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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature


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Shiloh, 1

Shi´loh, the epithet applied, in the prophetic benediction of Jacob on his death-bed (), to the personage to whom 'the gathering of the nations should be,' and which has ever been regarded by Christians and by the ancient Jews as a denomination of the Messiah. The oracle occurs in the blessing of Judah, and is thus worded—'The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come: and unto him the gathering of the people shall be.' The term itself, as well as the whole passage to which it belongs, has ever been a fruitful theme of controversy between Jews and Christians, the former, although they admit for the most part the Messianic reference of the text, being still fertile in expedients to evade the Christian argument founded upon it. Neither our limits nor our object will permit us to enter largely into the theological bearings of this prediction; but it is perhaps scarcely possible to do justice to the discussion as a question of pure philology, without at the same time displaying the strength of the Christian interpretation, and trenching upon the province occupied by the proofs of Jesus of Nazareth being the Messiah of the Old Testament prophecies.

Various etymologies have been assigned to the term. Some very eminent commentators trace it to the root to rest, to be at peace, and make it equivalent to Pacificator, Tranquillizer, or Great Author of Peace. This is a sense accordant with the anticipated and realized character of the Messiah, one of whose crowning denominations is 'Prince of Peace.' Another opinion is, that it is derived from a word which signifies to ask, seek, require, and that its import is the asked, the desired, a designation which is, equally with the former, in accordance with the character of the predicted Messiah, and is free from some philological objections to which the other derivation is liable.

Shiloh, 2

Shiloh, a city in the tribe of Ephraim, situated among the hills to the north of Bethel, eastward of the great northern road, where the tabernacle and ark remained for a long time, from the days of Joshua, during the ministry of all the judges, down to the end of Eli's life (; ). To this circumstance Shiloh owed all its importance; for after the loss of the ark—which never returned thither after it had been restored to Israel by the Philistines—it sunk into insignificance. It was, indeed, the residence of Ahijah the prophet (;; ), but it is more than once mentioned as accursed and forsaken (;;; ). The last mention of it in Scripture is in , which only shows that it survived the exile. Dr. Robinson identifies it with a place named Seilun, a city surrounded by hills, with an opening by a narrow valley into a plain on the south. The ruins consist chiefly of an old tower with walls four feet thick, and of large stones and fragments of columns indicative of an ancient site (Robinson's Palestine, iii. 85-89).





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Shiloh'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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