Revelation 12:5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, |
Believing the time of his departure was nigh, Jacob blesses his children. The pronounced words are not just blessings; they are insights into the future of Israel, and thereby, of the world. When comes Judah’s turn, Jacob says, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples (Genesis 49:10).
Judah’s ‘scepter’ takes a prominent place in the Torah from Genesis to Revelation. The Hebrew word for it is ‘Shevet’, a word also related to ‘tribe’, each tribe being represented by the staff of the tribe leader.
In Genesis thirty-eight, Judah uses his staff as collateral; as a token of identity. It was most probably a shepherd’s staff, a tool that represents the ruling, shepherding, and even disciplining of the flock. Judah’s staff is a foreshadow of the Messiah’s scepter as it is said in the Psalms, Adonai sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies (Psalms 110:2)! This staff/scepter represents Messiah’s ruling and disciplining of the disobedient as the psalmist says: You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (Psalms 2:9)". King David must have believed in this rod of discipline as his son Solomon often talks about it in his proverbs (Proverbs 13:24).
The ‘shevet’ of Messiah is not only a tool of correction; it is also used for protection against those wolves that would eat us alive if they could. It is also Messiah’s instrument of comfort as is said, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod (Shevet) and your staff, they comfort me (Psalms 23:4), and the sign of our passage into covenant with Him: I will make you pass under the rod (shevet), and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant (Ezekiel 20:37).
The staff/scepter/rod/shevet of Messiah is powerful to chastise, to lead, to comfort, and represents a rite of passage of some sort. Isaiah speaks of the ‘rod of His mouth’, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod (shevet) of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked (Isaiah 11:4), indicating that this rod/staff/scepter/shevet is also the spoken Word of the Master.
May we pay attention to His Word. May we obey them carefully and emulate Abba by emulating the Master. The word Judah or ‘Yehudah’ means to praise God. It is not enough to praise the Father in Words only; we praise Him best through our actions of obedience to His ways. Just as we as fathers feel praise and honor when our children emulate and obey us, the Father which is in Heaven is also praised and honored when we obey and emulate Him who He has chosen to give us as a guide. It is our choice whether the ‘shevet’ of Messiah is the gentle leading staff of the Great Shepherd, or becomes the heavy a rod of iron and correction.
Patrick Gabriel Lumbroso
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Shevet, tribes of Israel, Judah, Jacob, parashat vayechi, Genesis,