a Fourth son of Jacob and Leah (Gen. 29:35). "And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, This time will I praise Jehovah: therefore she called his name Judah: and she left off bearing." Jacob's blessing on Judah was (Gen. 49:8-12):"Judah, thee shall thy brethren praise:Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies;Thy father's sons shall bow down before thee.Judah is a lion's whelp;From the prey, my son, thou art gone up:He stooped down, he couched as a lion,And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up ?The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,Until Shiloh come;And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be.Binding his foal unto the vine,And his ass's colt unto the choice vine;He hath washed his garments in wine,And his vesture in the blood of grapes:His eyes shall be red with wine,And his teeth white with milk."
b The tribe of Judah was composed of the Israelites who were descended from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. When the kingdom of Israel was divided, this tribe stayed with Rehoboam, Solomon's son, and became the kingdom of Judah (II Sam. 5:5; I Kings 12:20). At this time the tribe of Benjamin was with Judah (II Chron. 11:1). Moses' blessing on the tribe of Judah was (Deut. 33:7):"And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said,Hear, Jehovah, the voice of Judah,And bring him in unto his people.With his hands he contended for himself;And thou shalt be a help against his adversaries."
Meta. The Hebrew meaning of the word Judah is praise Jehovah. It is evident that Judah represents the spiritual faculty that corresponds to accumulation or increase in the mental; this is prayer and praise. Prayer should be a jubilant thanksgiving instead of a supplication. It quickens the mind and makes it draw, like a magnet, that from the realm of causes which fulfills one's desires.
At the very apex of the brain is a ganglionic center that we may term the center of reverence or spirituality. It is there that man holds converse with the intelligence of Divine Mind. This brain center is the home or "house" of a spiritual consciousness, which is in Scripture designated as Judah, whose office it is to pray and praise. This faculty is also called the superconsciousness; that is, it is above the various states of mind, but not separate from them. It pervades every phase of thought as an elevating, inspiring quality. All lofty ideals come from this faculty; it is the inspiration of everything that elevates and idealizes in religion, poetry, art, in all things that are true and real.
This is one of the foundation faculties of the mind. It is that consciousness which relates man directly with the Father-Mind. It is quickened and enlarged through prayer and all other forms of religious thought and worship. When we pray we look up from within, not because God is off in the sky but because this spiritual center in the top of the head becomes active and our attention is naturally drawn to it.
One of the offices of the spiritual faculty is to gather ideas. Through it man can draw, from the universal Mind, God thoughts; that is, ideas absolutely true. Therefore prayer is accumulative; it accumulates spiritual substance, life, intelligence, and everything else necessary to man's highest expression. When we pray in spiritual understanding this highest realm of mind comes in touch with the universal and impersonal Mind, and the mind of man is joined to the very mind of God. Thus God answers our prayers in ideas, thoughts, words, which are translated into the outer realms of form, in due season.
Praise is the positive pole of life. Praise is the key to the increase of life activity. If you depreciate your life you decrease your consciousness of life. Thus w e find that Judah, besides symbolizing the place in consciousness where we come into touch with the highest activities of Divine Mind, typifies also the central faculty of consciousness. It operates in body consciousness through the spinal cord, as well as in the top head, and finds its outer expression through the life center, which, unregenerated, is "Judas," who had a devil. When life is separated from the other faculties and endeavors to express without their cooperation, man gives himself over to his animals in human forms.
In Acts 3:2, the "door of the temple which is called Beautiful" signifies spiritual understanding. This door opens when we pray and praise. Among the twelve faculties of the mind, as typified by the twelve sons of Jacob, praise is Judah. When he was born Leah said "This time will I praise Jehovah."
"Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer." Some persons think that the understanding of the inner life can be attained without prayer, but they are mistaken. All who have reached heights in things spiritual have been noted for their devotions. Jesus was a striking illustration of this. He spent whole nights in prayer, and He seemed to be asking the Father and thanking Him in almost the same breath on every occasion where He did a great work or expounded a notable truth.
