appears in the A.V. as the rendering of, two words in the Hebrew, the one apparently a person, and the other certainly a place. In the following treatment of both we bring together the Scriptural and modern archaeological information bearing upon them.
1. (Heb. Shiloh', שַׁילֹה; on the meaning and renderings, see below.) This is a peculiar epithet which was applied, in the prophetic benediction of Jacob on his death-bed (Ge 49:10), to a future personage, and which has ever been regarded by Christians and by the ancient Jews as a denomination of the :Messiah. The oracle occurs in the. blessing of Judah, and is thus worded: "The sceptre shall-not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver [מחֹקֵק, a scribe, recording the decree uttered by the sovereign] from bhetwees n his feet [the position frequently depicted on the Egyptian' monuments 'as occupied by the secretary of important persons], until Shiloh come [עִד כַּיאּיָבֹא שַׁילֹה]: and unto him the gathering [יַקּהָה, obedience, as in Pr 30:17] of the people shall be." The term itself, as well as the whole passage to which it belongs, has ever been a fruitful theme of controversy between Jews and Christians, the former, although they admit, for the most part, the Messianic reference of the text, being still fertile in expedients to evade the Christian argument founded upon it. Neither our limits nor. our object will permit us. to enter largely into the theological bearings of this prediction; but it is, perhaps, scarcely possible to do justice to the discussion as a question of pure philology without at the same time displaying the strength of the Christian interpretation, and: trenching upon the province occupied by the proofs of Jesus of Nazareth being the Messiah of the Old-Test. prophecies. SEE MESSIAH.
I. Etymological and Grammatical Considerations. Before entering upon the more essential merits of the question, it may be well to recite the ancient versions of this passage, which are mostly to be referred to a date that must exempt them from the charge of an undue bias towards any but the right construction. Influences of this nature have, of course, become operative with Jews of a later period.
1. The version of the Sept. is peculiar: "A prince shall not fail from Judah; nor a captaniout of his loins, ἕως ἄν ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀποκείμενα αὐτῷ, until the things come that are laid up for him." In some copies another reading is found, ῳ ἀπόκειται, for whom it is laid up, meaning, doubtless, in the kingdom-for whom the kingdom is laid up in reserve. This rendering is probably to be referred to an erroneous section, אשר לו, whose it is. Targ. Onk., "One having the principality shall; not be taken from the house of Judah,, nor a. scribe from his children's children, until the Messiah come, whose the kingdom is." Targ. Jerus., "Kings shall not fail from the house of Judah, nor skilful doctors of the law from their children's children, till the time when the king's Messiah shall come." Syriac, "The sceptre shall not fail from Judah, nor an expounder from between his feet, till he come whose it is;" i.e. the sceptre; the right, the dominion. Arabic, "'The sceptre: shall not be. taken away from Judah, nor a lawgiver from under his rule, until he shall come whose it is." Samaritan. "The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah, nor a leader from his banners, until the Pacific shall come." Latin Vulgate, "The sceptre shall not be taken away from Judah, nor a leader from his thigh-donece yelet qui mittendus est, until he shall come who is to be sent." This is supposed to be founded upon mistaking in the original שילה for שילה, which latter comes from the root שלח, signifying to send; yet it is adopted by. some scholars as: the truest reading, the present form of the word being owing, in their opinion, to the error of transcribers in substituting ה for ִח.
2. Various other etymologies have been assigned to the term, the advocates of which may be divided into two classes-those who consider the word שילה as a compound, and those who deem it a radical or simple derivation.
(a.) Those of the first class coincide,
(1) for the most part, with the ancient interpreters, taking שילה as equivalent to שֶׁלּוֹ, and this to be made up of ש, the contraction of אשר, who, and לו, the dative of the third personal pronoun. The rendering, accordingly, in this case, 'ould be cujus est, or cui est, whose it is, to whom it belongs, i.e.' the sceptre or dominion. This interpretation is defended by Jahn (Einl. in d. A. T. i, 507, and Vat. Mes. ii, 179). It is approved also by Hess, De Wette, Krummacher, and others, including Turner (Compitnion to Genesis, ad loc.). The authority of the. ancient versions, already alluded to, is the principal ground upon which its advocates rely. 'But to this sense it is a serious objection that there is no evidence that the abbreviation of אשר into ש was known in the time of Moses. There is no other instance of it in the Pentateuch, and it is only in the book of Judges that we first meet with it.. However the rendering of the old translators may be accounted for, there is no sufficient ground for the belief that the form in question was the received one in their time. If it were, we should doubtless find some traces of it in existing manuscripts. But though these copies exhibit the reading שילו, not one of them gives שלו, and but Very few שלה, which Hengstenberg deems of no consequence, as the omission of the Yod was merely a defective way of writing, which often occurs in words of similar structure. An argument for this interpretation has, indeed, been derived from Eze 21:27, where the words "-until he shall come whose is the dominion," אשר לו המשפט, are regarded as an obvious paraphrase of' שלו or שלה. But. to this it may be- answered that while Ezekiel may have had the present passage in his eye, and intended an allusion to the character or prerogatives of the Messiah, yet there is no evidence that this was designed as an interpretation of the name under consideration. The reasons, therefore, appear ample for setting aside, as wholly untenable, the explication of the time here propounded, without adverting to the fact that the ellipsis involved in, this construction is go unnatural and violent that no parallel to it can be found in the whole Scriptures.
