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Issachar, son of Jacob

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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map of Issachar

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”.

Other Sources

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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2 thoughts on “Issachar, son of Jacob

  1. Gen 46:13 states that Job was the third son of Issachar (Issachar was the 9th son of Jacob, but the 5th son of Leah)
    and I’m looking at the following time line to fit Job within more well known Biblical historical facts..
    1728 BC Joseph sold into slavery
    1720 BC Job was born (3rd son of Issachar)
    1716 BC Isaac died
    1689 BC Jacob died
    1650 BC Job goes through his trials
    1635 BC Joseph died
    1580 BC Job died
    1571 BC Moses born

    However in the book of Job, it appears that Job is from Uz and Uz is possibly in Edom. However it states that Job dwelt in Ausitis on the confines of Idumea and Arabia. It appears that his original name was Johab and he married an Arabian woman and fathered Ennon. In this case, Job’s father is stated to be Zerah who was from who was from the lineage of Esau – five generations from Abraham. They were natives of Bozrah. The text continues that Job reigned in Edom succeeding Balak, the son of Beor. This ties into his 3 friends: Eliaphaz, a descendant of Esau and king of Teman, Bildad, king of the Shuhites, and Zophar, king of the Naamathites. Several church Fathers as well as Philo and Aristeus attest to the accuracy of this genealogy.

    Neither Job nor his ancestors are ever mentioned in any of the biblical genealogies. The main reason for this is that the writer remains completely anonymous. Moreover, scholars still have no idea when the book of Job was written. They have proposed dates as early as the tenth century BCE and as late as the fourth century BCE (around the time of the exile). There are no forensic clues within the story that might help locate it in time. Scholars have relied upon phrases or word studies for help, but, ultimately, to no avail. Most opt for a time between the 10th and 7th centuries, but even that is a three hundred year spread.

    Others suggest that Job was contemporaneous with Moses (1300 BCE). In the Pseudepigrapha, one finds The Testament of Job. That claims Job was a king in Egypt. It also tells us the name of his wife, Sitidos. One Talmudic Tractate claims the Book of Job was written by Moses. (Another claims it dates back to the time of Jacob, that Job is the son of Uz who was the son of Nahor who was the brother of Abraham.)

    So after all this, I’m confused… in one case, it appears Job died before Moses was born, while another situation says Job was probably a contemporary of Moses…

    Can anyone help clarify this?? thanks

    1. I know this is a late reply but one thing I noticed was that Job was from the land of Uz (per Bible) and that Issachar went to the east to find a wife. I believe the land of Uz was to the east; however, Uz wasn’t specifically mentioned here as it was with another brother. Yet at the same time, most of the brothers married direct descendants of Shem and Issachar being a righteous man would marry a righteous woman (I presume). That would mean his son, Job would learn to be a righteous/upright man as well which fits the Job from the bible. If Esau was his ancestor he may or may not have revered God so reverently. Also, in the Book of Jasher (tied back to Genesis 10) it references Job’s mother as being a daughter of Jobab, son of Yoktan, son of Eber., who descended from Shem. Jobab ben Zerah was a separate individual from the Jobab in the lineage of Job, Issachar’s son from what I can tell. Additionally, Genesis 10:30 states that Jobab, Joktan’s son lived in land in the east: “And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the EAST.” Maybe I’m being a bit biased here but it appears that Job from the book of Job is of Issachtar. You also notice that none of the books of the bible were of prophets or descendants related to Esau or Ishmael. They were entirely related to the line of Christ: Daniel, Joshua, etc…

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