If you ask most people about Shiloh, you’ll likely get blank stares. Some will point out Angelina Jolie’s child. Some will reference the actor Shiloh Fernandez. Others will reference the Civil War Battle in Tennessee. Music buffs might mention a Neil Diamond song. But Christians need to understand that Shiloh is a parable about our spiritual lives.
Shiloh is a person, place, and a promise with Biblical roots. It has significant Biblical history that has gone largely unnoticed for hundreds of years until recently because people in Israel are divided between preserving history and paving a road over the location. Why is this important and what should Christians know about Shiloh in the Bible?
What Is the History and Meaning of the Word Shiloh?
The word Shiloh is used 32 times in the Old Testament to refer to a location—a city and one other time to refer to the Messiah. The first mention of Shiloh is found in Genesis 49:10 as Jacob is giving blessings to each of his sons. When he blesses Judah on his deathbed he says: “The scepter shall 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.” Here, Jacob is referring to a person—the person who would bring peace and tranquility.
Shiloh as a Promise
Here, the name Shiloh would have derived from shālâ, “to be at ease,” and would mean something like “the peace-giver.” However, a great linguistic debate continues to this day about the precise meaning as others believe it may actually mean, “the rightful Messiah,” or “the Messiah of righteousness”. Ezekiel 21:27 echoes the meaning of Genesis 49:10 too. Those who read Genesis assumed that royal power belonged forever to the house of David which was the tribe of Judah—the tribe Jesus descended from.
Shiloh as a Person
Not only does Jacob give a blessing to his son Judah, but the blessing turns into a prophecy. As he continues to bless his son, he prophecies how the Messiah, the coming savior will come into power from this line and will continue to rule forever. This Ruler will then be honored by all nations and the scepter in this passage symbolizes that power. This passage ties into the New Testament as Jesus refers to Himself as, “Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Romans 15:12 references this passage as a ruler who “arises to rule the Gentiles,” and the Apostle Paul also writes in Ephesians 2:14 that Christ, “Himself is our peace.” All three of these passages have roots in “Shiloh.”
Verse 10 is referenced in Isaiah 11:1, “the seed,” John 17:3, “the sent,” Ephesians 2:14, “the peaceable or prosperous one.” Prior to the coming of the Savoir, this blessing was a declaration to the other tribes that Judah would continue to lead in strength and power and be a symbol of authority. Even after the Israelites were captured and lived in captivity in Babylon, they continued to look back at these passages as promises for their future Messiah.
Shiloh as a Place
Not only was Shiloh a promise and a person—our mighty Savior, but it was also a place. When it was built, it was located a little northeast of the center of Ephraim.
In 12th-11th century BC, the Israelites built the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant rested in the city of Shiloh. Here, it rested for three centuries where the tribes of Israel would visit for feasts or peace offerings. From the time Israel entered the land until the time of the prophet Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant remained in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. This was also the central location where the land was divided up into the 12 sections for the 12 tribes (found in Joshua 18). And this was the background for Hannah when she visited the tabernacle to pour out her heart to God, begging Him for a child—whom God gave her Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1-28; 3:21).
When we first meet Hannah, we know she’s barren and wept bitterly for a child. So much so, the Priest Eli thinks she’s drunk. But God hears her prayers and helps her birth one of the greatest men in the Bible, Samuel.
She takes her son back to the tabernacle once he’s weaned because she promised to dedicate his life to God. At the time, Eli’s own sons were wicked and didn’t fulfill their duties nor did they honor God. But as the story goes, the hearts of God’s people grew cold too. They turned their backs on God and after many warnings, God handed them over to the Philistines. After several warnings from the Lord to turn back to Him, the Ark was then captured by the Philistines and God left His dwelling place, “He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men, and gave up His strength to captivity and His glory into the hand of the adversary,” Psalm 78:60-61. The Ark was captured, and the city was destroyed (1 Samuel 4:10-11).
Centuries later, the Prophet Jeremiah directs the attention of God’s people back to the city because the people have a new temple. A temple so grand, they put their faith and security in Solomon’s grand temple—not their mighty God. So, Jeremiah gives them a warning, “Go now to My place which was in Shiloh . . . and see what I did to it,” (Jeremiah 7:12) But God’s people refuse to listen and twenty years later, the Babylonian’s destroyed Solomon’s temple.
Photo Credit: ©SparrowStock
What Important Things Should Christians Know About Shiloh?
