This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in His own likeness.
1. The earthly basis of the blessing in the tribe itself.
2. The nearest fulfillments of it in the temporal history.
3. The symbolical import pointing to a remoter fulfillment.
We may compare the many dying scenes of the Bible with this; as the last words of Isaac, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Simeon, Stephen, Paul, Peter, and the apocalyptic visions of John. Compare especially the song of Moses, and the prophecy of Balaam. It seems possible that the beautiful exclamation, ver. 18, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord," was intended to form a kind of middle point, separating the groups of blessings into one of seven, and another of five. The first group has a Messianic character, the second a wider, cosmopolitan. In the first, Judah, the royal tribe, represents the theocracy. In the second, Joseph, the link of connection between Israel and Egypt, represents the kingdom of Christ becoming the universal kingdom, from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. The whole is a typical representation of "Israel" in the higher sense.
1. It comes out of sinful human nature.
2. It is developed by the grace of God in human history.
3. It stands upon the Divine order of the twelve tribes, the revealed truth, and the Divinely sanctioned religions life and institutions.
4. The essential dement in the history, is the Messiah coming out o/Judah, the shepherd of Israel, the stone of help out of Joseph, the Nazarite, the tried man, the blessed one.
5. The kingdom of Christ is the universal blessedness of the world. When Jacob has handed on his blessing to his heirs, he gathers up his feet into the bed, yields up the ghost, and is gathered to his people. When the carnal Israel is done with, the spiritual Israel remains. When the promises of God shall be fulfilled, then there shall be no more concern with the earthly pilgrimage. "The blessings prevail unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills." - R.
Micah 5:2-8). "He couched; he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion; who shall stir him up?" (Numbers 24:9). In all these passages we see the Lion of the tribe of Judah going forth at the head, and as the Leader of His people Israel. And what is the meaning of the lion seizing its prey and then ascending to its lair in the mountains? What but that same Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Son of God from heaven, seizing its prey and conquering it, when He laid down His life on the cross. There He met every foe, and gained His great victory over the devil, over sin and death and the grave. There He seized the prey, and from that great fight and victory "He went up" — up to His Father's throne as man's great Representative. And so we have Him brought before us (Revelation 5:5, 6) in the double character as the Lamb of God, the Sin-bearer of the human race, and in the royal dignity of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Yes, our Jesus went up from the prey, and as He went up, ten thousand times ten thousands of angels uttered their voices, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory" (Psalm 24:7, 8, 10). But there is another figure in the picture drawn by Jacob. The figure of a lion is followed by that of a lioness, peculiarly fierce in defending its young. Have we not here the Lion of the tribe of Judah as the Avenger of His people, coming forth to execute judgment upon the nations? At present we see this Lion " stooping down," "couching," waiting for that moment when He shall come forth to seize upon the prey. "From the prey" He has indeed "gone up"; but He is to return again as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to "take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Romans 11:26; John 14:2, 3; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-15; Matthew 23:39; Amos 3:11; Revelation 1:7; Hebrews 9:28; Isaiah 11:10, 11; Philippians 3:20, 21; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; Zechariah 14:4, 5). But to pass on to the remaining portion of the text: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh come, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." A sceptre is the symbol of regal command, and, in its earliest form, it was a long staff which the king held in his hand when speaking in public assemblies; when he sat upon his throne he rested it " between his feet" inclining towards himself. The idea is that Judah was to have the rule, the chieftainship, till Shiloh came. We must also bear in mind that the coming of Shiloh was not to terminate the rule of Judah. It would then only attain to full dominion in the Person of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Judah was to bear the sceptre with victorious lion-courage until, in the future Shiloh, the obedience of the nations came to Him, and through Him eventually widening into the peaceful government of the world. The term " Shiloh" is strikingly confirmatory of this view in relation to Christ and His work. Critically it means "rest," "peace," "quietness." So Christ is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). "In His time," it is said, "there shall be abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth" (Psalm 72:7). Again, "This Man shall be our peace" (Micah 5:5). Of Christ, it is said, "peace on earth" was sung by angels at His birth. His own words were, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you": "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest": and again, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: and ye shall find rest unto your souls": again, "These things have I spoken unto you that in Me ye might have peace." Peace, rest, and quietness, these are the meaning of "Shiloh," and they are all fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. But let us mark another expression of Jacob's with reference to this Shiloh: "unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." Two meanings are wrapped up in these words. First, Shiloh is the Gatherer; and secondly, He gathers to Himself. Mark how our blessed Lord confirms this Himself: "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." This the Lord Jesus is doing now in grace; but the full accomplishment has not yet taken place. The time is drawing near when "all kings shall bow down before Him, all nations shall serve Him." "As I live, saith the Lord, to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess." And the time is at hand. We can even now hear the sound of His chariot wheels in the distance. The Church's journey is nearly done. All things tell us that the morning is at hand, and with that morning the joyous greeting and the eternal gladness, the sun that shall no more go down, and the hallelujahs of a multitude that no man can number meeting in the house of their Father to go no more out. Blessed morning, long expected! Hasten thy dawning upon our troubled world; Yea, "come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" But to revert once more to Jacob's blessing on Judah. Observe the superabundance of Judah's blessings, and their deep spiritual import: "binding his foal unto the vine; and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes." "His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." Judah is here depicted as having attained, even before the coming of Shiloh, to a rest acquired by victory over surrounding foes, and enjoying in peaceful repose the abundance of his inheritance. But such a view is far from exhausting the words here brought before us. Indeed, in no full sense were they ever realized in the tribe of Judah. It is to the many and great spiritual blessings of the Lion of the tribe of Judah these words refer. We read of "the love of Christ that passeth knowledge"; of "joy unspeakable and full of glory"; that if all the things about Jesus were to be written "the world itself could not contain the books that should be written;" that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man to conceive, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him." And let us notice, every one of these blessings are directly connected with Christ Himself. The word "His," which runs through these verses, shows us this. "His eyes red"; "His teeth white"; "His garments washed in wine"; "His clothes in the blood of grapes." Such expressions remind us of the Song of Solomon, in which the Beloved is described in similar language. They all show us the preciousness of the Person of the Lord Jesus; just as the beloved apostle loved to dwell upon it in his description in Revelation 1:13-16.
I. JUDAH'S PRAISE.
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise.I. THAT HE SHOULD WIN THE PRAISE OF HIS BRETHREN.
II. THAT HE SHOULD BE THE TYPE OF THE VICTORIOUS HERO.
1. A growing power.
2. A. righteous power.
3. A power to be dreaded.
III. THAT HE SHOULD BE THE TYPE OF THE MESSIAH.
1. In his sovereignty. For —
(1) (2) (3) 2. In his prosperity. (T. H. Leale.)
(2) (3) 2. In his prosperity. (T. H. Leale.)
(3) 2. In his prosperity. (T. H. Leale.)
2. In his prosperity.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. He is first in intercession.
2. He is first in wisdom.
3. He takes precedence in offering (see Numbers 7:12).
II. JUDAH'S TRIUMPHS ABROAD. "Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies." Illustrate by life of David — He passed through severe conflicts (read 1 Samuel 17:34-36). He gained great victories (2 Chronicles 13:14). He founded a peaceful empire. He utterly crushed the forces of his foes, and broke the neck of all opposition. So has our Lord done by His life, death, resurrection, reigning power, and second coming.
III. JUDAH'S HONOURS AT HOME. "Thy father's children shall bow down before thee."
1. He became the head of the family.
2. He was clothed with lion-like power. "He couched as a lion, and as an old lion" (see ver. 9). "The lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed" (Revelation 5:5).
3. He is the centre of our assembling. "To him shall the gathering of the people be" (ver. 10).
4. His glory is His meekness. "Binding his foal," &c. (ver. 11). "Thy King cometh, meek and sitting upon a colt the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5).
5. The wine hath at His first and second advent makes Him lovely in our eyes (vers. 11, 12); also "I have trodden the wine-press alone" (Isaiah 63:1-3).
6. He is king to us for ever. Hallelujah (see Hosea 11:12). "Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God." Are we among the foes against whom He fights as a lion? Let us beware how we rouse Him up (ver. 9). Are we among His friends for whom He fights? Let us praise Him with all our hearts, and now bow down before Him. Are we not His Father's children? Do we hunger and thirst after heavenly food? See in the 12th verse how abundant are wine and milk with Him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(F. Whitfield, M. A.)
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