Quick Facts on Judah
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Etymology & Historical Origin - Judah
The name Judah is borne from the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, as one of the twelve tribes of Israel and whose name was given to one of the two kingdoms of Israel, Judah to the south and Israel to the north (it is from the kingdom of Judah where we get the term Judaism). Judah was Jacob and Leah’s fourth born son after Reuben, Simeon and Levi. In Genesis 29:35 when Leah conceives again, she said: “’This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah.” Judah comes from the Hebrew name Yhuda meaning ‘praised’. Later in the Bible, we learn about the adult Judah. Genesis 38 tells the colorful story of Judah and Tamar. Tamar is Judah’s daughter-in-law, having been wedded to his first two sons (Er and Onan), each of whom died while married to her (note: in ancient times it was common for a surviving son to marry his dead brother’s wife in order to carry on the family name). Suspicious that Tamar might be some kind of bad omen, Judah is reluctant to have her marry his third and final son, Shelah. Judah sends Tamar back to her father’s house and tells her to sit tight until the last son grows old enough to marry (although Judah has no intention of keeping this promise to bad-luck Tamar). Tamar soon realizes she’s been had, so she disguises herself as a prostitute on the road she knows Judah will be traveling to his sheepherders. He, of course, propositions her: “Come now, let me sleep with you” (yes, it’s true. Look it up for yourself in Genesis 38:16. The Bible can be a pretty risqué read at times). Afterwards, Judah goes on his merry way having just (unknowingly) slept with and impregnating his own daughter-in-law. Here comes the funny part (no, that wasn’t it). When Judah discovers that Tamar is with child, he orders her to be executed for sleeping around. Ha! Now if that isn’t the ancient pot calling the promiscuous kettle black. On the way to her burning, Tamar sends Judah some items belonging to the man who had impregnated her – which he of course identifies as his own. Busted! Realizing (and admirably admitting to) his own hypocrisy, Judah declares: “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” [Genesis 38:26]. So Judah redeems himself by being man enough to admit he was wrong. We like him for that. Later on in Genesis, Judah does another admirable thing. When Joseph (in disguise) demands his brother Benjamin to be left in Egypt as his slave, Judah steps in and tells Joseph to take him instead, realizing that Jacob would be heartbroken if he lost his favorite son, Benjamin. So moved by Judah’s act of selflessness, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and all is forgiven. Lastly, during Jacob’s blessings of his sons, he promises Judah that he will be the preeminent one among his brothers and that “the scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler staff from between his feet.” This prophesy is true alright. Guess who ultimately descends from Judah’s tribe? The mighty King David and Jesus Christ himself. Booyah!
Popularity of the Name Judah
Given the ancient Biblical roots of this name, we were astonished to see that Judah only first entered the U.S. popularity charts for the first time in 1998. To say that’s pretty recent is an understatement. The name Judah has climbed over 700 positions on the popularity charts since its debut, but it is still only a moderately used name. With the current trend of funky Biblical names that hearken back to the days of Puritans (Noah, Ethan, Elijah, Isaiah), Judah seems to us a slam dunk in terms of modern-day appeal. “Praised” though he may be, Judah is not a super popular name. Judah is an ancient charmer, rich with history and unique among the Biblical trends of today. The English have typically used Jude while the Greek version is Judas (yes, as in the apostle who betrayed Jesus). But all the names essentially come from the same Hebrew origin. Judah is often thought to be a Jewish name, but Christians have embraced it all the same. We’re glad to see this long neglected name enter the spot light as we've crossed the threshold into the 21st century. It’s about time!
Popularity of the Boy Name Judah
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Judah
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Judah
Judah We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Judah.
Popular Songs on Judah
Lion of Judah - a song by Prince
Children's Books on the Baby Name Judah
Judah Who Always Said "No!": A Hanukkah Story (Harriet K. Feder) - "No," said Judah Maccabee, when the Syrian king wanted him to change his name. "No," he said again, when ordered to pray to strange gods. Judah's defiance helped the Maccabees to victory. Only after the miracle of Hanukkah, did Judah finally say, "yes." Recommended for ages 4-8.
Famous People Named Judah
Famous People Named Judah - Judah Friedlander (actor); Judah Ben Samuel Halevi (poet)
Children of Famous People Named Judah
Famous People Who Named Their Son Judah - Lucy Lawless (actress)
Judah - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures
Judah - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Judah.
Personality of the Boy Name Judah
The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done. They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.
Variations of the Baby Name - Judah