Judah – Twelve Tribes of Israel
The Tribe of Judah (Hebrew: יְהוּדָה, “Praise”; Standard Hebrew Yahuda, Tiberian Hebrew Yahudah) is one of the Hebrew tribes, founded by Judah, son of Jacob. Together with the Tribe of Benjamin, Judah formed the Southern Kingdom, also known confusingly as the Kingdom of Judah, when the kingdom was divided. These two tribes were thus not carried into captivity with the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, also known confusingly as the Kingdom of Israel, when it fell. This started the tradition (some say myth) of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. As Benjamin was always very much the minor partner, in time the tribe of Judah became identified with the entire Israelite nation, and even the entire Hebrew nation, and gave their name to the Jews, see Jews as Israelites. This entry incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernization.
Tribe of Judah – Judah and his three surviving sons went down with Jacob into Egypt (Gen. 46:12; Ex. 1:2). At the time of the Exodus, when we meet with the family of Judah again, they have increased to the number of 74,000 males (Num. 1:26, 27).
Its number increased in the wilderness (26:22). Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, represented the tribe as one of the spies (13:6; 34:19). This tribe marched at the van on the east of the tabernacle (Num. 2:3-9; 10:14), its standard, as is supposed, being a lion’s whelp. Under Caleb, during the wars of conquest, they conquered that portion of the country which was afterwards assigned to them as their inheritance. This was the only case in which any tribe had its inheritance thus determined (Josh. 14:6-15; 15:13-19).
The inheritance of the tribe of Judah was at first fully one-third of the whole country west of Jordan, in all about 2,300 square miles (Josh. 15). But there was a second distribution, when Simeon received an allotment, about 1,000 square miles, out of the portion of Judah (Josh. 19:9). That which remained to Judah was still very large in proportion to the inheritance of the other tribes. The boundaries of the territory are described in Josh. 15:20-63.