Judah, the lion and leader

Judah, the lion and leader

6th December

The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the mace from between his feet, until it comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the peoples is his.” (Genesis 49:10)

Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob and we find his story in the book of Genesis. He was the son of Jacob’s wife Leah and a direct ancestor of Christ (Luke 3:33). However, he was no saint. He sold his brother Joseph into slavery and slept with his daughter-in-law, Tamar. On the plus side, he did later intervene to try to save another of his brothers, Benjamin.

When his father Jacob was on his deathbed, he had some last words for each of his sons. When Judah’s turn came, Jacob said to him: ““Judah, your brothers shall praise you. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies. The sons of your father shall bow down before you. A young lion is Judah. From the prey, my son, you have turned. He crouches like a lion, and like a lioness; who dares to rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the mace from between his feet, until it comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the peoples is his.” (Genesis 49:8-10)

From the very beginning of the Church, this was also understood as a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, who would be a descendant of Judah and rule the nations. In the New Testament, Christ was identified as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” who would rule the nations with an iron sceptre (Revelation 5:5;12:5).

In this marouflage painting, we see Judah pictured with the prophecy about his descendant, the Messiah. It was created in the early 20th century by the studio of Nathaniel Westlake and is found within the sanctuary of Holy Ghost, Basingstoke. The painting forms part of a Jesse Tree series that also features other prophets and ancestors of Christ from the Old Testament.

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