(Ashʹer) [Happy; Happiness].
1. The eighth son of Jacob and second of two sons through Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant. (Ge 35:26) Thus Asher’s only full brother was Gad. Asher’s four sons and one daughter are listed at 1 Chronicles 7:30, though his wife is not named. He was not prominent among the 12 sons of Jacob. However, in his father’s deathbed prophecy, Asher was promised a life blessed with an abundance of rich foods (Ge 49:20), and the history of his descendants demonstrates the fulfillment of this prediction.
2. The name applies as well to the tribe descended from Asher. A year after the Exodus from Egypt the tribe’s adult male descendants numbered 41,500 (Nu 1:41) and, about 39 years later, had increased to 53,400, making it the fifth most populous tribe. (Nu 26:47) In the camp of Israel, Asher occupied a position N of the tabernacle, with the tribes of Dan and Naphtali.—Nu 2:25-30.
Prior to entry into Canaan, Moses’ prophetic blessing again predicted a prosperous portion for Asher. The tribe was figuratively to ‘dip its foot in oil.’ (De 33:24, 25; compare Job 29:6.) Their allotment of territory stretched along the Mediterranean coastal plains from below the town of Dor, S of Mount Carmel, on up to the N boundary of Palestine at Sidon. (Jos 17:7-11; 19:24-31) This included some of the most fertile land in all Israel, where olive trees would provide abundant oil, while other fruits would provide dainties fit to grace a royal table. (Ge 49:20; De 33:24) The territories of Zebulun and Naphtali lay along Asher’s E boundary, with Manasseh and Issachar to the S and SE.