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David's Commentaries

Genesis 49:10 'The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.....until Shiloh come.

This week's Focus Passage: Genesis 49:10

'The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.....until Shiloh come.

 
Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise: Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; Thy father's sons shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as a lioness, who shall raise him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; He hath washed his garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.--Genesis 49:8-12.
 
Who, or What, is Shiloh? Is it the name of a person; or the name of a place? Or is it both the name of a place, as well as the name of a Person? The name, or word, is to be found in the Scriptures on thirty-two occasions, beginning with its place in Genesis forty-nine cited above from Jacob's prophetic statements spoken to his sons, as death drew near unto him. When the patriarch began to speak of Judah, the fourth son of the six sons born to him of Leah, who called his name, Yehudah, saying, as we find it in Genesis 29:35, where it is written, And she conceived again and bare a son: and she saidThis time I will praise Jehovah: therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing. The word, Judah, comes from a verb in the Hebrew which simply means 'to thank.' Perhaps it could be said that Leah left off bearing [for the time being], for she later had two more sons, Issachar and Zebulun.
 
But when the time came for Jacob to prophesy concerning his sons, and when he uttered his prophecy regarding Judah, he had much to say. It may be said that the crux of his words concerning his fourth son, are found in the tenth verse, where Jacob has 'put it in a nutshell,' The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. 'Until Shiloh come'? What does Shiloh mean?  What is it? Or Who is it? As we have already noted, this passage in Genesis forty-nine is the first instance of the word, or name. In Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies, we find that William Wilson has written, that, 'The most approved derivation of this most difficult word, in Gen. xlix. 13, is that which deduces it from a Hebrew word for, 'to be at rest, to be in peace or prosperity;' and so, Shiloh is the Pacificator, or, Prince of Peace, the promised Seed of the woman, who should destroy the rule and dominion of Satan, and establish peace in the world in the place of the tyranny of evil.' Wilson cites Samuel Mercer, Hebrew scholar, as suggesting that, Shiloh 'signifies one; quiet, prosperous, peaceable, happy, honorable; a conqueror, to whom all things succeed well and happily.'
 
It must be conceded that a large majority of conservative writers hold that Shiloh is, indeed, most likely, a reference to the Messiah; our Lord Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, it is conspicuously, in the Scriptures, the name of a place; and that may hold much in the way of suggestive thought for our contemplation. As we have said, the first employment of the word, or name, of Shiloh is in our weekly focus passage. It is not again found until we read its mention in the book of Joshua. And here it is spoken of as the location of the tent of meeting. In Joshua 18:1, we are informed that the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled themselves together at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there: and the land was subdued before them. In both Joshua and Judges, Shiloh is spoken of as a place. Noteworthy it is that this place is where the 'tent of meeting' has been established. The tent of meeting was the place where Jehovah met with His people; we have witnessed that in all of their travels, out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. Jehovah mentions this fact in His discourse with David through Nathan, regarding David's desire to 'build him a house,' 2 Samuel 7:5-6; Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith Jehovah, Shalt thou build me a house for me to dwell in? for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even unto this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. There are 128 times that 'tent of meeting' has been written in Exodus through Numbers, and once in Deuteronomy. This was the 'tabernacle' or 'meeting place' for the people of Jehovah in those days.
 
The 'tent of meeting' was the place where Jehovah met with His people. Shiloh was the designated place for the 'tent of meeting,' in Joshua's day [Joshua 18:1]. So then, whatever became of Shiloh? This is discoverable both in the book of Psalms as well as Jeremiah. In Psalm 78:60, we read, For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.[vs.58]. So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men. [60]. And if we consult Jeremiah, chapter seven, we are provided with some detail. God, expressing His displeasure with Judah, holds back nothing of His anger; [vss. 12-15]. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I caused my name to dwell at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith Jehovah, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto the house which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
 
It is somewhat remarkable how Jehovah God dwelt with His tabernacle in Shiloh, His dwelling-place, and later in an almost individualizing of the same distinctions, in His dealings with Saul, the son of Kish, and David, the son of Jesse. Just as He dealt with the wickedness associated with Shiloh, and removed it out of His presence, as it were, so He dealt with king Saul, when he had disobeyed Jehovah's commands to him from His prophet, Samuel, regarding the destruction determined against Agag and his people, and found a replacement in David, a man after His own heart. With respect to Shiloh, He abandoned it; His presence no longer remained; His glory had departed, even as the wife of Phinehas, as she lay dying in childbirth, named the child, Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel; for the ark of God is taken. In the same manner, we read of David and Saul, 1 Samuel 16:13-14, Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brethren; and the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon David from that day forward, so Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of Jehovah departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him. 
 
It appears that in the same manner as He removed His presence from Shiloh, and subsequently granted His presence in His holy hill of Zion, so He removed His presence from Saul and rested upon David. May we not behave as the sons of Eli who corrupted the ark of the covenant, treating it as some kind of talisman to grant them victory over the Philistines, but rather, be like David, people after God's own heart.
 
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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