8. Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9. Judah is a lion’s whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him up?
This is a glorious promise. For he has nothing bad to say about Judah but only the best and most splendid things, even though this tribe also had very wicked kings. Therefore just as he keeps silence here about every curse, so he made no mention at all above of the blessing and only set forth nature as an example, just as he praises grace in this passage. For in that tribe were the godless kings Jeroboam, Ahaz, Shallum, Manasseh, etc. Yet here nothing but good is spoken of Judah.
But the reason for and the origin of this exceedingly rich blessing is that one flower which was to come into the world from the people of God, namely, Christ Jesus, for whose sake all good things had to be said not to nature but to grace. And it is special wisdom or revelation that he makes such a clear distinction in this tribe concerning this Seed. For this light not only rational or political prudence and knowledge but a special spirit was required in this shepherd, whose office was not political but concerned his flock and his church, to which he predicts such great and such certain things.
Luther’s works, vol. 8: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 45-50