Until Shiloh Comes and to Him is Obedience
Shiloh is a mysterious figure in the Scripture. Little is known who he is, since he is mentioned only once in Gen 49:10, when the patriarch Ya’akov (Jacob) gave his prophetic visions of the twelves tribes.
It is evident in the vision concerning Yehudah (Judah) that the coming of Shiloh is not to be regarded as terminating the rule of this tribe, but that the figure of Shiloh is carried out still further beyond the literal terms of the prophecy, as it tells “until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples”.
The King Messiah (Anointed King) is destined to arise out of Israel, restore the kingdom of David, and the Torah observance to the fullest extent.
Some are awaiting Him to come; others to return, but we should not be surprised if we all are awaiting the same person — Shiloh.
The Promised Prophet like Mosheh
Hundreds of years after the Patriarch Ya’akov, our teacher Mosheh (Moses) gave the twelve tribes the not less prophetic promise for another person that would arise from Yehudah — the prophet like him.
Yehovah your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brothers. Listen to Him, according to all you asked of Yehovah your Elohim in Horev in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of Yehovah my Elohim, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ (Deu 18:15-16)
The Rabbis interpret it that this promise neither relates to one particular prophet, i.e. the prophet, nor to the Messiah, but that Mosheh bade Israel to expect a prophet.
The proof-text they found in what follows with reference to the false prophets, thus they presuppose the rise of prophets, and that it is not the Messiah exclusively, who is promised here.
The argument is that the text explicitly says “a prophet”, as referring to any prophet, not “the prophet”, as referring to a specific prophet.
And the words “from your midst, from your brothers” imply that there would be no necessity for the Jews to turn to heathen soothsayers or prophets, but that the Lord would provide men within Israel who would make known His words. According to the Rabbis, this promise of YHVH by no means refers to a specific prophet that Moses is speaking of, but that at any time when the people needed a mediator with Him, He would send a prophet.
The promised prophet was to resemble Mosheh in the respect of acting as mediator between YHVH and the people by making known His words and will. Consequently the meaning of “like me” was not that the future prophet would resemble Mosheh in all respect, because if the future prophet be the precise means of communication of YHVH, i.e. speaking with him “mouth to mouth and face to face”, that would make him a copy of Mosheh, but on the contrary, the words which follow in verse 18, “I will put My words in his mouth” suggest that that prophet would relate the words of YHVH to the people, as if YHVH had spoken them.
In other words, the promised prophet would be His messenger to the people, since a messenger is allowed to speak only the words he is told to speak.
For the Rabbis to say that the prophet Mosheh is speaking of here, is not the Messiah but any prophet, is to set limitations of the word “prophet”.
And since the expectation of the Seed of the woman and Ya’akov’s prophecy concerning Shiloh, were very well known to Mosheh, we can be more than certain that the promise Mosheh made to Israel referred to not any prophet but a specific prophet, and more particularly to the Seed of the woman in Gen 3:15.
And I put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel. (Gen 3:15)
Secondly, the comparison between the words “like me” when Mosheh spoke to the people and “like you” which YHVH spoke to him concerning the will of the people to have a mediator, affirms that the future prophet would be as perfectly equal to his calling as Mosheh was to his. Yet, he would have something that would distinguish him from Mosheh, namely he would speak the words YHVH would put in his mouth.
Now, we may ask of the difference between the expressions “I spoke with him mouth to mouth and face to face” and “I will put My words in his mouth”, because they seem interchangeable.
The expression “I spoke with him mouth to mouth and face to face” suggests that YHVH spoke to Mosheh and then Mosheh related to the people everything he heard from Him. The role of the mediator also suggests that Mosheh related the words of the people to YHVH. We should note that after the Mount Sinai Revelation when the people were terrified by YHVH’s presence, He never again spoke directly to the people; Mosheh took the role of the mediator between YHVH and Israel.
On the other hand, the expression “I will put My words in his mouth” referring to the promised prophet suggests that he is the direct speaker to the people and whatever words YHVH has put in his mouth, the prophet speaks. Or, we may say that he is a mediator of the highest level and carries his mediation in the manner and power higher of that of Mosheh. So, the role of this prophet is to speak with the authority Mosheh did not have.
In other words, YHVH has given the prophet the authority to be His direct representative to act and speak, as YHVH would if He had to speak again directly to the people.
With that being said, the point we made was that the omitting of the article “the” in verse 15 proves or disproves nothing, because the overall context of Deuteronomy 18, which we discussed above, speaks of none other than the coming of the promised Seed of the woman is the same promised prophet Mosheh told us to await.
Who is Shiloh?
The scepter shall not turn aside from Yehudah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples. (Gen 49:10)
The Hebrew word shiloh means tranquility, in the sense of rest, or place of rest. But with this meaning shiloh has no reference as a noun in the Scripture, since it appears only here in the prophecy of Ya’akov. Therefore, we may say that we do not have sufficient information to render it as such, as there is also uncertainty with the grammatical interpretation of the word.
