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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Here I Am To Worship

Twelve Tribes of Israel - Issachar

Meaning “There is reward” or “He brings reward” or “A hired workman”. He was the ninth son of Jacob and the fifth of Leah.

Genesis 30:14-18 And Reuben went out in the days of the wheat harvest, and found Mandrakes (love-apples) in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. And Rachel said to Leah, please give me some of your son's love-apples.
And she said to her, Is it a small matter that you have taken my husband? And would
They have a tomato like fruit with a strong, narcotic odor, and were used by the ancients, as an aphrodisiac or a promoter of fertility. It could be the Atropa mandragore which has a narcotic effect that produces dizziness and euphoria. Some translate the word as lilies, others jessamine, others citrons, others mushrooms or truffles, others figs, and some think the word means flowers, or fine flowers in general. From the season in which this mandrake blossoms and ripens fruit, one might form a conjecture that it was a dudaim (a sort of muskmelon with a bloom and the fruit has a perfume).

A Dudaim

One of the many varieties of Musk Melons

What these were is utterly unknown and we have only conjectures. Rachel wanted them badly enough to send Jacob to sleep with Leah. Leah conceived again, and Rachel continued barren, in spite of the mandrakes, to show that it was not from superstitious means as with the love-apples, but from God, the author of life, that she would conceive. Leah saw in the birth of her fifth son a divine reward for having given her maid to her husband - a recompense, that is, for her self-denial.

Genesis 49:14-15 Issachar is a strong ass crouching down between the sheepfolds.
And he saw that rest was good and that the land was pleasant. And he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a tribute-slave.

The prophecy spoke of their willingness to work and pay the tribute imposed by the various invaders attracted to the tribe’s land by the abundant crops. The strong boned he-ass used for field work (not the lighter and swifter she-ass for riding), crouching down between sheepfolds, symbolizes a tribe content with agricultural labors instead of aspiring to political rule; a robust race, with a land, that did not require the hard work as the less fertile lands.

But ease came at the cost of liberty. Serfdom, even pleasant, was unworthy of Israelites, who were called of God to rule not serve.

Deuteronomy 20:10-11 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, in the Rabbinical Literature, “The tribe of Issachar is particularly represented as one which consisted mostly of scholars, to which there is said to be an allusion in I Chronicles 11: 32. According to Raba, there was not to be found a Jewish student that was not a descendant either of Levi or of Issachar (Yoma 26a). The passage of Jacob's blessing referring to Issachar is interpreted as an allusion to the study of the Law, with which the people of that tribe occupied themselves…The Midrash finds in the details of the offering various allusions to the Torah (Num. R. xiii. 15). The tribe of Issachar advised the others to bring six covered wagons and twelve oxen (Num. vii. 3) on which to load the parts of the Tabernacle (Num. R. xii. 19). The 200 chiefs of Issachar (I Chron. xii. 32) were leaders of the Sanhedrin, whose decisions were implicitly accepted by their brethren (Gen. R. lxxii. 5, xcviii. 17). The wise men consulted by Ahasuerus (Esth. i. 13) were people of Issachar (Esth. R. iv.). The tribe is also represented as having been rich (comp. Targ. OnḲ. to Gen. xlix. 14); and its members figure as persons who united wealth and learning (B. Ḳ. 17a). It was because they studied the Torah under favorable conditions that they produced only 200 chiefs of the Sanhedrin, while the people of Naphtali, who studied it under difficulties, produced 1,000 (Cant. R. viii. 14).

Issachar had 4 sons: Tola, Phuvah, Job (or Jashub), and Shimron, and were the heads of the four chief families of the tribe. (Genesis 46:13)

During the journey through the wilderness, along with Judah and Zebulun (Numbers 2:5), marched on the east of the tabernacle.

This tribe contained 54,400 fighting men when the census was taken at Sinai.

After the entrance into the Promised Land, this tribe was one of the six which stood on Gerizim during the ceremony of the blessing and cursing.

The captain of the tribe was Nethanel ben-Zuar. Later this place was held by Igal ben-Joseph, the tribal representative among the spies.

At the end of the wanderings the numbers had grown to 64,300 (Numbers 26:25). The prince chosen from Issachar to assist in the division of the land was Paltiel ben-Azzan. Tola, the judge, was of Issachar, though his abode was at Shamir in Mount Ephraim.

Judges 5:15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak: he was sent on foot into the valley. For the divisions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart.
It may be, though it is by no means certain, that both Deborah and Barak belonged to this tribe, in whose territory the battle was fought and won.

In the days of David, the Chronicler puts the figures at 87,000 (I Chronicles 7:5). The nomadic character of Issachar appears in I Chronicles 7:1-5 when no less than 36,000 of its men were marauding mercenary "bands of soldiers for war". Omri ,of the great family of Michael, ruled in David's time; possibly the forefather of Omri who usurped the Israelite throne in I Chronicles 27:18, and built Samaria (perhaps on the same hill of Shamir on which Tola of Issachar judged). Baasha, son of Ahijah, another usurper, was also of Issachar (I Kings 15:27-29; I Kings 16:2; I Kings 16:11), of lowest birth; his son Elah and all his kindred were murdered by Zimri, even as Baasha had slain Jeroboam's house, "not leaving to him any that breathed."

Sixteen cities of Issachar are mentioned in Joshua 19:17, but the only indications of boundaries are Tabor in the North and Jordan in the East. It does not seem to have had any point of contact with the sea. The portion of Issachar, therefore, included the plain of Esdraelon, Tabor, the hill of Moreh, and the slopes East to the Jordan. No reliable line can be drawn for the South border. The district thus indicated was small; but it embraced some of the most fruitful land in Palestine. By the very riches of the soil Issachar was tempted.

A company from Issachar came to the celebration of the Passover when it was restored by King Hezekiah (II Chronicles 30:18). This is the last we see of the tribe except in the prophecies:

Issachar has a portion assigned to him in Ezekiel's ideal division of the land (Ezekiel 48:25).

Revelation 7:7, Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.
Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

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