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ing the bearer of salvation to the world. It was only after this expansion had taken place, and the necessity began to be felt of concentration, of deliverances effected for the people by an individual head and ruler, that there was a basis in the history on which to ground the expectation that redemption should be by one raised up from among the people. It was not until a necessity arose, which called forth a Moses, a Joshua, or a David for its temporary supply, that the idea could attain consistency and shape of their antitype in an individual, personal Messiah. The Mosaic period furnishes the first and still somewhat indefinite prediction of an individual Redeemer (Deut. xviii. 18, 19); the history of David first brings his personality clearly and distinctly out. On these grounds, which he certainly puts with much ingenuity, Kurtz defends his rendering: "Until he (Judah) comes to rest (a state of quiet, peaceful possession), and the obedience of the peoples is yielded unto him." The "until" marks not the limit or cessation of his dominion, but the entrance of that period when every disturbing power shall cease, and all that could threaten its perpetuity shall be at an end. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until his victory is universal and complete, and then, of course, it never shall depart.*
Judah appears in this passage as a resistless warrior, a lion capturing its prey, and whom none might venture to provoke. He wins his victorious way through conflict and strife, to uni
Some interpreters of note and ability have understood this prophecy simply to declare that the temporal government of Judah should be continued until Shiloh's coming, and that then it should be broken up and destroyed; and this coincides so remarkably with the actual event, that it seems at first view to have a strong recommendation in its favour. But this appears to be a very mechanical mode of interpretation. There is an outward superficial cleaving to the letter; but the spirit is lost sight of. Whoever duly considers either the analogy of Scripture or the scope of the pro phecy before us, must be satisfied that there is here promised to Judah a sceptre and a lawgiver in all time to come; not one that should endure until Shiloh's coming and then be irretrievably lost, but one which should then first be fully and firmly established. To raise the hopes of God's chosen people, and encourage them in all times of despondency, they are assured of a sovereignty in Judah which shall not be overwhelmed till the last victory is gained, and the last foe is destroyed, and it is set in triumph over a submissive world; and beyond that the most timid and doubting need no assurance of its continuance. It is the universal testimony of the prophets that the kingdom of Judah and the throne of David were destined to stand, not for a limited period, but for ever. The kingdom of Judah is never, either in the Old Testament or in the New, put in contrast with that of the Messiah, as though the former were to give place to the latter, but they are invariably spoken of as coincident, the latter being the legiti mate continuation of the former. Christ is not the founder of a new dynasty, but the culminating point of the old, in whom all that is completely realised which appeared faintly and imperfectly in them that preceded him. This being the unvarying representation of all the writers of Scripture of the perpetuity of the kingdom of Judah, its identity with the kingdom of the Messiah, and its elevation to the highest pitch of glory and prosperity in his person, it would be extremely strange if, in the passage before us alone, the very one which we should expect to lie at the foundation of all the others, and give character to them all, a contrary view prevailed, and it was here declared that the sceptre of Judah should be of limited duration, and should be abolished in favour of another which should rise up after it. This view of the perpetuity of Judah's dominion, while it includes within itself the same historical fulfilment which is claimed on behalf of the more restricted understanding of the passage, includes likewise vastly more.
