Rabbinic Support

There is a rich amount of material in rabbinic literature that supports our contention that this prophecy is Messianic in nature.

Genesis 49:10

  • Targum Onkelos:
  • He who exercised dominion shall not pass away from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children forever, until Messiah shall come. Whose is the kingdom, and whom the peoples shall obey.[1]

  • Targum Palestine:
  • Kings shall not cease, nor rulers from the house of Judah, nor sopherim teaching the law from his seed, till the time that King Messiah shall come, who will arise from Judah.[2]

  • Fragmentary Targum:
  • King shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor scribes who teach the Torah from his children’s children, until the time of the coming of the King Messiah, to whom belongs the Kingdom, and to whom all dominions of the earth shall become subservient.[3]

  • Rashi:
  • until Shiloh comes [this refers to] the King Messiah, to whom the kingdom belongs,[4]

  • Sanhedrin 98b:
  • What is his [the Messiah’s] name? – The School of R. Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh come.”[5]

  • Midrash Mishle:
  • Rav Huna says “The Messiah is called by seven names and they are Yinnon, Tzidqenu [‘Our Justice’], Tzemach [‘Shoot’], Menahem [‘Comforter’], David, Shiloh, Elijah.”[6]

  • Yalkut Shim. Ber.:
  • ‘Judah is a young lion.’ That is Messiah the Son of David.[7]

  • Midrash Rabbah:
  • The rulership abideth with the tribe of Judah until the arrival of Shiloh i.e. Messiah.[8]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Genesis:
  • THE SCEPTRE [STAFF] SHALL NOT DEPRT FROM JUDAH alludes to the Messiah, son of David, who will chastise the State with a staff, as it says, Thou shalt break them with a rod [staff[ of iron (Ps. II, 9).[9]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Genesis:
  • JUDAH IS A LION’S WHELP (XLIX, 9). R. Hama b. R. Hanina said: This alludes to Messiah the son of David…[10]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Genesis:
  • HE STOOPED, HE COUCHED; from Zedekiah until the Messiah, …[11]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Genesis:
  • UNTIL SHILOH COME. This indicates that all the nations of the world will bring a gift to Messiah the son of David…[12]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Genesis:
  • UNTIL SHILOH COMETH: this alludes to the royal Messiah. AND UNTO HIM SHALL THE OBEDIENCE (YIKHATH) OF THE PEOPLE BE: he [the Messiah] will come and set on edge (makheh) the teeth of the nations of the world.[13]

  • Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCIX, 8-9:
  • …THE SCEPTRE SHALL NOT DEPART FROM JUDAH(XLIX, 10): this refers to the throne of kingship – The throne given of God is for ever and ever; a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom (Ps. XLV, 7). When will that be? – NOR THE RULER’S STAFF FROM BETWEEN HIS FEET: when he comes of whom it is written, The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot (Isa. XXVIII, 3).


    (The footnote at the end of that quote reads, ‘Which the Midrash refers to the Messianic era. v. supra, XCVII (NV), p. 906.’)[14]

  • Midrash Rabbah – Lamentations:
  • The school of R. Shila said: The Messiah’s name is ‘Shiloh,’ as it is stated, Until Shiloh come (Gen. XLIX, 10), where the word is spelt Shlh.[15]

  • Sanhedrin (346):
  • Since the Sanhedrin no longer had jurisdiction over capital offenses (Comp. John 18:31), there is no practical utility in this ruling, which can become effective only in the days of the Messiah.[16]

  • Midrash on Proverbs, Chapter 19, 21:
  • … Just as in the case of a plant from the moment you plant it, its place is recognizable, so too did God plant kingship in the Tribe of Judah until the Messiah shall sprout forth, as it is said, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, etc. (Gen. 49:10). R. Huna said: The Messiah has been given seven names, and these are: Yinnon, Our righteousness, Shoot comforter, David, Shiloh, Elijah.


    Where [in Scripture] is Yinnon? In the verse, His name was Yinnon before the sun (Ps. 72:17). Where [in Scripture] is Our Righteousness? In the verse, And this is the name by which he shall be called: Our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6). Where [in Scripture] is Shoot? In the verse Behold a man called the Shoot, shall shoot out from the place where he is, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12). Where [in Scripture] is Comforter? In the verse, For the Lord has comforted His people, and has taken back His afflicted one (Isa. 49:13). Where [in Scripture] is David? In the verse, He accords great victories to His king, [keeps faith with his anointed, with David] (Ps. 18:51). Where [in Scripture] is Elijah? In the verse, Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you (Mal. 3:23).

  • Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCIC. 8:
  • … When will that be? – NOR THE RULER’S STAFF FROM BETWEEN HIS FEET: when he comes of whom it is written, The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot (Isa. XXVIII, 3).


