Genesis (Part 218)

Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.

Genesis 49:8-12

“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.
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 scepter 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.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
    and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk.


Jacob tells us about the future of Judah’s tribe.

Judah = יְהוּדָה Yᵉhûwdâh, yeh-hoo-daw’; from H3034; celebrated; Jehudah (or Judah), the name of five Israelites; also of the tribe descended from the first, and of its territory:—Judah.

You could read Verse 8 as something like “Judah, your brothers shall Judah you.” His name refers to praise.

From Ellicott’s Bible Commetnary:

(8) Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise.—Judah had received his name, Praise, because at his birth Leah had praised Jehovah (Genesis 29:35). It is now to have another justification in the noble history of his race, which, taking the foremost place by reason of the disqualification of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, finally was destined to win freedom and empire for Israel. We have seen that “the excellency of power” ought to have belonged to Reuben; it now falls to Judah’s lot, is to be attained by exploits that shall deserve the praise of all the tribes, and is to be exercised over not only the descendants of Leah, but all Jacob’s children.

Judah is getting the birthright that his older brothers lost on account of their evil actions. Continuing into verse 9:

(9) Judah is a lion’s whelp.—We have seen that the sons of Jacob had each his signet, and that Judah’s was so large as to be worn by him attached to a cord fastened round his neck (Genesis 38:18). Probably his emblem was a lion; that of Zebulun a ship; that of Issachar an ass; that of Dan an adder, and so on. Using then his self-chosen emblem, Jacob compares him, first, to a “lion’s whelp,” full of activity and enterprise, and which, after feasting upon its prey, goes up to its mountain lair, calm and fearless in the consciousness of its strength. But as Judah is a young lion in his activity and fearlessness, so is he “a lion” full-grown and majestic in his repose, which Jacob’s words literally describe. For the “stooping down” is the bending of the limbs together before the lion couches, that is, lies down in his den.

As an old lion.—Heb., as a lioness, the female being said to be more fierce than the male, and to resent more angrily any disturbance of its rest.

The lion is associated with Judah. The comment states that the animal was likely the signet of Judah prior to this moment, citing Genesis 38, and the association is stronger from this moment forward. Jacob uses Judah’s signet to help explain Judah’s future strength and prosperity.

Verse ten explains Judah’s future tribal rank / rulership more generally, including the historical treatment of the verse Messianic – both by Jews and Christians alike.

(10) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah.—Heb., a sceptre. The staff, adorned with carvings, and handed down from father to son, soon became the emblem of authority (see Note on Genesis 38:18). It probably indicates here tribal rather than royal rank, and means that Judah would continue, until the time indicated, to be a self-governed and legally-constituted tribe.

Nor a lawgiver from between his feet.—Most modern critics translate ruler’s staff, but “lawgiver” has the support of all the ancient versions, the Targums paraphrasing it by scribe, and the Syriac in a similar way by expounderi.e., of the law. Ruler’s, staffs has the parallelism in its favour, but the ancient versions must not be lightly disregarded, and, besides, everywhere else the word means law-giver (see Deuteronomy 33:21Judges 5:14Isaiah 33:22). From between his feet” means, “from among his descendants.” The Targum of Onkelos renders, “from his children’s children.”

Until Shiloh come.—Many modern critics translate, “until he come to Shiloh,” but this is to be rejected, first, as being contrary to all the ancient versions; and, secondly, as turning sense into nonsense. The town of Shiloh was in the tribe of Ephraim, and we know of no way in which Judah ever went thither. The ark was for a time at Shiloh, but the place lost all importance and sank into utter obscurity after its destruction by the Philistines, long before Judah took the leading part in the commonwealth of Israel.

