Could anyone inform me about the scriptural/biblical foundation for the concept of mashiach? From which verse(s) came the conclusion that the 'idea of' mashiach exist? How was it determined that there is a mashiach?

  • I don't have time right now, but I will add an answer to this question later. Stand by. (And hopefully no one with beat me to it.) ;D
    – ezra
    Aug 17, 2016 at 22:36
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    @EzraHoerster hopefully Mashiach will beat you to it
    – Heshy
    Aug 18, 2016 at 0:10
  • It is discussed explicitly in the Mishnah, which is associated with the Oral Law.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 18, 2016 at 3:22
  • I once read that it came from Bamidbar 24:17, The hebrew word for scepter, shevet, is translated as Mashiach in Aramaic (like in Onkelos).
    – Levi
    Aug 18, 2016 at 5:45
  • I would suggest that you clarify the question to refer explicitly to the eschatological/redemptive mashiach and not the generic concept - kings and high-priests required annointing/mashiach, and there were many called "annointed" throughout history, including King David himself. Regarding the "redemptive mashiach," there are multiple indirect references within the written Torah, discussions of it within the oral tradition/Talmud/Midrash, and many direct references within Tanach itself. Aug 18, 2016 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


not everything has a source in scripture. things that can be deduced from reason often do not have a source there. The concept of the Messiah is that history is not a chain of events going nowhere but that there is a goal and it is going in that direction, namely, towards G-d's ultimate plan. (see Rabbi Uziel Milevsky here for more).

nevertheless there are some hints in the torah, the earliest is in Genesis 1:2 "And the spirit of G‑d hovered above the surface of the waters" - midrash rabba - "The spirit of G‑d hovered"—this is the spirit of Moshiach

see also Rambam, Laws of Kings, ch.11:

"G‑d, your G‑d, will return your captivity and have mercy on you. He will return and gather you [from all the nations whither G‑d, your G‑d, has scattered you]. If your banished shall be at the utmost end of the heavens [G‑d, your G‑d, will gather you from there]... (Numbers 24:17) "A Star shall come out of Jacob. This is David - And a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel. This is the king Messiah" see here.

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    Thanks for the respons, but if the source isn't in scripture, them where did it came from en how was it determined as a legit concept/idea? Ofcourse there are many verses and quotes that hints to Messiah , but I wondered where all these started. Someone had to notice that there was something through which the concept of Mashiach was discovered, right? Aug 18, 2016 at 10:44
  • @UserWants2Know actually it is in scripture as explained by the oral law (midrash). it wasnt determined as legit, it was received as part of the oral law from sinai
    – ray
    Aug 18, 2016 at 11:01
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    I understand, but the oral law is past from mouth to mouth right? So would you say the Jewish people knew of this (concept of Mashiach) from the start (the revelation on mount Sinai) untill now? If this is the case, I wonder where I can find the first record of this concept. Aug 18, 2016 at 12:31
  • , to me that seems to be the Tenach/Torah; and thats the whole point of my question: the Tenach or Torah doesn't speak explicit about a Mashiach, but on the other hand there are so many verses that do imply that there is something like a Messianic era and a Mashiach (anointed one); so its from the scriptures that we can reduce the concept of Mashiach; I wonder when, by whom or which verse it was reduce first Aug 18, 2016 at 12:31
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    @mevaqesh you're right, it's the earliest evidence or source that shows the Jews had a believe in the concept of Mashiach (the one of the messainic era) I'm looking for Aug 19, 2016 at 13:14

Wikipedia has a list of places in Nach that definitely refer to an eschatological messianic figure. There are also many locations in the Torah itself that refer to future events and individuals elliptically. This question provides many verses and their interpretations. For instance:

  • Yaakov's explicitly labels his final address to his children as eschatological - "I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days." (Gen. 49:10) He later refers to a continuity of power within the Tribe of Judah and a gathering of all the nations. Chazal understand this to refer to the Davidic line as having eternal kingship, fully realized at the end of days.
  • Bilaam's final prophecy when he also tells Balak what will happen to HIS nation at the end of days (Num. 24:14) refers to a "star descending from Yaakov and a scepter from Israel" - a metonymy connected to the scepter of Judah prophesied by Yaakov and understood to refer to the same messianic king.

These two may be the most direct references to a messianic figure in the Torah, but many other verses are interpreted to refer to messianic times (such as the end of both sets of klalos).

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    "Acharit hayamim" doesn't necessarily mean "end of days", eschatologically. It can be equally understood as "at a later time".
    – magicker72
    Aug 18, 2016 at 15:54
  • @magicker72 except that that's inconsistent with other occasions in which "at a later time" is used throughout Tanach. I mean, you can reinterpret as you wish, but that's not really pshat anymore - acharit hayamim literally means "the last/end of the days," what you suggest as an interpretation would properly be configured "le'achar yamim rabim" or something similar, which DOES show up elsewhere. Aug 18, 2016 at 16:56
  • @Isaac Kotlicky is this link about what you refered to? jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/… Aug 18, 2016 at 21:11
  • @IsaacKotlicky On Gen 49:1, see Radak, Hizkuni, Shmuel ben Hofni, Shadal, and Netziv. On Num 24:14, see Shadal and Netziv. And in general see Daat Mikra (very straightforward in Isa 2:2).
    – magicker72
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:59
  • @IsaacKotlicky For side-by-side uses of ימים רבים and אחרית הימים, see Ezekiel 38:8, 16 and Hosea 3:4, 5.
    – magicker72
    Aug 24, 2016 at 22:19

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