(2.) Another solution proposed by some expositors is, to derive the word שולה from שיל, child, and the suffix ה for ו. This will yield the reading "until his (Judah's) son or descendant, the Messiah, shall come." Thus the Targ. Jon., "Until the time when the king's Messiah shall come, the little one of his sons." 'This view is favored by Calvin (ad loc.) and by Knapp (Dogm. ii, 138), and also by Dathe. There is, however, no such sword in known Hebrew, and as a plea for its possible existence reference is made to an Arabic word, shalil, with the same signification. The only. philological defence is (with Luther) to resolve שילה into a synonym with שליּה, after-birth (De 28:57), rendered "young one;" but this requires us to adopt the unnatural supposition that the term properly denoting the secundines, or the membrane that encloses the fetus, is taken for the fetus itself. Besides, this exposition has an air of grossness about it which prompts its immediate rejection..
(b.) The second class consists of those who consider שילה as a radical or simple derivative. Among these, again, there are two principal opinions.
(1.) By translating the word as it is translated elsewhere else in the Bible, viz. as the name of the city in Ephraim where the ark of the covenant remained during such a long period, a sufficiently good meaning is given to the passage without any violence to the Hebrew language, and, indeed, with a precise grammatical parallel elsewhere (comp. וַיָּבאֹ שַׁלֹה, 1Sa 4:12). The simple translation is, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, till he shall go to Shiloh." In this case the allusion would be to the primacy of Judah in war (Jg 1:1-2; Jg 20:18; Nu 2:3; Nu 10:14),'which was to continue until the Promised. Land was conquered, -and the ark of the covenant was solemnly deposited at Shiloh. Some Jewish writers (especially Aben-Ezra) had previously maintained that Shiloh, the city of Ephraim, was referred to in this passage; and Servetus had propounded the same opinion in a fanciful dissertation, in which he attributed a double meaning to the words (De Trinitate, ii, 61, ed. 1553). But the above translation and explanation, as proposed and defended on critical grounds, was first suggested in modern days by Teller (Notce Critice et Exegeticce in Ge 49; De 33:Exodus 15, Judges v [Halh et Helmstadii, 1766]), and it has since, with modifications, found favor with numerous learned men belonging to various schools of theology, such as Eihhorni' Hitzig, Tuuch, Bleek, Ewald, Delitzsch, Rodiger, Kalisch, Luzzatto, and Davidson.
The objections to this interpretation are set forth at length by Heengstenberg (Christology of the Old Test, ii, 1 a, 41, Keith's' transl.), and the reasons in its favor, with an account of the various interpretations which have been suggested by -others, are well given by Davidson (Introduction to the Old Test. i, 199-210). As they are not of a grammatical character, they will be considered below.
(2.) But an exposition of far more weight, both from its intrinsic fitness and from the catalogue of distinguished names which have espoused it, is that which traces the term to the root , שלה, quievit. to rest, to be at peace, and makes it equivalent to pacificator, peacemaker, or pacifier, and the allusion is either. to Solomon, whose name has a similar signification, or to the expected Messiah, who in Isa 9:6 is expressly called the "Prince of Peace." This was once the translation of Gesenius, though he afterwards saw reason to abandon it (see his Lexicon; s.. v.), and it is at present the translation of Hengstenberg in his Chrstology of the Old Test. p. 69, and of the grand rabbi Wogue, in his translation Genesis, a work which is approved and recommended by the grand rabbins of France' (Le. Pentateuque, ou les Cing Livres de Mofse [Paris, 1860]).
But, on the other hand, if the original Hebrew text is correct as it stands, there are three objections to this translation, which, taken collectively, seem fatal to it. 1st. The word Shiloh occurs nowhere else in Hebrew as the name or appellation of a person. 2d. The only other Hebrew word, apparently, of the same form,, is Giloh (Jos 15:51; 2Sa 15:12); and-this is the name of a city, not of a person. 3d. The idea conveyed by the proposed interpretation is that of causing or effecting: peace-an idea for which the Hebrew has an appropriate form of expression, and which,: in this word, would normally be מִשׁלֵה, mashleh. The actual form, however, is diverse from this; and though several examples are adduced by the advocates of this interpretation of analogous derivations from a trilitferal root, as כידור from כישיר כדר from קיטור כשר from קטר, etc., yet it is certain that the original characteristic of this form is a passive instead of an active sense, which, שילה requires according to the exegesis proposed. We must therefore understand the term as expressing the gentle character of the Messianic sway in general. The other objections will be considered below.
