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SERAH:

Daughter of Asher, son of Jacob. She is counted among the seventy members of the patriarch's family who emigrated from Canaan to Egypt (Gen. xlvi. 17), and her name occurs in connection with the census taken by Moses in the wilderness (Num. xxvi. 46). She is mentioned also among the descendants of Asher in I Chron. vii. 30. The fact of her being the only one of her sex to be mentioned in the genealogical lists seemed to the Rabbis to indicate that there was something extraordinary in connection with her history; and she became the heroine of several legends. According to one of these, she was not Asher's daughter, but his stepdaughter. She was three years old when Asher married her mother, and she was brought up in the house of Jacob, whose affection she won by her remarkable piety and virtue ("Midrash Abot," p. 45). She was the first person to tellJacob that his son Joseph was still living; and for this reason the patriarch blessed her with eternal life (ib.). Moses addressed himself to Serah when he wished to learn where the remains of Joseph were to be buried (Soṭah 13a; Deut. R. xi.). According to the Midrash (Eccl. R. vii. 11), Serah was "the wise woman" who caused the death of Sheba ben Bichri (II Sam. xx.). In reference to the grave of Serah bat Asher and the synagogue named in her honor at Ispahan, see Jew. Encyc. vi. 660.

W. B. I. Br.
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