strong donkey

“It was interesting to find how similar some of the Hebrew ways of expression are to Bari idiom. (…) [For instance], in Genesis 49:14 (‘Issachar is a strong donkey’) Hebrew literally has ‘a bony donkey.’ In English this would convey the opposite meaning, as we associate ‘bony’ with ‘thin’; but when we came to translate this, Daniele [the language assistant] told me that Bari says ‘You are a man with bones,’ or ‘You have ribs,’ meaning that you are strong. So it seems that it is the bones and ribs in Bari which denote strength, as seems to be the case in Hebrew, rather than the muscles, as in English.”

Source: Source: P. Guillebaud in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 189ff.