for $4.00 per hour. She said to me: ‘I don’t feel that I can pay over $2.00 per hour, and you probably aren’t interested in coming for that either.’
“I assured her that I would be happy to come and read the Bible to her, not for $2.00 per hour, but absolutely free. She expressed surprise that anyone would volunteer her services without cost, and particularly to a stranger. I told her I was one of Jehovah’s witnesses and that we devote many hours of our time encouraging and promoting more thorough individual home Bible reading, and studying the Bible with the people free of charge. I arranged for a visit the following Friday.
“Since Awake! magazine on ‘World Conditions Explained by the Bible in Your Home,’ was the current issue at the time, it was an excellent topic to use. We discussed world conditions and looked up many scriptures. Then I read her one of the articles on that subject from Awake! Before either of us realized it, the hour was gone. As I got ready to leave she handed me $2.00 and apologized that it was not more. When I refused, she said, ‘Well, if you won’t use it for yourself, use it in your work.’ I told her if she would like to have Awake! and its companion magazine The Watchtower come to her home by mail she could contribute $2.00 for a year’s subscription to both. Then we would always have something from which to read when I came. She readily agreed to this, but still tried to pay me $2.00 in addition, which, of course, I declined.
“Since then we have considered many Bible subjects and have been through two booklets. She has often said that she has learned more about the Bible in these last few months than in all the years that she was able to read it herself. And she still asks me when I get ready to leave, ‘Can’t I pay you something for your time?’ Truly this is a unique Bible study!”
Questions From Readers
● According to Genesis 49:10, Jacob said prophetically: “The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes.” Is there a difference between a scepter and a commander’s staff?—O. S., U.S.A.
Yes, the scepter and the commander’s staff Jacob mentioned in his deathbed blessing of Judah evidently refer to different things.
In poetic compositions or expressions it is not uncommon to find terms that parallel each other. However, though they are quite similar, often the one term, when compared with the other, conveys to the mind a subtle difference of thought, introducing a new element, as it were. This device frequently serves to heighten one’s appreciation or to enhance his comprehension of what has been written or spoken. It appears that Jacob employed such a method while blessing his sons. For instance, he said that Dan would “prove to be a serpent by the roadside, a horned snake at the wayside,” using such expressions in a good sense to show how Dan would be a danger to enemies of the Israelites. (Gen. 49:17) So, it would not be amiss to conclude that the terms “scepter” and “commander’s staff” also vary somewhat in meaning or significance.
The use of these terms with reference to Judah would, at least, indicate that significant authority and power would reside with that tribe. Yet, more than mere tribal authority and dominance were evidently involved, for Jacob indicated that Shiloh, to whom “the obedience of the people will belong,” would come from the tribe of Judah. That would betoken regal authority and power over others. Surely, when David of the tribe of Judah became Israel’s king at Jehovah’s direction, the scepter and the commander’s staff proved to be in the possession of the tribe of Judah. Such would not depart from Judah before the coming of the Permanent Ruler, Shiloh.—2 Sam. 7:8-16.
Scepters can be of varied lengths. In ancient times, just as in the present day, scepters held in the hands of rulers signify authority. Hence, the scepter in the hand of a king symbolizes royal sovereignty.—Ps. 45:6.
Jacob also indicated that Judah’s staff as a commander was between his feet. This would refer to a long staff. Often it rested upon the ground and would lie back against the fold of