    (The footnote at the end of that quote reads, ‘Which the Midrash refers to the Messianic era. v. supra, XCVII (NV), p. 906.’)[17]

  • Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCIX, 8-9:
  • … UNTIL SHILOH COMETH: he to whom kingship belongs (shelo).


    (Rather than transliterating into English “Shilo” as though it were a proper name, the Rabbis translated the exact meaning of “Shilo’ as “to whom it belongs/pertains.”)[18]

  • Targum Jonathan:
  • Kings shall not cease, nor rulers, from the house of Jehuda, nor sopherim teaching the law from his seed, till the time the King, the Meshiah, shall come, the youngest of his sons; and on account of him shall the peoples flow together. How beauteous is the King, and Meshiah who will arise from the house of Jehuda![19]

  • Jerusalem Talmud Sanhedrin 41a:
  • a little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentences was taken away from the Jews.[20]

  • Raymond Martin, Pugio Fidei, 872; Leipsic Edition:
  • Rabbi Rachmon says, “When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe to us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come!’[21]

  • Shlomo Riskin, The International Jerusalem Post, January 12, 2001, p. 39:
  • The Ba’al Haturim discovers a striking gematriya (arithmetical equivalence) between the phrase “yavo (13) Shilo (345)” (“Shilo comes”) and the word “mashiach” (358).

Genesis 49:11

  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan:
  • How beautiful is the King Messiah who is destined to arise from the house of Judah! He has girded his loins and gone down to battle against his enemies, destroying kings and their power, and there is neither king nor power that can withstand him. He reddens the mountains with the blood of their slain. His garments are saturated with blood, like those of him who presses the grapes.

  • Fragmentary Targum:
  • How beautiful is he, the King Messiah, who is destined to arise from the house of Judah. He has girded his loins and gone forth to battle against his enemies, slaying kings and rulers, and making the mountains red with the blood of their slain and the hills white with the fat of their mighty ones. His garments are saturated with blood, and he is like the treader of grapes.

  • Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCVIII, 9:
  • BINDING HIS FOAL (‘IRO) UNTO THE VINE (XLIX, 11). R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, and the Rabbis discuss this verse. R. Judah explained it: When a vine has a poor yield, an ass is tied to it, [and this too is the meaning of] AND HIS ASS’S COLT (BENI ATHONO) UNTO THE CHOICE VINE…AND BENI ATHONO UNTO THE CHOICE VINE means: [morally] strong sons (banim ethanim) will spring from him. The Rabbis interpreted: ‘I,’ [said God], ‘am bound to the vine and the choice vine’ [Israel]. HIS FOAL AND HIS COLT intimate: when he will come of whom it is written, Lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass (Zech. IX, 9).


    (Of the Messiah the footnote here reads: ‘It will then be seen how God is knit (‘bound’) to Israel.’)

  • Midrash Rabbah, Genesis XCVIII, 9:
  • … HE WASHETH HIS GARMENTS IN WINE, intimates that he [the Messiah] will compose for them words of Torah; AND HIS VESTURE IN THE BLOOD OF GRAPES – that he will restore to them their errors. R. Hanin said: Israel will not require the teaching of the royal Messiah in the future, for it says, Unto Him shall the nationsseek (Isa. XI, 10), but not Israel. If so, for what purpose will the royal Messiah come, and what will he do? He will come to assemble the exile of Israel and to give them [the Gentiles] thirty precepts, as it says, And I said unto them: If ye think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver (Zech. XI, 12).[22]


In addition to the ancient rabbinic material above, modern Jewish commentaries shed abundant light on the Messianic nature of the passage. The following excerpts concerning Genesis 49:10-11 are from the Artscroll Tenach Commentary.

Genesis 49:10

  • Torah source for belief in the Messiah
  • The general consensus (with few exceptions) of Rabbinic interpretation is that this phrase refers to the coming of the Messiah. This passage accordingly constitutes the primary Torah source for the belief that the Messiah will come.


    According to the Midrash olyv is a composite of yv wl, a gift to him – a reference to King Messiah to whom all peoples will bring gifts.


    Sforno relates the etymology of this word to hlv, the root of hwlv and swlv happiness and peace, depicting the definitive character of the Messiah’s mission which will usher in an era of peace and universal harmony.


    It is manifestly clear that the Rabbis who interpret the allusion in this passage as referring to the messiah do not imply that the word du, until (the coming of the Messiah) intimates that Judah’s sovereignty will end when the Messiah arrives. Rather, the Messiah-who will be a descendant of Judah through the line of David – is perceived as the pinnacle of Judah’s sovereignty, one in whom the sovereignty will reach its greatest glory, the culmination of Jacob’s blessing to Judah.


    Thus the phraseology of the blessing: olyv aby-yk du ‘until’ Shiloh comes, has the sense of ‘peaking’ with the coming of the Messiah. The meaning is that the scepter will never depart from Judah, but will be fully realized when Messiah comes.


