1. The eighth son of Jacob and second of two sons through Zilpah, Leah’s maidservant. (Gen. 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 twelve sons of Jacob. However, in his father’s deathbed prophecy, Asher was promised a life blessed with an abundance of rich foods (Gen. 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 of Asher numbered 41,500 (Num. 1:41) and, about thirty-nine years later, had increased to 53,400 making it the fifth most populous tribe. (Num. 26:47) In the camp of Israel Asher occupied a position on the north side of the tabernacle, with the tribes of Dan and Naphtali.—Num. 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.’ (Deut. 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. (Josh. 17:7-11; 19:24-31) This included some of the most fertile land in all Palestine, where olive trees would provide abundant oil, while other fruits would provide dainties fit to grace a royal table. (Gen. 49:20; Deut. 33:24) The territories of Zebulun and Naphtali lay along Asher’s E boundary, with Manasseh and Issachar to the S and SE.
3. Asher appears to be the name of a town listed as on the boundary of the tribe of Manasseh. (Josh. 17:7) The suggested location is Teyasir about eleven miles (17.7 kilometers) NE of Shechem on the road to Beth-shean. However, it may be noted that Asher is also referred to in this same account at verse 10, where it clearly refers to the tribal territory of Asher.