versal empire and undisturbed repose. Then, when every foe is vanquished or destroyed, he sits down to enjoy in peace the fruits of victory. He rides upon the peaceful ass, and feeds on wine and milk. These blessings, which he wins as the prince and champion of his brethren, are for them as for himself; and even over the nations now willingly subject to him must the benefits of his peaceful dominion be expected to flow. This blessing is Messianic in its character, but not exclusively so; and it is Messianic only because that is true of the Messiah alone in its full sense, which is here attributed to the tribe from which he sprang. It had several imperfect fulfilments before Christ came, as at various periods of the national history the portrait here sketched of Judah corresponded more or less with his actual character and condition. The part Judah took in the conquest of the land, the elevation of David to the throne of Israel, the extent of his dominion, and his victories over surrounding nations, the peaceful reign of Solomon,—all fall legitimately within the range of this prediction, and are justly to be regarded as its partial fulfilments. And yet neither these nor any other events in the past fortunes of Judah are adequate to the language here employed. It meets its full accomplishment only in Him to whom we have the authority of the New Testament for applying the symbol here given of the tribe, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
The following passage, relating to the accomplishment of this prediction, we give almost in our author's own words: "In its most immediate application, it has respect to the same time with all the rest of the blessing of Jacob, the time of complete possession of the promised land. To Jacob's eye this moment marked the beginning of the last days, the time of the end. The relative rest, with which the pilgrimage of his seed ceased, is undistinguished from the absolute rest, the end and conclusion of that whole movement, which commenced with the call of Abraham. What, in the actual event, proves to be a long line, stretching from its commencement in the relative rest under Joshua, to its termination in the absolute rest under Christ, appears to him coincident with its initial point, behind which it all lies, and which as the commencement of a development already includes in itself potentially the end, and is its prefiguration. The rest here promised found its first preliminary and imperfect exhibition in the time of Joshua; but that this fulfilment was only preliminary, was speedily shown by the still existing disquiet. Whilst, therefore, in the entrance of this relative rest the prophecy of Jacob enters upon its fulfilment, it continues in consequence of the yet remaining disquiet to be still prophetic, until in the introduction of the absolute rest it finds its highest and ultimate fulfilment.
"It is Judah's princely rank and bearing in his sovereignty over his brethren, and in his victorious conflict with his foes, which has won the rest and peace which he enjoys. Just in that measure, therefore, in which the time of Joshua exhibits the predicted repose, must the time before Joshua verify Judah's princely character. Had the rest under Joshua been the true, absolute rest, the pre-eminence of Judah must have revealed itself before that time in its most perfect form. But if, as we have seen, Jacob's prophecy of a future rest continues still prophetic, even after its first preliminary and imperfect exhibition under Joshua, the prophecy of Judah's distinction can in the time before Joshua have met with only a preliminary and partial fulfilment (his precedence in the order of march through the desert). It must after this still continue prophetic, and point to a sovereignty of Judah, which should be constantly more and more unfolding itself, until its highest manifestation should rise as far above its earliest, as the absolute rest under Christ surpasses the relative under Joshua.
"This prophecy of the rest into which Judah, as the prince, representative, and champion of his brethren, should enter with them, relates to the time of the end. Subjectively to Jacob, the time of Joshua was the end; for then all the wants and needs of the patriarchal period which had pressed themselves on Jacob's consciousness, and all the requisites which Jacob knew as conditions of the coming salvation, were supplied. But there were still other wants and needs, still other requisites and conditions of the coming salvation of which Jacob yet knew nothing, and which, in the time of Joshua, were not yet supplied. Objectively, therefore, this is not yet the end; and Jacob's prophecy, as the product, not of his inward state alone, but of the illuminating Spirit of God, points every future observer to a higher form of Judah's sovereignty than the precedence of that tribe in the desert, and to a higher rest than that which the possession of the promised land brought with it."
The genuineness of this prediction of Jacob has been most violently contested, but in a manner which plainly shows that the secret of the opposition made to it lies in the palpable proof of inspiration which it affords. The discord which prevails in the ranks of its opposers with respect to the real date of its composition, affords no very favourable presumption in the outset as to the certainty of those criteria on which they rely. Heinrichs confidently refers it to the time of David, Tuch to that of Samuel, and Ewald with as much positiveness as either to that of Samson. Fortunately we are able to furnish as thorough and conclusive a demonstration of genuineness in this instance, as we can in the case of any disputed passage
of the Bible whatever. Kurtz sums up the argument under four heads, which, for convenience, we arrange in a different order.
1. The blessing is as a whole too indefinite, deals too much in general outlines and too little in individual forms, to be a vaticinium post eventum. It has no such merely external, accidental congruence with the events of any period, as a feigned prediction, put into the mouth of Jacob by one living in that period, would necessarily have. Many of the blessings were suggested by the names of Jacob's sons, or by some incident in their history, or some peculiarity in their temper, which the patriarch had marked; and they are in some cases, at least, (a remark made by Hengstenberg, which may be worthy of attention) rather true of them as branches of the chosen people, than characteristic of them as individual tribes.
