Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Until Shiloh Come"

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].

For some reason the phrase, "'til Shiloh comes," had bounced around my head and I figured I may as well look it up. I knew it was an Old Testament quote, a bit of prophecy, but I couldn't remember where it appeared. So I hopped online and did the obligatory Google search. Unexpectedly, and I don't know why it was a surprise to me, the majority of hits for "Shiloh" referred to the Battle of Shiloh from the American Civil War. A particulary bloody encounter, and a significant battle, but not what I was looking for. (One of the bloodiest battles in American history found the Union forces nearly defeated at the end of the first day of fighting. It stormed that night, and General Sherman went looking for General U.S.Grant. He found him sheltering under a tree, smoking one of his cigars. Sherman remarked, "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" Grant looked up. "Yes," he replied, followed by a puff. "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though." But that's a remakable story, perhaps for another day)

The next hit was the place in Israel, a small town called Shiloh in the ancient days, now believed to be a place called Seilun. Finally, in Wikipedia's Google link, I found what I had been looking for, along with information on the town, again.

I also checked in with the Blue Letter Bible to search the name 'Shiloh'. Among other things I learned that in Hebrew the name is pronounced shee-lo, not the english shy-lo. I prefer the english.

Anyway, the first reference to Shiloh in the Bible is from Genesis. Jacob (renamed by GOD Israel) calls his sons in and blesses them, and prophecies to them. His prophecy regarding Judah is the relevant passage: Gen. 49:10:
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].

For Christians this is a reference to the Messiah, the Christ, the Redeemer. It is of importance to those who look for the prophecies regarding the Messiah. Therefore the verse is messianic, not a geography lesson.

Some translations discard Shiloh and simply use one of the translations for the name. Neither the preceding verse, nor the following verse change the meaning of the Shiloh reference. And here is where I wander. While reading through the Wikipedia article one of the translations used came from something called 'Revised Version'.
the Revised Version, margin, "till he come to Shiloh;"

And I sat there wondering who came up with that strange translation. Other versions, as I say, eliminate the name Shiloh and replace it with the accepted translations of the name itself. Thus: "the peaceful one", "he who is to be sent," and so on. Not one of them used Shiloh to completely change the verse's meaning.

Now I'm not sure what the Revised Version is, whether it's a version of the previously referrenced Vulgate Version, or some other Bible. Frankly I'm not going to shell out good money just to find the right book with the note in the margin. But this bugs me.

I could understand trying to translate Shiloh as a place name had the verse in question occurred later in the Old Testament. But the next use of Shiloh will not come until the Book of Joshua. Joshua, as you probably remember, was the successor to Moses. He led the Israelites into Canaan. This followed the Wandering, after the Exodus from Egypt. In other words long after the death of Jacob; long after the death of Judah. Jacob's prophecy about Judah takes place, at a minimum, a few generations before the Exodus from Egypt.

So how would some nitwit decide that the word Shiloh, used as a proper, personal name in this particular verse of Scripture, refer to a town (Shiloh: a place of rest) in Canaan? A town not written of in the Bible until after the Exodus? And this is what passes as Biblical Scholarship? That interpretation does not even make sense when you finish the verse ( and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].) Unto him the town? The Hebrew for these two names is different. Thus, one is not the same as the other. Both come from the same roots, but they are not the same. Yeesh! Scholarship!

Yep. It is. And it says little positive about what Christians are learning about their faith, when the supposed scholars can't even get something as simple as that obvious verse correct. I don't know - it could be the only mis-translation out there of that verse. But somehow it manages to get onto the Internet. And you just know it will find its way into common usage among some of the more liberal Christian denominations. And that's sad. And a sin.

I'm not a scholar, and certainly not a theologian. I just read, like most of you, whatever I can get my hands on. When something tickles my curiosity, I do some research. And when I find this sort of nonsense it just peeves me no end. It's like the Jesus Seminar, where a bunch of self-appointed scholars decide what Scriptural quotes of Jesus He actually said, which He may have said, and which He didn't say. Based on whom? Certainly not on the Breath of GOD, from which the Bible emanates. No, this comes from the puffed-up self-importance of small men who don't know GOD or Jesus, but demand to be paid heed to, as if they were annointed.

And that's what set me off. A minor, rambling rant, Folks. But it rattled around my noggin, so I thought I'd post it. What do you all think?

And how's the New Year going for you?


Anonymous said...

The new year is going fine. Have you ever read "The Bible Code" and "The Bible Code II"? I realize one can come up with a lot of trivia via Google, but for real end time prophesy, and current event understanding it is interesting to note that much is coded into the Bible. Perhaps why the Bible is ofter refered to as "The LIVING Word".

And how is your new year coming along my friend?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Benning forgot to include the author of both books, Michael Drosnin.

Here is a link referencing his book, "The Bible Code II".

camojack said...

A song by Neil Diamond with that title (Shiloh) comes to mind; also, the name of the Pitt/Jolie child includes it...

Brooke said...

The New Year is good so far!

That's great... I didn't realize that Shiloh could be referednced to the second coming.

Lean something new every day...

Brooke said...

Oops. "Learn."

WomanHonorThyself said...

I will get back to u on this one..:)

Jack Steiner said...

Batya blogs from Shiloh.

Jack Steiner said...

I probably should have used the Shiloh Musings instead.

Batya said...

Yes, as Jack said, Shiloh's a real place. It was the first capital of the Jewish nation for 369 years.
And we Jews have returned.

Gayle said...

Interesting stuff, Benning. I have to admit to never having wondered about that. I learn so much from wandering around my friend's blogs. Thank you!

I do believe you are right regarding so-called "scholars." How can anyone decide what Jesus said or didn't say, unless somehow they've invented time travel and actually listened to him? The bible is the one true source, period!

I hope the New Year is going well for you. I've had better beginnings to New Years, but I can't complain.


camojack said...


Always On Watch said...

Years ago, in Bible study, our minister maintained that "Shiloh" was a reference to the Messiah.