Hebrew Bible

The Mighty Lion of Judah

You might have heard of the “Lion of Judah,” but where does this symbol come from and what does it mean? And what does it have to do with Jerusalem?

The Lion of Judah, or אריה יהודה, Aryeh Yehudah in Hebrew, is a powerful and ancient Jewish symbol. It represents the Tribe of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Jewish people. Read on to learn more about where it came from, as well as its deeper significance both historically and today!

A depiction on a synagogue of two Lions of Judah holding up the Ten Commandments

Biblical Origins

Lion of Judah depicted on a shofar (available for purchase here!)

 

The imagery of the lion appears in the Torah in Genesis, as Jacob refers to his son Judah as "Young Lion Judah" while blessing him.

From this, the lion became the symbol of the Tribe of Judah, and the phrases "Young Lion Judah" and "Lion of Judah" have lived on in the Jewish tradition and artistic imagination ever since.

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Symbolism & Tribe of Judah

The lion as a symbol of the Tribe of Judah (get this piece of art on a ceramic plaque here!)

 

The Tribe of Judah was more than just one of the Biblical Twelve Tribes of Israel, having had major historical and cultural significance for the Jewish people.

During ancient times it was a powerful tribe that the kings and rulers came from, and it controlled the Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, which was the center of the Israelites’ worship and culture. The name “Judea” comes from the Tribe of Judah, and from there we get the modern words for Jews and Judaism.

This tribe was one of few to survive the expulsions of the Israelites by the Babylonians and Assyrians, and has become the backbone of the Jewish people.

Due to the might and significance of the Tribe of Judah, the original Biblical image stuck, and the tribe continued being associated a roaring lion to represent its leadership, strength, and fearlessness.

Since most of today's Jews are considered to be the descendants of the Tribe of Judah, the Lion of Judah has been used as a general Jewish symbol for generations!

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Lion of Judah jewelry
Emblem of Jerusalem

The Lion of Judah as part of the emblem and flag of Jerusalem on an Israeli government building in the capital

 

Because Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, the mighty lion was chosen as the official symbol of the city of Jerusalem following the formation of the modern State of Israel.

Today, the image of the Lion of Judah can be found all over the city, not just on official insignia and flags but also on art, sculptures, building adornments, and even city benches and manhole covers.

Many Jews around the world connect to the city of Jerusalem, the Land of Israel, and our Biblical tradition by having the Lion of Judah on jewelry, clothing, or art around their homes.

Shop our magnificent collection of Lion of Judah jewelry here, and check out the rest of our Jerusalem jewelry and gifts made by Israeli artists!

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Blog Topics

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/jewish jewelry/biblical jewelry/lion of judah jewelry

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