Genesis 49:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 49:14, NIV: "Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down among the sheep pens."

Genesis 49:14, ESV: "“Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds."

Genesis 49:14, KJV: "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:"

Genesis 49:14, NASB: "'Issachar is a strong donkey, Lying down between the sheepfolds."

Genesis 49:14, NLT: "'Issachar is a sturdy donkey, resting between two saddlepacks."

Genesis 49:14, CSB: "Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the saddlebags."

What does Genesis 49:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Each of Jacob's twelve sons is hearing about the fate of their descendants (Genesis 49:1–2). Now he comes to Issachar Genesis 30:17–18).

Issachar, as a tribe, is depicted to resemble the sturdy, thick-boned structure of a donkey. It is unclear if Jacob intends the metaphor to describe Issachar's descendants as strong, hard workers. Alternatively, he may mean the tribe is stubborn and resistant, since they are depicted as lying down, which is the ultimate act of defiance from a working animal like a donkey.

Depending on the translation, Issachar is said to be lying down or crouching between sheepfolds or packs. The following verse indicates Issachar's descendants will find a good spot for themselves in the land of Canaan and settle there, refusing to move on. This will result in their frequent conquest by outside kingdoms, forcing them into heavy labor (Genesis 49:15).