“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
As Jacob was about to die, he blessed his sons and his grandsons (Ephraim and Manasseh). When he blessed Judah, he declared this prophetic blessing,
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
This is an allusion to the coming of the Messiah, the Kingly office of Jesus Christ. This is a continuation of the covenant promise made to Abraham that a Seed shall come from his offspring.
Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. “I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:3-8)
God declared to Abraham that kings would come from his offspring.
It also refers to the covenant promise made to David which is a continuation of the Abrahamic promise.
“…I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
The typological line of Kings will continue in the tribe of Judah until the one whom tribute truly belongs shall come in the form of man.
It is Jesus Christ who shall make the kingdom sure and will establish it forever.
Moses is saying here that the scepter and the ruler’s staff shall not depart from the tribe of Judah until the “one to whom it belongs” shall come.
John declares this about Christ Jesus, “He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)
“Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? … You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come. Is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD?” (2 Samuel 7:18-19)
David was blessed to receive this promise, but he declares that it was for instruction for all mankind, to know and trust in the Messiah to come (or who has already come in our case).
It was for God’s promise made to Abraham and his descendants and for God’s own purposes that he chose this one nation on earth to bless.
“For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things, to make Your servant know them.” (2 Samuel 7:21)
“And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name– and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land– before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, LORD, have become their God. Now, O LORD God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.” (2 Samuel 7:23-26)
Ezekiel declared that the kingly office would eventually become vacant for a time. During the Babylonian captivity, the throne became vacant in fulfillment of God’s words to David,
“When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men…” (2 Samuel 7:14)
But this was temporary, until the “one to whom the kingly office truly belonged” would come. Jesus Christ was the rightful and faithful king.
“Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end, thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban, and take off the crown; Nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, And I will give it to Him.” (Ezekiel 21:25-27)
Even Balaam, the pagan, prophesied concerning Christ,
“God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows. 9 `He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’ “Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.” (Numbers 24:8-9)
Note that Balaam’s prophecy refers to the blessed people of God who were brought out of slavery in Egypt, as was Jesus Christ when He was a child.
God would bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham (including Christ the seed) and curse those who curse those descendants of Abraham (including Christ the seed).
When Jacob blessed Judah (Gen. 49), he called Judah as a lion crouched down and a lioness. Note, this is repeated in Balaam’s prophecy above concerning the seed of Judah,
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17)
Balaam’s prophecy repeats Jacob’s blessing to Judah (in Gen. 49) concerning the Christ who was to come according to promise to be the ultimate king whose kingdom would be well established and secure.
Balaam’s prophecy was more than just a story about God’s making a donkey talk to his master. He used this donkey and his master to confirm the promise made to Abraham that God would bless those that bless him and his descendants and God would curse those that curse them.
But more than that, God would use the cursing and actions of pagans (such as Balaam) to bless His people. Nothing would thwart God’s purpose to bless His people with the coming of the Messiah, the promised Seed to Abraham.
How would they be blessed? One would eventually assume the throne of David and rule the nations with a rod of iron. He would come from the descendants of Israel as Abraham’s seed.
The Lord is His name. The scepter shall not depart from Judah. It is an everlasting reign.
His kingship shall not depart from His people.
(All quotes from the NKJV unless otherwise stated.)