(3.) The next best translation of Shiloh is perhaps that of "rest," from the same root, taken passively. The passage would then ruin thus: The sceptre shall not depart from Judah ... till rest come. [till he come to rest], and the nations obey him;" and the reference would be to the Messiah, who was to spring from the tribe of Judah. This translation deserves respectful consideration, as having been ultimately adopted by Gesenius. It was preferred by Vater, and is defended by Knobel in the Exegetisches Hanbuch (Genesis 49:10). This import of the term, however, would rather require a: fern. than a masc. form. It likewise remains subject to the objection that Shiloh occurs nowhere else in the Bible in this sense, and that the import thus becomes neither apt nor noteworthy. To say nothing of other objections, one circumstance seems decisive, so clearly decisive that Hofmann has given. up this last interpretation and embraced the common (one, pronouncing the interpretation which makes Shiloh a city "the most impossible of all." The circumstance is this, that Shiloh, originally Shilon, and making its adjective" Shilonite," belongs to a class of nouns in Hebrew which are never appellatives or common nouns, but always, proper names either of persons or of places; and this "is unaffected by a variation in the etymology, whether we derive it, with almost all authorities, from שָׁלָה (shalah), or whether, with Eodiger, from the: root of Solomon's name, שָׁלִם (shaldm), reckoning that there has been a change of the letters m and n.
(4.) A less obvious' and more difficult derivation is from שאל,-with a substitution of י for א; thus yielding the meaning of the desired or expected one. This, however, is so much more inapt, that we may say the choice lies between two of the above interpretations, which we accordingly discuss more in detail.
II. Exegetical and Historical Considerations.
1. On the Interpretation of Shiloh as the Well-known Place of that Name.- The explanation of this, as given by Rodiger, in his continuation of Gesenius's Thesaurus, is " that the tribe of Judah should go before the other tribes, and have the supreme command in the war waged with the Canaanites (see Jg 1:1 sq.; comp. 20:18; Nu 2:1 sq.; 10:14);' and that this war could not be said to be finished and the victory to be gained till after the victorious Jews had entered Shiloh, a city standing almost in the centre of the land west of Jordan, and had there set up the, sacred ark'; then, at length, when the peoples of Canaan had been reduced to obedience, Judah ceased to be leader in the war, and the tranquilized country was portioned out, among the tribes." It is not very easy to see how this paraphrase arises out of the words of the text; nor, should we even admit that it does, do we seem to have attained to any very satisfactory meaning. But, apart from any special objections to some particular exposition, we urge against this translation.
(1.) There is no evidence of the existence of the city Shiloh in the time of Jacob, or, if it did exist, it was not improbably known by some other name; for we shall have occasion to suggest that the name of the city was derived from this prophecy. Nay, granting that it existed under the name of Shiloh, it is a gratuitous assertion that Jacob spoke to his sons of a place so entirely unimportant, with which we have no reason to think that he or they ever had any connection. In, this respect it stands entirely on a different footing from the city Shechem, to which there is thought to be a reference in Ge 48:22.
(2.) There is something which requires to be explained in the expression "until he come to Shiloh." Supposing it to refer to the place to which the tabernacle was brought by Joshua, what had Judah to do with this "coming to Shiloh" more than the other tribes," Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood?" At the very least, it suggests a grave doubt whether Judah really was 'meant to be the subject of the verb; the more so that it would have. been extremely easy to write the sentence so as to leave no room for doubt as to the grammatical construction.
(3.) A violent surprise is given to us by this limitation of Judah's lead or rule to the time anterior to his coming to Shiloh. The prophecy of Jacob was in reference to things which should befall them in the last days (Gem. 49:1). Whether we incline to a definite or to. an indefinite interpretation of this phrase, it is much at variance with a prophecy of Judah's supremacy for forty-five or fifty years, from the Exode till the coming of the tribes to Shiloh; of which period thirty-eight years were spent in a state of suspension from the favor of God, so far as this was manifested by church privileges. Was this all the pre-eminent blessing of Judah? Was a sudden termination to be put to the triumphal progress, "conquering and to conquer," which we anticipated as we read ver. 8, 9? Or, at least, must a veil be thrown over what remained of it subsequent to the arrival at Shiloh?
(4.) So we come to the question, Does this interpretation harmonize in any way with the facts of the case? Delitzsch is well aware that, on this interpretation, the prophecy implies, first, that Judah had "the sceptre and the lawgiver" till it came to Shiloh, and, secondly, that this coming to Shiloh was a turning point in its history; and it is incomprehensible to us how he persuades himself into affirming these two propositions. As to the former, we have not space for discussing the varieties of translation proposed; but, for the sake of argument, let us concede as much as possible in the way of cutting down and restricting the meaning of these terms. So far as we are aware, the pre-eminence was assigned to Judah only in one respect, during the march through the wilderness-that it took the first place among the tribes in the order of marching (Nu 2; Nu 10); unless we add that the same order was observed in the consecration-offerings at the tabernacle (ch. vii). But in this we see no more than a very limited amount of honor; while the power and authority were first in the hands of Moses and Aaron the Levites, and next in those of Joshua the Ephraimite. Let any one compare the dying blessing of Moses with this blessing of Jacob, and see how brief is the notice of Judah (a tribe certainly the most numerous, but not possessed of any other practical advantage), and how full are the blessings pronounced upon Levi and Joseph. We do not either-deny or undervalue the honor of the position assigned to Judah; but we say it was of little value unless taken in connection with this prophecy and regarded as a prognostic or a pledge of its fulfilment in due time, or,, at most, a prelude to it and a preparation for it. The proper fulfilment began in David's time; and "the sceptre and the lawgiver" are to be sought for in his line, to which the promises were made of an unending dominion. But before David came to hold the sceptre, the city Shiloh had ceased to be the religious centre of the people of Israel, and its mention in this prophecy would be inexplicable. As to the second proposition involved in this interpretation, there is not even a shadow of evidence that the coming to Shiloh was a turning-point in the relations of the tribe of Judah either to the other tribes or to the heathen. Whatever primacy Judah had enjoyed already, one may plausibly assert that it continued to enjoy, it was the first to be sent to the wars after Joshua's death, yet alone and not commanding the others (Jg 1:1-2); it was sent foremost into the battle in the civil war with Benjamin (Jg 20:18), and it furnished the first of the judges (iii, 9)., These are certainly small matters, but they are quite as great as any which can be named anterior to the arrival at Shiloh. Still they are in perfect harmony with the fact that the time for Judah's sceptre and lawgiving had not yet come, as the age of the judges was the period in which Ephraim was the leading tribe (comp. 8:1-3; 12:1-6; Psalm 78).
