אחר כך ותכהן עיניו מראות ופירש רש"י מעשנן של אלו ואם היה משנה שמה היה קשה היכן מצינו שהיו מקטרות לכך קראה לעיל בשם זה כדי להראות את זה שלכך נקראת בשמת ע"ש וכו'. [מהרש"ל]"
Bosmas (Ada her real name) Eisav's other wife had a name connoting bringing incence for idolatry, so why did Eisav not change her name to cover up her actions? The answer is that he tried calling her a different name but the Torah had to say the truth about her that she worshiped idolatry to explain how Yitzchak lost his eyesight as Rashi explained above that this was caused by the smoke of the incence offered for idolatry from both wives and we know this from Bosmas' name which connotes serving incense for avoda zoro.

We see that Yehudis actually worshipped idols, just that Eisav changed her name (and Bosmas name though the Torah ignores Eisav's name for her) just to mislead his father.

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