Happy or Blessed

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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

Tribes of Israel – Gad and Asher

Zilpah and Her Boys

Zilpah is Leah’s slave and is not mentioned outside of Genesis. Even though she had children by Jacob you have to wonder if life really changed any for her because of the “marriage.” Like Bilhah she did not even name her children. (see comments under Bilhah)

Gad is Jacob’s seventh child and Zilpah’s first, his name means “good fortune.”

Deuteronomy 33: 20 About Gad he said:“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad’s domain! Gad lives there like a lion, tearing at arm or head. 21 He chose the best land for himself; the leader’s portion was kept for him. When the heads of the people assembled, he carried out the Lord’s righteous will, and his judgments concerning Israel.” (NIV)

Genesis 49:19 “Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders, but he will attack them at their heels. (NIV)

Once again little is told about his life and his family became shepherds with lots of animals and settled on the east bank of the Jordan with Reuben and Manasseh. Those tribes seem to blend together and are called Gilead often in scripture. The Gadites produced warriors that “crossed the Jordan” with the half-tribe of Manasseh all the way to the time of David. With the other trans-Jordan tribes they built a large alter in order to announce their intentions of worshipping Jehovah.

Asher is Jacob’s eighth child and Zilpah’s second, his name means “happy.”

Deuteronomy 33: 24 About Asher he said: “Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. 25 The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days. (NIV)

Genesis 49:20 “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king. (NIV)

This word from Jacob was fulfilled in their allotment because that area has some of the best olive trees and orchids in the land. The tribe helped Gideon but for the most part they are rather quite throughout Israel’s history. Anna the prophetess, in the book of Luke, that met Mary in the Temple is about it for notable tribe members.