Issachar

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The Tribe of Issachar.

Census. At the time of the migration into Egypt while Joseph was still ruling in Egypt four sons are ascribed to Issachar; these sons founded the four chief families of the tribe (Gen. 46:13; Num. 26:23-25; 1 Chr. 7:1). The number of fighting men, when the census was taken at Sinai, was 54,400, ranking the tribe fifth (Num. 1:28-29); at the second census the number had increased to 64,300, ranking it third (Num 26:25). By David's time it numbered 87,000 (1 Chr. 7:5).

Position. Issachar's place was on the east side of the Tabernacle, with his brothers Judah and Zebulun (Num 2:3-8)

Standard. The place of Issachar in the encampment was with the standard of the tribe of Judah (along with Zebulun).The rabbis say that this standard was of 3 colors, sardine, topaz and carbuncle, on which were inscribed the names of the 3 tribes, bearing the figure of a lion's whelp (Tg, pseudo. Jon. on Num 2:3).

Journeying. "All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces with Judah (Issachar and Zebulun), one hundred and eighty-six thousand four hundred-- these shall break camp first." (Num 2:9)

Representatives. At this time the captain of the tribe was Nethanel the son of Zuar (Num 1:8). He was succeeded by Igal the son of Joseph, who went as one of the spies (Num 13:7)

Interesting Notes. In spite of its reputation for seeking comfort, the tribe did fight bravely against Sisera (Judg. 5:15). Moses prophesied a quiet and happy life for Issachar (Deut. 33:18). Paltiel (Num. 34:26), the judge Tola (Judg. 10:1), King Baasha (1 Kin. 15:27), and Omri (1 Chr. 27:18) were all from this tribe. In accordance with Jacob's blessing, the tribe of Issachar showed an unusual insight into political situations. The tribe switched allegiance from Saul to David (1 Chr. 12:32). Although the tribe was a member of the Northern Kingdom, its members attended Hezekiah of Judah's Passover feast (2 Chr. 30:18).

The Land Division. The territory allotted to this tribe was bounded on the north by Zebulun and Naphtali, on the south and west by Manasseh, and on the east by the Jordan River (Josh. 19:17-23). Most of the fertile Valley of Jezreel, or Esdraelon, fell within Issachar's territory. Its fertile, flat plains were well-suited for the raising of cattle.

The Man Issachar

Heb. Yis'akar; "he will give a reward"). The ninth son of Jacob and the fifth of Leah:

Gen 30:17-18 And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, "God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband." So she called his name Issachar.

He was born at Paddan-aram, and nothing is recorded of his life.

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