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The English word "happy" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, gehaep, which meant good circumstances, whether in life events or personal health.

"Happy" is often used to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced aw-share, which means happy, as in joyful. The very same word for "happy" was used as a name for one of Jacob's children (the LORD renamed Jacob as "Israel" - see The Origin Of 'Israel'), who became the progenitor of the Israelite tribe of Asher (see the Fact Finder question below). Leah (in Hebrew pronounced lay-ah) named him "happy" because she was happy at his birth (at the time, Leah had actually stopped having children of her own, "30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 30:10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad. 30:12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." Genesis 30:9-13 KJV; see Mothers Of Israel).

"30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." (Genesis 30:13 KJV)

In his blessing to the twelve tribes just before his death, Moses (see The Prophets: Moses) listed Asher last - perhaps to use his name as a lead-in for the overall blessing, using the same word as the name, "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD."

"33:24 And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 33:25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

33:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew. 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places." (Deuteronomy 33:24-29 KJV)

"Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee"

The King James Version (and others) variously translates the original Hebrew word aw-share as either "happy" or "blessed."

The Holy Scriptures

"14:21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy [i.e. aw-share, which means happy] is he." (Proverbs 14:21 KJV)

"1:1 Blessed [i.e. aw-share, which means happy] is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2 KJV)

True happiness (i.e. "happiness" that doesn't soon lead to misery) begins when God's correction brings his children in line with Him (see What's Your Angle?). That often involves "growing pains" that strengthen not only our Christian character, but our capacity for true happiness (see also No Pain, No Gain).

"5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 5:18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole." (Job 5:17-18 KJV)

Living according to God's Way is the way to life and happiness.

"128:1 A Song of degrees. Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'; also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD and Did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Know 'The LORD'?]; that walketh in his ways. 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee." (Psalm 128:1-2 KJV)

"144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." (Psalm 144:15 KJV)

God's Way is the way to God's Wisdom, for "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."

"3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom [see Christian Wisdom], and the man that getteth understanding. 3:14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 3:15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 3:16 Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." (Proverbs 3:13-18 KJV)

With God's understanding and wisdom comes an inner peace that does not require external circumstances for happiness. One discovers that there is no need to strive with others to be happy.

"5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." (James 5:9-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who was the Israelite patriarch Asher?
See The Israelite Patriarchs - Asher

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