« PreviousContinue »
1. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.'—The word yu shebet, which we translate -a sceptre, signifies a rod or staff of any kind; and particularly the rod or staff * which belongs to each tride as an ensign of their authority; and thence it is transferred to signify a tribe, as being united under one rod or staff of government, or a ruler of a tribe ; and in this sense it is used twice in this very chapter, ‘Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes or rulers of Israel,'—ver. 16; and again, 'All these are the twelve tribes or rulers of Israel,'-ver. 28. It hath the same signification in 2 Sam, vii. 7,- In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel, spake I a word with any of the tribes or rulers of Israel,' [in the parallel place of Chronicles, 1 Chron. xvii. 6, it is “judges of Israel) whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why built ye not me an house of cedar ?' The word doth indeed sometimes signify a sceptre, but that is apt to convey an idea of kingly authority, which was not the thing intended here : and the Seventy translate it áp xwv, a ruler,† which answers better to a lawgiver in the following clause. It could not with any sort of propriety be said, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah,' when Judah had no sceptre, nor was to have any for
many generations afterwards : but Judah had a rod or staff of a tribe, for he was then constituted a tribe as well as the rest of his brethren. The very same expression occurs in Zechariah, x. 11,• And the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away,' which implies that Egypt had a sceptre, and that that sceptre should be taken away: but no grammar or language could justify the saying that • Judah’s sceptre should depart,' or be taken away, before Judah was in possession of any sceptre. Would it not therefore be better, to substitute the word staff or ruler instead of sceptre, unless we restrain the meaning of sceptre to a rod or staff of a tribe, which is
* Bishop Sherlock hath cited to this purpose Menochius de Repub. Heb. Lib. 1. Cap. 4. Traductum vero nomen est ad siguificandum tribum-quod unaquæque tribus suam peculiarem virgam haberet, nomine suo inscriptam, quam tribuu... principes—manu gestare consueverant.--Cum Dominus Aaronem his verbis alloquitar
sed et fratres tuos de tribu Levi, et sceptrum patris tui sume tecum,' intellige sceptrum ipsum, et totam tribum quæ sceptro significabatur, et regebatur. [But the name (of a rod) has been transferred to signify a tribe, because each tribe had its own peculia. rod, inscribed with its own name, which the rulers of the tribes carried in their hand. When the Lord addresses Aaron in these words, but take thou with thee, both thy brethren of the tribe of Levi and the rod of thy father,' we must understand both the rod itself, and the whole tribe, which was denoted and governed by the rod.]
t Oür oxhorten åpner og '1080.-Sept. [A ruler shall not depart from. Judah.).
all that is here intended? The staff or ruler shall not depart from Judah.' The tribeship shall not depart from Judah.' Such authority as Judah had then, was to remain with his posterity. It is not said or meant, that he should not cease from being a king or having a kingdom, for he was then no king, and had no kingdom; but only that he should not cease from being a tribe or body politic, having rulers and governors of his own, till a certain period here foretold.
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet.'-The sense of the word sceptre will help us to fix and determine the meaning of the other word paru mechokek, which we translate a lawgiver. For if they are not synonimous, they are not very different. Such as the government is, such must be the lawgiver. The government was only of a single tribe, and the lawgiver could be of no more. Nor had the tribe of Judah at any time a legislative authority over all the other tribes, no, not even in the reigns of David and Solomon. When David appointed the officers for the service of the temple, 1 Chron. xxv. 1, Ezra viii. 20; and when Solomon was anointed king and Zadok priest, 1 Chron. xxix. 22; these things were done with the consent and approbation of the princes and rulers of Israel. Indeed the whole nation had but one law, and one lawgiver in the strict sense of the word. The king himself was not properly a lawgiver ! he was only to have a copy of the law,' to 'read therein,' and to turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand or to the left, ---Deut. xvii. 18, &c.