Shiloh.—There are several interpretations of this word, depending upon different ways of spelling it. First, Jerome, in the Vulg., translates it, “He who shall be sent.” He read, therefore, Shalu’ch. which differs from the reading in the Hebrew text by omitting the yod, and putting the guttural π for (Heb., π) as the final letter. We have, secondly, Shiloh, the reading of the present Hebrew text. This would mean, Peaceful, or Peace-maker, and agrees with the title given to the Messiah by Isaiah (Genesis 9:6). But, thirdly, all the versions excepting the Vulg. read Sheloh. Thus, the LXX. has, “He for whom it is laid up” (or, according to other MSS., “the things laid up for him.”). With the former reading, Aquila and Symmachus agree; with the latter, Theodotion, Epiphanius, and others, showing that Sheloh was the reading in the centuries immediately after the Nativity of our Lord. The Samaritan transcript of the Hebrew text into Samaritan letters reads Sheloh, and the translation into Aramaic treats the word as a proper name, and renders, “Until Sheloh come.” Onkelos boldly paraphrases, “Until Messiah come, whose is the kingdom;” and, finally, the Syriac has, “Until he come, whose it is.” There is thus overwhelming evidence in favour of the reading Sheloh, and to this we must add that Sheloh is the reading even of several Hebrew MSS. We may, in fact, sum up the evidence by saying that the reading Shiloh, even in the Hebrew text, has only modern authority in its favour, and that all ancient authorities are in favour of Sheloh; for even Jerome omits the yod, though he changes the aspirate at the end into a guttural.

Sheloh literally means, Whose it is, and is an Aramaic form, such as that in Genesis 6:3, where we have observed that these Aramaisms are a proof either of extreme antiquity, or of a very late date. We find another in Judges 5:7, in the song of Deborah, confessedly a very ancient composition; and the form is quite in its place here in the elevated phraseology of this blessing, and in the mouth of Jacob, who had lived so long in a land where an Aramaic dialect was spoken.

Finally, Ezekiel, Ezekiel 21:27 (Heb., 32), quotes Jacob’s words, using however the Hebrew idiom, “Until he come, whose is the right.” And St. Paul (Galatians 3:19) refers to it in the words, “Until the seed come to whom it is promised,” where the latter words seem to be a free rendering of the phrase in the LXX., “for whom it is laid up.”

The passage has always been regarded as Messianic, not merely by Christians, but by the Jews, all whose ancient writers, including the Talmud, explain the name Shiloh, or Sheloh, of the Messiah. But the Targum of Onkelos would of itself be a sufficient proof, as we have there not the opinions or knowledge of one man, but the traditional explanation of the Pentateuch, handed down orally from the time of Ezra, and committed to writing probably in the first century of the Christian era. The objection has, indeed, been made in modern times that the patriarchs had no Messianic expectations. With those who believe in prophecy such an objection can have no weight; but independently of this, the promise made to Abraham, and solemnly confirmed to Jacob, that in his seed all the kindreds of the earth should be blessed, was pre-eminently Messianic: as was also the name Jehovah; for that name was the embodiment of the promise made to Eve, and beginning with her cry of hope that she had gotten the Coming One, had become by the time of Enoch the symbol of the expectation of mankind that God would appear on earth in human nature to save them.

Unto him shall the gathering of the people be.—The word used here is rare, and the translation “gathering” was a guess of Rashi. Really it means obedience, as is proved by the one other place where it occurs (Proverbs 30:17). For “people” the Heb. has peoples. Not Israel only, “the people,” but all nations are to obey Him “whose is the kingdom.” This is the rendering of Onkelos, “and him shall the peoples obey;” and of the Samaritan Version, “and at his hand shall the peoples be led.” The LXX., Syriac, and Vulg. agree in rendering, “and he shall be the expectation of the nations.”

The note above has a lot to say. This is one of the most discussed verses in the Bible. But we are not done with the blessing / prophecy. From verse 11:

(11) Binding his foal . . . —Having declared the spiritual prerogative of Judah, the patriarch now foretells that his land would be so rich in vineyards that the traveller would tie his ass to the vine, as the tree abundant everywhere.

Choice vine is, literally, the vine of Sorek, a kind much valued, as bearing a purple berry, small but luscious, and destitute of stones. The abundance of grapes is next hyperbolically described as so great that their juice would be used like water for the commonest purposes.

Blood of grapes especially refers to the juice of the red kinds, which were more valued in the East than white.

(12) His eyes shall be red with wine.—The word rendered red occurs only here, and is rendered in the Versions, bright, sparkling, and in the Vulg., beautiful. They also give the word rendered in our Version with a comparative force, which seems to be right: “His eyes shall be brighter than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.” The words do not refer to Judah’s person, but describe the prosperity of his descendants, whose temporal welfare will show itself in their bright and healthy countenances.

