According to the biblical account, at its height, the Tribe of Judah was the leading tribe of the Kingdom of Judah, and occupied most of the territory of the kingdom, except for a small region in the north east occupied by Benjamin, and an enclave towards the south west which was occupied by Simeon.
For the next several centuries, the land of modern-day Israel was conquered and ruled by various groups, including the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Fatimids, Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, Egyptians, Mamelukes, Islamists and others.
These factors contributed to making Ephraim the most dominant of the tribes in the Kingdom of Israel, and led to Ephraim becoming a synonym for the entire kingdom.
Rachel bore Jacob two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin provided Israel with its first king, Saul, and was later assimilated into the tribe of Judah. While no tribe bore the name of Joseph, two tribes were named after Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
The tribe of Judah became one of the most important because it was the tribe of the monarchy, or rulership under one royal leader, when the ancient kingdom of Israel was established around the 11th century BCE. Most of its rulers, including David and Solomon, came from this tribe.
Some early Greek translations of the Bible state that Saul took power when he was 30 years old. Saul was initially succeeded by his youngest and only surviving son, Ishbaal (also written as Ishba’al and also called Ishbosheth). After Ishbaal was killed, David took control of his kingdom.
Kings of Israel (Northern Kingdom)
Instead, the people of Judah were exiled to Babylon about 586, but were eventually able to return and rebuild their nation. In time, the tribe of Judah became identified with the entire Hebrew nation and gave its name to the people known today as the Jews.
She is identified as the daughter of Avihail (Esth 2:15) and the cousin and adopted daughter of Mordecai, from the tribe of Benjamin (Esth 2:5–7).
According to the biblical account, Moses’ parents were from the tribe of Levi, one of the groups in Egypt called Hebrews.
Conquered by the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V, they were exiled to upper Mesopotamia and Medes, today modern Syria and Iraq. The Ten Tribes of Israel have never been seen since. Or have they? Abraham, center, with grandson Jacob, left.
According to the writer of Luke, Mary was a relative of Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah, who was herself part of the lineage of Aaron and so of the Tribe of Levi.
The descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin have survived as Jews because they were allowed to return to their homeland after the Babylonian Exile of 586 bc.
The Tribe of Benjamin, located to the north of Judah but to the south of the northern Kingdom of Israel, is significant in biblical narratives as a source of various Israelite leaders, including the first Israelite king, Saul, as well as earlier tribal leaders in the period of the Judges.
In Matthew 1:1–6 and Luke 3:31–34 of the New Testament, Jesus is described as a member of the tribe of Judah by lineage. Revelation 5:5 also mentions an apocalyptic vision of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.