The Bible Vindicated! - 37

In his PROPHECY OF “THE LAST DAYS”, Jacob continued concerning Judah,

•   Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah [Note 1], nor a lawgiver from between his feet [Note 2], until Shiloh comes [Note 3]; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”

 Note 1 As a result of events in the lives of Jacob’s sons, the position of firstborn was lost by the oldest son Reuben for serious moral misbehavior. The second and third sons, Simeon and Levi, were in turn in line for that position but also were passed over because of their inability to control their anger.

This meant that after God’s promise to make Jacob’s family a great nation was realized - Genesis 46:3, the kingship (represented here by the scepter) over them would be given to descendants of Jacob’s fourth son, Judah. The Septuagint paraphrases, “A ruler shall not fail from Juda...”

 Note 2 The Septuagint continues the paraphrase, “A ruler shall not fail from Juda, nor a prince from his loins..,the last part expresses a Hebrew idiom, cf., Hebrews 7:5. It refers not to the position of the staff between his knees, but to the genealogical descent of the king from Judah, as shown in Matthew 1:1, “... the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David...” Most modern English versions have “ruler’s staff” instead of “lawgiver”, which provides an alternate emblem of royalty to Judah’s tribe.

 Note 3 The upholder of higher critics S.R. Driver, argued strongly in favor of the Jewish rendering as now in the JPS version, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah...as long as men come to Shiloh..,” making Shiloh the location where the Tabernacle was set up (Joshua 18:1) and not a person. That author says that Shiloh “appears first as a title of the Messiah in a fanciful passage of the Talmud” - The Book of Genesis, p.410, for reference to Messiah runs counter to the critical view which rejects the divine inspiration of Scripture, insisting that the hope in a messiah could not possibly have occurred before Israel became a nation.

That author then quotes three targums, which are ancient Aramaic translations, interpretations, or paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures, at first preserved by oral transmission, and committed to writing from about 100 AD onwards. The author attempts to make the “messiah” in their paraphrases to be a vague hope in an “ideal figure, having a right to the 'sceptre' of Judah, which,” he supposes “is extremely unlikely to have been formed before such an emblem of royalty was known in Judah...” p.414. The targums he quotes on pp. 411-412,

Targum of Onkelos: “A ruler (lit. one exercising authority) shall not depart from those of the house of Judah, nor a scribe from his sons' sons for ever, until Messiah comes, whose is the kingdom.”

Jerusalem Targum: “Kings cease not from those of the house of Judah, nor the learned, teachers of the law, from his sons' sons, until the time when the King Messiah comes, to whom the kingdom belongeth.”

Jonathan Ben Uziel Targum: “Kings and rulers cease not from those of the house of Judah, nor scribes, teachers of the law, from his seed, until the time when the King Messiah, the youngest of his sons, shall come.” To be continued, God willing.