    Until the Messiah’s coming Judah will hold the royal scepter in the midst of his own nation, but the Messiah, descendant of David, will reign over the gathered nations.

Genesis 49:11

Sforno follows the interpretation that the allusion in the verse is to the messiah, and perceives in this blessing signs by which he will be recognized: He will be revealed on a donkey as the Prophet (Zechariah 9:9) writes: humble, riding on a donkey; on a donkey foaled by a she-donkey.


R’ Hirsch… observes how Jacob visualizes the Messiah, conqueror of Humanity, not on a steed, but on a young donkey. The donkey is the beast of burden that always represents peace, well-being, and national greatness, whereas the steed represents military might. Accordingly, the Jewish conception of royal power is not represented by the number of horses, and it is forbidden for the king to accumulate many horses (Deut. 17:16).


Consequently the future Redeemer of Jewry and humanity appears here in connection with the donkey, symbolizing the twofold vision of peace and material well-being.


This is how the prophet Zechariah visualized the coming of the Messiah: Rejoice greatly O daughter or Zion, shout with joy O daughter of Jerusalem! Look how your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, humbly riding upon a donkey upon the colt of a donkey (9:9).[23]


We do not hold to the position that Genesis 49:12 pertains to the Messiah (we feel it pertains to the tribe of Judah). Yet, it is worthwhile to point out that some rabbis see Messianic connections even in verse 12, which only serves to emphasize the Messianic nature of genesis 49:10-11 (actually Genesis 49:1-12). Here are two comments from the Targumim.

Genesis 49:12

  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan:
  • How beautiful are the eyes of the King Messiah, as pure wine! He will not see incestuous practice or the shedding of innocent blood, and his teeth are more pure than milk, for he will not tolerate as food that which is seized by force or taken by robbery.

  • Fragmentary Targum:
  • How beautiful to behold are they, the eyes of the King Messiah, more so than pure wine, not looking upon incest and the shedding of innocent blood. His teeth are pure, according to the Halakah, refraining from partaking of that which is taken by violence or robbery. His mountains shall be red with vines, his presses with wine. His hills shall be white with abundance of his grain and flocks of his sheep.[24]


Obviously the rabbis who paraphrased the Book of Genesis into Aramaic held to a very allegorical interpretive technique. Their rendering is quite fanciful, but we include it to emphasize how strongly the ancient rabbis took this section of the Torah as Messianic in nature.

It is self-evident that we are not imagining the fact that Genesis 49:10-11 is Messianic in character. Now that we have established that fact, we can ask the question, “Has anyone ever met the qualifications laid out in the passage? Is there anyone who can reasonably fulfill the prediction? The position of HaDavar Messianic Ministries is an unreserved yes. The one who fulfills both the first part of verse 10 as well as the second part of verse 10 and verse 11 is none other than Jesus of Nazareth, Yeshua HaMaschiach.

  1. ^ Lapides, Louis, “The Rabbinic and Hebrew Christian Views on Messianic Prophecy Outline,” Ariel Ministries.

  2. ^ “How to Recognize the Messiah,” p. 7

  3. ^ Huckel, T. The Rabbinic Messiah (Gen. 49:11). (Philadelphia: Hananeel House, 1998).

  4. ^ “Complete Tanach with Rashi” (Brooklyn: Davka Corporation and Judaica Press, 1999)

  5. ^ Soncino Classics Collection: “The Soncino Talmud,” (Chicago, Davka Corp.)
    [footnote id="6"]Patai, Raphael, The Messiah Texts, (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1979), p. 22

  6. ^ “How to Recognize the Messiah,” p. 7

  7. ^ Ibid.

  8. ^ Soncino Classics Collection: The Soncino Midrash Rabbah, (Chicago, Davka Corp.)

  9. ^ Ibid., xcvii

  10. ^ Ibid., xcviii:7

  11. ^ Ibid., xcvii

  12. ^ Ibid., xcviii:8

  13. ^ The Rabbinic Messiah (Gen. 49:11).

  14. ^ Ibid., i:51

  15. ^ “How to Recognise the Messiah,” p.7

  16. ^ The Rabbinic Messiah (Gen. 49:11).

  17. ^ Ibid.

  18. ^ McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1972), p.148

  19. ^ Ibid., p. 168

  20. ^ Ibid., p. 169; LeMann, Jesus Before the Sanhedrin, www.giveshare.org/library/sanhedrin/1.2.html

  21. ^ The Rabbinic Messiah (Gen. 49:11).

  22. ^ Scherman and Zlotowitz, Gen. Eds., Artscroll Tanach Series, Bereishis Volume 6, (Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, 1977), pp. 2152-2157

  23. ^ The Rabbinic Messiah (Gen. 49:11).