🔼The name Asher: Summary
- From the verb אשר ('ashar), to go right on.
🔼The name Asher in the Bible
There are one man and one town named Asher in the Bible. Asher the town was situated on the southern border of the territory of Manasseh (Joshua 17:7). Asher the man was Jacob's son number eight and his second one with Zilpah (Genesis 30:12-13).
Asher's only full brother was Gad (Genesis 30:9-11), and Asher's sons were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. His daughter was named Serah (Genesis 46:17). Asher's descendants, the אשרי (Asherites; Judges 1:32) would form one of the twelve tribes of Israel and settle the northern portion of Israel's Mediterranean coast.
In Greek this name is spelled Ασηρ; Aser (Luke 2:36, Revelation 7:6). The name Asher should not be confused with the name Asshur, although these names appear to be quite kindred. In fact, the name Asher may come from a deity of that same name, which also lent its name to the Assyrians.
🔼Etymology of the name Asher
The name Asher comes from the Hebrew verb אשר ('ashar) meaning to go (straight) on:
Verb ישר (yashar) means to be straight or level. Adjective ישר (yashar) means right or upright. Nouns ישר (yosher), ישרה (yeshara) and מישר (meshar) mean uprightness or straightness. Noun מישור (mishor) describes a level place or plain.
Verb אשר ('ashar) covers a decisive progression or a setting right, and is often applied to describe happiness and prosperity (right on!). This is not due to a curious coincidence but to the obvious correlation of righteousness and efficiency. Righteousness in the Biblical sense describes a solid grasp of natural law, which leads to high levels of technology, social liquidity and thus peace and prosperity.
Nouns אשר ('esher), אשר ('ashar) and אשר ('osher) mean happiness or blessedness. Nouns אשור (ashur) and אשר (ashur) mean a step, a walk or a going. The noun תאשור (te'ashur) refers to a kind of tree (a happy tree? a progressing tree?).
The relative particle אשר (asher) means who or which, and may or may not be related to the previous (but probably does).
And apparently, the Canaanites found progressing so pleasing even that they adored a goddess with the feminine variant of this name: אשרה (Asherah, 1 Kings 15:13), often referred to by the plural אשרות (Asheroth, Judges 3:7).
For a meaning of the name Asher, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and NOBSE Study Bible Name List both read Happy.