The difficulties in the way of adopting this translation are, indeed, so very great that in his commentary Tuch suggested a modification which has met with some little support. He supplies an indefinite subject to the verb — "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah .. as long as [people] come to Shiloh;" that is to say, forever. The objections to this rendering are so overwhelming that we may be sure it never would have been proposed but for' the perplexities of those who deny that Shiloh is. a person. There is an awkwardness in supplying this subject, there is an entire misapprehension of the meaning of the conjunction; and the use of the phrase "as long as people come to Shiloh," in the sense "forever," has no parallel in Scripture, and appears most unnatural when we look at it in the light of history.
2. On the Reference of the Name Shiloh to the Messiah. — The old and simple interpretation is that the sovereignty in Israel belongs to Judah, and that this prerogative shall not be exhausted till the promised Saviour comes, who shall bring all the blessings to the highest perfection.
a. Arguments in Favor of this Interpretation.
(1.) The name is now generally admitted to be an adjective meaning "peaceful," a title most appropriate to our Saviour, and confirmed by parallels or imitations to which it will be necessary to refer. It is highly probable that there is a close connection between the name of the person here and that of the place which is mentioned in the other texts in which the word occurs; and' this connection indicates the circumstance by which many have been led to adopt the explanation which we have rejected, owing to its appearance in all the other texts; they felt that the place Shiloh was not to be thrust out of this text without good reason. Now the fact is not that there is here a reference to the place, for all attempts to make this intelligible and satisfactory have failed, but that in the place there is a reference to this text., Shiloh was the name given to the place where the ark found a place of rest for itself (or, otherwise, the place which already bore this name was selected as the resting-place of the ark), because it expressed the hope of the people that in this place they should find " one greater than the Temple;" Shiloh the place reminded them continually of this prophecy of Shiloh. the person, and kept alive the faith of the people in "him that was to come." Similar to this is the name Jerusalem, "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace," to which the ark was' afterwards carried as Jehovah's place of rest forever, which he had desired, and in which the Lord whom they sought should suddenly come to his temple. This reference to the person Shiloh in the name of the place where the people met with God has a parallel in the history of the most prominent persons after the sceptre and the lawgiver actually came to Judah. For David named his son and successor Solomon, a name which in Hebrew bears a much closer analogy to Shiloh than the English reader might suppose, both being also the same in meaning, David had been restrained from building the Temple because he had shed blood abundantly; but he gave the name Solomon to him who was to build it, for lie was to be "a man of rest," and the Lord was to give "peace and quietness to Israel in his days" (1Ch 22:8-9). This also illustrates the following words of the prophecy," until the Peaceful One comes, and unto him shall the gathering of the peoples be." The peoples, in the plural, are admitted by almost universal consent to be the heathen nations, attracted by this Peaceful One who gives them rest (see Mt 11:28-30; Mt 23:37). This thought comes out more and more beautifully as the precise signification of the gathering of the peoples. is contemplated; whether it be "attachment," or "trus," or, most simply aid probably, "filial obedience," as in Pr 30:17.
(2.) Those alone who acknowledge Shiloh to be a person bring the blessing of Jacob into harmony with the promises in the patriarchal period ...There is difference of opinion, of course, as to the clearness with which Christ's person was then revealed. But there is no room for doubting that two subjects were brought prominently forward-the multiplication of their seed, and the prospect that out of them should come a blessing for all the nations of the world. The former subject appears repeatedly in this chapter; but the latter is overlooked entirely in the other interpretation, while full justice is done to it in this one. Nay, the line of blessing had been distinctly marked out in the case of the three successive patriarchs; now, when the third of these saw that blessing expanding over twelve contemporary. patriarchs, it was most natural that Jacob, who had been so anxious to obtain it for himself, should name the one from whom the seed of blessing in the highest sense was to come. And unless we admit that a prerogative is granted to Judah, far different from the narrow concession in time and degree which is made by those who understand Shiloh here to be a place, it will be difficult to discover any ground for the assertion that the chief ruler was to spring from Judah, of whom the Lord had made choice for this place of power and honor (1Ch 5:2; 1Ch 28:4).' It is true that some of the best living expositors of the Messianic interpretation do not think that the descent of our Lord from Judah is the notion conveyed in the words "from between his feet." But it is vain to make any difficulty out of this for, speaking of each of. the tribes in succession and one by one as Jacob does, it is impossible that he can mean to make -Shiloh belong to any other tribe.
