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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names

Judah

By Jeff A. Benner

This name is pronounced ye-huw-dah in Hebrew. Most Hebrew dictionaries will define this word as "praise" but as this English word is an abstract word it falls short of its true Hebraic meaning. The parent root of this word is יד (YD - yad) meaning "hand". Several child roots are derived from this parent root having the meaning of "throw" including the child root ידה (YDH - yadah), the root of yehudah. The word "Yehudah" has the meaning of "to throw your hands out". If you were standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time you might throw your hands out and say "Wow, will you look at that". This is the Hebraic understanding of "praise".

When Judah was born to Leah (Genesis 29:35) she said "I will yadah Yahweh." She was pointing to Yahweh and giving him the credit for the birth of her son. We frequently use the word "praise" in the context of worship to God. Our praise is not meant to be simply singing or praying to God, but acting upon on our belief. Our function is to point to God so that others can see him. This pointing does not have to be a literal pointing but that our actions in all aspects of our life point to God and others will see him as well.




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