“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Genesis 49:10
Shiloh – Tim Hegg (Studies in Torah: Genesis) points out that the crucial element in interpreting the meaning of this verse is understanding the word “Shiloh.” There are three possibilities. First, Shiloh may be a place name (“until he comes to Shiloh”). Second, Shiloh is the combination of Hebrew words meaning “which belongs to him.” This renders the verse, “until that which belongs to him comes.” Third, Shiloh is a personal name derived from the Hebrew verb, “to rest.” Hegg eliminates the first on grammatical grounds and the second on unexplainable spelling problems. That leaves the third option. According to Hegg, “Shiloh is the One who brings rest.” Hegg notes that this is consistent with the interpretation of the sages of Israel. They also thought that this prophecy had Messianic content. Both Jewish sages and Christian theologians agree. Shiloh is the Messiah.
But notice how Jacob’s prophecy describes the one who brings rest. He will be from Judah. He will be a ruler. And all peoples will obey him. The word we might expect is “people” (am), but that’s not what the verse says. The verse says amim, “peoples,” a reference to not only Israel but to all the people of the earth. According to this prophecy, recognized by Jews and Christians alike, the Messiah will bring rest and everyone of earth will bow to him. What does this mean?
Just in case you haven’t noticed, there isn’t much rest in the world today. The world is characterized by frenzy, anxiety, hurry and accelerating madness. Nor do all the people of the earth bow to the Messiah. In fact, the people of the earth can’t even agree on whether there is a Messiah or who he might be. While Jews and Christians do agree that Jacob’s prophecy is the guarantee of hoped-for resolution, everything else in this prophecy seems distant in the world we occupy. Nevertheless, God guarantees it will come to be.
It’s been a long time since Jacob. Over thousands of years, God has revealed more and more about the one who brings rest. But rest isn’t here yet. Some of us have discovered that the name of the one who brings rest is also “Salvation,” Yeshua HaMashiach, the rest-bringer. If we have experienced rest in this world of chaos, we know that Yeshua is Shiloh. We are the vanguard of those who understand Jacob’s prophecy, the ones who must work to enter into that rest in order that others may see something unexplainably different in us. Perhaps we need to listen once more to Jacob. Perhaps the frenzy of our lives, the anxiety of our concerns and the similarity we exhibit with those who still seek rest is defeating our testimony. Perhaps the world is waiting for those who rest in anticipation of the Messianic return. That would certainly make us different, wouldn’t it?
Topical Index: Shiloh, rest, shilo, Genesis 49:10
 Tim Hegg, Studies in Torah: Genesis, p. 346.