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Genesis 49:9-11 New English Translation (NET Bible)

You are a lion’s cub, Judah,
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches and lies down like a lion;
like a lioness—who will rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,[a]
until he comes to whom it belongs;[b]
the nations will obey him.[c]
11 Binding his foal to the vine,
and his colt to the choicest vine,
he will wash[d] his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.


  1. Genesis 49:10 tn Or perhaps “from his descendants,” taking the expression “from between his feet” as a euphemism referring to the genitals. In this case the phrase refers by metonymy to those who come forth from his genitals, i.e., his descendants.
  2. Genesis 49:10 tn The Hebrew form שִׁילֹה (shiloh) is a major interpretive problem. There are at least four major options (with many variations and less likely alternatives): (1) Some prefer to leave the text as it is, reading “Shiloh” and understanding it as the place where the ark rested for a while in the time of the Judges. (2) By repointing the text others arrive at the translation “until the [or “his”] ruler comes,” a reference to a Davidic ruler or the Messiah. (3) Another possibility that does not require emendation of the consonantal text, but only repointing, is “until tribute is brought to him” (so NEB, JPS, NRSV), which has the advantage of providing good parallelism with the following line, “the nations will obey him.” (4) The interpretation followed in the present translation, “to whom it [belongs]” (so RSV, NIV, REB), is based on the ancient versions. Again, this would refer to the Davidic dynasty or, ultimately, to the Messiah.tc Henri Cazelles, “Shiloh, the Customary Laws and the Return of the Ancient Kings,” in Proclamation and Presence, eds. J. I. Durhan and J. R. Porter, 248, shows that שִׁילֹה could represent “to whom it belongs” because a scribal practice at Qumran and in Mishnaic writings was to show doubling of a consonant by preceding it with a mater lectionis (consonant used as vowel letter). So s-y-l-h could equal s-l-l-h, or שֶׁלֹּה, which is the way the ancient versions read it. שֶׁלֹּה can be a compound of a relative pronoun (“which”), a preposition (“to”), and archaic third masculine singular suffix (“him”). Thirty-eight Hebrew manuscripts show this variant. See Walter C. Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, 51, and Cazelles, 248.sn Cazelles, “Shiloh,” 248, notes that the translation followed here is reflected in the Samaritan Pentateuch; the LXX; the versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotian; the Targums, and the Syriac Peshitta. Allen P. Ross, Creation and Blesssing, 703, gives the Targum Onkelos as saying: “Until the Messiah comes, whose is the kingdom, and him shall the nations obey.” Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis (NICOT), 2:660, adds that Patriarchal Blessings (4QPBless) shows that the Qumran community interpreted Gen 49:10 in a messianic way. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, The Pentateuch (Commentary on the Old Testament), 1:397, state that “the entire Jewish synagogue and the whole Christian Church” were in “perfect agreement” that the patriarch was “here proclaiming the coming of the Messsiah.”
  3. Genesis 49:10 tn “and to him [will be] the obedience of the nations.” For discussion of this verse see J. Blenkinsopp, “The Oracle of Judah and the Messianic Entry,” JBL 80 (1961): 55-64; and E. M. Good, “The ‘Blessing’ on Judah,” JBL 82 (1963): 427-32.
  4. Genesis 49:11 tn The perfect verbal form is used rhetorically, describing coming events as though they have already taken place.
New English Translation (NET)

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