The word יְהוּדָה  (pronounced: Yehudah)  is usually translated as “Judah” in English Bibles. This name has a very rich meaning for both Jewish and Christian traditions. For example, in the Hebrew Bible, God called King David, who came from the tribe of Judah, “the man after My own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). In the New Testament, Jesus, a later descendant of David, is referred to as “the Lion from the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5).

The importance of Judah, therefore, is obvious. But what does Judah actually mean in Hebrew? The word Judah comes from the verb לְהודות (pronounced: Lehodot), which simply means “to thank.” In the context of the Hebrew Bible, such thanks are synonymous not just with gratitude, but with praise. In fact, there was a particular sacrifice called “The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving.” In the Temple in Jerusalem, it was called תּודָה “Todah” – the noun for “Thanksgiving.” Today in Modern Hebrew, to simply say “thanks” Israelis use the very same word תּודָה (pronounced: todah) that was used in the Temple to express gratitude to God. Join me and discover the practical simplicity of Hebrew Language. Understand how it speaks in through simple imagery, yet says so much.

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147 COMMENTS

    • There are many reasons (some are legit, some are not) but even if the names were not changed... Let's say Yehuda instead of Judah, how would it help if a modern Christ-follower would not take the time to learn what it means in Hebrew and how to read it?

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    • People transliterate (reproducing the sound of a word rather than translating) names from one language to another. Eg. Y'Shua to Joshua.. or Y'Shua to Jesu to Jesus. Just makes it easier. (In English the meanings of names are seldom retained, so that is often lost.)
  1. Thank you for explaining the meaning of the name Jehuda!! It is just beautiful! I loved it!! I studied Hebrew many years ago while planning to visit Israel. I did go to Israel three times because I have Israeli friends. I love Israel, an awesome and beautiful country. Now I am a senior Mexican woman living in Mexico and don't have a credit card tu buy your Hebrew lessons. Again, Todah, Gracias!! for explaining the meaning of Judah. G-d bless you!!!
  2. Thanks! I associated the name with Praise based on Genesis account of Leah. And it is neat that it is Leah's child that is the line from the 12!!! I have been studying and see it is Judah (Jacob's 4th son), first son of Leah in G. 29:35, that is praised . Judah is chosen when 3 older brothers Reuben, Simeon & Levi forfeit their places (Reuben with adultery w/Billah, and Simeon & Levi avenge Dinah's rape by murdering! Crazy! But Judah himself only turns to praise-worthy after being less righteous than Tamar...the point of his change.
  3. Since as we know Joseph is not JESUS' biological father, but HE was conceived by the miracle of the HOLY SPIRIT, how then can you now get confused and refer to our CHRIST as decendant of Judah ??????
    • Whether or not Jesus is a biological descendant of Joseph is irrelevant from a biblical perspective. You can not impose 21st century DNA standards on a first century text.

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    • M Adams- there is also the fact that Luke gives the genealogy of Jesus through Mary starting with David's son Nathan, where Matthew gives it through Solomon for Joseph. Adoption made Him Joseph's son as well. So He was royalty on both sides, Crown Prince of Israel and heir to the throne. And everyone knew it! It was that, not His divinity that bothered Herod, and later Pilate.
    • Joseph's descent from David is through Solomon. Mary's descent from David is through Nathan.
      Jeconiah disgraced himself and no one of his seed could be a forebear of Christ.
    • Johnathan Swift in his book Gulliver's Travels comes across a country ruled by horse like creatures the Hoinim (not spelt right). And the Yahoo were the antithesis of steadiness in their indiscipline. I don't think we can substitute the "Holy! Holy! Holy!" cry of the angels for "Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo!"
    • I know the last comment may have been tongue in cheek, but the consequent blessings of Jacob and Moses on the tribes of Judah are always associated with Blessing and Praise. One of the reasons I think that Judah led the nation when they moved.
  4. If Judah means praise and thanks to God and David was a psalmist is there a blessing or indication on Judah to praise God in music?I always assumed it was the Levites who were responsible for this?
  5. For me Yehudah or Judah is a very meaningful name because it was during the time he was born when Leah, his mother, was finally enlightened, accepted our Lord's love and she was no longer felt unwanted by not being Jacob's cup of tea. Unlike before when she bore her first 3 sons, they were all centered to her feeling unloved and validation seeking from Jacob. "Once more she conceived and bore a son and she said 'This time I will give grateful praise to the Lord'; therefore she named him Judah" Gen 29:35. Despite him being the instigator of selling Joseph to slavery, it was also he who was the first brother to repent and showed brotherly love by his willingness to offer himself to take Benjamin's place not realizing that he was already talking to his brother Joseph. While I feel very much for Joseph but for me that act of Judah selling him was actually G-d's weird way of using Judah in sending Joseph to a place He intended him to be so that His plan of saving Israel from the upcoming famine will be fulfilled. From that entire last 13 chapters in Genesis, while the vast majority was centered on Joseph but as we can see, Judah played a very significant role in the story as well.
    • "Yehudah" sounds very majestic. It's really a big mistake by the Bible translators to have anglicised the Hebrew names to suit their convenience.......And, almost all the names of the prophets in the Bible have been twisted to suit easy English pronunciation. Too bad !

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