“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
The God of the Bible is sometimes called “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” God chose Abraham to serve Him and made promises to him. Abraham’s descendants would then inherit those promises.
Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob. Jacob then begat twelve sons! In the closing pages of Genesis, Moses reports to us promises – also called prophecies – that Jacob gave on behalf of God regarding His twelve sons. We are particularly concerned with the prophecy Jacob made concerning his son Judah’s legacy, for Jacob was specifying that the Messiah would be a descendant of Judah.
Jacob’s prophecy about Judah and his descendants runs from Genesis 49:8 to 49:12. I have chosen to select and focus on the tenth verse because it speaks most directly about the Messiah.
A “scepter” was, of course, a sign of leadership – whether it be the staff or rod of a lowly shepherd, or the regal scepter of a mighty king. In either case, that implement indicated who was in charge. The prophecy was that Judah would supply leaders for Israel. In the Old Testament, this was seen most notably in the case of David, who was a descendant of Judah, and with the long line of kings who descended from him, beginning with Solomon.
The phrase that reads “Until Shiloh comes” has proven difficult to translate. Other literal translations render it “until tribute comes to him,” “until He whose right it is comes,” and similarly. In any case, it has traditionally been considered as referring to Messiah.
The key phrase in the verse is “to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” This is clearly a reference to Messiah because he is the one who would unite the Jews and the Gentiles. Thus Messiah would reign not just over the Jews (usually called “the people” in the Old Testament), but also the Gentiles (usually called “the peoples”).
Note that it’s “obedience” we are to give to Messiah – not just lip service. That means trusting and obeying what we know He has said.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Messiah, we see from the Scriptures that You call us to obey You. Open my eyes to see You today; open my ears to hear You this morning. Grant me understanding to do Your will in all my duties today…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.