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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Early Use of Wine in the Bible > Judah

JUDAH (Gen. 49:8-12)

Before his death Jacob gave a word of prophecy concerning each of his twelve sons, the sons who would multiply into the tribes of the nation. He predicted that Judah, and thus the tribe of Judah, would be elevated among the tribes and would eventually rule over the other tribes. Jacob declares to Judah: “Your father’s children shall bow down before you” (Gen. 49:8). This prediction came to pass in King David, a descendant of Judah, and in David’s descendants who ruled over the southern kingdom.

Jacob further predicted that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah . . . until Shiloh comes” (v. 10). In other words, the right to rule would remain with Judah until Shiloh—the coming Messiah, or Christ—appeared. And to Shiloh “shall be the obedience of the people” (v. 10; lit., “peoples,” Heb. is plural); that is, the people would submit to His rule, the rule of Messiah. The rule of Judah will become the rule of Christ, the one portends the Other. Judah’s rule culminates in the rule of the KING OF KINGS (Rev. 19:16; see: Rule of Christ).

To the vine shall “His donkey” and “His donkey’s colt” be bound; “His garments” will be washed in “wine” (yayin) and His clothes in “the blood of grapes” (Gen. 49:11). In this verse “His” is a reference to “Shiloh” and the dominion that He will exercise.

The prediction suggests a time of prosperity and plenty, a time of the abundance of good things. Blessing will characterize Shiloh’s rule, for the time of Messiah will be a time of fullness. There will be more than enough. He will even be able to wash His clothes “in wine” or “in the blood of grapes,” an idiom for wine (see: Deut. 32:14). That which is highly prized will be widely available. Wine will be abundant.

Wine in this passage is associated with Jacob, his son Judah, the tribe of Judah, the rule of David, the Messiah, the rule of the Messiah, and the richness that will characterize the coming reign of Christ.

The entire drama of God’s redemption is associated with wine.

If wine is, as some think, in and of itself “evil,” then why does God see fit in His Revelation to use wine in such important identifications? Why is wine spoken of in such a positive manner if it is not an acceptable drink? Or is there a quality about wine that makes it deserving of such recognition?

So I commended enjoyment,
because a man has nothing better under the sun
than to eat, drink, and be merry;
for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life
which God gives him under the sun.
Eccles. 8:15

The wine in the bottle does not quench thirst.
George Herbert

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