The Sceptre Of Judah

“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10).

This is a remarkable Messianic prophecy, given by Jacob 1700 years before the first coming of Christ fulfilled it. Later prophecies would focus on His descent from David and then His birthplace in Bethlehem, but first, one of the twelve sons of Jacob must be designated as His progenitor.

Remarkably, Jacob did not select either his first born son, Reuben, or his favorite son, Joseph. Nor did he choose Benjamin, the son of his favorite wife. He chose instead his fourth son, Judah, by divine direction.

Yet it was over 600 years before the tribe of Judah gained ascendancy over the others. The greatest leaders of Israel were from other tribes—Moses and Samuel from Levi, Joshua from Ephraim, Gideon from Manesseh, Samson from Dan, and Saul from Benjamin. Finally, David became king, and “the sceptre” was then held by Judah for a thousand years until Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. Jesus’ parents were both of Judah, both of the line of David, with both the legal and spiritual right to David’s throne. But then, just 70 years after His birth, “the sceptre” (that is, leadership over the twelve tribes) departed from Judah with the worldwide dispersion of Israel, and no man since has ever held that right. It is still retained by Jesus and will be reclaimed and exercised when He returns.

In the meantime, the prophecy stands as an unchallengeable identification of Jesus as the promised Messiah. While the actual name Shiloh is derived from the Hebrew word for “peaceful,” Ancient Jewish commentators all recognized “Shiloh” as a name for Messiah. Since the sceptre has already departed, Shiloh has already come. When He returns, His people will, indeed, finally be gathered together “unto Him.” HMM

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