Shiloh is the most common transliteration of a difficult Hebrew word in a verse that the Jews understood to be messianic. The word in the Hebrew text contains no vowel points, so pronunciation and meaning is uncertain. However, a passage in Ezekiel suggests that the meaning of the word might be “he to whom it belongs” (Ezekiel 21:27). That supports the idea that shylh refers to the Messiah (Christ).

Genesis 49:10 is the start of a thread of passages that talk about Judah’s preeminence. The blessings spoken over the sons mentioned prior to Judah dismiss them as heirs, leaving Judah and his descendants to receive the promise.  David is the first stage of fulfillment of the promise; Jesus (Yeshua‘) the main event. Both are from the tribe of Judah.

Shiloh (Shylh) pictured in the Hebrew text of Genesis 49:10.

Shiloh (Shylh) in the Hebrew text of Genesis 49:10.

Shiloh in Hebrew:


Strong’s Concordance number: 7886

Bible reference: Gen. 49:10

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.
(Gen. 49:10)

Instead of “Shiloh,” the NIV has “he to whom it belongs.” That translation is interpretive and indicates the Messiah, to whom rulership belongs.