The tribe of Asher was descended from Jacob through his maid Zilpah (Gen 30:12-13). In the division of Canaan under Joshua, this tribe received the coastal plain from Mt Carmel north to the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon (Josh 19:24-31; Judg 5:17). Like the other Israelite tribes, Asher did not drive out the local Canaanites, who still occupied a number of towns and districts. As a result Asher rarely controlled the Phoenician coast, and for most of its history had to be content with the coastal region around Mt Carmel and the neighbouring hill country (Judg 1:31-32). This was a fertile area whose olive orchards produced the best oil in Palestine (Gen 49:20; Deut 33:24).

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