Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Place of rest
Strong's Concordance #H7887

The word Shiloh used in the prophecy of Genesis 49:10 should be translated "He." This is because it is likely a symbolic reference to Jesus Christ.

The Bible is silent regarding when the city of Shiloh was conquered by the Israelites after they entered the Promised Land. It also does not list it as being given to any of the tribes as an inheritance, although its location shows it was located in the land given to Ephraim.

Shiloh is the place where Joshua cast lots to divide the remaining Promised Land that existed west of the Jordan River (Joshua 18:1 - 19:48). Additionally, it was where the Levities were assigned cities throughout Israel (21:1 - 42).

Home of the Ark

The Ark of the Covenant and its tabernacle were setup in Shiloh in 1398 B.C., the year Joshua had lots cast for the remaining parts of the Promised Land (Joshua 18:1). The Ark remained in the city until 1085 B.C. It was in this eventful year that Samuel began to judge Israel and the Ark was taken in battle by the Philistines (1Samuel 4:1 - 17).

Location of Shiloh in Ancient Israel Map
Location of Shiloh in Ancient Israel

God (somewhat humorously) punished the Philistines for roughly seven months for possessing the Ark (1Samuel 5 - 6:1). Israel, when they finally received back the Ark, took it to Kirjath-jearim (1Samuel 6:21 - 7:2).

What Happened to It?

Very little is mentioned in the Bible about the city after the Ark left it in 1085 B.C. God does state he forsook his tabernacle in the city (Psalm 78:60). Later, he says he allowed the city to be destroyed because of the wickedness of his people (Jeremiah 7:12 - 14, 26:6, 9).

Though not directly recorded, Shiloh was almost certainly destroyed by the Philistines during their war with Israel in 1085. This would explain why neither the Philistines nor Israelites brought the Ark back to the city. Although it was eventually rebuilt after this conflict (see 1Kings 14:2, Jeremiah 41:5), it never returned to the prominence and glory it had once held.

Important Verses


Genesis 49:10
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (He) come: and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.


Joshua 18:3, 10
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you? . . . And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord: and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions.

Judges 21:12, 21
And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

1Samuel 4:3
And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.

1Kings 2:26 - 27
And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death . . . So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the Lord: that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Jeremiah 7:1, 11 - 12
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying . . . Is this house, which is called by my name (the temple in Jerusalem), become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.

But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).