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The words in question are used where royal dominion is not meant; the former in Judges v. 14, the latter in Numb. xxi. 18. What they denote is leadership in relation to the tribe of Judah; and therefore the fulfilment of the prophecy may have begun earlier than David, even when the tabernacle was placed at Shiloh. The ' 7 until, has always a reference to the terminus ad quem and includes it; but that terminus ad quem is not necessarily the last. It is one of special importance; in this case the first or incipient fulfilment. And if Judah should arrive at a secure resting-place there, he would never be dislodged from it; because the first was an earnest of a higher position in the future.
We have thus endeavoured to shew that the explanation which refers Shiloh to a personal Messiah is exegetically untenable, and have also indicated the true meaning. The promise made to Abraham and repeated to Isaac, culminated in Jacob. So Jacob's last blessings culminate in Judah; the crown of all consisting in Judah’s glorious, peaceful, eternal kingdom. It might indeed have been argued, à priori, that a personal Messiah could not have been expected in the passage, since it would have been an anomaly in the patriarchal history. So far from Hengstenberg's confident assertion “there cannot be any doubt that the promise of a personal Messiah in his kingly office, if it be found in the Old Testament at all, must exist in the passage we are now considering,”l being well founded, it is destitute of
support. It may be safely said that the idea of a personal Messiah would have been unsuitable in the patriarchal period. There is a concatenation of history with prophecy. The organic progress of each advances in correlative connexion; their successive stages mutually corresponding. Prophecy is linked on to history as its substratum.. Arising out of history in the present, it
, takes its flight into a higher region. And the prophecy must correspond to the historical point of attachment. There is a certain stage of the history which it does not and should not overleap. What then is the great aim of the entire patriarchal history? It is the expansion of oneness into a numerous people. Accordingly the idea of a personal Saviour could not originate till after the patriarchs had actually become a great nation. When a single leader of the whole people had arisen, he formed the first point of attachment for the idea of a personal Messiah. The repeated promises to the patriarchs consisted in the announcement of a numerous posterity with possession of Canaan, and of a blessing to come upon all nations through them. This blessing, though often spoken of in the patriarchal history from Abraham to Jacob, is never unfolded more definitely. It continues in the same stage of progress. It is possible that in Jacob's case it may have at once taken a great leap in development; but as he stood on the same ground with his distinguished fathers, and under the same influences, it is not likely that he was so far carried beyond them. The only progress which the blessing received through him, was in distinguishing Judah above his brethren; thus pointing to the one tribe whence the Messiah was to spring. It is true, as Hengstenberg states, that all the blessings of salvation which the church possessed at the time when Jacob's blessing was uttered had come through single individuals ; and that single individuals are in the patriarchal period the depositaries of divine promises and the channels of divine life. But that by n means recommends the idea that Abraham, for example, should be as fit a type of Messiah as David. The unity of the family had to be developed into the manifoldness of the people; according to the promise in which the Messianic expectation was bound up. In the promises made directly by Jehovah himself to the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in which alone spiritual in addition to temporal blessing is announced, the spiritual lies in the promises in such a form as implies the multiplication of the unity of the family into a people. Separation cannot take place first; since it would only remove the longed-for spiritual blessing farther back. The family must become a great people and possess the land of their inheritance. Thus the right soil for the reception of a prophecy relating to a personal Messiah was not prepared so early. An example will perhaps make our meaning more intelligible. Let us take Gen. xxviii. 14, where Jehovah announces to Jacob, “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south : and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." These words shew that dispersion and multiplication must be the first state into which the spiritual blessing unfolds itself in history. The unity of the family is first multiplied into a great people, out of whom unity is resumed and reconstructed in the person of a single.deliverer and ruler. There is no perceptible progress in the development of the promised blessing from the time when Abraham was called till that of Jacob. Why then should it take such a leap forward in Jacob? That it did not, appears from the blessing pronounced upon Judah, in which no trace of a personal Messiah appears. If Jacob saw so clearly, as is said, a personal Messiah, how comes it that Moses, long after him, did not see the same? Was the organic progress of prophecy retarded between Jacob and Moses; or rather did it retrograde? This reasoning holds good even if Jacob himself uttered the expressions recorded in the chapter, as many suppose. We believe, however, that another put them into his mouth. As the latter did not introduce the patriarch speaking of a personal Messiah, he either had no proper perception of the future deliverer; or having it was sensible of the characteristics belonging to a former age. Shiloh's mention shews that the present of the poet lay in the time when the tabernacle was at that place. And it suits well the age of the Jehovist to represent the assembling of the peoples as being to Judah; because David and Solomon had then proved themselves mighty conquerors.
