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Genesis 49:13-15

Context

49:13 Zebulun will live 1  by the haven of the sea

and become a haven for ships;

his border will extend to Sidon. 2 

49:14 Issachar is a strong-boned donkey

lying down between two saddlebags.

49:15 When he sees 3  a good resting place,

and the pleasant land,

he will bend his shoulder to the burden

and become a slave laborer. 4 

1 tn The verb שָׁכַן (shakhan) means “to settle,” but not necessarily as a permanent dwelling place. The tribal settlements by the sea would have been temporary and not the tribe’s territory.

2 map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

3 tn The verb forms in this verse (“sees,” “will bend,” and “[will] become”) are preterite; they is used in a rhetorical manner, describing the future as if it had already transpired.

4 sn The oracle shows that the tribe of Issachar will be willing to trade liberty for the material things of life. Issachar would work (become a slave laborer) for the Canaanites, a reversal of the oracle on Canaan. See C. M. Carmichael, “Some Sayings in Genesis 49,” JBL 88 (1969): 435-44; and S. Gevirtz, “The Issachar Oracle in the Testament of Jacob,” ErIsr 12 (1975): 104-12.



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