In Tehillim 114:2 [MT], we are told after the Exodus that: "Yehudah became His Sanctuary, Yisrael His dominion (הָֽיְתָ֣ה יְהוּדָ֣ה לְקָדְשׁ֑וֹ יִ֜שְׂרָאֵ֗ל מַמְשְׁלוֹתָֽיו)".

The interlinear Schottenstein Edition of [Psalms] by ArtScroll shows a Commentary - related to the statement " Yehudah became His Sanctuary " (הָֽיְתָ֣ה יְהוּדָ֣ה לְקָדְשׁ֑וֹ) in [Tehillim 114] verse 2, stating :

God singled out the tribe of Judah to be the family of royalty, because they sanctified God's Name at the Sea of Reeds. Led by their prince, Nachshon ben-Aminadav (נַחְשׁ֖וֹן בֶּן־עַמִּֽינָדָֽב), this tribe was the first to jump into the threatening waters.

In the desert [Bamidbar 1:7], Nachshon ben-Aminadav (נַחְשׁ֖וֹן בֶּן־עַמִּֽינָדָֽב) is mentioned as the Prince of Yehudah. - Yet the Torah does not mention Nachshon's jump into the Reed Sea.

How did Nachshon ben-Aminadav (נַחְשׁ֖וֹן בֶּן־עַמִּֽינָדָֽב) originally get linked to Tehillim 114:2?

  • Whilst his act of stepping into the Yam Suf is praised accordingly, the tribe of Yehuda had already been earmarked for malchus (royalty) in Yaakov's blessing of his sons.- sefaria.org/Genesis.49.10?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en - I don't really understand what you are asking?
    – Dov
    Oct 15, 2020 at 16:11
  • @Dov - the ArtScroll commentary of Tehillim 114:2 associated "Yehudah His-Sanctuary" with the faithfulness of Nachshon ben-Aminadav, not Bereishiyt 49:10. -- I am asking how Psalm 114:2 became linked with Nachshon ben-Aminadav. Oct 15, 2020 at 16:17
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    Rashi connects it to Nachshon's behavior at the sea which caused the waters to recede (this leads to verse 3, the sea saw and fled) and connects to Psalms 68:28 about specifically the princes of Judah.
    – rosends
    Oct 15, 2020 at 16:25
  • @rosends - תודה רבה Oct 15, 2020 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


Looks like the verse was first connected in writing to the story of Nachshon in Sotah 37a:

"Rabbi Yehuda said to Rabbi Meir: That is not how the incident took place. Rather, this tribe said: I am not going into the sea first, and that tribe said: I am not going into the sea first. Then, in jumped the prince of Judah, Nahshon ben Amminadab, and descended into the sea first, accompanied by his entire tribe, as it is stated: “Ephraim surrounds Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit, and Judah is yet wayward toward God [rad im El]” (Hosea 12:1), which is interpreted homiletically as: And Judah descended [rad] with God [im El]. 4And in this regard, the tradition, i.e., the Writings, explicates Nahshon’s prayer at that moment: “Save me, God; for the waters are come in even unto the soul. I am sunk in deep mire, where there is no standing…let not the water flood overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up” (Psalms 69:2–3, 16). 5At that time, Moses was prolonging his prayer. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: My beloved ones are drowning in the sea and you prolong your prayer to me? Moses said before Him: Master of the Universe, but what can I do? God said to him: “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward. And you, lift up your rod and stretch out your hand” (Exodus 14:15–16). 6For this reason, because Nahshon and the tribe of Judah went into the sea first, the tribe of Judah merited to govern Israel, as it is stated: “Judah became His sanctuary, Israel His dominion. The sea saw it and fled” (Psalms 114:2–3). The baraita interprets the verses in this manner: What is the reason that Judah became His sanctuary and Israel came under His dominion? It is because “the sea saw it and fled.”"

This idea was later brought in several midrashim and commentators such as Rashi and Radak.

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    I appreciate your research & insight! - תודה Oct 15, 2020 at 16:41

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