1 Christology Translated, vol. i., p. 67.
The earliest form in which prophecy refers to the Messiah is that of Messianic hopes. The expectation of the people centred in better times for the theocracy. These hopes (Joel üii.) were gradually developed into the definite and individual, out of the indefinite and ideal. They are first attached to the house of David (Hosea ï. 16-25, Amos ix. 11-15); then a descendant of David is conceived of as the restorer of the theocracy (Micah v. 1, etc., Isaiah ix. 5–6). As the future Messiah was expected to be a victorious king, the notion of an individual Messiah could not originate till the kingly period. At different times the idea was more or less vague. After it had attached itself to a personal descendant of David, we must not suppose that it became progressively clear and distinct. On the contrary, several late prophets return to the original indefinite stand-point, as we see from Zephaniah (iii. 9-20) and the second part of Isaiah ; though Micah and Isaiah had pointed to a person ; as Jeremiah and Zechariah also do.
The promise of a Messiah was first announced to their nation by the prophets, who looking into the future with the foreshadowing eye of inspiration found consolation there for weary spirits. The experiences of the present were unsatisfactory to the religious mind, which must have been painfully affected by the discrepancy between the promises of religion and the outward phenomena of life. The pure, high idea of the theocracy hovered over the imperfect reality, awakening a longing desire
No reward or restitution in eternity was known. Hope could not turn in that direction. It must find comfort on earth; and this was realised in the expectation of Messiah-a wise, righteous, victorious King, who should restore the theocracy in its completeness, and introduce a time of prosperity and peace. Then should Jehovah dwell among his people and their communion with him be intimate and uninterrupted. This promise of Messiah was truly divine. It lifted the spirit above and beyond the present, nourishing
for inward peace.
hope as well as purifying it, and furnishing a counterpoise to present imperfections. It was the flame that fed the inner life of the pious, and supplied their highest comfort. It must not be supposed that the kingdom about to be established by the Messiah was conceived of otherwise than an earthly one peculiar to the people of Israel yet destined to extend over all nations and fill the earth with its blessings. The comfort which this great Messianic prophecy gave to the better portion of the Jews, it is impossible to appreciate at the present day. It was an elevating hope, the bud of a blossom about to unfold its bright colours thereafter. Of divine origin it was imperishable, because bearing the germ of the salvation of humanity. A new and better—the only true religion—arose out of its bosom to bless the world.
It is needless to refute such dogmatic assertions as Hengstenberg indulges in when arguing for a personal Messiah in the passage before us. “There cannot be any doubt that Ezekiel found in Gen. xlix. the prophecy of a personal Messiah. They therefore who assert that no such prophecy is contained in our passage must at the same time assert that Ezekiel misunderstood it.”1 Before the time of Ezekiel, a personal Messiah was announced in prophecy, and therefore he may have taken the passage and treated it as such ; but that fact does not imply that the words in the lips of Jacob referred directly to a personal Messiah. The germ of a personal Messiah is in them. When a personal Messiah had been revealed, the prophet Ezekiel may have expanded the germ into its ultimate form.
1 Christology Translated, vol. i. p. 87.
THE BOOK OF EXODUS.
I. CONTENTS.—The book of Exodus may be divided in the following manner :
1. Notices of the Hebrew people till the time of their exodus from Egypt, chapters i.-xii. 36.
2. The history of their departure out of Egypt and march to Sinai, chapters xii. 37-xviii.
3. Their encampment at mount Sinai; the giving of the decalogue with other laws and ordinances, chapters xix.-xxiv.
4. Instructions respecting the making of the tabernacle, the dress and dedication of the priests, sacrifices, and the observance of the Sabbath, chapters xxv.-xxxi.
5. The first act of apostasy, with the golden calf, the appearance of God to Moses, and the new tables of stone with the ten commandments, chapters xxxii.-xxxiv.
6. The solemnisation of the Sabbath, the erection of the tabernacle, its dedication, and the consecration of the priests, chapters xxxv.-xl.
In the first chapter, the great multiplication of the Israelites in Egypt after Joseph's death is noticed. They became a powerful people, sufficient to excite the suspicion of a later Pharaoh, who, fearing they might join his enemies, took measures for their diminution. First he tried to overwhelm them with excessive toil; then he commanded the midwives to kill all male children at their birth ; and lastly, he ordered that all the new-born boys should be thrown into the Nile. The second chapter contains an account of Moses's birth. After having been hidden by his parents for three months, he was put into an ark among the flags of the Nile. But he was found and saved by Pharaoh's daughter, who adopted him as her own. When he grew up he killed an Egyptian who had ill-treated a Hebrew; and was obliged in consequence to flee from Pharaoh. He went into Midian, where he married Zipporah, and kept the flock of his father-in-law. Here, after forty years, he received a divine commission to return to Egypt and deliver the Israelites