Friday, April 1, 2016

Asher

Asher was the eighth son of Jacob, the second child of Zilpah, but named the sixth son of Leah.  See cheat sheet.

When Zilpah gave birth to him, Leah named him Asher, which means "Happy."  Leah said, "How happy I am.  The women will call me happy."

Asher had four sons:  Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah.  He had one daughter named Serah.

When Jacob was dying and called his sons around him, he said of Asher, "Asher's food will be rich, he will provide delicacies fit for a king."

When Moses blessed the Israelites before he died, he said of Asher's descendants, "Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil.  The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze and your strength will equal your days."

When God commanded Moses to take a census of the Israelites after they came out of Egypt, the descendants of Asher numbered 41,500 men, twenty years old and older.  This number did not reflect the women and children so you can imagine Asher's descendants were similar to the size of  fairly large city.

At the second census, Asher's male relatives over twenty numbered 53, 400.

When the Israelites lined up in the Desert, Asher's family was part of the rear guard, 11th in line, and when the offering was brought family by family for the dedication of the Tabernacle, Pagiel son of Ocran, the leader of the people of Asher's family brought their offering on the 11th day.

When Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple, the prophetess Anna, from the tribe of Asher, lived at the Temple.  The Bible says that Anna never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to the little family the day they were there to present Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2)

Did Zilpah's son, Asher, know Zilpah was his mother?  Did he catch her looking at him when he played with his brothers?  Did she come to his aid when he was picked on?  Did Asher feel favored by Zilpah?  Did the full blooded children of Leah and Jacob make fun of Asher because he was a half-brother?

I wonder.

Did he live up to the meaning of his name or did he struggle with insecurity or anger?  Did he become a great chef in a king's court like his father Jacob predicted?

While some of their relatives scorned and ridiculed the message King Hezekiah sent out, there were some men of Asher who humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem when they heard the message.  They were part of a large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread and were part of bringing repentance to God's people.  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)

The circumstances of Asher's birth were far from what we modern westerners would call ideal.  His birth mother was a pawn between two jealous sisters, one loved but infertile; one in love, but unloved and fertile.  His official mother called him Happy.  Leah used him to impress the other women so that she would be called happy.

Did Happy make her happy?  We never read that Jacob learned to love Leah through the children she bore him.  It isn't in the script that one day Jacob's eyes were opened and he saw Leah for who she was while forgetting about the beauty of the sister who he loved more.

Whatever became of Asher, this I know I will see:

There is a gate in heaven with his name on it.  Perhaps when God's children enter heaven, some will enter through the Happy gate, with its namesake welcoming us in.

Asher.

Happy.


Peace,

Ronda

















12 comments:

  1. Great post! Really thought you cheat sheet in previous post is an excellent idea! Happy A-Zing!
    Heather

    http://heathersstitchingstory.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/a-is-for-atozchallenge.html#comment-form

    @xstitchchick

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  2. An intriguing post, Ronda. Looking forward to your A to Z Challenge posts.

    Mason
    Ninja Minion

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  3. I didn't know so much was known about Asher. I've always wondered about Leah and if she was content.

    Susan Says


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    1. Thanks for stopping by! There is much to know about Leah and her children!

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  4. Greetings Blog Challenge neighbor!
    Looking forward to seeing what you post all month.

    Tim
    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Adventure!
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

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    1. Hello! So glad you stopped in. Happy blogging!

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  5. I have studied the Bible a multitude of ways over the years, but I have never just focused in on one person and their descendants like this. I love it! Thank you for bringing this to us!
    Revisit the Tender Years with me during the #AtoZChallenge at Life & Faith in Caneyhead!

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    1. Thank you for stopping in, Barbara. I always appreciate your input.

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