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Where is Shiloh שִׁלֹ֔ה ? Judges 21:19 gives us a map direction:

Judges 21:19 “But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”

It tells us that Shiloh is in the middle of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem (see the map below).

Amorites first settled Shiloh in the Middle Bronze (MB) II period, around 1750 BCE (Per BAR).  Then, Shiloh became an important city to the Israelites after Joshua defeated the Canaanites.  Shiloh was a place where:

  • the tent of meeting was first accommodated.
  • Joshua distributed the land (Josh 18:1-10; 21:1-8).
  • Hannah received the promise of a son Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-28; 2:18-20).
  • was an old city in Samaria – the place where Jesus the Messiah was on the way to Galilee before encountering the woman at the well (John 4:1-45).
More importantly, Shiloh is used as a Messianic prophecy in Genesis 49:10:
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

“The scepter will not depart from Judah”:  The scepter is the symbol of kingship which emphasizes Judah’s right to rule and that his preeminence is not going to disappear.

“Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet”:  Referring to the previous phrase, it means that the lawgiver will not cease.

“Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples”:  Shiloh in Hebrew, שִׁילֹה translated as a possessive pronoun as “whose it is” or “whose right it is” שֶׁלּוֹ.  The Septuagint, Syriac Version, Dead Sea Scrolls 4QPBless, and even Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 97 interprets as “to whom kingship belongs שֶׁלּוֹ (shelo)….”  So the rabbinic view was clearly that this was a reference to the Messianic line.

There is a very close parallel found in Ezekiel 21:27:

Ezekiel 21:27 “Ruins, ruins, ruins, I will make it! This also will be no longer until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.”

What it means is that Judah will exercise royal power from generation to generation until the Messiah comes and His kingship will remain forever.  And our Jewish Messiah has come and His name is called Jesus.  And He will come again to rule His kingdom forever.

*Commentary related to Genesis 49:10 referenced by Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s Ariel’s Bible Commentary for the Book of Genesis.

virtual tour

Tel Shiloh’s website has a very cool virtual tour to educate us about the ancient Shiloh and the tent of meeting. Although the language is in Hebrew for the virtual tour, the animation and the picture are self-explanatory.  Click here to view the virtual tour.


As you can see in the middle of this picture, there is a route (the orange line) from Shechem to Bethel, and Shiloh is in the middle of this route.

entrance of tel shiloh

A colorful hologram depicting the tabernacle. In the Tel Shiloh, there is a mini theater to show a movie about the 12 tribes and Samuel. They have a nice gift shop with the best olive oil in Israel.

ancient shiloh site

Shiloh served as the center of Israelite worship for over three centuries. This picture showed a possible site where the Ark of the Covenant was placed before being transported to Jerusalem.

ancient wall

Excavations have discovered multiple layers, dating back from the Late Bronze Age (1550 BCE-1200 BCE) and Iron Age (1200 BCE-586 BCE) to Byzantine and Muslim periods.

ancient village

The village remained occupied until around 1070 BCE, when it was possibly destroyed by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4).  However, in about 980-587 BCE, inhabitants rebuilt Shiloh through Islamic times.

oil press

You can still see an ancient oil press in Tel Shiloh.

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