On the other hand, the Hebrew word shiloh is related to the word shalom, which means “peace” but more literally, “completeness” and “wellbeing”. For the complete meaning of shalom, the reader may refer to the article “The Blessing of Psalm 122:6 and the Jerusalem Covenant“.
For this reason, renderings of shiloh like “till rest comes”, as some commentators suggest, is grammatically impossible. And since this is the only place where shiloh appears. it is hard to derive its true meaning, but judging by the context of the prophecy, it appears to be a proper name.
An alternative spelling of shiloh is shilo and with this spelling it refers to a city belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, where the tabernacle once stood under Yehoshua (Joshua). Therefore, it could be maintained that because Shiloh is used only in Gen 49:10 and Shilo was the name of a city, Shiloh could have no other signification but a proper name.
We derive this conclusion from the fact that there were in the Scripture other names of cities that were also names of persons. So, it is reasonable to suggest that Shiloh might also be a personal name of a man, or a bearer of rest or tranquility.
We may regard Shiloh, therefore, as a name or title of the one who is related to the tribe of Yehudah, although the text does not explicitly say that Shiloh will come out from the tribe of Yehudah, but there is a perfect agreement as to the fact that the patriarch is here proclaiming the coming of the one who will perfect in his appearance this tribe and Israel as a whole.
There is another place where we see Shiloh, although not explicitly named.
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall arise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of tumult. (Num 24:17)
The prophecy commences with a picture from “the end of the days”, which rises up as a vision before the eyes of the seer Bi’lam sees but not now.
And indeed, there could be no doubt that the rising star represents the appearance of a glorious king, as the parallel “a scepter shall arise out of Israel” indicates it. That the prophetic vision in Numbers is the same as the Ya’akov’s blessing in Genesis is more than obvious as the scepter is a symbol of dominion and kingship used here as the figurative representation the future king of Israel — the king who at his appearance will defeat all the enemies of Israel.
So, who is Shiloh?
The School of Rabbi Shila said referring to the Messiah: “His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh comes”.
Fourteenth century scholar Rabbi Ya’akov ben Asher, known as the Baal Haturim, reveals a hidden connection between the words Shiloh and Mashiach.
According to gematria, in which every Hebrew letter corresponds to a number, letter aleph is 1, bet is 2, etc., if the numerical values of words and phrases match, they are connected or have the same weight.
In the case of Shiloh, the numerical value of the phrase yavo shiloh, “Shiloh comes”, is 358 which is exactly the same value as the word Mashiach or Messiah. Thus, the patriarch blessed his son not only with royal scepter, but also with the coming of the Messiah through his lineage.
Yeshua, Shiloh and the Bible Codes
And if according to the gematria Shiloh and the Messiah are connected, are there any proofs in the Scripture to support it?
As a matter of fact, there are and they come in the most convincing way — the Bible code — in perhaps the most controversial prophecy of Isaiah 53.
There are no less than five Bible codes in Isaiah 53 and they are found in the short passage of verses 7 through 12. What is even more astonishing is that they overlap in such unbelievable way which eliminates even the slightest doubt as to the identity of Shiloh.
Let us dive into the hidden depths of the Bible codes.
Note: The reader is encourage to verify the validity of the Bible codes, as the good Bereans did when they heard the Apostle Shaul’s testimony that the Messiah had come. The Bible codes are taken from Yacov Rambsel’s book “His Name is Jesus”, Frontier Research Publications, Inc., Toronto Ontario, page 25.
Code 1: “Yeshua is my strong name”
Starting with letter mem in the 9th word in verse 11 and counting every 20th letter from left to right spells Ma’al Yeshua Shmi Ohz (in red). Or, in the context of Isa 53:9-12, the prophecy states: (Exceedingly high) Yeshua is my strong name.
Note: the following is the comment by Dr. James Scott Trimm from The Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim, THE HEBRAIC-ROOTS VERSION SCRIPTURES, Revised Edition, pg. 584. We read, “In the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text this verse has a grammatical problem. The Hebrew of the Masoretic Text reads literally:
From the travail מעמל of his soul נפשׁו he shall see יראה. He shall be satisfied ישׂבע in his understanding. My Righteous servant shall justify many and their iniquities he shall bear.