That was a lot of history about one little word woven throughout the Old and New Testament. But, as we look back at the promise, the person, and the place of Shiloh—the theme of God’s love and sovereignty begins to emerge from the rubble. Shiloh is a reflection of our sinful nature, being surrounded by enemies, gathering as a church, and needing a savior. Here’s what we need to keep in mind as followers of Christ:
1. God provided promises and a parable through Shiloh.
2. God dwelled among the His people in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of Shiloh.
3. Only Priests could go into the Holy of holies during certain times of the year.
4. All were required to atone for their sins via sacrifice.
5. The tabernacle was like a modern-day church. It was the center of living.
6. Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord.
7. Samuel was a little child, weaned, dead with Christ, and presented to the Lord where he learned to listen for the voice of the Lord.
8. The people continued to fall away from God so God left the Tabernacle.
9. It was captured by the enemies & the tabernacle was destroyed.
10. Later, a new grander temple was built by King Solomon. Once again people were placing their security in a building.
11. The Prophet Jeremiah points out what happened to Shiloh, later so does Christ.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/gnagel
Shiloh is a representation of what happens when we choose to put our sense of security in a building. It also reveals how time and again, God’s people faded away from total devotion to lukewarm hearts to total corruption. Instead of heeding God’s Word, they would fall prey to their enemies only to become enslaved to their masters.
But God’s promise to the tribe of Judah still echoed through the centuries, promising a temple that could never be destroyed, the true Shiloh but not through stone, brick or mortar but through Christ. Jesus (Jeremiah 7:1-15; 26:6; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 21:6) declared a new temple will be built. Jesus showed the people that our security would not come from the Tabernacle in Shiloh or Jerusalem but through Christ himself.
Today, God’s temple is His Church, living in the hearts of each of us (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) and He will never remove His spirit from us. We have the responsibility to obey His Word and to live lives that reflect what it means to be a follower of Christ. May we as the temples of Christ remain a vessel through which His glory can shine through us.
Photo Credit: ©SparrowStock
Heather Riggleman is a believer, wife, mom, author, social media consultant, and full-time writer. She lives in Minden, Nebraska with her kids, high school sweetheart, and three cats who are her entourage around the homestead. She is a former award-winning journalist with over 2,000 articles published. She is full of grace and grit, raw honesty, and truly believes tacos can solve just about any situation. You can find her on GodUpdates, iBelieve, Crosswalk, Hello Darling, Focus On The Family, and in Brio Magazine. Connect with her atwww.HeatherRiggleman.com or onFacebook.
This article is part of our larger resource library of theology terms and questions important to the Christian faith. From heaven and hell, to communion and baptism, we want to provide easy to read and understand articles that answer your questions about theological terms and their meaning.
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What Christians Should Know about Shiloh in the Bible? ›
According to the Hebrew Bible, Shiloh was the central sanctuary of the Israelites during the pre-monarchic period, before the First Temple in Jerusalem was built. After the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Tabernacle was moved to Shiloh, and remained there during the period of the biblical judges.What is significant about Shiloh in the Bible? ›
Shiloh, Canaanite town that became the central sanctuary site of the Israelite confederacy during the period of the judges (12th–11th century bc). After the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were installed in Shiloh until the Ark was captured by the Philistines (c.What is the spiritual significance of the name Shiloh? ›
"Shiloh" is a name of the messiah Jesus Christ. In one of the sacred books of the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message called The Word of the Lord or The Word of the Lord Brought to Mankind by an Angel God says that "Shiloh" is one of his names along with "Jehovah", "Jesus Christ" and others.Why did God destroy Shiloh? ›
Daddy Freeze quoted Jeremiah 7:12-15 where it was recorded that God destroyed Shiloh because of the people's wickedness.What happened to the city of Shiloh in the Bible? ›
In Psalms and in the Book of Jeremiah, the Bible tells of a destroyed Shiloh. The Israelites were defeated by the Philistines, who reportedly razed the town while they stole the Ark of the Covenant.Which woman went to Shiloh in the Bible? ›
Samuel, the son of Elkanah (of Ephraim) and Hannah, was born in answer to the prayer of his previously childless mother. In gratitude she dedicated him to the service of the chief sanctuary of Shiloh, in the charge of the priest Eli.Who Worshipped God in Shiloh? ›
Every year Elkanah went from Ramah to worship and offer sacrifices to the LORD Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the LORD. Each time Elkanah offered his sacrifice, he would give one share of the meat to Peninnah and one share to each of her children.What happened in Shiloh? ›
On April 7, 1862, the Civil War's Battle of Shiloh ended with a United States (Union) victory over Confederate forces in Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. The two-day conflict was at that point the bloodiest battle in American history, with more than 23,000 dead and wounded.What his name means hidden by God? ›
Zephaniah is a masculine name of Hebrew origin that means "hidden by God." This is a biblical name shared with minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible and its meaning is symbolic of God's protection.Where in the Bible does it say and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh? ›
1 Samuel 3:21 King James Version (KJV)
And the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
What did God do in Shiloh Jeremiah? ›
The Lord destroyed Shiloh as he exiled his people in northern Israel. The fact that the Tabernacle was there or had been there did not prevent that punishment.How did God reveal himself to Samuel at Shiloh? ›
The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD. The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.Who cried in Shiloh? ›
Hannah and Eli
One day, after they had finished their meal in the house of the LORD at Shiloh, Hannah got up. She was deeply distressed, and she cried bitterly as she prayed to the LORD.
