- Asher was the second son of Jacob and Zilpha (Leah's maidservant). (The first son of these two had been Gad.) (Genesis 30:10-12) See also Genesis 35:26, where Gad and Asher are named in a list of Jacob's sons.
- Asher means 'happy'. When Asher was born, "...Leah said, 'How happy I am! The women will call me happy.' So she named him Asher." (Genesis 30:13 NIV)
- Asher's sons are listed in Genesis 46:17. At that point, Asher's family tree looks like this:
Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah, and a daughter, Serah
Heber and Malkiel
- A man from Asher named Pagiel, son of Ocran, was one of the twelve men chosen (one from each of the twelve tribes) to assist Moses and Aaron in the military census of the Israelites. (Numbers 1:13) Pagiel also was the one to bring the tribe's offering when Moses dedicated the tabernacle. (Numbers 7:72). There he is described as "the leader of the people of Asher".
- At the time of this military census, the tribe of Asher had 41,500 men who were twenty years old or older and could serve in the army. (Numbers 1:40-41; 2:27) [Of course, in addition to these men, the tribe of Asher would have women and children and other men who were too old or incapacitated to serve.]
- Positionally, the tribe of Asher formed part of the rear guard, along with Dan and Naphtali. (Numbers 10:25-28)
- Later, when the Lord told Moses to send men to explore the land of Canaan, a man named Sethur son of Michael was chosen as a representative from the tribe of Asher. (Genesis 13:13) The men in the list in Numbers 13 are different than the list of leaders mentioned in earlier chapters of the book of Numbers. This task may have required a higher level of fitness. Also, it seems that there could be several leaders within each tribe (see Numbers 13:1 "...From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.") All those sent, however, were leaders of the Israelites. (Num 13:3)
- At the time of a second military census (Numbers 26), Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron (Aaron had died) were chosen to number the men twenty years old and above, who were able to serve. "The descendants of Asher by their clans were:
and through the descendants of Beriah:
(Asher had a daughter named Serah.)
(Numbers 26:44-47 NIV)
- Note that the number of fighting men were now 53, 400 instead of the previous 41,500. The number of fighting men had increased 11,900. I assume there was a corresponding increase in women and children. God was continuing to keep His promise to Abraham (Genesis 12) to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens.
- In Numbers 34:16-29, one leader from each tribe was selected to help Eleazar and Joshua assign the land of Canaan to the Israelites. Ahihud son of Shelomi was the man from the tribe of Asher who was chosen for this duty. (Numbers 34:27)
- In Deuteronomy 33, Moses gives his final blessing to the tribes. Asher's blessing is found in verses 24-25 of this chapter.
- One last thing: Asher's land, as promised, was quite fertile and enabled the tribe to produce abundant food. I thought that these comments from John Gill summed up the blessings upon the tribe of Asher quite nicely: John Gill commentary on Genesis 49:20 (You will need to type Genesis 49:20 into the search box on this page and scroll down to John Gill's comments.) Several of his most interesting points (to me at least) were that the land assigned to Asher actually was very fertile and was used to supply King Solomon's household, and that Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine happened in this area, as well as Jesus' teaching on how he was the 'bread of life' -- both very appropriate for an area prophesied to produce an abundance of food fit for royal households.