Asher, Aser

Genesis 30:13; Judges 1:31‑32; Genesis 49:20; Deuteronomy 27:13; Deuteronomy 33:24‑25; Judges 5:17; Judges 6:35; Judges 7:23; 2 Chronicles 30:11; Numbers 1:41; Numbers 26:47; 1 Chronicles 27:16‑22; Revelation 7:6; Luke 2:36; Ezekiel 48:2‑3  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Eighth son of Jacob by Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid (Gen. 30:1313And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher. (Genesis 30:13)). The signification of the name as in the margin is “happy.” His posterity formed one of the twelve tribes. Its portion in the land was in the extreme north, extending northward from Mount Carmel. It was bounded on the east by Naphtali, and on the south east by Zebulon. It was doubtless intended that their west border should have been the Great Sea, but we read that they did not drive out the inhabitants of Accho, Zidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik and Rehob; but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites (Judg. 1:31-3231Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: 32But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. (Judges 1:31‑32)). This left a tract of land on the sea coast unoccupied by Asher.
When Jacob called his sons about him to tell them what should befall them in the last days, he said of Asher, “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties” (Gen. 49:2020Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. (Genesis 49:20)). When Moses ordained that certain of the tribes should stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, and certain others on Mount Ebal to curse, Asher was one of those chosen to stand on the latter (Deut. 27:1313And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. (Deuteronomy 27:13)). And when Moses blessed the tribes before he died, he said of Asher, “Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:24-2524And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 25Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. (Deuteronomy 33:24‑25)).
In Jacob’s prophecy as to this tribe there is depicted the future blessing of all Israel after the salvation of the Lord has come in, announced at the close of Dan’s apostasy. In Deuteronomy, what is future also as to Israel, is probably presented, but connected rather with the government of God in His hands who is King in Jeshurun.
When Deborah and Barak went to the war they had to lament in their song that Asher abode by the sea coast, and came not to their aid (Judg. 5:1717Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches. (Judges 5:17)); but when subsequently the Midianites and the Amalekites invaded the land Asher responded to the call of Gideon (Judg. 6:3535And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. (Judges 6:35); Judg. 7:2323And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. (Judges 7:23)). At the secession of the ten tribes Asher became a part of Israel, and very little more is heard of this tribe. When Hezekiah proclaimed a solemn passover and sent invitations to the cities of Israel as well as to Judah, though many laughed the messengers to scorn, divers of Asher humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem (2 Chron. 30:1111Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 30:11)).
When numbered at Sinai there were 41,500 able to go forth to war, and when near the promised land they were 53,400; but when the rulers of the tribes are mentioned in the time of David, Asher is omitted (Num. 1:4141Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred. (Numbers 1:41); Num. 26:4747These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those that were numbered of them; who were fifty and three thousand and four hundred. (Numbers 26:47); 1 Chron. 27:16-2216Furthermore over the tribes of Israel: the ruler of the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: of the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah: 17Of the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel: of the Aaronites, Zadok: 18Of Judah, Elihu, one of the brethren of David: of Issachar, Omri the son of Michael: 19Of Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah: of Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel: 20Of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah: of the half tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah: 21Of the half tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah: of Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner: 22Of Dan, Azareel the son of Jeroham. These were the princes of the tribes of Israel. (1 Chronicles 27:16‑22)). The tribe is twice referred to in the New Testament as ASER. In Revelation 7:66Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. (Revelation 7:6), twelve thousand of Asher will be sealed, and in Luke 2:3636And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; (Luke 2:36), Anna a prophetess, of the tribe of Asher, gave thanks in the temple at the birth of the Saviour. Asher is one of the tribes still to come into blessing, and have a portion in the land (Ezek. 48:2-32And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a portion for Asher. 3And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a portion for Naphtali. (Ezekiel 48:2‑3)). See THE TWELVE TRIBES.