{Word Study} Insight “Bin”


I Chronicles 12:32: “And the children of Issachar which were men that had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred and all their brethren were at their command.”
“Many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills.”   Shakespeare – “Hamlet.”
Insight: Hebrew – bin:  Understanding, discernment, between, “reading between the lines.”
In I Chronicles 12, Israel is preparing for war, there is a roll call; Zebulon, expert at war brought 50,000 soldiers to fight, Naphtali brought 1,000 captains and 37,000 warriors, Danites, expert at war brought 28,600 etc.  Then there is Issachar, they bring 200.     Commentators called Issachar a tribe of cowards, who did not want to fight.  I tend to think they were a tribe Thomas Paine’s.  Thomas Paine was a scholar who tried to be a soldier during the Revolutionary War.  He failed at being a soldier but his literary work “Crisis” was used by General Washington to rally his troops with the words: “These are times which try men’s souls.” Thomas Paine was a man of “bin” understanding who fought the War more effectively than any soldier, with the pen and understanding.
In I Chronicles 12 we learn that all the brethren, the whole Israelite army was at the bidding of Issachar.   Why was this?  Because they were men who had understanding (insight) of the times and of the Torah, the Word of God.
The word “understanding” or “insight” is “bin” which is a preposition, between.  It could also be an adjective or an adverb.  It is also used to express insight, understanding or discernment.  But this is an understanding that comes from looking between the lines.  The expression “understanding the times” is a Hebraic idiom.  It is also used in the Book of Esther and has the idea of one who can cut to the chase so to speak.  The word “times” is “anah” with means times and seasons, but also consequences.   In other word one who has “understanding of the times” is one who can see down the road and know the consequences of a present action.
Issachar bordered with Zebulon.  According to the Jewish scholars, Zebulon was a tribe of merchants and Issachar was a tribe of scholars who studied Torah.  The people of Zebulon were so busy with the merchant business they did not have time to study so they helped support Issachar financially  such that they could spend all their time studying Torah and in return Zebulon hoped to reap the spiritual rewards what Issachar received  from their study of Torah.  Jewish literature calls Issachar as a people ‘in between” (bin) the flocks.  In other words they shared the benefits of their study with Zebulon in return for their financial support. Even today Jews often reference such an arrangement where one studies Torah and another will support this person in return for the knowledge and wisdom he gleans from his study as an Issachar and Zebulon arrangement.   I believe in a sense pastors are meant to be the Issachar’s of today.  Yet, in our desire for a well run, organized, full service, mega church we have turned our pastors or hire our pastors for their business abilities, we have turned them into Zebulon’s and forced them to fight our spiritual wars rather than to be our Issachar’s who devote their lives and time to the study of the Word of God. Yet pastors are called to fight this spiritual war as Thomas Paine fought the Revolutionary War, with his bin or understanding of the times.  Fifty years after the failed soldier rallied the troops with his pen,  Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote in his play Richelieu: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
It is time we give our pastors, our Issachar’s, the ones to whom God has given “bin” understanding, back their pens so they can spend their time studying the two edge sword and use their bin, understanding to learn it’s proper use and then to instruct us in how to use the sword which is the Word of God so we can fight our own spiritual battles.