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Reference: Shiloh (1)


Ge 49:10. The Messianic interpretation is evaded by translated "until he (Judah) shall come to Shiloh," Judah leading in the march (Nu 2:3-9; 10:14); and when Israel came to Shiloh they pitched the tabernacle there (Jos 18:1-10), and Judah's principality ceased. But the town Shiloh did not exist in Jacob's time, and Judah did not lose the preeminence there; nor indeed did Judah, but Moses and Aaron, lead Israel in the wilderness. Shiloh means "the Peacemaker", "the Prince of peace" (Isa 9:6), from shalah "to be at peace." Solomon ("peaceful") typically (Psalm 72), Messiah antitypically, fulfils the prophecy (Gesenius, Keil, etc.). The ancient versions, however, almost unanimously translated "He to whom, it belongs," "He whose right it is": Eze 21:27 (Septuagint, Aqu., Symm., Syriac, Saad., Onk., Targum Jer., all except Vulgate and Pseudo Jon.).

The letter Yod[h] (?) (the i in Shiloh) is made an objection to this latter translation, but many Hebrew manuscripts and all Samaritan manuscripts are without the yod[h], which probably did not appear until the tenth century. The reading without the yod[h] being the harder reading is the less likely to be spurious; the copyists would more probably insert than omit it. However, (as sh for the relative pronoun 'asher is unknown in the Pentateuch, and "it (huw') is due," namely, the sceptre, would be needed), "the Peacemaker" is best, and so our Hebrew text requires as it has the yod[h]. "Abraham rejoiced to see Messiah's day, he saw it and was glad" (Joh 8:56); Jacob naturally expresses the same sure anticipation.

The taxing (Lu 2:1-2) on the eve of Jesus' birth definitely marked the passing of the sceptre (the tribal authority and royal prominence) and of the lawgiver (the Sanhedrin expounders of the law, literally, the ruler's staff, mechoqeeq; Nu 21:18) from Judah, which virtually had begun some time before, and which was consummated only at Jerusalem's overthrow by Rome. The Herods, though Rome's creatures, exercised a quasi-native sovereignty in Judah just before and after Jesus' birth. After Archelaus a Roman procurator for the first time was sent there. Keil's view however is probably preferable: "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah ... until Shiloh come," i.e. shall NEVER depart.

Until ('ad kiy) is not exclusive (Ps 110:1); "and (until) to Him shall the willing obedience (as of a son yiqhath; Pr 30:17) of the peoples be." Judah should bear the sceptre with "lion" courage until in the future Shiloh, sprung from Judah, the willing obedience of the nations came to Him, and His rule over the tribes was widened into the peaceful government of the world. Balaam refers to this prophecy of Jacob (Nu 24:17; Isa 11:1-9; Zec 9:10; Eph 2:14; Re 5:5). "From between his feet" is explained by the versions, "from his posterity." Rather it is the ruler's staff resting between his feet when he sat, and inclining toward himself. When he spoke in public assemblies he held it in his hand (Keil).

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