JUDAH (Hebr. Yehudhah; LXX, Ioudas, "praise," originally combined with the name of a deity, later a very common name among the Jews): Fourth son of Jacob and Leah, coming, however, to occupy the place of the first-born; also the leading tribe of the Hebrews, tracing descent from him. His character, in the combined narratives of J and E, while not without its faults, is on the whole noble, energetic and trustworthy, in spite of Gen. xxxviii., which is regarded as Ephraimitic in origin and consequently written with a bias. Later writers incline to the view that the name is not that of an individual but of a clan, and explain the Hirah. of xxxviii. 1 as also that of a clan, extending the same notion to the names Er, Onan; Shelah, Pharez, and Zarah. But the narratives suggest rather the traits of an individual from whom the tribe inherited its energy and faithful adherence to law. Jacob's blessing (Gen. xlix. 8-12) transfers the birthright of Reuben to Judah, passing over Simeon and Levi, and describes the lion-hearted tribe of the future in its land of wine and milk. In Egypt the tribe became the largest in numbers, including three principal clans and two lesser clans (Num. xxvi. 20-21; cf. I Chron. iv. 1), while in Caleb (q.v.) there is seen a hon-Israelitic tribe which coalesced with Judah. The genealogy in I Chron. ii. 3 sqq., is given with especial reference to the descent of David through Nahshon (verse 10, cf. Num. i. 7). The two censuses in the wandering give respectively 74,600 and 76,500 men (Num. i. 27, xxvi. 22), and the arrangement of the camp gives the primacy to Judah (Num. ii. 3), which the energetic Caleb led (Num. xiii. 6). After Joshua's death, the tribe took the leadership in the conflict with the Canaanites (Judges i., cf. xx. 18), though confining its operations to its own territory and that of Simeon, in the south.

The tribal possessions, described in Josh. xv. 1-12, were divided into four parts: the mountains of Judah, the eastern declivity down to the Dead Sea, the southern slope toward Edom, and the plain toward the Mediterranean, which last, however, remained in the hand of the Philistines (see JUDEA). During the period of the Judges, the tribe took little part in the conflicts of its northern neighbors (Judges iii. 9, xii. 8, cf- x. 9, xv. 9 sqq.). It had no share in the campaign against Sisera or in Gideon's struggle with Midian; in the former case because it was politically isolated from the Joseph tribes, though not to the extent asserted by Stade. Even in Saul's time it was not prominent in the army (I Sam. xi. 8, xv. 4), but with the accession of David its eminence began (II Sam. ii. 4). The capture of Jerusalem gave it increased prestige through its possession of a center of strength. Its fidelity was constant, and even in the return the greater number of the returning exiles belonged to this tribe. Its greatest honor, however, consisted in its giving to the world the Messiah who, as the "lion of the tribe of Juda" (Rev. v. 5), overcame the world and established an eternal kingdom.

For the history of the kingdom of Judah, see ISRAEL, HISTORY OF.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: In addition to the literature given under AHAB; ISRAEL, HISTORY OF; and JUDEA, consult: L. B. Paton, Early History of Syria and Palestine, New York, 1901; G. A. Barton, Semitic Origins, pp. 271-286, ib. 1902; DB, ii. 792-794; EB, ii. 2617-2623; JE, vii. 326-330.


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