What I love about Bible studies is you start on one thing and find yourself somewhere else and it is a great study too. This one started out as a study on light and ended looking at the word Esher, that means happy. (It will explain itself when I do the blog about light.) In my Strong’s Concordance for the King James Version that has definitions from W.E. Vine adapted into the entries I found this and thought it was to good to pass up. (Strong’s #835)
Esher and the name Asher (son of Jacob) both come from the same root word and it can be translated blessed or happy. Most of the occurrences of Esher in scripture are in poems such as Psalms or Proverbs. Vine observes that the “prosperity” or “happiness” comes when a superior, usually God, has bestowed His favor on you such as in Deuteronomy 33:29. But he notes that according to Eliphaz Job was blessed and should have been happy not because everything was going good but because God favored Job (Job 5: 17-18). OUCH that runs against the modern thought process.
Vine’s final thought is that it is appropriate to translate Esher as “happy” but for modern readers it “does not always convey its emphasis” to us. Many modern translations do use blessed more than happy.
For a good example of the usage of this word please see http://www.craigladams.com/blog/files/Psalm-1-1.html for Psalm 1.
A good reference- http://biblesuite.com/hebrew/835.htm