Moses was truly, as he is styled, the lawgiver,---Numb. xxi. 18. Deut. xxxiii. 21: and when the word is applied to any other person or persons, as Judah is twice called by the Psalmist, ‘my lawgiver,'---Psal. Ix. 7, cviii. 8, it is used in a lower signification. For it signifies not only a lawgiver ; but a judge: not only one who maketh laws, but likewise one who exerciseth jurisdiction: and in the Greek* it is translated vysuevoç a leader or præsident; in the Chaldeet a scribe; in the Syriac,an expositor; and in our English bible it is elsewhere trarslated a governor, as in Judges, v. 14---Out of Machir came down governors, and (it of Zebulun they that handle the
pen of the writer.' The lawgiver therefore is to be taken in a restrained sense as well as the sceptre : and perhaps it cannot be translated better, than judge: “ Nor a judge from between his feet.' Whether we understand it, that`a judge from between his feet shall not depart from Judah,' or ' a judge shall not depart from between his feet,' I conceive the meaning to be much the same, that there should not be wanting a judge of the race and posterity of Judah, according to the Hebrew phrase of children's coming from between the feet.' They who expound it of sitting at the feet of Judah, seem not to have considered that this was the place of scholars, and not of judges and doctors of the law. As · Dan' was to judge his people as one of the tribes or rulers of Israel,'---ver. 16, so was Judah, and with this particular prerogative, that 'the staff or ruler should not depart from Judah, nor a judge from between his feet,' until the time here foretold, which we are now to examine and ascertain.
και ηγεμενος εκ των μηρων αύτη.-Sept. [And a leader from his feet.) + Neque scriba a filiis filiorum ejus.-Chald. (Nor a Scribe from the sons of Sia sons.]
$ Et expositor de inter pedes ejus. Syr. [And an expositor from between
Until Shiloh come,' that is, until the coming of the Messiah, ús almost all interpreters, both ancient and modern, agree. For how. soever they may explain the word, and whencesoever they may derive it, the Messiah is the person plainly intended.---The Vulgar Latin* translates it Qui mittendus est---He who is to be sent; and to favour this version that passage in St. John's Gospel, ix. 7, is usually cited, 'Go wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation sent:' And who was ever sent with such
power thority from God as the Messiah, who frequently speaketh of himself in the Gospel under the denomination of him whom the Father hath sent ? ---The Seventy + translate it ta åtoketpeva aŭtą • the things reserved for him, or according to other copies Q ATOKELTAL "he for whom it is reserved :' And what was the great treasure reserved for Judah, or who was the person for whom all things were reserved, but the Messiah, whom we have declaring in the Gospel, Matt. xi. 27,— All things are delivered unto me of my Father;' and again xxviii. 18,---- All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth ??---the Syriac translates it to the same purpose is cujus illud est, he whose it is,' I suppose meaning the kingdom: and the Arabic cujus ipse est, 'whose he is, 'I suppose meaning Judah: And whose was Judah, or whose was the kingdom so properly as the Messiah's, who is so many times predicted
* As if St. Jerome had read so Shiloach instead of Shiloh, and bad derived it from Abu Shalach misit, the mistake being easy of a ch for ink + Deriving it from sh quod or quæ, and as lo ei.
under the character of the king of Israel ?' Junius and Tremellius with others translate it filius ejushis son :'* And who could be this son of Judah by way of eminence, but the Messiah, 'the seed in which all the nations of the earth shall be blessed ?'In the Samaritan text and version it is pacificus, 'the peace-naker;' and this perhaps is the best explication of the word.+ And to whom can this or any the like title be so justly applied as to the Messiah, who is emphatically styled, Is. ix. 6,----the prince of peace,' and at whose birth was sung that heavenly anthem, Luke ij. 14, .Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men?'
