When considering the phrase “blessed are they . . .” it occurred to me that we should discover the underlying Hebrew term for this word “blessed.” Of course, the first inclination was to look at the word baruch (Baruch atah Adonai – bless you Adonai). However, as I reviewed a few key scriptures, I found a word that would most likely be the one used in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament).
Bere’shiyth (Genesis) 30:13
And Leah לֵאָה said, Happy am I בְּאָשְׁרִ֕י (ashar), for the daughters בָּנ֑וֹת will call me blessed אִשְּׁר֖וּנִי (ashar), and she called וַתִּקְרָ֥א his את eth name שְׁמ֖וֹ (shem) Ashar אָשֵֽׁר.
אשר ashar' - to be straight (used in the widest sense, especially to be level, right, happy); figuratively, to go forward, be honest, proper:—(call, be) bless(-ed, happy), go, guide, lead, relieve.
Lucas (Luke) 1:28
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, you that arte highly favored, YAHUAH is with you: blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are you among women.
So you see that the term “blessed” is best translated as the Hebrew word. But let’s take a look at the application in the book of Iyov (Job) 29:1-17:
1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when ELOAH preserved me (shamarni); 3 When his candle shined הָלַל (halal) upon my head רֹאשׁ (rosh), and when by his light אוֺר (or) I walked through darkness ךְשֶׁחֹ (choshek);
H2822 ךשח - kho-shek'; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: - dark (-ness), night, obscurity.
4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret דוֹס (sod) of ELOAH אֱלוֺהַּ was upon my tabernacle אֹהֶל (ohel – tent); 5 When SHADDAI שַׁדַּי was yet with me, when my children were about me;
6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock צוּר (tsur) poured me out rivers of oil;
7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! 8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged יָשִׁישׁ (yahsheeshiym) arose, and stood up. 9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth. 10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue לָשׁוֹן (lashon) cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
11 When the ear (o’zen) heard שָׁמַע (shema’oth) me, then it blessed אָשַׁר (ashar) me; and when the eye עַיִן (ayin) saw האָרָ (ra’ah) me, it gave witness דוּע (a’ood) to me:
12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 13 The blessing בְּרָכָה (baruchah) of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy רָנַן (ronan?). 14 I put on righteousness קדֶצֶ (tsaddik), and it clothed me: my judgment מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) was as a robe and a diadem. 5 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. 17 And I broke the jaws of the wicked עַוָּל (aval), and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
This word ashar is the preference of David. He begins his very first Psalm using the word Ashar, which has been interpreted as the word “blessed.”
Tehilliym (Psalm) 1:1
Blessed אֶשֶׁר (ashar) is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way דֶּרֶךְ (derek) of sinners חַטָּא (chattahiym), nor sits in the seat of the scornful ץוּל (loots).
3887. ץוּל luwts; to make mouths at, i.e. to scoff; hence (from the effort to pronounce a foreign language) to interpret, or (generally) intercede:—ambassador, have in derision, interpreter, make a mock, mocker, scorn(-er, -ful), teacher.
Tehilliym (Psalm) 2:12
Kiss נָשַׁק (nawshak) the Son בַּר, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way דֶּרֶךְ (derek), when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed אֶשֶׁר (ashar) are all they that put their trust חָסָה (chasah) in him.
Tehilliym (Psalm) 2:12
Blessed אֶשֶׁר (ashar) is he whose transgression פֶּשַׁע (pasha) is forgiven נָשָׂא (nasa), whose sin חֲטָאָה (chattah) is covered הסָכָּ (kasah).
Tehilliym (Psalm) 32:2
Blessed אֶשֶׁר (ashar) is the man unto whom YAHUAH imputes not iniquity עָוֹן (avon) and in whose spirit רוּחַ (ruach) there is no guile רְמִיָּה (remiyah – treachery).
Tehilliym (Psalm) 33:12
Blessed אֶשֶׁר is the nation גּוֺי whose ELOHIYM אֱלֹהִים is YAHUAH יְהֹוָה; and the people עַם (am) whom he has chosen בָּחַר for his own inheritance נַחֲלָה.
Tehilliym (Psalm) 34:18
O taste טָעַם and see that YAHUAH is good: blessed אֶשֶׁר (asher) is the man that trusts in him.
These are wonderful uses of this word Asher, and I am blessed in being able to bring this word forward here. Now, let us provide this word into the Gospel of Mattithyahu 5:1-20:
1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed (Ashar - straight, right, happy, honest, proper, relieved) are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice (roni), and be exceeding glad (ronan): for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world (or ha’aretz). A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a menorah; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For amen I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.