Biblical People

Biblical People: Asher

Leah, having four sons of her own and a fifth through her maidservant, Zilpah, isn’t satisfied by claiming five sons to her sister’s one (who came through Rachel’s maidservant).

Leah again gives Zilpah to Jacob to sleep with. Zilpah conceives and gives birth to her second son. Leah says his birth makes her happy. This totals eight boys for Jacob so far.

Like the other three surrogate sons (Dan, Naphtali, and Gad), Scripture tells us little more about Asher, except for one indirect mention in the New Testament.

After Jesus is born, his parents take him to the temple when he is eight days old. There they meet a prophetess named Anna. An eighty-four-year-old widow, Anna spends much of her time in the temple worshiping, fasting, and praying.

She approaches Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus, giving thanks to God for this child who will fulfill the words of the prophets. 

Why do we mention Anna in the story about Asher? She’s his descendant, a member of his tribe. It’s only an estimate, but Anna comes about forty generations after Asher. 

This serves as a reminder that we don’t know what our future generations may do. They may take noteworthy, God-honoring actions. Or they may not do so well. 

Though we can’t directly influence what our unknown offspring may or may not do, we can pray for future generations, even though we’ll be gone before they arrive. This is hard to do, but it is possible.

More tangibly, we can point our family in the right direction by doing all we can to raise them well, so that they might one day put their faith in Jesus and serve him.

The rest, we’ll leave up to God.

How well do we do at praying for our family? What about praying for the descendants who will follow us after we’re gone?

[Read Asher’s story in Genesis 30:13; 35:26; and 49:20. Discover more in Luke 2:36–38.]

Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at