(3.) If we understand Shiloh to be a person, we see that the blessing pronounced on Judah is. one complete homogeneous whole. It begins with laying emphasis on his name, "He that shall be praised,'? a verb which certainly is used habitually, it would even seem exclusively, of God; as if to hint that there is a mysterious fulness of blessing in Judah's case which involves something more than human. It promises him all praise and favor from his brethren; and in the middle of this it places his invincible superiority to his enemies. It compares him to a lion, in respect of his resistless activity, and of his safety when he lies down; and on this metaphor it enlarges throughout a verse. It carries the blessing onward to its culmination in Shiloh: for there is no change of subject. since Shiloh is a part of Judah, its head and noblest part; and there is no limitation in the word "until." which has an inclusive (not an exclusive) meaning in this as in many passages, as much as to say, "The sceptre does not 'depart till Shiloh comes, and of course after his coming there is no risk of its departure." And so Judah, at whose head is Shiloh, enjoys a rest at once: glorious and luxurious in the Promised Land, possessing all the fullness of God's goodness, as is related of the earthly Solomon's reign (1Ki 4:24-25; 1Ki 5:4-5), and as shall be realized more nobly in the reign of the heavenly Solomon, whose life on earth already contrasted with that of 'his: ascetic forerunner in certain respects, to which- his enemies called attention for a malignant purpose (Lu 7:33-34).
(4.) This interpretation is confirmed by other texts referring to it. The prophecies of Balaam refer more than once to the blessing. pronounced on Judah, the lion-like course of the' people, the royal honor in store for them, and the leader by whom all the noblest' things were to be achieved. Especially Nu 24:17, "I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab. and destroy all the children of Sheth," of tumult or of pride. Perhaps this distance of the time of fulfilment of the prophecy may be the reason of the extreme brevity of the blessing of Moses pronounced on Judah.; though its brevity may be also owing to this, that it, is an allusions to the fuller blessing of Jacob. Again, in the age in which the sceptre and the lawgiver appeared in Judah, we are at a loss to know what earlier stepping-stone led to the language of Ps 2; Ps 110, and to that of Nathan's prophecy of the perpetuity and glory of David's line, if Shiloh be not a person. Psalm 72, in particular, is the expansion of the faith in his glorious and peaceful reign. In the prophecies of Isaiah there. are several references to the Messiah in language which seems connected with this one; the very name " Prince of Peace" (9:6) is an interpretation of Shiloh. And in Eze 21:30-32 (2.5-27 in the English) there is a reference which few critics have hesitated to acknowledge, and whose influence upon the ancient translators must yet be noticed: "And thou profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord, Remove the diadem and take off the crown; this shall not be the same exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." To mention no more, there are names given to our Lord in the New Test. which must be traced back to this prophecy: such are found in Eph 2:14, "For he is our peace," and especially in Re 5:5, " the Lion of the tribe of Judah."
b. Objections to this Interpretation.-These have been greatly exaggerated. They are chiefly of a negative character.'
(1.) Kurtz, following the earlier opinion of Hofmann in his Weissagung und Emlullung, interposes a theoretical objection that the organic progress of prophecy in connection with the developments of history is unfavorable to the notion of a personal Messiah in the Pentateuch: it would not arise till the promises to the patriarchs had been realized so far as concerned the expansion of the individual into a numerous offspring, when the necessity of a head would come to 'be felt, that this multitude might be led back to a unity again.
This assumption cannot be admitted there is a connection certainly between history and prophecy, yet it is nevertheless true that the latter, from time to time, bursts the limits which are imposed upon the former; so that, as we have already said, he who rejects the personal Messiah in this text must be prepared for prophecy taking a much greater and more sudden leap in the age of David. Grant, too, for the sake of argument, that Moses had no conception of a personal Messiah, there is nothing to hinder our belief that Jacob had been gifted enough to see it; just as, if we deny that Jacob saw it, we must admit that Abraham did see Christ's day and rejoice, unless we renounce confidence in our Lord's testimony. Nay, we do not hold that the understanding of the prophets is the measure of the meaning of their predictions; so that our belief that Shiloh is the Saviour does not necessitate our belief that Jacob understood this in the way that we do.
