Prophecy precedes the legend.
“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)
From his death-bed Israel prophesied over his sons. The one who had bargained for the birthright, and received the blessing of rulership from his father, stood before God and witnesses as he granted to others what belonged to him. The scepter and staff, symbolizing authority, would now belong to Judah and his descendants until (the One who was sent) Shiloh comes. He would then receive the peoples’ obedience.
It is easy looking back to see that Jesus was the One who was sent and that our obedience is due to Him. We are also certain that from the tribe of Judah sprung David’s everlasting kingdom. The question is, where was this authority exorcised after Nebuchadnezzar ended the reign of Judah’s kings?”
The scepter and staff were spiritual gifts given to Jacob who bestowed them upon his son Judah. Being spiritual gifts they endure according to the God’s will. A physical kingdom was established through the line of Judah in the person of David. This dynasty only endured until King Jehoichin was taken away by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.” (Jeremiah 22:30) His brother Zedekiah faired no better. With him ended David dynasty. But what about Israel’s words to Judah, “until Shiloh comes”? There would be another six centuries before Jesus arrived. Who would hold the scepter?
Could it be that God would choose a descendant of Judah’s second son, born of twin sons, named Zerah, to reign until Jesus came? He stuck his hand out and the midwife declared, “This one came out first” (Genesis 38:28), but there was a breach and Perez, was born first. His name means “breach.”
No longer would the sons of David rule in Judah, but there remained a bridge to cross this breach in dynastic authority possessed in the family of Judah. If this is true it would fulfill Jacob’s prophecy and leave us with many more questions. Can answers be found in legends? Who were they and where did they reign?
To be continued.