The Daughters of Shiloh is a choreographed dance based on the story ofthe Benjaminites and the War of Gibeah, and how they captured women to be their wives, a Jewish story from the Book of Judges.Was the Tabernacle destroyed at Shiloh? ›
The Philistines won the battle, captured the Ark, and then marched on Shiloh, ultimately destroying the Tabernacle there ( 1 Samuel 4 ; Jeremiah 7:12–14 , 26:6 , 26:9 ; Psalms 78:60 ). Until that defeat, for many years, Shiloh had served as the religious center of the Israelite tribal confederation.How long did the Tabernacle remain at Shiloh? ›
The Tabernacle remained at Shiloh for 369 years, according to the Talmud. The Philistines went to war against the Jews, destroyed the city, and captured the Holy Ark.Why did the family go to Shiloh each year? ›
Every year Elkanah and his family would travel to Shiloh to worship and offer sacrifice. Shiloh was the site where the tabernacle, or “the house of the Lord” (1 Samuel 1:7), was located.Who prayed in Shiloh in the Bible? ›
Every year Elkanah, together with his family, would go to the tabernacle at Shiloh for an annual festival. At this particular festival, Hannah's purpose is to ask God for the gift of a child.What is the origin of Shiloh in the Bible? ›
Shiloh is mentioned by Jacob the father of the 12 tribes of Israel in Genesis 49:10 within the context of the return of the messiah. The meaning "He Who It Is" which is a Messianic title representing Jesus Christ.What does the name Shilo mean in Hebrew? ›
Shilo is a gender-neutral name with Hebrew origins meaning “his gift.” This name is a variant of the ancient name Shiloh. In the Christian Bible, Shiloh is a prophetic name for the Messiah. But In modern culture, some of you may recognize this name as the title of a Neil Diamond track.
What was the tent of meeting in Shiloh? ›
The tent of meeting contained the ark of the covenant and was where the Lord's presence would descend (Exod 33:7–11). Shiloh became the first central cultic site in ancient Israel, which means it served as the location to which the Israelite people travel to perform acts of worship.Who was the priest of Shiloh who taught Samuel? ›
Eli, the priest at Shiloh (who had heard Hannah's vow), trained the boy to serve Yahweh at the shrine, which Samuel's mother and father visited annually.What was special about Shiloh? ›
According to the Hebrew Bible, Shiloh was the central sanctuary of the Israelites during the pre-monarchic period, before the First Temple in Jerusalem was built. After the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Tabernacle was moved to Shiloh, and remained there during the period of the biblical judges.What is the main problem in Shiloh? ›
A book can have many themes, and in Shiloh, the two main themes are dishonesty and responsibility. Marty continues to be dishonest throughout most of the book and he takes on a great deal of responsibility, including being responsible for Shiloh and his own actions.What happened to Shiloh in Chapter 9? ›
Ma finds out about Shiloh and agrees to keep him a secret for one day. Marty comes up with a plan to give Shiloh away the next day. However, that night a German Shepherd attacks Shiloh in his pen, and Dad finds out about the secret, too. Marty doesn't care because he is too worried about the wounds on Shiloh.What is the most powerful name of God? ›
Yahweh is the principal name in the Old Testament by which God reveals himself and is the most sacred, distinctive and incommunicable name of God.What name means God hears? ›
In the Bible, Simon is one of the leading apostles, and the man who carried the cross for Christ. In Hebrew, it means "he has heard."What is the forgotten name of God? ›
The correct pronunciation of GOD's HOLY NAME, "YHWH" has been forbidden and now forgotten so euphemisms are used in it's place. The importance of THE NAME of 'YHWH' cannot be overstated. YHWH is THE ONLY NAME that GOD said is HIS NAME. HIS NAME "YHWH" is written nearly 7,000 times in the Hebrew Bible.Who was Samuel commissioned to replace at Shiloh? ›
Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah, and he was born at Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim. Brought to the Temple at Shiloh as a young child to serve God in fulfillment of a vow made by his mother, he succeeded Eli as the high priest and judge of Israel.How far was Shiloh from Ramathaim? ›
Shiloh was about 24 kilometres (15 miles) east of Ramah. 1:3 When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God.