Yet, so far as we comprehend the circumstances, we know of no reason for doubting that Jacob did expect a personal Saviour whom he named Shiloh; for an individual head seems requisite for the work mentioned in the text, at once subduing the heathen and attracting them to willing obedience. Compare Ps 18:40 sq., where the head and his work appear, when the sceptre of Judah came into view; also Isa 11; Isa 55:4. There is weight in Hengstenberg's observation that the individual comes strongly out in the patriarchal history on account of its, biographical character; so that one feels no surprise at the mention of the personal Messiah after reading passages like these: "I will bless thee," "In thee," not less than "in thy seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This is apart from any weight which the apostle teaches us to attach to the word in the singular number '"Now to Abraham and-his seed were: the promises made; he saith not:, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
(2.) A very different objection of a most practical kind is that our interpretation' is contradicted by facts, since the sceptre had departed from Judah for centuries before Christ was born; and the appeal is made to the end of the kingdom ,by the Babylonian captivity, to the continued subjection of the people to the Persian and the: Greek governments, to the fact that even the Maccabaean princes did not spring from the tribe of, Judah, and to the thoroughly foreign nature of the rule of Herod and his family.
In reply, we do not- need to enter into a laborious discussion for the purpose of showing that something of Judah's sceptre still remained. Were we to grant all that is alleged, the very fact that Christ arose in due time is proof that the sceptre had not departed from Judah in the course; of these reverses; precisely as a total eclipse is no proof that the day is at an end. The sceptre was, long of appearing in Judah; Israel had to wait for centuries in faith that kings would arise in the line of promise, although they had not been long of arising in. the rejected line of Esau (Ge 17:16; Ge 35:11; Ge 36:31). The. lapse of centuries before the sceptre appeared in Israel does not disturb our faith in this prophecy; neither need the lapse of centuries after it, disappeared, if Judah was only kept together. till the predicted rod should come forth of the stump of Jesse (Isa 11:1). At the worst, we rest in faith on Gabriel's words to Mary-" The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Lu 1:32-33). It is important to observe that the facts which stumble some modern Christians were no stumbling-block to ancient Jews and Christians, to whom they were equally well known, and by whom translations and paraphrases were made in which. Shiloh was, without hesitation, interpreted to be the Messiah. They understood the true meaning of the prophecy-that it secured a kingdom substantially and truly perpetual, yet liable to interruptions which should seem to the world to be failures of God's word, because only his children understand that chastisements are a part of the blessings secured to them by covenant. At the time when the sceptre did first appear in Judah the law of the kingdom on this point was laid down explicitly by Nathan (2Sa 7:12-16), of which we have a more expanded statement, throughout Psalm 89.
In a very important sense, however, the sceptre had not departed from Judah even during the Babylonian captivity and the Persian rule; for the national elders were always more or less recognised by these foreign powers as the titles Resh gelutha (prince of the captivity) and alabarch (q.v.) evince in later times. SEE CAPTIVITY; SEE DISPERSED. The authority of Zerubbabel as "governor of Judah" (Hag 2:2) evidently rested upon a recognition of this traditional supremacy. Moreover, the Jewish people well understood that this foreign yoke was imposed as a temporary penalty for their sins, and the. prophecy obviously refers to a- final, as well as total, passing-away of civil power, which, it is demonstrable, did not occur till after the reduction, of Judaea to a Roman province. The restoration of royalty in the persons of the Asmonaean line, therefore, served legitimately as a link to keep alive this grant; and its transfer to Herod, although but a Jew by adoption, was in like manner a renewal of the prerogative. After the coming of Christ, the Jews themselves acknowledged that "they had no king but Caesar" (Joh 19:15). It would seem to have been Jehovah's original intention to make the Davidic dynasty absolutely perpetual in a political sense, but the condition of loyalty to him which was never overlooked, having failed, the promise was suspended, and at last finally revoked so far as the nationality was concerned. Yet the spiritual import of the grant remained in full force, and shall never be repealed. Christ was the true Heir of David, and the supremacy, whatever it may have originally contemplated, took, in his person, the spiritual phase exclusively. It is this change in the aspect of the Judaic sceptre that justifies the peculiar term Shiloh, the Peaceful, as characterizing the new "kingdom of heaven," in distinction from 'the vindictive and often sanguinary spirit of the older. Judaism.
(3.) It is alleged- that we take the word Shiloh in a sense elsewhere unknown, and here unnecessary. The necessity, however, seems to us to, be proved by the impossibility of resting satisfied with the other interpretation; and confessedly this necessity has been felt by the vast majority of interpreters of every age, and country, and school of opinion, always excepting open unbelievers. - We have pointed out the real and intimate connection of the two names, that of the person and that of the city; nor :is there anything unusual in this double use of a name, of which, the book: of Genesis gives other examples in Enoch and Shechem (4:17; 33:18, 19). If we think that the name of a city has been imagined erroneously, here, this is no more than is now commonly supposed in regard to Shalem in ver. 18.
(4.) A comparatively trifling objection is that we mar the simplicity of the structure of the sentence by introducing Shiloh' as a new subject; an objection, besides, which presses with equal 'weight upon our opponents, who forget that "the sceptre" or "the lawgiver," and not "Judah," is the original subject.
