side of boat; Asher in the Bible
Spiritual Growth

The Affable Asher in the Bible and Lessons We Can Learn From Him

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Continuing our series on the Twelve Tribes of Israel,  next we turn our attention to Asher. 

 

(You can find posts on the previous tribes here:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Napthali, and Gad)

 

Asher and the Tribe of Asher in the Bible

Asher was the eight son; His mother was Zilpah, maidservant of Leah and the full brother of Gad.

He was her second and last child with Jacob. When Asher was born, Leah said, “How happy am I! The women will call me happy”  

 

Then Leah said, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.” So she named him Asher. – Genesis 30:13

An image of a happy woman running through a field with the quote,

 

Asher’s name is said to mean “happy, contentment, richness, affirmation. The daughters of the Tribe of Asher had a good reputation and were sought after as wives by the Priests and Kings of Israel. (More on Asher’s daughter’s below).

Some biblical scholars opined that Asher liked luxury and good-living even if it involved a good degree of waste. Asher is easy-going, and agreeable, but his warriors were considered one of the prides or “jewels” of Israel.

 

Despite his affable temperment, Asher was not very certain of himself and tended to seek the affirmation of others. He was said to be honest and “upright.” He goes out of his way to obtain legal and communal affirmation for his actions. Asher needs to be re-assured. He was a follower, rather than one to initiate.

 

Asher was one of six tribes chosen to stand on Mount Ebal and pronounce curses.

And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali. – Deuteronomy 27:13

 

Through these curses, the people of Israel promised God they would avoid poor behavior and treat others right.

 

Here is the scripture containing the list of all twelve “curses” or admonishments delivered by Asher.

 

“Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

“Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” – Deuteronomy 27:15-26

 

 

Jacob’s Deathbed Blessing to Asher

 

As he did with all of his twelve sons, Jacob gave a blessing before his passing to Asher:

 

“Asher’s food will be rich;
he will provide delicacies fit for a king. – Genesis 49:20

A plain light purple background with the quote,

I believe (as do many biblical scholars) that this infers that Asher was, and would continue to be, a wealthy man. Jacob’s reference to Asher’s food being “rich” indicated that Asher would possess fertile lands. In Joshua 19:24-31, we learn that Asher received fertile land along the Mediterranean coast. (see below for the territory of the tribe of Asher)

 

Moses Blessing to Asher

 

Moses’ blessing to the Tribe of Asher similarly spoke of wealth and good fortune:

 

And 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.

Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. – Deuteronomy 33:24-25 (NET)

 

 

We know, from many recounts in the Bible that the washing of one’s feet was a sign of prosperity and hospitality.

 

FREE Bible Study Worksheets to Help You Dig Deeper Into His Word

 

Blessings, but…..

 

Despite all its blessings, the tribe of Asher failed to drive out the Canaanites, and “because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land” (Judges 1:31-32).

In the time of Deborah and Barak,

 

Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan.
And Dan, why did he linger by the ships?
Asher remained on the coast
and stayed in his coves. – Judges 5:17

 

An image of a ship approaching the coast with the quote,

He did not join the fight against Jabin, a Canaanite king. I feel this points to how Asher was not as much of a doer and more of a follower.

 

The Tribe of Asher’s failure to help their fellow tribes could indicate a lack of reliance on God, a lack of effort, a fear of the enemy, or a reluctance to upset those with whom they did business. Thus, the example set here is a negative one: although Asher was richly blessed, they did not behave admirably, at all times and when the time for action came, he failed to trust in God and honor His plan.

 

 

Later in Judges, Asher does respond to Gideon’s call to repel the Midianites, Amalekites, and others from the East.

 

He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them. – Judges 6:35

 

Later, Asher accepts Hezekiah’s invitation to the tribes from the Northern Kingdom to join the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. This was considered an act of humility, proof of a contrite heart before God. So, Asher does have his moments of a humble heart for God.

 

It’s a fairly long passage, but I think it’s important to read to understand how the tribes came together and humbled their hearts for the Lord.

 

Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. They had not been able to celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly. They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written.

 

At the king’s command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:

 

“People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your parents and your fellow Israelites, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the Lord. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”

 

The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed them. Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the Lord. – 2 Chronicles 30:1-12 (bold and italics, mine) 

 

In the end, we find that Asher received many great blessings from God. Having received a blessing, they were expected to obey the Lord’s commands. In this they sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed.

