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What is the…
Tribe of Judah

Also see: What is the Kingdom of Judah?

Judah and his three surviving sons went down with their father Jacob into Egypt (Genesis 46:12; Exodus 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 (Numbers 1:26-27). Its number increased in the wilderness (Num. 26:22). Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, represented the tribe as one of the spies (Num. 13:6; 34:19).

This tribe marched on the east of the transported tabernacle (Numbers 2:3-9; 10:14).

Symbol

The tribes flag (standard), is believed to have pictured a lion’s whelp. To this day, the lion is the symbol of this Tribe.

Territory

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 (Joshua 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 (Joshua 15). But there was a second distribution, when Simeon received an allotment, about 1,000 square miles, out of the portion of Judah (Joshua 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 Joshua 15:20-63.

Map of the territory of the Tribe of Judah

Map of the ancient Israelite tribal territories in the Promised Land. CC BY-SA 3.0
Judah is shaded in orange.

This map shows the approximate location and boundaries of the 12 Israelite tribes, based on records in the Book of Joshua. This, and more, was The Promised Land given by God to the descendants of Israel, the grandson of Abraham. The full extent of the Canaanite land promised was never acquired, due to the repeated disobedience of the Israelites during the their commanded conquest of this very idolatrous, heathen land, after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt and the following 40 years of Divine punishment wandering in the wilderness, before Joshua and the living descendants were allowed to enter the land, following the death of Moses.

The territory given to Judah was divided into four sections.

  1. The south (Hebrew: negeb), the undulating pasture-ground between the hills and the desert to the south (Joshua 15:21.) This extent of pasture-land became famous as the favorite camping-ground of the old patriarchs.

  2. The “valley” (15:33) or lowland (Hebrew: shephelah), a broad strip lying between the central highlands and the Mediterranean. This tract was the garden as well as the granary of the tribe.

  3. The “hill-country,” or the mountains of Judah, an elevated plateau stretching from below Hebron northward to Jerusalem.

    There were 38 towns in this district (Joshua 15:48-60).

    “The towns and villages were generally perched on the tops of hills or on rocky slopes. The resources of the soil were great. The country was rich in corn, wine, oil, and fruit; and the daring shepherds were able to lead their flocks far out over the neighboring plains and through the mountains.”

  4. The “wilderness,” the sunken district next the Dead Sea (Joshua 15:61), “averaging 10 miles in breadth, a wild, barren, uninhabitable region, fit only to afford scanty pasturage for sheep and goats, and a secure home for leopards, bears, wild goats, and outlaws” (1 Samuel 17:34; 22:1; Mark 1:13). It was divided into the “wilderness of En-gedi” (1 Samuel 24:1), the “wilderness of Judah” (Judges 1:16; Matthew 3:1), between the Hebron mountain range and the Dead Sea, the “wilderness of Maon” (1 Samuel 23:24). It contained only six cities.

Nine of the cities of Judah were assigned to the priests (Joshua 21:9-19).

List of cities

These are some of Judah’s cities (in alphabetical order).

  1. Achzib
  2. Adadah
  3. Adithaim
  4. Adullam
  5. Ain
  6. Amam
  7. Anab
  8. Anim
  9. Aphekah
  10. Arab
  11. Ashan
  12. Ashdod
  13. Ashnah
  14. Ashnah
  15. Azekah
  16. Baalah
  17. Bealoth
  18. Beersheba
  19. Beth-anoth
  20. Beth-arabah
  21. Beth-dagon
  22. Beth-pelet
  23. Beth-tappuah
  24. Beth-zur
  25. Biziothiah
  26. Bozkath
  27. Cabbon
  28. Carmel
  29. Chesil
  30. Chitlish
  31. City of Salt
  32. Dannah
  33. Dilean
  34. Dimonah
  35. Dumah
  36. Eder
  37. Eglon
  38. Ekron
  39. Eltekon
  40. Eltolad
  41. Enam
  42. En-gannim
  43. Engedi
  44. Eshan
  45. Eshtaol
  46. Eshtemoh
  47. Ether
  48. Ezem
  49. Gaza
  50. Gederah
  51. Gederoth
  52. Gederothaim
  53. Gedor
  54. Gibeah
  55. Giloh
  56. Goshen
  57. Hadashah
  58. Halhul
  59. Hazar-gaddah
  60. Hazar-shual
  61. Hazor
  62. Hazor-hadattah
  63. Heshmon
  64. Holon
  65. Hormah
  66. Humtah
  67. Iim
  68. Iphtah
  69. Ithnan
  70. Jagur
  71. Janum
  72. Jarmuth
  73. Jattir
  74. Jerusalem
  75. Jezreel
  76. Jokdeam
  77. Joktheel
  78. Juttah
  79. Kabzeel
  80. Kain
  81. Kedesh
  82. Keilah
  83. Kerioth-hezron (that is, Hazor)
  84. Kinah
  85. Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron)
  86. Kiriath-baal (that is, Kiriath-jearim)
  87. Kiriath-sannah (that is, Debir)
  88. Lachish
  89. Lahmas
  90. Lebaoth
  91. Libnah
  92. Maarath
  93. Madmannah
  94. Makkedah
  95. Maon
  96. Mareshah
  97. Middin
  98. Migdal-gad
  99. Mizpeh
  100. Moladah
  101. Naamah
  102. Nezib
  103. Nibshan
  104. Rabbah
  105. Rimmon
  106. Sansannah
  107. Secacah
  108. Shaaraim
  109. Shamir
  110. Shema
  111. Shilhim
  112. Socoh
  113. Socoh
  114. Tappuah
  115. Telem
  116. Timnah
  117. Zanoah
  118. Zanoah
  119. Zenan
  120. Ziklag
  121. Zior
  122. Ziph
  123. Ziph
  124. Zorah

Prophecy in the book of Revelation

Revelation 7:4–8 mentions that people from the 12 tribes of Israel will be sealed by an angel of God. Godly descendants of Judah will be a part of the 144-thousand Israelite evangelists for Christ during The Great Tribulation.

And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:

of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
of tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

Also see

Article Version: July 27, 2021