As you are probably aware, there are many different translations of the bible. Have you ever been surprised at how different they can be? Some translations seek to give a translation as near to the original as they can, even though it could seem a bit stilted. Other translations flow better but only give a general sense of the original text.
Today’s word ‘Shiloh’ isn’t even in many translations of the passage we will focus on this week, but comparing two or more versions together actually reveals a better sense of what the word actually means. Here are two versions of the same verse;
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.(Genesis 49:10 NIV)
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 context of this passage is Jacob, near to death, is prophesying over each of his sons. This verse is directed at Judah who we know to be the head of the tribe that King David comes from and ultimately down the line to Jesus himself. Another name of Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
There has been much debate over the years at to what this verse is referring to, but it is commonly accepted that it refers to the messiah who was to come, who is of course Jesus.
The word ‘Shiloh’ actually appears many times in the bible, mostly as a place. It was the name of the place where the tabernacle was established when the Israelites took possession of the promised land.
Then the whole congregation of the people of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The land lay subdued before them. (Joshua 18:1)
Psalm 78:60 tells us that God abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh and Jeremiah speaks several times of its destruction (Jeremiah 7:12 & 14; 26:6 & 9).
The meaning of the word Shiloh is often debated and it has quite a few root meanings, but generally it means to be tranquil, secure or be in safety. The messianic part of the word literally means ‘he whose it is’
For the children of Israel the tabernacle, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, was a symbol of the God who dwelt with them, protected them and provided for them. But their reliance on the place rather than God himself led to their downfall and eventually the destruction of the temple itself. God had always intended that the temple was just a shadow of what was to come. The peace security and safety was not to be found in a building but In God himself through Jesus Christ and this protection would be eternal, true security!