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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Ash´er (happy), one of the sons of Jacob by Zilpah, the handmaid of Leah (Genesis 30:13; Genesis 35:26), and founder of one of the twelve tribes (Numbers 26:44-47). Asher had four sons and one daughter (Genesis 49:20; Deuteronomy 33:24). On quitting Egypt the number of adult males in the tribe of Asher was 41,500, which made it the ninth of the tribes (excluding Levi) in numbers—Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin only being below it. But before entering Canaan an increase of 11,900—an increase exceeded only by Manasseh—raised the number to 53,400, and made it the fifth of the tribes in population (comp. Numbers 1:40-41; Numbers 26:47). The inheritance of this tribe lay in a very fruitful country, on the sea-coast, with Lebanon north, Carmel and the tribe of Issachar south, and Zebulon and Naphtali east. It is usually stated that the whole of the Phoenician territories, including Sidon, were assigned to this tribe. But there are various considerations which militate against this conclusion. The Asherites were unable to gain possession for a long time of the territories actually assigned them, but 'dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land' (Judges 1:32); and, 'as it is not usual to say of a larger number that it dwells among the smaller, the inference is, that they expelled but comparatively few of the Canaanites, leaving them, in fact, a majority of the population.'





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Asher'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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