Who ran to meet the Lord in the Plains of Mamre? ›
Bible Gateway Genesis 18 :: NIV. The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.What happened to Shiloh in Jeremiah? ›
God then told Jeremiah to warn the people what would happen if they did not listen in the sense of not hearing and obeying. b. Then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse: The city of Shiloh was the place conquered and destroyed by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4, Psalm 78:56-64).What happened to Shiloh from Jeremiah 7 12? ›
Shiloh sadly was destroyed by the Philistines around 1100–1050 B.C. God allowed this to happen because the Israelites were worshiping other gods, the same problem that was happening during the time of Jeremiah. God directs the people of Judah to go and look at the ruins that were once Shiloh.Who prayed for a son at Shiloh? ›
Several months later, Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him." Baby Samuel lived with his family and they loved him very much. But when Samuel was old enough, Hannah made good on her promise to dedicate him to God.Who did God call 3 times? ›
Samuel was a young boy being raised by a priest named Eli. One night, Samuel heard someone call his name and he thought it was Eli. So, Samuel went and asked Eli what he needed, but Eli had not called him! This happened to Samuel three times that night.What is the meaning of Shiloh in Genesis? ›
The word 'Shiloh' is a Hebrew word—a name, really, that has two meanings attached to it. One is “gift from God,” the other is “peaceful one.” Both are a good fit, aren't they?How old was Samuel when he was taken to Shiloh? ›
Samuel worked under Eli in the service of the shrine at Shiloh. One night, Samuel heard a voice calling his name. According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, Samuel was 12 years old.Who prayed to God for a child? ›
Hannah longed to give birth to a son. However, in I Samuel 1:5, 6, we read, “the Lord closed Hannah's womb.” Hannah prayed, asking God to give her a son for several years. Hannah felt hopeless, God was not answering her prayer, but God had a plan.Who was the barren woman who prayed for a child? ›
Elizabeth, wife of Zachariah, and Samson's mother, wife to Manoah, both stood firm in their faith even when their husbands doubted God's plans. The Shunammite woman begged for God to give her a son, and when all was lost, she displayed steadfast faith and courage.What is the historical significance of Shiloh? ›
The Battle of Shiloh's significance is that it was the Confederacy's best chance at holding off the Union army and keeping them out of Mississippi. The Confederacy also lost an important General in Albert Sydney Johnston. Though they suffered 13,000 casualties, this was an important victory for the Union.
What was the battle of Shiloh known for? ›
The battle was the costliest engagement of the Civil War up to that point, and its nearly 24,000 casualties made it one of the bloodiest battles in the entire war.What was Hannah's prayer in Shiloh? ›
She prayed to God, reminding God that she was God's servant and wanted but one thing only. Then she made a promise. She said: "Oh, God Almighty, if you will only see my misery and remember me by giving me a son, then I will give my son to serve you, God, for all the days of his life."Is Shiloh a biblical name? ›
Shiloh is mentioned by Jacob the father of the 12 tribes of Israel in Genesis 49:10 within the context of the return of the messiah. The meaning "He Who It Is" which is a Messianic title representing Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, the name Shiloh is a great choice for parents who want to give their daughter a strong and meaningful name. The name has a rich history and an interesting origin story, and it's been gaining popularity in recent years.What is the lesson of Shiloh? ›
Major themes in Shiloh include justice, and determining what is right or wrong, and the importance of family and friends.Which tribe possessed Shiloh? ›
The patriarch Jacob first spoke of Shiloh on his deathbed, giving a promise to the tribe of Judah: “The scepter shall 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” (Genesis 49:10).