This verse is a little incomprehensible without a little assistance from the commentary. Judah will be exceedingly wealthy. The Pulpit Commentaries discuss this entire section in a single note, albeit in a long one:

Genesis 49:8-12

Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise—literally, Judah thou, will praise thee thy brethren, the word יְהוּדָה being a palpable play on יודוךָ (cf. Genesis 29:35). Leah praised Jehovah for his birth, and his brethren should extol him for his nobility of character, which even in his acts of sin could not be entirely obscured (Genesis 37:26Genesis 38:26), and certainly in his later days (Genesis 43:8Genesis 44:18-34) shone out with undiminished luster. Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies (i.e. putting his foes to flight, Judah should grasp them by the neck, a prediction remarkably accomplished in the victories of David and Solomon); thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Fulfilled in the elevation of the house of Judah to the throne, which owned as its subjects not simply Judah’s mother’s children, i.e. the tribes descended from Leah, but also his father’s, i.e. all the tribes of Israel Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched down as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? By a bold and striking figure Judah is compared to a young lion, ripening into its full strength and ferocity, roaming through the forests in search of prey, repairing to his mountain den (ἐκ βλάστοῦ ἀνέβης, LXX.) when his booty has been devoured, and there in quiet majesty, full of dignified repose, lying down or crouching in his lair, and calmly resisting all attempts to disturb his leonine serenity. The effect of the picture is also heightened by the alternative image of a lioness, which is particularly fierce in defending its cubs, and which no one would venture to assail when so employed. The use of such figures to describe a strong and invincible hero is by no means infrequent in Scripture (vide Psalms 7:3Psalms 57:5Isaiah 5:29Ezekiel 19:2-9). The scepter shall not depart from Judah,—literally, a scepter (i.e. an emblem of regal command, hence dominion or sovereignty; ἅρχων, LXX; Theodotion; ἐξουσίαSymmachus) shall not depart from Judah—nor a lawgiver from between his feet—literally, and a legislator (sc. shall not depart)from between his feet; מְחֹקֵק, the poel part of חָקַק, to cut, to cut into, hence to decree, to ordain, having the sense of one who decrees; hence leader, as in Jdg 5:1-31 :44, dux (Vulgate), ἠγούμενος (LXX.), or lawgiver, as m Deuteronomy 33:21 and Isaiah 33:22 (Calvin, Dathius, Ainsworth, Rosenmüller, Murphy, Wordsworth, ‘Speaker’s Commentary’). In view, however, of what appears the requirement of the parallelism, מְחֹקֵק is regarded as not the person, but the thing, that determines or rules, and hence as equivalent to the ruler’s staff, or marshal’s baton (Gesenius, Furst, Keil, Lange, Bleek, Tuch, Kalisch, and others), in support of which is claimed the phrase “from between his feet,” which is supposed to point to the Oriental custom, as depicted on the monuments, of monarchs, when sitting upon their thrones, resting their staves ,between their feet. But the words may likewise signify “from among his descendants,” “from among his children’s children” (Onkelos), ἐκ τῶν μηρῶν αὐτοῦ (LXX.). Until Shiloh come. This difficult clause has been very variously rendered. 1. Taking Shiloh as the name of a place, viz; Shiloh in Ephraim (Joshua 18:1Joshua 18:8Joshua 18:9Joshua 18:10Joshua 19:51Judges 18:311 Samuel 1:31 Samuel 1:91 Samuel 1:241 Samuel 2:14, &c.), the sense has been explained as meaning that the leadership of Judah over the other tribes of Israel should not cease until he came to Shiloh (Rabbi Lipmann, Teller, Eichhorn, Bleek, Furst, Tuch, Delitzsch).

But though וַיָּבאֹ שִׁלה, and they came to Shiloh, a similar phrase, is found in 1 Samuel 4:12, yet against this interpretation maybe urged

(1) the improbability of so obscure a locality, whose existence at the time is also problematical, being mentioned by Jacob, Zidon, the only other name occurring in the prophecy, having been, even before the days of Jacob, a city of renown (Genesis 10:19); and

(2) the inaccuracy of the historical statement which would thus be made, since the supremacy of Judah was in no way affected, and certainly not diminished, by the setting up of the tabernacle in Shiloh; to obviate which objection Kalisch proposes to read עַד כִּי as “even if,” or “even when,” and to understand the prediction as intimating that even though a new empire should be established at Shiloh, as was eventually done, Judah should not forfeit her royal name and prerogative—only this sense of עַד כִּי is not clearly recognized by the best grammarians (Gesenius, Furst), and is not successfully supported by the passages referred to (Genesis 28:15Psalms 110:1Psalms 112:8), in every one of which the received rendering “until” is distinctly preferable.