1. On the above questions, see, besides the regular commentaries, and the treatises already cited, the monographs in Latin by Stempel (F. ad 0. 1610); Alting (Franec. 1662); Leusler ( Giess. 1662); Muller ( Jen. 1667); Burger (Altd. 1710); - Schottgen (F. ad 0. 1718); Vriemoet (Ultraj. 1722); Sherbach (Vitemb. 1743); Huth (Erlang. 1748); Nagel (Altd. 1767); Gulcher (Lips. 1774); Sixt (Altd. 1785); and in. German by Kern (Gbtt. 1786); Bahor (Vienna, 1789); also the Christ. Rev. 1849, p. 285; Journ. of Sac. Lit.-April, 1857.; Presb. Quar. Rev. April, 1861. '
2. (Heb. Shiloh', שַׁלֹה [Jos 18:1,8-10; Jos 19:51; Jos 21:2; Jos 22:9,12; Jg 18:31; Jg 21:12; 1Sa 1:3,9; 1Sa 2:14; 1Sa 3:21; 1Sa 4:3-4,12; 1Sa 14:3; 1Ki 14:2,4; Jer 26:6], or שַׁילֹה [1Ki 2:27]; also Shilo', שַׁלוֹ [Jg 21:19; 1Sa 1:24; 1Sa 3:21; Ps 72:20; Jer 7:14; Jer 26:9; Jer 41:5], or שַׁילו [Jg 21:21; Jer 7:12]; and perhaps also Shi/n', שַׁילוֹן [which does not occur], whence the gentile Shilonite [q.v.], שׁילֹנַי [1Ki 11:29; 1Ki 12:15]; in -the Sept. usually Σηλώ or Σηλώμ, v. r. Σαλών, Σαλήμ; Josephus, Σιλώ [Ant. 8:7,7; 11,1; Σιλοῦν, v, 1,.19; 2, 9]; Σηλώ [v, 2,12]; Vulg. Silo, and more rarely Selo), a town or village in the tribe of Ephraim, interesting for its sacred associations, and regarded by many as indicated in the blessing of the dying Jacob (Ge 49:10). See the preceding article., The name was derived probably from שָׁלִו שָׁלָה, "to rest," and represented the idea that the nation attained at this place to a state of rest, or that the Lord himself would-here rest among his people. Taanath - shiloh (q.v.) may be' another name of the same place, or of a different place near it, through which it was customary to pass on the way to Shiloh, as the obscure etymology may indicate. See also Kurtz, Gesch. des A. Bund. ii, 569. SEE EPHRAIM, TRIBE OF. Shiloh was one of the earliest and most sacred of the Hebrew sanctuaries. The ark of the covenant, which had been kept at Gilgal during the progress of the conquest (Jos 18:1 sq.), was removed thence on the subjugation of the country, and kept at Shiloh from the last days of Joshua to the time of Samuel (ver. 10; Jg 18:31; 1Sa 4:3). It was here the Hebrew conqueror divided among the tribes the portion of the west Jordan-region, which had not been already allotted (Jos 18:10; Jos 19:51). In this distribution, or an earlier one, Shiloh fell within the limits of Ephraim (16:5). The seizure here of the "daughters of Shiloh" by the Benjamites is recorded as an event which preserved one of the tribes from extinction (Jg 21:19-23). The "annual feast of the Lord" was observed at Shiloh, and on one of these occasions the men lay in wait in the vineyards, and when the women went forth "to dance in. dances," the men took, them captive and carried them home as wives. Here Eli judged Israel, and at last died of grief on hearing that the ark of the Lord was taken by the, enemy (1Sa 4:12-18). The story of Hannah and her vow, which belongs to our recollections of Shilob, transmits to us a characteristic incident in the life of the Hebrews (1:1, etc.); Samuel, the child of her prayers and hopes, was here brought up in the sanctuary, and called to the prophetic office (2:26; 3:1). The ungodly conduct of the sons of Eli occasioned the loss of the ark of the covenant, which had been carried into battle against the Philistines, and Shiloh from that time sank into insignificance. It stands forth in the Jewish history as a striking example of the divine indignation. "Go ye now," says the prophet," unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it, for the wickedness of my people Israel" (Jer 7:12). Some have inferred from Jg 18:31 (comp. Ps 78:60 sq.) that a permanent structure or temple had been built for the tabernacle at Shiloh, and that it continued there (as it were sine numine) for a long time. after the tabernacle was removed to other places. But the language in 2Sa 7:6 is too explicit to admit of that conclusion. God says there to David, through the mouth of Nathan the prophet, "I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought, up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle." So in 1Ki 3:2, it is said expressly that no, "house" had been built for the worship of God till the erection of Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem. It must be in a spiritual sense, therefore, that the tabernacle is called a "house" or "temple" in those passages which refer to Shiloh God is said to dwell where he is pleased to manifest his presence or is worshipped; and the place thus honored becomes his abode or temple, whether it be a tent or a structure of wood or stone, or even the sanctuary of the heart alone. Ahijah the prophet had his abode at Shiloh in the time of Jeroboam I, and was visited there by the messengers of Jeroboam's wife to ascertain the issue of the sickness of their 'child (1Ki 11:29; 1Ki 12:15 ; 14:1, etc.). The people there after the time of the exile (Jer 41:5) appear to have been Cuthites (2Ki 17:30) who had adopted some of the forms of Jewish worship. '(See Hitzig, Zu Jerem. p. 331.) Jerome, who surveyed the ruins in the 4th century, says, " Vix ruinarum parva vestigia, vix altaris fundamenta monstrantur" (Ad Zeph. i, 14).
