In the blessings of Jacob, we’ve now come to Judah and what we’re going to see is that Jacob has a lot more to say about him than his other brothers.
Many scholars tell us that here Judah received the firstborn blessing.
Again this is true but only partially.
As I’ve said before, out of the two main parts of the firstborn blessing, which are (1) the double portion of wealth and (2) the birthright, Judah only received (2) the birthright, which is the authority to rule over all the tribes of Israel.
Judah, as the leader of Israel, is famously represented by a lion which symbolizes royalty and as we all know, it will be from his line that the King of Kings, the Messiah of Israel will come.
Let’s look at a famous passage speaking to this that is both wondrous and mysterious.
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”-Genesis 49:10 (King James Version)
Depending on which Bible you use, the part where it says “until Shiloh come” is also rendered “to whom obedience belongs”.
Given the Messianic implications of this verse, it’s important that we examine this.
So what does this mean?
First, historically, Shiloh was the name of a town located in Canaan which later on when Israel is split into two kingdoms will be one of the towns in the territory of Ephraim.
Later on, the Ark of the Covenant will make its resting place in Shiloh for many years.
Shiloh is considered to be the first Holy City in Israel but later that honor will be transferred to Jerusalem.
So some say that the Shiloh mentioned here is referring to the city.
However, this can’t be correct for the following reason: Judah’s authority or leadership did NOT decline when the city of Shiloh was founded.
Another common explanation is that Shiloh in Hebrew means “to whom obedience belongs”, which is what most of our Bible translations will say.
However, this explanation is based on the faulty assumption that the word “Shiloh” was misspelled when it was handed down to us.
The truth is modern day Christians could not find any literal meaning of the original Hebrew word Shiloh, so they concocted their own definition and promoted the idea that it meant “to whom obedience belongs”.
One has to assume that the Hebrew letter “sheen שׁ“ should actually have a been a “seen שׂ“.
In other words, the little dot on top of the letter should have been on the left, NOT the right.
There isn’t any evidence that a misspelling of this word was handed down to us.
Shouldn’t we be able to trust the Scripture for what it is?
Why do we have to modify it to force an answer that suits our theological assumptions?
Now the last explanation and the one I’m going to go with is that Shiloh is simply an Old Testament name for the Messiah.
The very strong evidence supporting this is that beginning with the BERESHIT RABBA, which is the oldest Hebrew commentary in existence, most sages and scholars are unanimous that Shiloh is a proper pronoun referring to the Messiah.
Why did the church miss this?
No doubt it was their enmity towards the Jews over the past 1900 years that caused them to overlook these early Jewish sources which would have substantiated their belief that Shilo was talking about Yeshua, the Messiah, instead of doctoring up some theory about a misspelled word being handed down to us.
So right here in Genesis 49 is a clear prophetic statement that the Messiah would come from the line of the tribe of Judah.