Shiloh (biblical figure)

Shiloh (/ˈʃl/; Hebrew: šīlō שִׁיל֔וֹ or šīlōh שילה) is a figure mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 49:10 as part of the benediction given by Jacob to his son Judah. Jacob states that "the sceptre will not depart from Judah... until Shiloh comes...".[1]

Versions and translationsEdit

The Latin Vulgate translates the word as "he ... that is to be sent",[2] which would be the equivalent of the Hebrew shaluach (Hebrew: שלוח‎, "messenger"), indicating a possible corruption of the text (on either side). The Peshitta has "the one to whom [it] belongs"[3] Similarly, the Septuagint translates the word to "the things stored up for him".[4][5]

Some English translations retain the word "Shiloh", either as a title ("until Shiloh come," King James Version) or as a place name ("as long as men come to Shiloh," JPS Tanakh). Other translations render the whole phrase in English, yielding "until he comes to whom it belongs" (Revised Standard Version), "until tribute comes to him" (English Standard Version) or "until He whose right it is comes" (Holman Christian Standard Bible).


"How goodly are your tents, O Jacob!" Balaam saw that the entrances of the Jewish tents: how goodly are the "tents" of Shiloh and the Temple, where the Jews offer sacrifices to atone for their sins[6]

The reference to sceptre and the Tribe of Judah has led many people to view this verse as a Messianic prophecy. Genesis 49.9 mentions the lion of Judah that also is recalled in the Latin Exorcism against Satan and the apostate angels.[7] In the exorcism, Jesus the Lord is prayed as follows: "Vícit Leo de tríbu Júda, rádix Dávid". The verse explains Genesis 49.9-10 while indicating Christ as the Good Shepherd, preceded by the sceptre of His ancestor king David and by the law-giver of Moses.

The name Shiloh is associated both with "MoSheH" (משה, Moses), whose name has the same numerical value as the word "ShiLoH" (שילה)[8]... and with Mashiach[9]

This interpretation goes back at least as far as the Targum Onkelos in the first century AD, and was indeed interpreted to be the promised Messiah in most traditional Jewish thoughts and writings.[10]

Among Christians, "Shiloh" is seen as a reference to Jesus, whom they believe to have fulfilled the earlier prophecies of the Torah, although the word itself is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament,[11] although some have connected it to the Pool of Siloam, referred to in the story of the healing of the man born blind.[12] However, Genesis 49:10 became a major messianic text appealed to by the early Church Fathers.[11] The Christian messianic interpretation is found in the capitalisation of the pronoun "He" in the Holman Christian Standard Bible ("until He whose right it is comes").

Some Christian scholars, however, have pointed out that the rendering of the text labors under the difficulty that Shiloh is not found as a personal name in the Old Testament. Other interpretations from analysts have translated the term to indicating "the name of a place, not a person", although they also conclude that this is less likely overall.[13]

Islamic interpretationEdit

In Islam, Shiloh has been interpreted as referring to Muhammad[14] with a special concern to Qur'an 3:81.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Unicode/XML Leningrad Codex". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  2. ^ "Douay-Rheims translation". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  3. ^ "The Peshitta translated by George Lamsa". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  4. ^ "NETS: Electronic Edition". 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  5. ^ "Brentons translation". Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  6. ^ Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. REBBE NACHMAN'S TORAH: NUMBERS - DEUTERONOMY - Breslov Insights into the Weekly Torah Reading Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem/New York
  7. ^ "The Exorcism against Satan & the Apostate Angels in Latin & English".
  8. ^ Zohar I, 25b
  9. ^ Rashi on Genesis 49:10
  10. ^ Pentiuc, Eugen J. (2006). Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible. Paulist Press. p. 108. ISBN 9780809143467.
  11. ^ a b Heine, Ronald E. (2007). Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought. Baker Academic. pp. 109–110. ISBN 9781441201539.
  12. ^ Bruner, Frederick Dale (2012). The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Eerdmans. p. 575. ISBN 9780802866356.
  13. ^ Definition of Shiloh
  14. ^ Keldani, Muhammad in World Scriptures, 2006, p 42