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ASHIMA (Heb. אֲשִׁימָא), deity worshiped by the people of Hamath in Syria, who were deported to Samaria and its environs to replace the Israelites, exiled in 722–21 b.c.e. (ii Kings 17:30). Until recently no exact correspondent of the name Ashima was attested, and scholars attempted to identify Ashima with various deities from Phoenicia, Elephantine, and Mesopotamia having names similar to the biblical form. These attempts have been vitiated by the discovery of an Aramaic inscription from Teima in Arabia ca. 400 b.c.e. that refers to Ashima (אשימא) along with Sengalla (שנגלא) as "the gods of Teima (אלהי תימא)." The biblical association of Ashima with Hamath in Northern Syria versus his attestation at Teima may be explained by the gap of several centuries between the occurrences.


M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, ii Kings (ab; 1988), 211–12; M. Cogan, in: ddd, 105–6; A. Livingstone, in: M. Geller et al. (eds.), Studia Aramaica (1995), 133–43.

[S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]

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