There is very clearly a missing word in the Hebrew resulting in two verbs in a row “shall see” and “shall be satisfied”. What shall he see? Now, the missing words “light and” does appear in the Septuagint and has also now turned up in two Hebrew copies of Isaiah found among the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). The DSS reads וישבע אור יראה נפשוה מעמל (mey’amal naphshoh yireh or vayis’ba). In the Masoretic text this phrase is written as ישבע יראה נפשו מעמל (mey’amal naphsho yireh yis’ba). One can see that the Dead Sea Scroll includes some information that is not in the Masoretic text. The Masoretic text translates to “from the labor of his soul, he will see, he will be satisfied”. The Dead Sea Scroll text translates to “from the labor of his soul, he will see light and he will be satisfied”. Or the passage should read (as it does in the HRV): From the travail/labor of his soul he shall see light and shall be satisfied in his understanding. My Righteous servant shall justify many and their iniquities he bears. (Is. 53:11 HRV translation)”
To add to the comments by Dr. James Trimm, we should be curious to see how the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation has rendered verse 11 of Isaiah 53. It reads thus,
Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear. (Isa 53:11 JPS)
Contrary to the plain Hebrew grammar, JPS translates He shall be satisfied ישׂבע as “to the full”. One does not have to have much knowledge of Hebrew to see that this rendering neither satisfies any grammatical rules, nor does it make any sense in the sentence. Therefore, it comes to tell us that the JPS translators were fully aware of the contextual discrepancy in the Masoretic text, but to make it work they have gone against the plain Hebrew.
At any rate, whether the Masoretic script or DSS is the correct one, we should admit that the DSS script makes more sense than the Masoretic one and the omitting of the word or “light” can be explained as a possible scribal error.
So, if Septuagint and DSS are correct, then the Bible Code would take a slightly different interpretation and would read Yeshua Shmi Ohz, “Yeshua is my strong name”. Either way the message in the Bible code is clear: the sufferer in Isaiah 53 has the name Yeshua. Read more about the Messiah’s Name in the article “His Name is Yehoshua“.
Code 2: “Yochanan”
Starting with yud in the 11th word in verse 10 (in the name Yeshua in the previous code) and counting every 28th letter from left to right spells Yochanan (in green): Yochanan the forerunner of the Messiah and Yeshua’s cousin.
Code 3: “Shiloh”
Starting with shin in the 11th word in verse 9 and counting every 54th letter from right to left spells Shiloh (in blue).
Code 4: “Shaddai”
Starting with shin in the 4th word in verse 11 and counting every 19th letter from left to right spells Shaddai (in light blue): Almighty.
Code 5 “Miriam”
And starting with mem the 3d letter in the 7th word in verse 10 and counting every 6th letter from right to left spells Miriam (in magenta): Yeshua’s mother.
נגשׂ והוא נענה ולא יפתח־פיו כשׂה לטבח יובל וכרחל לפני גזזיה נאלמה ולא יפתח פיו׃
מעצר וממשׁפט לקח ואת־דורו מי ישׂוחח כי נגזר מארץ חיים מפשׁע עמי נגע למו׃
ויתן את־רשׁעים קברו ואת־עשׁיר במתיו על לא־חמס עשׂה ולא מרמה בפיו׃
ויהוה חפץ דכאו החלי אם־תשׂים אשׁם נפשׁו יראה זרע יאריך ימים וחפץ יהוה בידו יצלח׃
מעמל נפשׁו יראה ישׂבע בדעתו יצדיק צדיק עבדי לרבים ועונתם הוא יסבל׃
לכן אחלק־לו ברבים ואת־עצומים יחלק שׁלל תחת אשׁר הערה למות נפשׁו ואת־פשׁעים נמנה והוא חטא־רבים נשׂא ולפשׁעים יפגיע׃
Let us pause for a minute and think of the mathematical probability of this astonishing combinations of five codes spelling “Excitingly High Yeshua is My strong Name Shiloh Almighty” and also Yeshua’s mother Miriam and His cousin Yochanan. The probability that this combination would occur by random chance in Isaiah 53, the Messianic prophecy, is incomprehensible!
The Messianic expectations in Judaism
In conclusion, for at least three millennia, the Messianic expectation has been an integral part to Judaism, as we even see it in the first century Judea when Yeshua was asked on different occasions whether He was the prophet Mosheh promised to come.
Prior to the anti-Christianity course in Judaism, the Messiah was understood to have pre-existed with YHVH and to have a transcendent nature. This we discussed in the article “The Transcendent Son Who has been Hidden in Elohim“.
However, this Messianic understanding of Isaiah 53 was changed by the Bible commentator Rashi (Shlomo Yitzchaki, 1040 – 1105) who substituted the Messiah with Israel, as this we discussed in the articles Who is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53? Part I and Part II.
Certainly, the Scripture not only foretells the coming of the Messiah, but also His identity. And if we are equipped with the information that comes from the depth of the Word of YHVH to have wisdom, knowledge and understanding, it requires every Torah Observant Jew and non-Jew to accept the truth and follow the Messiah, as the Rabbis of blessed memory did. For more insight on this, read the article “Revealing the Name of Yeshua secretly guarded by the Rabbis“.
Thus, the identifying the Messiah should be paramount to anyone who wants to be called a child of YHVH. Midrash Rabbah (Bamidbar Rabbah 11:2) tells, “Like Mosheh, the Messiah will be revealed, then hidden, then revealed again”.
Likewise, we say, “Like Yoseph, the Messiah was revealed, rejected, then hidden, then revealed again”.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.