MEANING: “Praise”

Symbol: Lion

STONE/COLOR: Carnelian (or ruby)/Red

FAMILY: Fourth son of Jacob, born to Leah

The genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew shows how Jesus was a descendant of Judah through the royal lineage of King David (Matt 1; Ps 89:3-4; Isa 9:6; Heb 7:14; Rev 5:5). Christ was born in Bethlehem as Micah prophesied (Mic 5:2).


Size: First Census: 74,600. Second Census: 76,500 Largest of the tribes.

Location: Very large allotment of land, Included Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Herbron, and Gaza.

Jacob’s Blessing: “You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness-who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his” (Gen 49:9-10).

MosesBlessing: “Hear, LORD, the cry of Judah; bring him to his people. With his own hands he defends his cause. Oh, be his help against his foes!” (Deut 33:7).

Notable: Judah convinced his brothers to spare Joseph’s life and sell him to slave traders for a profit instead of kill him (Gen 37). Later, Judah unknowingly had relations with his daughter-in-law Tamar. When it was revealed, he confessed his wrongdoing (Gen38). The tribe of Judah led the other tribes on their march toward the Promised Land. The tribe camped on the east side of the tabernacle-the only side with an entrance (Num 2). Leaders like Caleb, David, and Zerubbabel were from the tribe of Judah, as were prophets like Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Zephaniah.


MEANING: “Judge’

SYMBOL: Snake (or scales of justice)

STONE/COLOR: Topaz (or beryl)/ Color unknown, possibly light green

FAMILY: Fifth son of Jacob, born to Rachel’s handmaiden Bilhah

Size: Frist Census: 62,700. Second Census: 64,400

Location: Small portion of land that included Joppa (Tel Aviv today). The tribe, however, failed to conquer the Philistines int he land and migrated to the northernmost part of Canaan (judg 18).

Jacob’s Blessing: “Dan will provide justice for his people. . . Dan will be a snake by the roadside” (Gen 49:16-17).

MosesBlessing: “Dan is a lion’s cub, springing out of Bashan” (Deut 33;22).

Notable: The tribe of Dan is reprimanded in the Song of Deborah for not joining in battle (Judg 5:17). Samson was form this tribe (Judg 13:2, 24). King Jeroboam built a pagan temple in Dan (1 Kings 12:29). Amos includes Dan in his list of idolaters (Amos 8:14).


MEANING: “My struggle”

SYMBOL: Deer (doe)

STONE/COLOR: Jasper/Reddish-brown

FAMILY: Sixth son of Jacob, born to Rachel’s handmaiden Bilhah

Size: First Census: 53,400. Second Census: 45,400.

Location: Hill country of Galilee.

Jacob’s Blessing: “Naphtali is a doe let loose; He bears beautiful fawns” (or “gives beautiful words’ Gen 49:21)

Moses’ Blessing: Naphtali is “full of blessing” (Deut 33:22).

Notable: In the Song of Deborah, the tribe is praised for its courage (Judg 5:18). Break was from Naphtali (Judg 4:6). The tribe assisted Gideon in battle (Judg 7:23). They volunteered fighting men to support David against King Saul (1 Chron 12). Jesus began his ministry in galilee, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (Matt 4:13-22; Isa 9:1-2).

Leave a Reply