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Holman Bible Dictionary


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(assh' uhr) or ASER (New Testament Greek spelling) Personal, tribal, and place name meaning, “fortune,” “happiness.” 1. Eighth son of Jacob, born of Zilpah, the concubine (Genesis 30:13 ). His four sons and one daughter began the tribe of Asher (Genesis 46:17 ). Jacob's blessing said Asher would have rich food that he would give a king (Genesis 49:20 ), perhaps suggesting a period when the tribe would serve a foreign king. 2. The tribe of Asher numbered 53,400 in the wilderness (Numbers 26:46 ), having grown from 41,500 (Numbers 1:41 ). They formed part of the rear guard in the wilderness marches (Numbers 10:25-28 ). Asher's territorial allotment was in Phoenicia in the far northwest reaching to Tyre and Sidon on the Mediterranean coast (Joshua 19:24-31 ). They could not drive out the Canaanites and had to live among them (Judges 1:31-32 ). When Deborah summoned the tribes to action, Asher did not respond but “continued on the seashore” (Judges 5:17 ). Apparently, Asher was working for the Canaanites in the ports of the Mediterranean. Moses' blessing gives another view of Asher, calling the tribe “most blessed,” “favored by his brothers,” and strong (Deuteronomy 33:24-25 ). Asher produced no judge in the Book of Judges; nor did it have a tribal leader in the chronicler's list (1 Chronicles 27:16-22 ). Asher did provide troops for Gideon (Judges 6:35 ; Judges 7:23 ) and 40,000 for David at Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:36 ). Some people from Asher made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to keep Hezekiah's Passover (2 Chronicles 30:11 ). Perhaps Asher's greatest hero was Anna, the prophetess who bore witness to the baby Jesus (Luke 2:36-38 ). Twelve thousand from Asher are among the 144,000 sealed out of great tribulation to be fed by the Lamb (Revelation 7:1 ).

3. Apparently a border town in Manasseh (Joshua 17:7 ) but possibly a reference to the border joining the tribal territories of Manasseh and Asher. See Tribes of Israel.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Asher'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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