Who was Issachar in the Bible?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Among the lesser-known figures in the biblical narrative is Issachar, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and a key member of the Israelite tribes. The following study aims to shed light on his life, significance, and legacy.

Genealogy and Tribe

Issachar, whose name means “there is recompense” or “he will bring a reward,” was the ninth son of Jacob and Leah. His birth is recorded in Genesis 30:17-18 (NKJV): “And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, ‘God has given me my wages because I have given my maid to my husband.’ So she called his name Issachar.”

He became the eponymous ancestor of the tribe of Issachar, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The tribe’s territory was situated in the northern part of the land of Canaan, and its inheritance included fertile land suitable for agriculture.

Blessing by Jacob

In Jacob’s blessings to his sons before his death, as recounted in Genesis 49:14-15 (NKJV), this son is described in the following manner: “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 slaves.” This poetic blessing suggests that this tribe would be known for its industrious and hardworking nature, willing to bear the responsibilities placed upon it.

Role in the Exodus and Beyond

During the time of Moses and the Exodus, the tribe of Issachar played a crucial role. In Numbers 1:28-29, we learn that the leader of this tribe, Nethanel, was among those appointed to assist Moses and Aaron in the census of the children of Israel.

This tribe also contributed warriors to the Israelite army. In 1 Chronicles 12:32 (NKJV), it is mentioned that from the tribe of Issachar, there were men “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command.”

Role with the Kings of Israel

As David rose to power, members of this tribe supported him. In 1 Chronicles 12:38-40 (NKJV), it is recorded that “all these men of war, who could keep ranks, came to Hebron with a loyal heart, to make David king over all Israel; and all the rest of Israel were of one mind to make David king.”

After the death of Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. This tribe was part of the northern kingdom, aligning with the ten tribes.

Mention in the Prophetic Books

While Issachar is not prominently featured in the prophetic books, the book of Revelation refers to the 144,000 sealed from the tribes of Israel, including the tribe of Issachar (Revelation 7:7, NKJV).

Legacy and Lessons

The tribe of Issachar’s legacy is intertwined with the larger narrative of Israel. Their role in the Exodus, their support for David, and their contributions to the kingdom all contribute to the biblical history.

While the Bible provides historical accounts of Issachar, there are also spiritual lessons to be gleaned. Issachar’s willingness to bear burdens and his understanding of the times serve as reminders for believers to be diligent, discerning, and faithful in their journey of faith.


Issachar, though not as well-known as some biblical figures, played a significant role in the history of Israel. His tribe’s characteristics, blessings, and contributions to key events highlight the interconnectedness of the biblical narrative. Studying his life offers not only historical insights but also spiritual lessons that continue to bless believers today.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Leave a Comment