“Shiloh” and “To Whom It Belongs”

The term “Shiloh” is found in NASV and KJV. In contrast, the term “to whom it belongs” is found in the NIV. No matter which position one takes, both of these positions refer to the Messiah.

The first position is that Shiloh is a title of the Messiah. This title denotes “the one who brings peace” or “the rest giver.” This understanding is of the opinion that the word “Shiloh” is derived from the Hebrew root Shalah, which means to be safe or secure. Consistent with this meaning, the Messiah as the giver of peace is found in other Messianic passages such as Isaiah 9:6.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The second position, and the one we hold on to, is that Shiloh is an abbreviation for “until He comes whose it is.” This is supported by the Septuagint which translates the phrase “to whom it is laid up for.” In a similar manner the Peshitta (Syriac Old Testament) renders the phrase “until he comes whose it is.” This rendering is paralleled in Ezekiel 21:27 (E)(21:32 H).

A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I will make it. This also will be no more until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.

The Hebrew term loosely translated “He comes whose right it is” are the words “asher-loh.” When explaining that phrase, the Jewish commentary, The Soncino Books of the Bible, refers the reader back to Genesis 49:10 with the comment, “The phrase until he comes whose right it is recalls the Messianic prophecy in Gen. xlix. 10.” The reason why the Soncino commentary makes this statement lies in the fact that the two phrases, in the two verses, have a similar construction. The main difference lies in the fact that the Genesis 49:10 text is an abbreviation for the same two Hebrew words, asher-loh. Shiloh is made up of the syllable “sh” which is an abbreviation of asher. Asher is the relative pronoun “who.”

The second syllable, “loh,” is the preposition “lamed,” meaning “to, at, in, in reference to, of, by, etc,”[1] combined with the third person masculine singular pronoun “him.” Together these two syllables form the word “Shiloh.” Shiloh is an abbreviation that means “to him who it belongs.”

To use a modern English illustration of this literary idea, Shiloh would be similar to our abbreviation “ASAP.” ASAP is simply an abbreviation of the phrase, “As Soon As Possible.” Four words are abbreviated and represented by their first letter. Then the four letters are joined together to form a new word. The new word is a shortened way to express the phrase.

Verse 10 closes with a glimpse of the peace that will dominate the world during the reign of the Messianic king. The Messiah’s reign will be characterized by obedience. This will be the means of achieving peace.

The extent of Messianic peace is described in two segments. The first segment was described in verse eight. His peace will extend over the tribes of Israel. Secondly, His peace will extend worldwide. As stated here in verse 10, it will encompass all the nations of the world.

Other sections of Scripture emphasize over and over that the Messiah will rule the Earth with resolute power and authority. The scepter of His authority will be worldwide and unbending.

  • Psalm 2:8-9
  • “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.”

  • Revelation 2:27
  • and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father.

  • Revelation 12:5
  • And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

  • Revelation 19:15
  • From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

At this point, Jacob moves on to describe the prosperity associated with the Messianic Kingdom itself. We now get another tiny glimpse, just a glorious peek, at what awaits us in the future.

  1. ^ Harris, R. Laird, Archer Gleason L., Wltke, Bruce M, Eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press) 1980, Logos Electronic Edition.