 

We, too, have been blessed by God (Ephesians 1:3), and the Lord expects us to obey His commands (John 14:15). Just as Asher received a prophetic blessing from Jacob, God’s children have received this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Praise the Lord for His wonderful plans for us. What a comfort!

 

How Large Was the Tribe of Asher?

 

from the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000, – Revelation 7:6

 

Tribe of Asher Territory

 

Territory of Asher:

The boundaries of the territory are given in considerable detail in Joshua 19:25. Only a few of the places named can be identified with certainty. Dor, the modern Tan-Turah, although occupied by Manasseh belonged to Asher.

 

The lot of Asher formed a strip of land from 8 to 10 miles wide running northward along the shore to the neighborhood of Sidon, touching Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali on the East Asher seems to have taken possession of the territory by a process of peaceful penetration, not by conquest, and as we have seen, he never drove out the Phoenicians from their cities.

 

The rich plain of Acre, and the fertile fiats between the mountain and the sea near Tyre and Sidon therefore remained in Phoenician hands. But the valleys breaking down westward and opening on the plains have always yielded fine crops of grain. Remains of an ancient oak forest still stand to the North of Carmel. The vine, the fig, the lemon and the orange flourish. Olive trees abound, and the supplies of olive oil which to this day are exported from the district recall the word of Moses’ blessing, “Let him dip his foot in oil.” 

 

 

 The fifth lot came out for the tribe of Asher according to its clans. Their territory included:

Helkath, Hali, Beten, Akshaph, Allammelek, Amad and Mishal. On the west the boundary touched Carmel and Shihor Libnath. It then turned east toward Beth Dagon, touched Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtah El, and went north to Beth Emek and Neiel, passing Kabul on the left. It went to Abdon, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, as far as Greater Sidon. The boundary then turned back toward Ramah and went to the fortified city of Tyre, turned toward Hosah and came out at the Mediterranean Sea in the region of Akzib, Ummah, Aphek and Rehob. There were twenty-two towns and their villages.

These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Asher, according to its clans. – Joshua 19:24-31

 

 

Asher’s Daughters

 

It is also interesting to note that Asher’s “most blessed children” seem to be daughters. In addition to his musical daughter Serah, the Midrash notes that Asher’s daughters beautiful and married to high priests who were anointed with olive oil” Perhaps these daughters used lotions of olive oil, for, just as Jacob predicted, Asher settled into a fertile territory that was particularly bountiful with olive trees.

 

What We Can Learn From the Tribe of Asher in the Bible

 

1) We need to be all in for God, not just when we feel like it.

 

We need to be conscious and spend our time with our fellow body of believers and live a pleasing life to God. 

 

Ultimately, the tribe of Asher failed to drive out the Canaanites. Although, Asher was richly blessed, he and his tribe did not behave admirably and trust God when the time for action came, and instead let themselves be seduced and overtaken by a life of comfort.

 

 

2) Remember where your blessings come from and love others as He loves us.

 

Asher enjoyed the finer things in life – you may, too. Or, you may simply have what you need: shelter, food, work. Remember that God has given you all that you have and that we need to show Him gratitude as well as sharing our blessings and helping others whenever we can.

 

Downloadable/printable Bible verses about Asher (click on the image below for your two-page pdf)

Bible-verses-about-Asher1

 

Fun Facts About Asher in the Bible

 

  • The Midrash records Asher’s birthdate as the 20th of Shevat.
  • The stone of Asher is called Tarshish. This is translated in the KJ (Exodus 28:20) as “beryl”. Other sources identify the stone of Tarshish as amber.
  • The Midrash Rabah describes the standard of Asher as depicting an olive tree and Asher was associated with olive oil. (most likely due to the blessings received pertaining to olive oil)
  • The most known member of the tribe of Asher (other than Asher, of course) is the widow and prophetess, Anna

 

You may enjoy this sermon by Pastor Omar Thibeaux

 

 

What struck you most about Asher in the Bible? Do you see yourself as resting in your blessings or do you remember to thank our Heavenly Father regularly for all He has done for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Because of Him,

Sue

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.

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