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from it, there is no more necessary, but that we demonstrate;
First, that by sceptre and law-writer, rule and government are intended.
Secondly, that the promised Shiloh is the Messiah. Thirdly, that all rule and national polity was utterly long since taken away from Judah, even in the destruction of the city and temple. The last being a matter of fact, must be evinced from history, and the state of things in the world, from those days, whereon there will be no rising against this testimony, by any thing but that pertinacious obstinacy, to which the Jews are judicially given up.
§6. The first thing proposed, that by sceptre and law-giver, rule and government are intended, is evident not only from the words themselves, which are plain and expressive, but from the context also. The dying patriarch Jacob, Gen. xlix, 3-8; foretelling, among other things, the erection of a rule and government amongst his posterity, it might have been expected, that of course it should have been fixed in Reuben, his first-born, according to the line of its descent from the foundation of the world; but he deprives him of it, ver. 4. Though he was in the course of nature, "the "excellency of his dignity, and the excellency of his "strength," ver. 3; yet he saith, "thou shalt not excel;" shalt not preserve that excellency in thy posterity, nor have the pre-eminence of rule. In like manner he passeth by the next in order, Simeon and Levi, taking from them all expectation ofthat privilege. But coming to Judah, there he fixeth the seat of rule, ver. 8, "Ju"dah thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise,” alluding to his name; thou shalt be exalted to that rule amongst them, from the right of which the others fell by their transgression. And this rule, saith he, shall
consist, as all prosperous dominions do, in two things: First, In the regular obedience of those who de jure are subject to it, "thy father's children shall bow down "before thee;" thou shalt have the authority over the rest of my posterity. Secondly, in the conquest of the enemies and adversaries of the dominion itself; "thine "hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; as a lion's "whelp thou art gone up from thy prey;" to which the words insisted on are subjoined; "The sceptre shall "not depart;” that is, the sceptre of rule amongst thy brethren, and prevalency against thine enemies; however it may be weakened or interrupted, shall not utterly depart, or be removed, until the Shilo come. Thus the context, the principal guide of a true interpretation, stands clear and perspicuous.
The Targumists* have, with one consent, given us the same account of the sense and import of these words; nor was it ever denied, by any of the Jews, until they found themselves necessitated to it by their corrupt interest; and those who do object, only cavil at words and syllables; and even this will do them no
The Hebrew word (y) which we render sceptre, is originally and properly a rod, or staff; all other significations of it are metaphorical. Among them the principal is that of sceptre, an ensign of rule and government. Nor is it absolutely used in any other sense; but in that very frequently, Psal. xlv, 6; "A sceptre "() of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." Numb. xxiv, 17; "A sceptre shall arise out of Israel;" that is, a prince or a ruler; Targum, "Christ shall arise
*Thus Onkelos: “The ruler (he that bath dominion) shall not "be taken from the house of Judah." And thus Jonathan: "Kings and rulers shall not cease from the house of Judah.” With which the Jerusalem Targum agrees.
"out of Israel." And this sense of the words is made more evident by its conjunction with the word (pp) law-giver; he that prescribes, and writes law with authority, See Psal. cxiii, 8; Isa. xxxiii, 22. These two words, then, in conjunction, absolutely denote rule and dominion.*
§7. Our second inquiry is, concerning the subject of the promise under consideration, which is "the Shilo," whereby we say the promised seed is intended. Most learned men look upon it as derived from the verb ( to be quiet, safe, happy, prosperous;† whence also is Psal. cxxii, peace, safety, prosperity, and abundance. But the weight of our argument lies not in the precise etymology and signification of the word; what we insist on, is, that it is the Messiah who is intended in that expression. For,
1. This is manifest from the context and words themselves. The promise of the Messiah was the foundation of that nation and people; the reason of the call of Abraham, and of the erection of a kingdom and a state in his posterity. This promise concerning him, and covenant founded in him, was always the chief matter of the patriarchal benedictions, when they blessed their children and posterity. Now, un
*The cavils of a few moderns, as Manasseh, Ben Israel, &c. deserve not a refutation, being contrary to all sound principles of criticism, and the authority of their own ancient Rabbins, and to historical facts.
