Genesis 49:14

14 “Issachar is a rawboned[a] donkey lying down among the sheep pens.[b]

Genesis 49:14 in Other Translations

14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds.
14 “Issachar is a sturdy donkey, resting between two saddlepacks.
14 Issachar is one tough donkey crouching between the corrals;
14 Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the saddlebags.

Genesis 49:14 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 49:14

Issachar is a strong ass
Or as one, the note of similitude being wanting, as Ben Melech observes; "a bony" F5 one, as the word signifies; not one that is lean, and nothing but skin and bones, as some interpret it, but that is strong and robust, able to carry burdens; and this tribe is compared to an ass, not for stupidity and sluggishness, but for its strength, and its use in husbandry, in which this tribe was chiefly occupied: the Targums of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret this figuratively, of his being strong to bear the yoke of the law: and it is a notion of the Jews, that this tribe were skilful in the doctrines of the law, and the intercalation of years, &c. from ( 1 Chronicles 12:32 ) couching down between two burdens: one hanging on one side, and another on the other; which Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret of bales of goods; and may as well be understood of sacks of corn, or anything else, carried by these creatures, which, when they come into a good pasture, and for the sake of that and ease, will lie down with their burdens on them, and rise up again with them: the Targums of Onkelos and Jerusalem paraphrase it, "between two borders" {f}, or the borders of his brethren, as Jonathan, Zebulun and Dan, between which this tribe lay; and this is the reason Aben Ezra gives why Issachar, who was older than Zebulun, is mentioned after him, and between him and Dan, because his land lay between them; and so it may be observed, that in the division of the land in Joshua's time, Issachar's lot came up after Zebulun's, ( Joshua 19:10-23 ) but Doctor Lightfoot thinks F7 it refers to the two kingdoms, between which it lay, that of Phoenicia on one side, and that of Samaria on the other.


F5 (Mrg rmx) "Asinus osseus", Montanus, Tigurine version, Munster, Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator, Cartwright.
F6 (Mytpvmh Nyb) "inter terminos", V. L. "inter terminos duos", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius, Cartwright; so Ainsworth, "inter duos finos", Tigurine version.
F7 Works, vol. 1. p. 698.

Genesis 49:14 In-Context

12 His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore and become a haven for ships; his border will extend toward Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down among the sheep pens.
15 When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor.
16 “Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Genesis 30:18
  • 2. Judges 5:16; Psalms 68:13

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "strong"
  • [b]. Or "the campfires" ; or "the saddlebags"
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