2. Regarding Shiloh as an abstract noun, from שָׁלָה to be safe, like גִּלה from גָּלָה, the import of the prophecy has been expressed as asserting that the scepter should not depart from Judah, either until he (Judah) should attain to rest (Hofmann, Kurtz), or until tranquility should come, i.e. until Judah’s enemies should be subdued (Gesenius), an interpretation which Rosenmüller properly characterises as “languidum et paine frigidum.” Hence—

3. Believing Shiloh to be the name of a person, the majority of commentators, both Jewish and Christian, and ancient as well as modern, agree that the Messiah is the person referred to, and understand Jacob as fore-announcing that the time of his appearance would not be till the staff of regal power had dropped from the hands of Judah; only, the widest possible diversity exists among those who discover a Messianic reference in the prediction as to the exact significance of the term Shiloh. Some render it his son, or progeny, or (great) descendant, from an imaginary root, שִׁל, which, after Chaldee and Arabic analogies, is supposed to mean “offspring” (Targum of Jonathan, Kimchi, Calvin, Ainsworth, and others); others, deriving it from שָׁלַח, to send, compare it with Siloam (John 9:7) and Shiloah (Isaiah 8:6), and interpret it as qui mittendus eat (Vulgate, Pererius, A Lapide, Grotius); a third class of expositors, connecting it with שָׁלָה, to be safe or at rest, view it us a nomen appellatum, signifying the Pacificator, the Rest-giver, the Tranquillizer, the Peace (Luther, Venema, Rosenmüller, Hengstenberg, Keil, Gerlach, Murphy, &c.); while a fourth resolve it into אֲשֶׁר לוֹ, and conjecture it to signify, he to whom it (sc. the scepter or the kingdom) belongs, or he whose right it is, as in Ezekiel 21:27 (LXX; ἕως ἐὰν ἔλθῃ τα ἀποκείμενα αὐτῷ; Aquila and Symmachus, ῷ ἀπόκειται; Onkelos, Syriac, Saadias, Targum of Jerusalem, et alii). It seems indisputable that the preponderance of authority is in favor of the last two interpretations, and if שִׁילֹה be the correct reading, instead of שִׁלֹה שֶׁלֹּה אֲשֶׁר לוֹ), as the majority of MSS. attest, it will be difficult to withhold from the former, “the Tranquillizer,” the palm of superiority. The translations of Dathius (quamdiu prolem habebit, ei genres obedient)who professes to follow Guleher, who understands the words as a prophecy of the perpetuity of Judah’s kingdom, fulfilled in David (2 Samuel 7:1-29.), and of Lange (“until he himself comes home as the Shiloh or Rest-bringer”), who also discerns in Judah a typical foreshadowing of the Messiah, may be mentioned as examples of ingenious, but scarcely convincing, exposition. And unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Not “καὶ αὐτὸς προσδοκία ἐθνῶν” (LXX.), ipse erit expectatio gentium (Vulgate), with which also agrees the Syriac, or “to him nations will flock” (Samaritan), σύστημα λαῶν (Aquila), but to him, i.e. Shiloh, will be not aggregatio populorum (Calvin), but the submission or willing obedience (a word occurring elsewhere only in Proverbs 30:17) of nations or peoples (Onkelos, Targum of Jonathan, Kimchi, Aben Ezra, Dathius, Rosenmuller, Keil, Kalisch, Gerlach, Murphy, Tayler Lewis, ‘Speaker’s Commentary’). Binding his foal unto the vine, i.e. not Shiloh, but Judah. The verb אֹסְרִי has the archaic י appended, as in Genesis 31:39Deuteronomy 33:16Zechariah 11:17and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine. The שׂרֵקַה (fem. of שׂרֵק) was a nobler kind of vine which grew in Syria, with small berries, roundish and of a dark color, with soft and hardly perceptible stones. בְּנִי is an archaic form of the construct stats which occurs only here. He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. The word סוּת is a ἅπαξ λεγόμενονand is either put by aphaeresis for כּסוּת which occurs in the Samaritan Version, or is derived from סָוָה, an uncertain root, signifying to cover (Gesenius, Kalisch). His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Otherwise rendered “redder than wine,” and “whiter than milk” (LXX; Vulgate, Targum of Jerusalem, et alii)as a description of Judah’s person, which scarcely seems so appropriate as the received translation (Calvin, Rosenmuller, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy, Lange, and others), which, completes the preceding picture of Judah’s prosperity. Not only would Judah’s soil be so fertile that its vines should be employed for trying asses and colts to their branches, but the grapes of those vines should be so plentiful and luscious as to make wine run like the water in which he washed his clothes, while the wine and milk should be so exhilarating and invigorating as to imp-art a sparkling brilliance to the eyes and a charming whiteness to the teeth. The aged prophet, it has been appropriately remarked, has here no thought of debauchery, but only paints before the mind’s eye a picture of the richest and most ornate enjoyment (Lange). Minime consentaneum esse videtur profusam intemperiem et projectionem in benedictione censeri (Calvin).

