The eighth son of Jacob and second of Zilpah, Ge 30:13; 35:26. On entering Canaan his tribe was the fifth in order, numbering fifty-three thousand four hundred. The portion of Asher lay along the seaboard, having Levanon and Zidon on the north, Carmel and the tribe of Issachar on the south, and Zebulun and Naphtali on the east. It was fruitful in grain, wine, oil, and minerals, Ge 49:20; De 33:24-25. How much of the Phoenician coast was included is uncertain, Jos 19:25,28; but the Asherites were unable to expel the Canaanites, and dwelt in part among them, Jg 1:31-32. They are honorably mentioned in the history of David, 1Ch 12:36, and of Hezekiah, 2Ch 30:11.
happy, Jacob's eigth son; his mother was Zilpah, Leah's handmaid (Ge 30:13). Of the tribe founded by him nothing is recorded beyond its holding a place in the list of the tribes (Ge 35:26; 46:17; Ex 1:4, etc.) It increased in numbers twenty-nine percent, during the thirty-eight years' wanderings. The place of this tribe during the march through the desert was between Dan and Naphtali (Nu 2:27). The boundaries of the inheritance given to it, which contained some of the richest soil in Palestine, and the names of its towns, are recorded in Jos 19:24-31; Jg 1:31-32. Asher and Simeon were the only tribes west of the Jordan which furnished no hero or judge for the nation. Anna the prophetess was of this tribe (Lu 2:36).
Illustration: Territory of Asher
ASHER or ASER.
1. Eighth son of Jacob by Zilpah, Leah's handmaid (Ge 30:13). "In my happiness the daughters will call me happy: and she called his name Asher" (happy.) Asher had four sons and one daughter, the heads of families (Nu 26:44-47). At the Exodus they numbered 41,500; at the close of the forty years in the wilderness 53,400. Their allotment was the rich sea coast between Carmel and Lebanon, N. of Manasseh, N.W. of Zebulun and Issachar, and S.W. of Naphtali. The portion near Zidon, Dor, Accho, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, Rehob, they never made themselves masters of (Jg 1:31-32; Jos 19:24-31; 17:10-11.). The southern boundary was a stream S. of Dor (Tantura) flowing into the Mediterranean, Nahr el Defneh or Nahr Zurka. Their land included the maritime portion of the plain of Esdraelon.
Moses' blessing (De 33:24-25) represents Asher "acceptable to his brethren"; but Keil, "favored among his brethren and dipping his feet in oil" (i.e. having a land flowing with oil: Job 29:6), "his shoes" (but Keil translates castle, min'al; Maurer, bolt, i.e. dwelling secured by bolt) "iron and brass" (abounding in these metals, which the Phoenicians manufactured). Contented with the luxuries which nature and intercourse with the enterprising Phoenicians afforded (for already Zidon was "the great" or "the strong"), Asher shrank from jeopardizing life with Zebulun and Naphtali, against Sisera the Canaanite; Asher "abode on the sea shore in his breaches" (creeks) (Jg 5:17-18).
As thy days so shall thy rest (dabeaka) be, Maurer and Keil; but Gesenius, "so shall thy death be" (De 33:24-25). Jacob (Ge 49:20) prophesied: "out of Asher his bread shall be fat (the fat that comes from him shall be his own bread, so fruitful shall be his soil) and he shall yield royal dainties:" fulfilled when Solomon thence supplied King Hiram's household with wheat and oil (1Ki 5:11). Asher's self indulging inertness acted injuriously on his own people. Selfishness and faint heartedness in the Lord's cause became their own punishment.
From being more numerous at mount Sinai than Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, in David's time they had become so few that Asher's name is omitted from the chief rulers (1Ch 27:16-22). Asherites were among those who came to Jerusalem to Hezekiah's Passover (2Ch 30:11). Asher and Simeon are the only tribes W. of Jordan which produced no hero or judge. (See ANNA, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, in the New Testament alone reflects honor on her tribe (Luke 2).
2. A boundary of Manasseh on the S. (Jos 17:7.) Eusebius places it on the road from Shechem to Bethshean or Scythepills. Porter makes it now Teyasir, three quarters of an hour from Tubas or Thebez. Tel um el Aschera (Van de Velde), Um Ajra; (Robinson and Knobel), an hour S. of Beisan.
Apocrypha and New Testament, A'ser (blessed), the eighth son of Jacob, by Zilpah, Leah's handmaid.
(B.C. 1753.) The general position of his tribe was on the seashore from Carmel northward with Manasseh on the south, Zebulun and Issachar on the southeast, and Naphtali on the north-east.
and Judg 1:31,32 They possessed the maritime portion of the rich plain of Esdraelon;, probably for a distance of 8 or 10 miles from the shore. This territory contained some of the richest soil in all Palestine.
ASHER, tribe of. The province allotted to this tribe was a maritime one, stretching along the coast from Sidon on the north to Mount Carmel on the south; including the cities Abdon, Achshaph, Accho, Achzib, Sarepta, Sidon, and Tyre. But of the northern half of this territory, that is, from Tyre northward, this tribe never became possessed, not having expelled the Phoenician inhabitants, who are supposed not to have been pure Canaanites, but a mixture of this people with a Cuthite colony from Egypt. Asher was the most northerly of the tribes; and had that of Naphtali on the west, and Zebulun on the south.