The Names "Yeshuron" and "Asher"
Two Different Depictions of the High Priest with the Breastplate
High Priest High Priest High Priest

The Israelite Tribe of Asher received the following blessing from Moses:

Deuteronomy 33:
24 And of Asher he said:
Asher is most blessed of sons;
Let him be favored by his brothers,
And let him dip his foot in oil.

Here, according to the Commentaries, ends the blessing to Asher. There follow general words of blessing to the whole of Israel. We however feel that these extra words of blessing are ESPECIALLY pertinent to the Tribe of Asher. One of our reasons is the very placement and context of these blessings that seamlessly seem to follow on after the blessing to Asher. Other reasons exist including the fact that the God of Yeshuron is referred to. Yeshuron means Israel in general but is particularly applicable to both Joseph and Asher, with the emphasis on Asher. Several indications help substantiate this, including the opinion of Chizkuni that the name Yeshuron on the Breastplate of the High Priest was mainly on the stone of Asher, alongside the name of Asher. It was also partly on the stone of Joseph. Joseph too has a special pertinence to the name of Yeshuron and its associated blessing. Asher needs to weld himself to Joseph.

Deuteronomy 33:
25 Your sandals shall be iron and bronze;
As your days, so shall your strength be.
26 There is no one like the God of Yeshuron,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say,'Destroy!'
28 Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
The fountain of Jacob alone,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew.
29 Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
Your enemies shall submit to you,
And you shall tread down their high places

In our article, "Biblical Asher", sub-heading, 1. The Blessing to Asher and Jeshurun
we noted that:
Jeshurun (Yeshurun) is another name for Israel.
A Phoenician inscription has been discovered mentioning 'Tyre and Yeshuron' ("Les Hebreo-Phoeniciens. ... Pays Mediterranie", by Nahum SLOUSCHZ, Paris 1909). This shows North Israelite involvement with the Phoenicians whose chief cities were Tyre and Sidon. Both Tyre (Joshua 19:28) and Sidon (Joshua 19:29) were within the territory of Asher.

We find the name Jeshurun used in verses following on from the Blessing of Moses to Asher (Deuteronomy 33:24-29). There was a reason for this and indications are that the name Jeshurun and blessings pertaining to it was especially applicable to the Tribe of Asher.

The term Jeshurun (Yishurun) in the verse Deuteronomy 33:26 according to the Midrash Sifrei (ca. 100 CE) and to the Commentator Rashi (1040-1105) applies to all Israel even though it is part of a group of verses following on from the Blessing of Moses to Asher. Our understanding was that the verses due to their placement, though applying to all Israel, have a special significance to Asher. Fishel Mael also brings sources indicating that they have a special pertinence to the Tribe of Asher. In Hebrew the first three letters of the name YeShuR-ON spells the word "YaShaR" meaning "Upright". The names 'Asher' and 'Yishurun' may both in Hebrew connote "Uprightness". YaShaR (as Mael indicates) may also have been another name for Asher. Yishurun in Midrashim is associated with the aspect of Israel as a unified People. Fishel Mael suggests that Asher may have had a special gift to help bring about unification....

Fishel Mael reminds us that in the Temple Service the High Priest wore a breastplate. This bore 12 precious stones. On each stone was engraved the name of one of the Israelite Tribes. In addition, according to one opinion (Chizkuni), were engraved the names Abraham, Isaac, Yaacov, and Shivtei Yishurun (Tribes of Jeshurun i.e. of Israel). The script for these additional titles was spread over the stones so that part of one word would be on one stone and the next part on the stone that came after it. The stone of Asher bore the first three letters (YSR) of the Hebrew name Yeshurun (YSRON). The stone of Joseph bore the last two letters of the name (ON from YSR-ON) in Hebrew . It follows that the tribes of Asher and Joseph would exemplify, more than the other tribes, the blessings dedicated to Yishuron-Israel. Asher had most of the letters. Not only that but the portion of the name borne by Joseph was more in the nature of a suffix than the root of the name itself.

The name "Chizkuni" is an acronym (an abbreviation formed from initial and major letters) of CHeZekiah ben MaNoah, 1200s, France.

The explanation of Chizkuni is illustrated and explained below below:


The Breastplate Names (in Hebrew) according to the Chizkuni.
For explanation and Translation Scroll Down. Source: "Ve-Asu Li Mikdash" by Yechiel Michael Stern, Jerusalem, 5770

Breastplate of the High Priest

Below we have the order of the Tribes on the Breastplate as understood by Chizkuni.
The order of reading should be from right to left, i.e. Reuben is the first













Below we have the order of the Tribes together with the words: ABRaHaM, YiSTCHaK, YAACoV, ShiVTeY YeShuRON (Tribes of Jeshuron).
The order of reading should be from right to left.

Word Spelled (from right to left.):




Word Spelled (from right to left.):




Words Spelled (from right to left):
[continuation from previous line i.e. YiTSCHa-[K]; YaaKo-V; ShiVTeY (Tribes of)



YaaKo K

Word Spelled (from right to left):




Breastplate Names of Yeshuron, Asher, and Joseph:
Read from right to left.
Breastplate Names of Joseph, Asher, and Yeshuron
Breastplate Names of Joseph, Asher, and Yeshuron
Reading, from right to left, we have the first part (YSR) of the name Yishuron (YiShuR-ON) on the stone of Asher, and the second part (-ON) on the stone of Joseph. This indicates an especial application of the name Yeshuron to Asher and also to Joseph. The portion of the name (-ON) however on the stone of Joseph is a suffix (and of less letters) and therefore possibly of lesser significance. The Tribes of Asher and Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) were often closely intertwined.

From the Breastplate Inscriptions we have further indications that the name Yeshuron as well as applying to all Israel also referred especially to Asher and Joseph. While being pertinent particularly to Asher it helps support our impression that the Tribe of Asher would only be able to fully realize its potential though attachment to Joseph.

In a separate article we hope to consider the additional blessings given to Israel (especially Joseh and Asher) indicated through its name Yeshuron in the blessing of Moses (Deuteronomy 33).

For more articles concerning the Tribe of Asher,
See: The Tribe of Asher. Identity and Characteristics


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