The note here discusses – in a lot of depth – the translation regarding “Shiloh” in verse 10. Notably the ESV does not mention the word Shiloh specifically, so I will provide some other English translations below.

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (KJV)

The scepter will 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. (NASB)

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his. (NIV)

There are a couple of interesting articles on these verses from

He Tethers His Donkey to the Vine” – Judah Exported Soreqa Wine by Dr. Tina M. Sherman [excerpt below]

Rashi (Rabbi Solomon b. Isaac; 1040–1105 C.E.) also interprets the lines as reflecting plenty, but the hyperbole he imagines is more muted, painting a particularly successful harvesting scene:

נתנבא על ארץ יהודה שתהא מושכת יין כמעיין. איש יהודה יאסר לגפן עייר אחד ויטעננו מגפן אחת ומשורק אחת בן אתון אחד.

He (Jacob) prophesied of the land of Judah that it would run with wine like a fountain: The people of Judah will bind one colt to a vine, and he will fully load it with the grapes of only one vine, and from the produce of only one branch (soreqa), he will load one jenny’s foal.[11]

In this reading, the animals will be tethered to the vine only while the grapes are being gathered. In an exaggerated image of how many grapes a single vine can produce, the passage declares that each vine will produce as many grapes as a donkey can carry. (A rough calculation of grape yields for an average vine, coupled with the weight that a typical donkey could bear, suggests that the vines in question would each yield 10–15 times the normal amount of grapes for a single vine.)[12]

While the text certainly includes some hyperbole, I would argue that it is more than just an exaggerated image of the harvest; it’s also a metaphor that draws on aspects of wine production well known to the Judahite audience.[13] The key is in the obscure term soreqa.


The Color of Judah’s Eyes by Dr. Aaron Demsky [excerpt below]

Rabbi Saadia Gaon (882-942) offers an alternative explanation, understanding the preposition mem as “more than” rather than the causal mem “because of,” “as a result of”:

אדמדם בעיניים יותר מיין ולבן שיניים יותר מחלב.

Redness in the eyes more than wine; whiteness in the teeth more than milk.[5]

R. Joseph Bekhor Shor suggests a similar explanation as an alternative possibility to the one he staked out first (red from wine):

אדום מראיתו יותר מן היין, ושיניו לבנות יותר מחלב. כלומר: אדם יפה, ובעל תואר, והגון למלכות, כדכתיב בדוד: אדמוני עם יפה עינים וטוב רואי.

His complexion is redder than wine and his teeth whiter than milk. Meaning, he is good looking with a good physique and fit to be a king, as was written about David (1Sam 16:12): “He was ruddy-cheeked, bright-eyed, and handsome.”

All of these commentators explain חַכְלִילִי as the color red as in red wine,[6] and the word is used similarly in Modern Hebrew.[7] This explanation is reinforced by the proceeding two verses mentioning “blood of grapes” and soreka,[8] one of the best types of vine whose clusters produce dark red wine.

