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The fourth son of Jacob and Leah; his name was given to one of the Twelve Tribes (Genesis 29:35). From Judah's line Jesse and David came, and ultimately Jesus (Luke 3:23-33). Jacob evidently foresaw potential greatness in Judah, for when he gave his blessing and prophecy to each of his twelve sons, his eulogy of Judah was much more impressive than those of the others (Genesis 49:8). His tribe prospered and acquired additional territory until it was one of the most powerful kingdoms in Palestine. Of the Twelve Tribes only Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to the House of David. The kingdom lasted until Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.