Easton's Bible Dictionary
praise, The fourth son of Jacob by Leah. The name originated
in Leah's words of praise to the Lord on account of his birth: "Now will I praise
[Hebrew odeh] Jehovah, and she called his name Yehudah" ( Genesis
It was Judah that interposed in behalf of Joseph, so that his life was spared
37:26 , 37:27
). He took a lead in the affairs of the family, and "prevailed above his brethren"
43:3 - 10
Chronicles 5:2 ).
Soon after the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, Judah went to reside at Adullam,
where he married a woman of Canaan. (See ONAN; TAMAR .) After the death of his
wife Shuah, he returned to his father's house, and there exercised much influence
over the patriarch, taking a principal part in the events which led to the whole
family at length going down into Egypt. We hear nothing more of him till he received
his father's blessing ( Genesis
49:8 - 12
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
the praise of the Lord; confession
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(praised, celebrated) The fourth son of Jacob and the
fourth of Leah. (B.C. after 1753.) Of Judahs personal character more traits are
preserved than of any other of the patriarchs, with the exception of Joseph, whose
life he in conjunction with Reuben saved. ( Genesis
37:26 - 28
) During the second visit to Egypt for corn it was Judah who understood to be
responsible for the safety of Benjamin, ch. ( Genesis
43:3 - 10
) and when, through Josephs artifice, the brothers were brought back to the palace,
he is again the leader and spokesman of the band. So too it is Judah who is sent
before Jacob to smooth the way for him in the land of Goshen. ch. ( Genesis
This ascendancy over his brethren is reflected in the last words addressed to
him by his father. The families of Judah occupy a position among the tribes similar
to that which their progenitor had taken among the patriarchs. The numbers of
the tribe at the census at Sinai were 74,600. ( Numbers
1:26 , 1:27
) On the borders of the promised land they were 76,500. ( Genesis
26:22 ) The boundaries and contents of the territory allotted to Judah are
narrated at great length, and with greater minuteness than the others, in ( Joshua
15:20 - 63
) The north boundary, for the most part coincident with the south boundary of
Benjamin, began at the embouchure of the Jordan and ended on the west at Jabneel
on the coast of the Mediterranean, four miles south of Joppa. On the east the
Dead Sea, and on the west the Mediterranean, formed the boundaries. The southern
line is hard to determine, since it is denoted by places many of which have not
been identified. It left the Dead Sea at its extreme south end, and joined the
Mediterranean at the Wady el-Arish. This territory is in average length about
45 miles, and in average breadth about 50.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
joo'-da (yehudhah, "praised"):
(1) 4th son of Jacob by Leah
1. Jacob's Son:
The 4th son born to Jacob by Leah in Paddan-aram (Genesis 29:35, etc.). Of this
patriarch's life only scanty details remain to us. He turned his brethren from
their purpose to slay Joseph, persuading them to sell him to the Midianites at
Dothan (Genesis 37:26). A dark stain is left upon his memory by the disgraceful
story told in Genesis 38. Reuben forfeited the rights of primogeniture by an act
of infamy; Simeon and Levi, who came next in order, were passed over because of
their cruel and treacherous conduct at Shechem; to Judah, therefore, were assigned
the honors and responsibilities of the firstborn (Genesis 34 ; 35:22 ; 49:5).
On the occasion of their first visit to Egypt, Reuben acted as spokesman for his
brethren (Genesis 42:22 , 37). Then the leadership passed to Judah (Genesis 43:3,
etc.). The sons of Joseph evidently looked askance upon Judah's promotion, and
their own claims to hegemony were backed by considerable resources (Genesis 49:22).
The rivalry between the two tribes, thus early visible, culminated in the disruption
of the kingdom. To Judah, the "lion's whelp," a prolonged dominion was assured
2. Tribe of Judah:
The tribe of Judah, of which the patriarch was the name-father, at the first census
in the wilderness numbered 74,600 fighting men; at Sinai the number "from 20 years
old and upward" was 76,500 (Numbers 1:27; 26:22; see NUMBERS).
The standard of the camp of Judah, with which were also the tribes of Zebulun
and Issachar, was to the East of the tabernacle "toward the sunrising," the prince
of Judah being Nahshon, the son of Amminadab (Numbers 2:3). Caleb, the son of
Jephunneh, represented Judah among the spies (Numbers 13:6); he also was told
off to assist at the future allocation of the tribal portions (Numbers 34:19).
The land assigned to Judah lay in the South of Palestine (see JUDAH, TERRITORY
OF), comprising part of the mountain, the Shephelah, and the maritime plain. The
information given of its conquest is meager and cannot be arranged in a self-consistent
story. In Joshua 11:21, the conquest is ascribed to Joshua. Caleb is described
as conquering at least a portion in Joshua 14:12 ; 15:13; while in Judges 1 the
tribes of Judah and Simeon play a conspicuous part; and the latter found a settlement
in the South within the territory of Judah The tribal organization seems to have
been maintained after the occupation of the land, and Judah was so loosely related
to the northern tribes that it was not expected to help them against Sisera. Deborah
has no reproaches for absent Judah. It is remarkable that no judge over Israel
(except Othniel, Judges 3:9 - 11) arose from the tribe of Judah. The first king
of all Israel was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin. This made acquiescence on
the part of Judah easier than it would have been had Saul sprung from the ancient
rival, Ephraim. But the dignity of Judah was fully vindicated by the splendid
reigns of David and Solomon, in lineal descent from whom the Saviour of the world
should come. The further history of the tribe is merged in that of Israel.
(2) An ancestor of Kadmiel, one of those who had the oversight of the rebuilding
of the temple (Ezra 3:9). He is the same as Hodaviah (Ezra 2:40), and Hodevah
(3) A Levite who had taken a strange wife (Ezra, 10:23).
(4) A Levite who came up with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:8).
(5) A priest and musician who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem
(Nehemiah 12:36); (3), (4) and (5) may be the same person.
(6) A Benjamite, the son of Hassenuah, who was second over the city of Jerusalem
in the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:9).
(7) One of the princes of Judah who took part in the dedication of the wall of
Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:34).
S. F. Hunter
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, fourth son of jacob, joseph (brother), judah, yehudah