Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10 The sceptre 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 49:8-10)
All parents think their children are special and some are even tempted to make wild predictions about their future that don’t come true. Fortunately, my parents predicted that I would be average. Imagine having twelve sons and making predictions about all of them. This is what Jacob did. Picture the scene. He is very old, almost blind. He is frail and he marshals all his strength, sits on the edge of his bed in his tent as a refugee in a refugee camp in Egypt. All twelve of his sons come before him knowing he is about to die and Jacob begins to tell each of them what will happen to them in the latter days. It doesn’t make for good reading. None of the sons seem to promise much except for Joseph who was always Jacob’s favourite. In fact, Joseph had dreamt that his father’s sons would bow down to him and this turned out true because he was the ruler of Egypt. And yet, astonishingly, Jacob makes an outrageous prediction about a different son, not Joseph! Playing on the name Judah, which means ‘praise’, Jacob says that all Israel will praise Judah. Jacob says that in the future Judah will conquer all his enemies and his brothers will bow before him. This came true centuries later when King David of the tribe of Judah established his dynasty and ruled over all Israel. Jacob makes the huge claim that in the future Judah will rule forever because the sceptre and ruler’s staff will not leave him… until… until ‘Shiloh comes’. This enigmatic phrase means ‘the one to whom it belongs comes’. Simply put, the tribe of Judah will reign over his brothers until someone comes to whom all rule belongs and he will rule over all peoples forever. What an astonishing prediction! Who could Jacob be prophesying about? Meet Jesus in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ (Christ means ‘long promised chosen ruler), David’s Greater Son, was born in the tribe of Judah, in the line of David, in King David’s city, Bethlehem. He is the Lion of Judah who has conquered all His enemies, Satan, sin and death. To Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. All nations will obey Him. It turns out Jacob was a true prophet. PRAY I bow before You King Jesus because you have conquered your enemies and you reign forever and all nations obey You. I too, joyfully obey you. Be praised Lion of Judah!