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December 3 – The sceptre not departing from Judah

“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” – Genesis 49:10

Scripture reading: Genesis 49:1-12

In his blessing of the tribe of Judah, Moses stated that Judah would be the kingly tribe. Future kings would come from this tribe. The sceptre would not depart from Judah. A sceptre was an ornamented staff carried by ancient kings on ceremonial occasions which were a symbol of their sovereignty. Descendants of Judah would exercise royal authority.

Historically, Genesis 49:10 has been interpreted as containing a reference to King Jesus as Shiloh. The KJV translates the third clause as “until Shiloh come.” The ESV translated the Hebrew text here as “until tribute comes to him.” “Shiloh” has been understood as a reference to the coming Messiah. The word “Shiloh” is a transliteration of the Hebrew word. The ESV does provide the following alternate translations for the phrase in question: “until he comes to whom it belongs,” “until Shiloh comes,” or “until he comes to Shiloh.” The NIV translates the phrase as “until he to whom it belongs”, implying that the reference could be to Christ to whom the royal sceptre would rightfully belong.

Through his adoptive father Joseph, Jesus would have a right to the throne of David. If this passage is looking ahead to the Saviour as “Shiloh”, then the idea is that Christ will be the final and preeminent king from the tribe of Judah.

It was predicted that the people would be obedient to the coming king. Christ has forgiven and redeemed us so that we would be obedient subjects. God chose us in Christ to be holy and obedient.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would submit to the Lordship of Christ and not act like the kingdom of God is a democracy where you have just as much say as King Jesus about how things should go. Pray that you would be as obedient to King Jesus as the angels are in Heaven.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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