Judah – as we know – does go on to see a descendant on the throne of Israel. Wiki provides the following summary:

The tribe of Judah, its conquests, and the centrality of its capital in Jerusalem for the worship of the god Yahweh figure prominently in the Deuteronomistic history, encompassing the books of Deuteronomy through II Kings, which most scholars agree was reduced to written form, although subject to exilic and post-exilic alterations and emendations, during the reign of the Judahite reformer Josiah from 641–609 BCE.[1]

According to the account in the Book of Joshua, following a partial conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes (the Jebusites still held Jerusalem),[2] Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. Judah’s divinely ordained portion is described in Joshua 15[3] as encompassing most of the southern portion of the Land of Israel, including the Negev, the Wilderness of Zin and Jerusalem. However, the consensus of modern scholars is that this conquest never occurred.[4][5][6] Other scholars point to extra-biblical references to Israel and Canaan as evidence for the potential historicity of the conquest.[7][8]

In the opening words of the Book of Judges, following the death of Joshua, the Israelites “asked the Lord” which tribe should be first to go to occupy its allotted territory, and the tribe of Judah was identified as the first tribe.[9] According to the narrative in the Book of Judges, the tribe of Judah invited the tribe of Simeon to fight with them in alliance to secure each of their allotted territories. As is the case with Joshua, most scholars do not believe that the book of Judges contains reliable history.[10][11][12]

The Book of Samuel describes God’s repudiation of a monarchic line arising from the northern Tribe of Benjamin due to the sinfulness of King Saul, which was then bestowed onto the tribe of Judah for all time in the person of King David. In Samuel’s account, after the death of Saul, all the tribes other than Judah remained loyal to the House of Saul, while Judah chose David as its king. However, after the death of Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son and successor to the throne of Israel, all the other Israelite tribes made David, who was then the king of Judah, king of a re-united Kingdom of Israel. The Book of Kings follows the expansion and unparalleled glory of the United Monarchy under King Solomon. A majority of scholars believe that the accounts concerning David and Solomon’s territory in the “united monarchy” are exaggerated, and a minority believe that the “united monarchy” never existed at all.[13][14][15] Disagreeing with the latter view, Old Testament scholar Walter Dietrich contends that the biblical stories of circa 10th-century BCE monarchs contain a significant historical kernel and are not simply late fictions.[16]

On the accession of RehoboamSolomon‘s son, in c. 930 BCE, the ten northern tribes under the leadership of Jeroboam from the Tribe of Ephraim split from the House of David to create the Northern Kingdom in Samaria. The Book of Kings is uncompromising in its low opinion of its larger and richer neighbor to the north, and understands its conquest by Assyria in 722 BCE as divine retribution for the Kingdom’s return to idolatry.[17]

The tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to the House of David. These tribes formed the Kingdom of Judah, which existed until Judah was conquered by Babylon in c. 586 BCE and the population deported.

When the Jews returned from Babylonian exile, residual tribal affiliations were abandoned, probably because of the impossibility of reestablishing previous tribal land holdings. However, the special religious roles decreed for the Levites and Kohanim were preserved, but Jerusalem became the sole place of worship and sacrifice among the returning exiles, northerners and southerners alike.

For Christians, Jesus famously claims descent from the Tribe of Judah in fulfillment with this section’s Messianic profile. For Jews, Judah still represents a line through which an eventual Messiah will arrive.

For more on the latter, I recommend the article HERE (with another excerpt below):

What is the belief in Moshiach?

One of the principles of Jewish faith enumerated by Maimonides is that one day there will arise a dynamic Jewish leader, a direct descendant of the Davidic dynasty, who will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and gather Jews from all over the world and bring them back to the Land of Israel.

All the nations of the world will recognize Moshiach to be a world leader, and will accept his dominion. In the messianic era there will be world peace, no more wars nor famine, and, in general, a high standard of living.

All mankind will worship one G‑d, and live a more spiritual and moral way of life. The Jewish nation will be preoccupied with learning Torah and fathoming its secrets.

The coming of Moshiach will complete G‑d’s purpose in creation: for man to make an abode for G‑d in the lower worlds—that is, to reveal the inherent spirituality in the material world.

Is this not a utopian dream?

No! Judaism fervently believes that, with the correct leadership, humankind can and will change. The leadership quality of Moshiach means that through his dynamic personality and example, coupled with manifest humility, he will inspire all people to strive for good. He will transform a seemingly utopian dream into a reality. He will be recognized as a man of G‑d, with greater leadership qualities than even Moses.

We will continue to look at the blessing of the remaining tribes in the next section.

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