:The principal conditions for identifying with confidence the site of a place mentioned in the Bible are(1) that the modern name should bear a proper resemblance to the ancient one; (2) that its situation accord with the geographical notices of the Scriptures; and (3) that the statements of early writers and travellers point to a coincident conclusion. Shiloh affords a striking instance of the combination of these testimonies. The description in Jg 21:19 is singularly explicit. Shiloh, it is 'said there, is " on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah." In agreement with this, the traveller at the present day, going north from Jerusalem, lodges the first night at Beitin, the ancient Bethel, the next day, at the distance of a few hours, turns aside to the right, in order. to visit Selfn, the Arabic for' Shiloh; and then passing through the narrow Wady which brings him -to- the main road, leaves el-Lebban, the Lebonah of Scripture, on the left, as he pursues" the highway" to Nablfs, the ancient Shechem. Its present name is sufficiently like the more familiar Hebrew name, while it is identical with Shilon (see above), on which it is evidently founded. Again, Jerome. (ut sup.) and Eusebius (Onomast. s.v. Σηλώ) certainly have Seilun (Σιλώμ) in view when they speak of the situation of Shiloh with reference to Neapolis or Nablrs. It discovers a strange oversight of the data which control the question, that some of the older travellers have placed Shiloh at Neby.
Samwil, about two hours north-west of Jerusalem. The contour of the region, as the traveller views it on the ground, indicates very closely where the ancient town must have stood. A tell, or moderate hill, rises from an uneven plain, surrounded by other higher hills, except a narrow valley on, the south, which hill would naturally be chosen as the principal site of the town. The tabernacle may have been pitched on this eminence, where it would be a conspicuous object on every side. The ruins found there, at present are very inconsiderable. They. consist chiefly of the remains of a comparatively modern village, with which some large stones -and fragments of columns are intermixed, evidently from much earlier times, Near a ruined mosque flourishes all immense oak, the branches of which the winds of centuries have swayed. Just beyond the precincts ,of the hill stands a dilapidated edifice, which combines some of the architectural properties of a fortress and a church. Three columns. with; Corinthian capitals lie prostrate on the floor. An amphora between two chaplets, perhaps a work of Roman sculpture, adorns a stone over. the doorway. The natives call this ruin the "Mosque of Seildn (so Robinsonu; Wilson understood it was called "Mosque of the Sixty" [Sitfin]: [Lands -of the, Bible, ii, 294])., The interior was vaulted. The materials are unsuited to the structure, and have been taken from, an older building. At the distance of about fifteen minutes from the main site is a fountain, which is approached through a narrow dale; Its water is abundant, and, according to a practice very common in the East, flows first into a pool or well, and thence into a large )reservoir, from which flocks and herds are watered. This fountain, which would be so natural a resort for a festal party, may have been the place where the "daughters of Shiloh" were dancing when they were surprised and borne, off by their captors. In this vicinity are rock-hewn sepulchers, in which the bodies of some of the unfortunate house of Eli may have been laid to rest. There was a Jewish tradition: (Asher, Benj.. of Tud. ii, 4353) that Eli and his sons Were buried here... It is certainly true, as some travellers remark, that the scenery of Shiloh is not specially attractive; it presents no feature of, grandeur or beauty adapted to impress the mind and awaken thoughts in harmony with the memories of the place. At the same time, it deserves to be mentioned that, for the objects to which Shiloh was devoted, it was not unwisely chosen., It was, secluded, and therefore favorable to acts of worship and religious study, in which the youth of scholars and devotees, like Samuel, was to be spent. Yearly festivals were celebrated there, and brought together assemblages which would need the supplies of water and pasturage so easily obtained in such a place. Terraces are still visible on the sides of the rocky hills which show that every foot and inch of the soil once teemed with verdure and fertility. The ceremonies of such occasions consisted largely of processions and dances, and the place afforded ample scope for such movements.. The surrounding hills served as an amphitheatre whence, the spectators could look and have the entire scene under their eyes. The position, took in times of sudden danger, admitted of an easy. defence, as it was a hill itself, and the neighboring hills could be turned into bulwarks. To its other advantages we, should add that of its central position for the Hebrews on the west of the Jordan. An air of, oppressive stillness hangs now over all the scene, and adds force to the reflection that, truly the " oracles" so long consulted there "are dumb;" they had fulfilled their purpose, and given place to "a more sure word of prophecy."' A visit to Shiloh requires a tour of several miles from the ordinary track, and it has been less frequently described than other more accessible places. See Reland, Palcestina, p. 1016; Bachiene, Beschreibung, ii, 582; Raumer, Paldst. p, 201; Ritter, Erdk. 15:631. sq.; Robinson, Bib. Res. ii, 269-276; Wilson, Lands of the Bible, ii, 294; Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 231-233; Porter, Handb. of Syria, ii, 328; Ridgaway, The Lord's Land, p. 517 sq.;' Badeker, Palestine, p. 327; Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, ii,81 sq. '..