To this etymology of the word agree Galatinus, Fagius, Melancthon, Pagninus, Drusius, Schindler, Buxtorfius, Amama; and generally all the most learned in the Hebrew tongue. He that would be farther satisfied about the import of the word may consult Revmandus, Poichetus, and Galatinus, in their discourses against the Jews on the subject; Kimchi, Pagninus, Mercer, Schindic, Philip ab Aquino, and Buxtorf, in their Lexicons; Munster, Fagius, Drusius, and Grotius, in their Annotations on the text; Helvicus, Rivetus, Episcopius, Boetius, and Hoornbeckius, in their Dissertations on it.
less we grant him to be intended in this expression,! there is no mention of him at all in this prophetical eulogy of Jacob. Besides, his posterity being now to be distributed into twelve distinct tribes, and cach of them having his peculiar blessing appropriated to him, wherein it is certain and confessed by all the Jews, that this privilege of bringing forth the Messiah was henceforth restricted to Judah, it must be done in this place, or there is no footstep of it in the scripture. And it is very strange, that Jacob, reckoning up the privileges and advantages of Judah above his brethren, should omit the chief of them, from whence all the rest did flow. And the very tenor of the words manifests this intention; fixing on that which was the fountain and end of all blessing in the promised seed, he passeth over his elder children, and determines on Judah, with the continuance of rule to the coming of it.
2. That which in the text is affirmed, concerning this Shiloh, makes it yet more evident who it was that is intended; “And to him ( np) the gathering of the people;" (Sept. рoodoxεic εbvwv, Vulg.expectatio gentium) “the expectation of the nations.” Onkelos; "And him shall the people obey," or to him they shall hearken. Ben-Uzziel; "Because of him the people "shall faint;” that is, cease their opposition, and submit to him. Targ. Jerusal. "And to him shall all the "kingdoms of the earth be subject." All to the same purpose. The noun (p) in construction (from p)
is from the verb (p) to hear, attend, obey. It is but once more used in the scripture, Prov. xxx, 17; where it is rendered doctrine, or teaching given out with authority, and, therefore, to be obeyed. So that primarily it may seem to denote obedience to doctrines. That which in all these interpretations is aimed at, and
in which they all agree, is, that the Gentiles, (people, heathen) should be called and gathered unto the Shilo; should hear his doctrine, and be made subject to him. Now, as this was eminently contained in the great fundamental promise, concerning the Messiah, made to Abraham, namely, that "in him all the nations of "the earth should be blessed;" so, there is not any description of him, in the following prophets, more eminent than this; that unto him "the gathering of the "people should be," which, in many places, is made the characteristic note of his person and kingdom. Now, he to whom the Gentiles shall seek, whose doctrine they shall learn, whose law they shall obey, to whom they shall be subject, in whom they shall be blessed, and to whom they shall be gathered, for all these ends and purposes, is the true and only Messiah, and this is the Shilo here mentioned.
SS. It remaineth, thirdly, that we should also evidence, that all rule and polity is long since taken away from Judah, and that for many generations there hath been no such thing as a tribe of Judah, in any national or political condition or constitution in the world. And had we not here to do with men obstinate to the last degree, there would need very few words in this matter. But they must have that proved to them, which all the world sees and knows, and takes care to make good, and which themselves, as occasion serves, confess and bewail. Is it not known to all the world. that for these sixteen hundred years last past, they have been scattered over the face of the earth, leading a precarious life, under the powers of princes, and of commonwealths, as their several lots in their dispersion have fallen. (Sine Deo, sine homine rege) cast out of God's especial care, they wander up and down without law, government, or authority. And,