In Genesis, Issachar was referred to as the fifth son of Leah, but the ninth son of Jacob. He was also the leader of the Tribe of Issachar. He can be found on the Biblical Timeline Chart around 1704 BC. The name Issachar had two meanings, which included “man of hire” and “there is a reward”. However, some scholars believe there is another etymology for the name, ‘whis is ish Sokar’ or “man of Sokar”. This was associated with the tribe that was known to be worshippers of Sokar, who is one of the Egyptian deities.
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Issachar In the Bible
Since Leah was considered as Jacob’s first wife in the Bible, scholars assumed that the authors identified the Tribe of Issachar as among the original groups of Israelites. There were also some assumptions that the Tribe mainly originated as the group of Shekelesh, in which “Shekel” is a name synonymous with ish sakar or “man of hire”.
As for the classical rabbinical text, Issachar was mentioned as the man born on the 4th of Av, and that he lived for up to 122 years. In the Book of Jasher, it was narrated that Issachar married Jobab’s younger daughter, by the name of Aridah. Moreover, Issachar was noted to have four sons, and they were all born in the land of Canaan. These sons of Issachar eventually left their homeland to live with him in Egypt.
It is also worth noting that in the Book of Jasher, Issachar was depicted as a man who was rather pragmatic. He was also dedicated to becoming a learned man, but he took part in activities such as in military campaigns where his brothers were a part of. He also relied on Zebulun for finances while Issachar provided spiritual support.
The Virtue of Issachar
In most scriptures, Issachar was described as a man who was often with religious scholars. For instance, in the Book of Chronicles, Issachar was presented us being with men who were wise enough to know what to do during times of difficulties in Israel. However, in the Midrash, Issachar was among those who were rather influential in proselytism. During the Blessing of Jacob, this man was seen as one who succumbed to forced labor and lived a difficult life.
Zebulun and Issachar
The Tribe of Zebulun was often depicted in the scriptures as merchants while Issachar was presented as among the religious teachers. In spite of their differences, the two always had a peaceful relationship. As Issachar provided Zebulun with spiritual knowledge, Zebulun supported Issachar financially. This was indeed a healthy relationship that has led to a good partnership between the two.
Indeed, Issachar has lived quite a meaningful life as he pursued to achieve a higher spirituality that helped several people along the way. He might not have succeeded in financial matters unlike Zebulun, yet he was able to make good use of his skills and intelligence. His virtue and way of thinking indeed proved that while it helps to be practical in life, it is still important to enrich one’s spirituality to obtain the strength of will despite challenges.
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