2. The contents of the prophecy and its form agree entirely with the views and expectations of Jacob, and have nothing in them that would be at all surprising as coming from him on the supposition that he were really endowed with prophetic foresight. The proof of this has been sufficiently exhibited already.
3. The blessing contains positive data, which compel us to refer its composition to the ante-Mosaic period. The dispersion of Levi here appears as a judgment upon him for his misconduct. But this was accomplished after the unholy zeal of the parent had been succeeded by the pious zeal of his descendants (Exod. xxxii. 27-29), and the curse had in consequence been converted into a blessing, by his being honoured to be the priestly tribe, and receiving in consequence as his inheritance cities selected from all parts of the land. But nothing is here said of the dignity of Levi as invested with the priesthood, or as being in any wise distinguished above his brethren. There is only the language of rebuke and malediction. It is impossible, as even critics of the most destructive school have been compelled to acknowledge, that language, such as we find here, could have been used after the priestly succession was fixed in the line of Levi. Tuch indeed endeavours to escape this conclusion, by referring its composition to the period when the misconduct of the sons of Eli had brought the priesthood into disrepute (1 Sam. ii. 17), and when Levites wandered through the land homeless, and ready to enter the service of any who would give them wages.-(Judg. xvii. 7-12.) But we cannot say much in praise of that candour which thus extends without evidence the misconduct of a single vagabond Levite, or of Eli's two profligate sons, to the whole tribe to which they belonged. Nor, however low the sacerdotal tribe may have sunk in character or influence, would any writer of a truly
theocratic spirit, as the author of this prophecy manifestly was, have represented that in such unqualified terms as a curse, which was the direct consequence of their investiture with the priesthood. And then the very instances referred to show the opposite of that for which they are adduced, and how high an estimate was set upon a connection with the priestly tribe, even in the case of one least worthy of such consideration.-(Judg. xvii. 13.) Now, if this passage could not have been written after the priesthood was established in the tribe of Levi, and if, according to Tuch's own admission, this is as certain as any thing can be in the early history of Israel that the priesthood was conferred upon Levi by Moses, the ante-Mosaic origin of this prophecy is indisputable. And if that be granted, it has now been carried back so near the time of its reputed origin, that no one would longer hesitate to admit its having been really uttered by Jacob.
4. There is no time after the fulfilment under Joshua when all these various blessings could have had their origin. If, with Tuch, on the ground of what is said of Levi, we refer its composition to the time of Samuel, or with Ewald, give the preference to the blessing of Dan, and fix it in the time of Samson, the blessing of Judah will stand plumply in the way. For how does the superior honour put upon this tribe accord with its miserable faint-heartedness in the time of Samson (Judg. xv. 9, &c.), or with the insignificance of that tribe in the time of Samuel, which was such that it is but once or twice mentioned during the whole course of his ministry until the rise of David, and then not in a way calculated to make an impression of its prominence over other tribes? And besides, how do the other parts of the prophecy, which depict in such glowing colours the happy lot of the various tribes, agree with their wretched disorganised condition, their frequent apostasies, and the frequent oppressions to which they were subject in the times of the later Judges,-a period which our opponents delight, in representing as one of even greater disorder than it really was?
Or if, to escape these difficulties, the composition of this prophecy be referred, with Heinrichs, to a still later date, the reign of David or Solomon, Charybdis will be cleared, but it is only to fall into Scylla. The blessing of Judah is provided for, but what is said of Levi presents a fatal obstacle. For from that time forward the sacerdotal tribe enjoyed the highest consideration; and the last, faintest possibility has vanished of bringing the language of this malediction into any thing like harmony with the period assigned for its origin.
Now, if the tone of the whole prophecy, and particularly the blessing pronounced upon Judah, forbid our assigning it to the