Judah — praise, the fourth son of Jacob by Leah. The name originated in Leah’s words of praise to the Lord on account of his birth: “Now will I praise [Heb. odeh] Jehovah, and she called his name Yehudah” (Gen. 29:35).
It was Judah that interposed in behalf of Joseph, so that his life was spared (Gen. 37:26, 27). He took a lead in the affairs of the family, and “prevailed above his brethren” (Gen. 43:3–10; 44:14, 16–34; 46:28; 1 Chr. 5:2).
Soon after the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, Judah went to reside at Adullam, where he married a woman of Canaan. (See ONAN ; TAMAR.) After the death of his wife Shuah, he returned to his father’s house, and there exercised much influence over the patriarch, taking a principal part in the events which led to the whole family at length going down into Egypt. We hear nothing more of him till he received his father’s blessing (Gen. 49:8–12).