Verse of the Day Devotion Genesis 49:10
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” – Genesis 49:10
Up to Christmas day, I will be looking at the different prophesies which foresee the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ. He came here in order to offer the means of salvation for all. An important idea to remember is that God knows everything and forgets nothing. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10.
Our focus verse today in Genesis speaks of Jacob’s blessings to his sons prior to his death. He starts with Reuben, Simeon, and Levi. He does not have much to say that is good regarding these three. Regarding Reuben, “Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it, he went up to my couch.” 49:3-4. Reuben defiled himself by sleeping with Bilhah, His father’s concubine. “And it came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard of it.” Genesis 35:22. And with Levi and Simeon, they were considered violent by Jacob. “Simeon and Levi are brothers; Their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; Let not my glory be united with their assembly; Because in their anger they slew men, And in their self-will they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; And their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. ” Genesis 49:5-7.
However, now we come to Judah. “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?” Genesis 49:8-9. This verse speaks of the countenance of Judah. A high pre-eminence is destined to this tribe. Besides the honor of giving name to the Promised Land, David, and a greater than David the Messiah, sprang from him. Chief among the tribes, it grew up from a lion’s whelp, meaning with a little power, till it became an old lion that is calm and quiet, yet still formidable.
However, the main item Jacob speaks of is in our focus verse. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10. Basically, the scepter will come into the tribe of Judah, which was fulfilled in David, on whose family the crown was given. The meaning of the term, ‘till Shiloh comes’ is that the scepter would continue in that tribe till the coming of the Messiah. Shiloh, in the Hebrew, means he whose it is. What Jacob was saying was that the scepter and the rulers staff would remain with Judah, until the true owner has come, that being Jesus, who is the true Messiah and High Priest, who will rule for all eternity. We see this idea also in the Book of Hebrews. “But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8. So, this is clear. When the Messiah came into the world and accomplished His purpose of dying on the cross for our benefit in paying the penalty of our sins, He took back the scepter which is the scepter of ‘His kingdom’ which is forever and ever.
At the end of Genesis, Jacob gave a blessing to all his sons. With some it included some negativity as with Reuben, Levi and Simeon, and others declaring the goodness in them and their activities. But with Judah, he said good things about him but then prophesies the coming of the Messiah who would rule and reign for ever and ever, without end. And this Messiah would be born to a virgin and give the greatest gift ever given, the payment of the penalty of sin. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18. This is the true meaning of Christmas, the coming of our redeemer. It is important that we remember this as we celebrate this wonderful holiday. He did for us what no one, including ourselves, could do for us. And this is the greatest gift there is, salvation and eternal life with Jesus.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.