(praised, celebrated), the fourth son of Jacob and the fourth of Leah. Of Judah’s 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 was understood to be responsible for the safety of Benjamin (Genesis 43:3-10), and when, through Joseph’s artifice, the brothers were brought back to the palace, he was 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 (Genesis 46:28). 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 1:26-27). On the borders of the promised land they were 76,500. 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. The Dead Sea on the east and the Mediterranean on the west 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.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).