“Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens; he saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; he bowed his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a band of servants.” (Genesis 49:14-15)
The prophecy upon Issachar is interesting. He is likened unto a strong-boned donkey that rests between two burdens, implying that the tribe would possess great physical power. However, it is also hinted that the tribe of Issachar would possess spiritual prowess as well. The Hebrew word translated as “burdens” (better rendered as “sheepfolds”) is mishp’tayim. That is interesting because, phonetically, it is equivalent to the word mishpatim which is “judgments” or “statutes.” In time, Issachar would develop into a tribe known for its Torah scholars and their ability to deduce from Scripture what God’s people were to do.
“Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command.” (1 Chronicles 12:32)
It would seem that Jacob was indicating Issachar would work very hard (as the strong and determined donkey) to understand God’s instructions and statutes. In doing so, he would be a servant to the rest of the tribes by helping them to better understand what God was saying to His people. In other words, as they learned they would teach others and the whole of Israel would be blessed.
It is a blessing when we are able to learn and understand the Scriptures as we study them for ourselves — there is no better teacher than the Spirit of God. Yet there are times when God’s brings people into our lives, either through a fellowship or a ministry, that share what they have learned from the Scriptures. Whatever the method God chooses to use, the importance of hearing and understanding the truth of God’s Word is a benefit to the individual and the Body at large. Let us all do our part and study the Scripture with a renewed passion. May it be that we are all be “sons of Issachar” and have understanding of the times that we may help our brethren in this uncertain season.
Blessings and Shalom,