The second son of Jacob and Zilpah, Leah's maid (Gen. 30.12), and one of the twelve tribes of Israel. In Genesis 30.13, the name Asher is associated with the Hebrew word for blessing, but many scholars associate the name's origin with the goddess Asherah.

According to Joshua 19.24–31, the tribe of Asher settled in northwest Canaan (Map 3: X2–3). Biblical sources praise Asher's fertile land (Gen. 49.20; Deut. 33.24–25). The authors of Judges claim that Asher failed to occupy all of its territory (Judg. 1.31–32). Solomon reorganized Asher's territory into an administrative district (1 Kings 4.16) and later ceded twenty Galilean cities (1 Kings 9.11–13) to the king of Tyre. After the Assyrian exile Asher's territory remained in foreign hands, but the tribe, as witnessed by its genealogies, endured (e.g., 1 Chron. 7.30–39; cf. 2 Chron. 30.11; Luke 2.36).

Gary N. Knoppers