What Does Genesis 49:10 Mean?

"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(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The book of Genesis contains many blessings and promises as well as some curses and punishment. In the previous few chapters, we see Jacob giving out some significant blessings and promises as well as delivering some hard penalties for ungodly behaviour.

Having blessed Pharoah in chapter 47 and Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, in chapter 48, we arrive at chapter 49, where the old patriarch blesses each one of his twelve sons. This final message to his offspring gives us a prophetic glimpse into the different destinies of Jacob's sons, which would be fulfilled in the years ahead, through their descendants.

Jacob had lived a full and fruitful life, and as the end of his earthly life approached, he called his twelve sons into His tent. "Assemble yourselves," Jacob commanded, "that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come." It was customary in those days for an old man to pass the 'sceptre' to the son who was to take on the responsibility of family leadership. The 'royal sceptre' was a sign of sovereign authority and kingship, which was to be passed from the patriarch to one of his sons.

Normally this leadership role would be passed to the oldest son, but Reuben was denied this privileged position, because he had dishonoured his father by having sex with his father's concubine. Reuben was described in this passage as being, "uncontrolled as water." He was no doubt disappointed to be informed, "you shall not have preeminence, because you defiled your father's bed." 

The next two sons in seniority were Simeon and Levi, whom their father described in his final address as being, "implements of violence." Like their older brother, both men were rejected as the overall leader of the twelve tribes of Israel, because of their deceitful behaviour in the ungodly massacre of the men of Shechem, which was carried out in revenge, because their sister, Dinah, was raped by the prince of Shechem. 

Vengeance belongs to the Lord and He will avenge the wrong that is perpetrated against His people. The actions and attitude of Jacob's two sons, in the pre-meditated murder of an entire city, caused great grief to their father and brought dishonour to the name of the Lord.

Although his three eldest sons were included in the 'blessing' their father gave in his farewell address to his sons, Jacob's refusal to bestow the coveted kingship role onto any of these men, equates to a curse, or at least a severe chastening. Each son suffered loss. Each one lost the blessing that could have been theirs, because of their ungodly ways.

Judah was Jacob's fourth son, and it was upon this man that the kingly authority rested and to whom the sceptre was passed. The entire company heard the last will and testimony from their father's own lips, "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes," he told them, "and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

The 'sceptre' speaks of the kingly authority, while the phrase, "nor the ruler's staff from between his feet," indicates that the authority Judah was given, was to be passed from one generation to the next, "UNTIL Shiloh comes."  The leadership of the nation was given to Judah, and it was not to be challenged, for Jacob added, "and to HIM shall be the obedience of the peoples." The people were to be obedient to SHILOH, their coming King.

The name 'Shiloh' means 'the Bearer of Rest'. 'Shiloh' does not refer to a city or a group. 'Shiloh' is the name of the coming Messiah - the promised Seed, through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed - the One Who brings rest for the soul and is the fulfilment of all Scripture - Jesus the Messiah - the son of David - the son of Abraham - the father of Isaac - the father of Jacob - the father of Judah and his brother.

Jesus is the Christ of God. He is the 'Shiloh' that was promised through Judah. He is the Prince Who gives peace with God, and He is the God of rest for our soul. He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah, Who has broken the chains of sin and Satan, death and hell, and by faith in HIM, we are credited with righteousness, just like Abraham, the father of faith.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, my heart rejoices as You unfold Your plan of salvation more and more to my understanding, as I come to a deeper awareness of Your beautiful character and attributes. Thank You that You are not only the great Creator God, Whose might, majesty, dominion, and power, spoke the world into being, but You are God Almighty - El Shadai - the All-Sufficient Father of all mercies and God of all grace. Thank You for sending Jesus to be the Bearer of Rest for my soul and Bringer of Prince with my heavenly Father, through faith in His finished work at Calvary. Thank You for the many precious promises and prophecies that are all 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Him. Continue to teach me I pray, and open my understanding to wonderful things in Your Word. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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