Biblical People
Issachar (Isa-kar). [Heb. Yssakar. The name is interpreted to mean “there is hire” in Gen 30:18, which presumes a Hebrew form as yesh sŒakar; Gr. Issachar.]

1.   The 9th son of Jacob, and the 5th of Leah (Gen 29:32 to 30:18; 35:23). Issachar had 4 sons born to him before he went to Egypt with his father's family (Gen 46:13; Ex 1:1, 3; 1 Chr 7:1). When Jacob pronounced blessings upon his own sons shortly before his death, he prophetically likened Issachar and his children to a strong ass crouching down and submitting to foreign yokes as long as he was permitted to remain in his pleasant land (Gen 49:14, 15).

2.   The tribe that descended from Jacob's 9th son. It consisted of 4 tribal families comprising the descendants of Issachar's 4 sons (Num 26:23, 24). Nethanel, son of Zuar, was the first leader of the tribe during the wilderness wandering (chs 1:8; 2:5; 7:18; 10:15), and later Paltiel, son of Azzan, held the office (ch 34:26). In the census of David's time the tribe counted 87,000 adult males (1 Chr 7:5). When the country was divided among the tribes of Israel, Issachar, to whom the 4th lot fell, received an area (Palestine Under Joshua and the Judges) to the south and east of Zebulun and Naphtali, east and north of Manasseh, and west of the Jordan (Jos 19:17-23). Its most important cities were Shunem and Jezreel (v 18). Some towns within its territory were held by Manasseh (Jos 17:10, 11), and some were assigned to the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:6, 28, 29; 1 Chr 6:62-72). The tribe distinguished itself in the war against Jabin of Hazor and Sisera, and was commended for its bravery by Deborah (Jgs 5:15). It provided one of Israel's judges, Tola (ch 10:1). Many of that tribe “had understanding of the times” and joined David's forces at Hebron (1 Chr 12:32). Omri, son of Michael, was head of the tribe under David (ch 27:18). Under Solomon, Jehoshaphat, the son of Paruah, was the king's supply officer for the territory of Issachar as one of the divisions of the state (1 Ki 4:17). Baasha, the assassin of King Nadab, and usurper of the throne of Israel, was from Issachar (ch 15:27, 28), and possibly also King Omri, since his descendants held property in Jezreel (chs 16:28; 21:1). Although the tribe occupied territory in northern Israel, many of its people attended Hezekiah's Passover at Jerusalem (2 Chr 30:18). In Ezekiel's vision of restored Israel, Issachar received a section of the land between the territories of Simeon and Zebulun (Eze 48:33). Issachar is in the list of tribes mentioned as sealed by the angel of Rev 7 (v 7).

3.   A Levite doorkeeper in David's reign (1 Chr 26:5).

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.

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