These are the principal interpretations, and which ever of these you prefer, the person understood must be the Messiah. But the learned Mr. Le Clerc would explain the text in such a manner as utterly to exclude the Messiah ; and he was a very able commentatur, the best perhaps upon the Pentateuch; but, like other learned men, he was sometimes apt to indulge strange unaccountable fancies. Of this kind, I conceive, is his intrepretation of this prophecy; for he says “ that Shiloh signifies finis ejus aut cessatio, his end or ceasing, and that it may be referred to the lawgiver, or to the sceptre, or even to Judah himself.”# But if it be referred to the lawgiver, or to the sceptre, what is it but an unmeaning tautology, “There shall be a lawgiver as long as there shall be a lawgiver,” “There shall not be an end of the sceptre till the end of the sceptre come? If it be referred to Judah or the tribe of Judah, the thing is by no means true; for the tribe of Judah subsisted long after they had lost the kingdom, and were deprived of all royal authority. Not many readers, I imagine, will concur with this learned commentator. The generality of interpreters, Jewish, as well as Christian, have by Shiloh always understood the Messiah. The Targum of Onkelos is commonly supposed to have been
* As if it was derived from Sou Shil profluvium sanguinis, or nobe Shilejah secundina, that wherein the infant is wrapped, and thence by a metonymy the infant itself.
+ I look upon the word opbouw Shiloh to be derived from the verb o sw Sha. lah tranquillus, pacificus fuit, in the same manner as 7720p kitor fumus is formed from Top katar suffumigavit; and there are other words of that formation. He says that opbouw Shiloh is the same as
, be derived from spa Shul, and Shul is the same as abi Shalah, which is Chaldee signifies cessare, desinere-finis aut cessatio verti poterit. Hoc posito, finis ejus poterit ad legislatorem aut ad sceptrum referri, aut etiam ad ipsum Judam.Cominent in locum. (Translated in the text.7
Shil may שיל Shilo
, and שילן
made before our Saviour's time,* and he thus expresseth the sense of the passage, “There shall not be taken away one having the principality from the house of Judah, nor a scribe from his children's children, till Messias come whose is the kingdom.”+ And with him agree the other Targums or Chaldee paraphrases, and the authors of the Talmud, and other ancient and modern Jews, whom the reader may see cited in Buxtorf upon the word. So that, I think, no doubt can remain, that by the coming of Shiloh is meant the coming of the Messiah.
· And unto him shall the gathering of the people be,' or 'obedience of the people, as it is otherwise translated. These words are capable of three different constructions; and each so probable, that it is not easy to say which was certainly intended by the author. For 1, they may relate to Judah, who is the main subject of the prophecy, and of the discourse preceding and following; and by the people we may understand the people of Israel ; and then the meaning will be, that the other tribes should be gathered to the tribe of Judah; which sense is approved by Le Clerc, and some late commentators. Or 2, they may relate to Shiloh, who is the person mentioned immediately before; and by the people we may understand the Gentiles : and then the meaning will be, that the Gentiles should be gathered or become obedient to the Messiah ; which sense is consonant to other texts of Scripture, that is confirmed by the authority of most ancient intrepreters; only some of them render it, and he shall be the expectation of the nations.'I Or 3, they may still relate to Shiloh, and yet not to be considered as a distinct clause, but be joined in construction with the preceding words, ' until Shiloh come,' the word until being common to both parts; and then the sentence will run thus, ' until Shiloh come, and to him the gathering or obedience of the people,' that is, until the Messiah come, and until the people or nations be gathered to his obedience; which sense is preferred by the most learned Mr. Mede 8 and some others. And each of those interpretations may very well be justified by the event.
• See Prideaux Connect. Part 2. B. 8. Anno. 37.
+ Non auferetur habens principatum domo Judæ, neque scriba a fiiis filiorum ejus, usque in secalum ; donec veniat Messias, cujus est regnum. [Translated in the text.]
Et ipse erit expectatio gentium. [Translated in the text.] Vulg. following the Sept. xai aŭlos a poodoxoa xwr. who probably derived the word from sp expectavit
"fee Mede's Discourse viii. et Gothofr. Valandi Dissert. cui titulus. Prætor o