The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.(Genesis 49:10 NLT)
Jacob, advanced in years, eyesight dimming, strength failing, feels a strange stirring in his weary soul. It has been a very long time since he last felt this power, but He recognizes it. It is the spirit of prophecy. It’s clear now. Before he dies, Jacob must speak over each of his 12 sons, so he summons them to his bedside.
These are not necessarily words of blessing but words of destiny. For better or for worse, Jacob’s prophetic pronouncement over each son will outline a future for their descendants—one that is rooted both in the character and calling of the man.
He begins with the eldest, Reuben, and then moves on to Simeon and Levi. His forecasts for their posterities are not encouraging. Quite the opposite. So Judah, the fourth-born, is bracing himself for bad news as his turn approaches.
Instead, this prophetic pronouncement over Judah—the longest one Jacob will deliver, except for the one for his beloved Joseph—holds nothing but good news. At the heart of it lies a prediction filled with kingly symbolism. A “scepter” is mentioned, as is a “ruler’s staff.” Jacob’s decree suggests that when the future God-ordained kings of Israel arise, they will come from one tribe only: the descendants of the one whose name means “praise.”
And so it would be. From David to Zedekiah, only men of Judah ruled from Jerusalem.
But wait! There is an expiration date on Jacob’s prophetic prediction. The Tribe of Judah’s monopoly on the throne of Judah was only “until . . .” Until what?
“. . . until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.”
Roughly 1,800 years after Jacob’s prophecy, two direct descendants of Judah will meet. One of those descendants, a young maiden, will become the “promised One’s” biological mother. The other, a man, will serve as His legal father. There, lying in Mary’s arms as Joseph looks on, is that One to whom the scepter truly belongs. No other kings will come from Judah. Nor should they.
After all, the King of Kings has come. And soon, people of “all nations”—hearts from every tribe and tongue in every corner of the planet—will hear of it and honor Him.
Prayer of Declaration
Jesus, my King, all authority in heaven and on earth is Yours. Truly heaven’s royal scepter and the ruler’s staff of earth belong to You, and You alone. What a blessing it is to be the subject of a King who is kind, good, and compassionate, yet mighty and wise. May You receive the honor You are due among the nations. May Your enemies be made a footstool for Your feet.