Judah means praise Jehovah. This tribe is often used to designate the whole Jewish nation, indicating that praise is an active principle in our spiritual thoughts and should be given first place in all our thanksgiving."Bless Jehovah, O my soul;And all that is within me, bless his holy name."
The tribe of Judah, which remained with Rehoboam when the kingdom of Israel was divided (I Kings 12), represents the central faculty of consciousness. It may be roughly described as the focal point of body organization. Its physical expression is the spinal cord, yet this is but the visible aspect of an invisible energy. This energy or mind substance at the very center of the man is susceptible of the highest and of the lowest. It is the serpent that may resist divine wisdom and crawl upon its belly in the dust of materiality, or it may be lifted up and exalted to the most high place among the faculties of man. When it is sensualized it becomes Judas, who had a devil. It is related in I Kings 12:20 that the only tribe that followed Rehoboam was Judah. Thus persistent sensuality vitiated the very core of the man, and he lost control of his other faculties. This is often observed in people who have lived on the sense plane until they are animal nature.
In II Sam. 2:1-6 the "cities of Judah" are aggregations of thoughts in the praise consciousness of man. Gratitude is another name for this state of mind, symbolically known here as Judah. Praise and thanksgiving multiply and increase everything that we center them on. Jesus gave thanks before He raised Lazarus. He gave thanks before He multiplied the loaves and fishes. Scientifically, He was increasing the thought stuff until it precipitated into the realm of visibility. "Go up into . . . the cities of Judah" and use the law as here stated, and you can bring forth whatever you set your heart on.
The kingdom of Judah, over which Asa was king (I Kings 15:9-24; II Chron. 14, 15, 16), metaphysically represents the inner life force of man's organism. We usually refer to this inner life force as the vitality. Those who are not students of mind have but slight comprehension of the real character of these subjective energies. They know that the heart beats and the blood circulates; that digestion and assimilation go on, and that the body is the most wonderful structure in existence; yet they are ignorant of the intelligent power that directs and sustains its intricate machinery. An intelligence transcending that of the intellect is manifest in this realm under the heart. Symbolically it may be said that another man presides there, who in these texts is designated as King Asa. (See ASA.)
The purging of Judah and Jerusalem (II Chron. 34:3) signifies systematic denial of errors of thought and practice, that have become habitual in both the objective and the subjective realms of consciousness.
"Asherim," or "groves," were symbols of the Phoenician Venus, the goddess of love, and were usually of a sensual character. Metaphysically, the "molten images" and the "graven images" mean the productions of the imagination that are first in a free state and then in a formed state of consciousness. The lascivious imagination is the "molten" state, the second step of which is the "graven image," or physical sensation. These are both to be purged and denied in mind and body. We thus dissolve or make "dust" of these conditions; they go back to the formless and inert.
The burning of the bones of the priests on the altars means the sacrificing or giving up of the material or gross forms of our religious ideas of God. You may have overcome sensuality, and changed your ideas about the personality of God, yet be clinging to some personal spiritual leader or priest. Burn these "bones" by vigorous denial of human foolishness and ignorance, and affirmations of divine wisdom. In ancient times it was (and today in some instances is) the habit of the devout to give special reverence to the priest or the spiritual leader and to call him father. Jesus commented on this man-worship in Matthew 23:8-9. "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven."
After purging the mind of error by denial we should see to it that we put the builders to work upon "the temple." Denial is always destructive and leaves vacancies in the consciousness to be filled up with true statements. When vigorous denial is followed by a feeling of weakness, we may know that we have destroyed some thought structure on which we have been depending, and have built nothing in its place. The carpenters and builders are the universal constructive forces of Being. These are always at work in the organism when right thought is holding sway, but after a siege of error it is necessary to start them anew by using affirmations of substance based in Truth--"hewn stone"; the unity of good--"timber for couplings"; and the eternity of the now--"beams for the houses."