Question: Can you give me some explanation of Genesis 49:10-12? I am confused about statements such as "washing garments in wine" and "eyes red with wine. Who is "Shiloh?"
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (10) Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: (12) His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. - Genesis 49:10-12
- In Verse 10, the word translated “sceptre” is the Hebrew word "shebet" and signifies a rod or staff. Each tribe of Israel had its own rod or staff with the tribal staff or tribal identity. The literal reading would be
“The tribal identity shall not depart from Judah.... until Shiloh come."
- “Shiloh” means "the bringer of peace" and is speaking of Christ, who is the Bringer of Peace. Remember, Judah is the tribe through which Christ was to come. (Fulfilled in Luke 3:33). In order to know that Christ was the true Messiah, the tribal identity of Judah had to be in existence. The records of which tribe each Jew was a descendent from were kept in the temple at Jerusalem. These records were available to anyone questioning Christ's authority as the Messiah. This prophecy (Genesis 49:10) states that these records identifying Judah and his descendents would be in existence until Shiloh (Christ) came. These records were in existence until they were destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus, a general in the Roman army. He attacked Jerusalem, destroyed it and scattered the Jews world-wide.
- Verse 11 covers the Jewish Nation and individual Jewish believers. (Read carefully Matthew 21:4-7 & Zechariah 9:9).
- “…Unto the vine” is referring to the Nation of Israel.
- "…Choice vine" is referring to the ones who would trust Him as their Messiah.
- The Fig tree, the Olive tree and the Vine are all in reference to the Nation of Israel.
(a). The fig tree indicates the national privileges of Israel.
(b). The olive tree is the religious privileges of Israel.
(c). The vine represents the spiritual privileges of Israel.
- Christ came unto the Vine (Israel) with the spiritual privilege of first accepting Him as their Messiah; but they, as a nation, rejected Him. (John 1:11). “Own” in this verse is Israel. But the “choice vine” were the precious Jews who did acknowledge HIM as their Savior. (John 1:12).
- Genesis 49:11b-12, “…he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” These verses cover primarily two things concerning Christ. First, His attitude and second, His sacrifice. The first is mental and the second is physical.
- Wine in the Bible is a symbol of joy and happiness.
- Blood and grapes are a symbol of judgment in the Bible.
- Milk has to do with the word of God.
With this in mind we can now begin to see the meaning of these verses. Many times God uses symbols and earthly materials to illustrate a truth. Now that we know that wine has reference to joy, we can see that when "…he ( Christ)' washed His garments in wine" and "…his eyes shall be red with wine” is referring to the joy that was set before Him, even the Cross. Hebrews 12:2 explains,
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; WHO FOR THE JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The joy of the Cross is that it would now enable anyone to have eternal life by simple faith. Christ loved us so much that he looked (“His eyes”) upon the Cross with joy, seeing that this was the only way He could set men free of their sins. This is referring to His attitude.
Now His sacrifice, as pictured in the "blood of grapes", has reference to judgment. In Revelation 14:20 we read
"And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress even unto the horses bridles by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (170 miles)."
Of course, this is referring to the battle of Armageddon at the end of the tribulation, when judgment is poured out on the ungodly.
This prophecy is not referring to His rendering immediate judgment upon the ungodly; but the offering of Himself as the payment of judgment for our sins. (Look up Isaiah 53:5,6; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5; John 19:30, referring to the Cross). The baptism in Luke 12:50 is also referring to His sacrifice on the Cross to bear our judgment for sin.
The "milk" is referring to the word of God. (1 Peter 2:2; 1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:13). Christ constantly proclaimed that He was the Messiah by referring to the Word of God in the Old Testament prophecies concerning Himself. His mouth was continually proclaiming the Word of God concerning His identity.
Praise the Lord that we have believed the record God gave of his son.
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."- 1 John 5:11, 12
(Read also Romans 10:17). The most valuable thing in the world today is the Word of God, for there could be no eternal life without it.
"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."- Romans. 10:17
*Note Reference Verse 12: Some infidels have asserted that this statement, “…his eyes shall be red with wine,” meant that Christ would be a winebibber and become intoxicated on occasions. Only the stupid and unlearned could derive such an asinine thought! Here the Hebrew translated wine is “yayin” and is a generic word. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word in its broadest meaning designates grape juice; and when not restricted in its meaning by some word or circumstance, comprehends vinous beverages of every sort, however produced. It is, therefore, often restricted to the sweet, fruit of the vine in its natural and unintoxicating state.
Now, notice the word translated “with” in this text. It is from the Hebrew “im.” This Hebrew word has various applications depending on the context of the sentence and etc. Here, the English “as” would seem more appropriate. Now let’s read the sentence. “His eyes shall be red as wine.” The wine, i.e., the “fruit of the vine;” that delicious MUST (from the Latin “mustum”), the young juice of the grape before induced fermentation, was a delight and joy to the partaker. In other words, the color of the juice, as a simple illustration, reflected in His eyes the joy of what the Cross of Calvary was going to produce. His precious blood shed for the sin of mankind.