I Samuel 15:4:

Saul mustered the troops and enrolled them at Telaim: 200,000 men on foot, and 10,000 men of Judah

There are 12 tribes, so on average they supplied 18k troops. Judah supplied just over half of that (if we assume that 200k were from the 11 other tribes, Yehuda's contribution is even more sub-par).

Why so few soldiers came from Judah?

  • Do you have a reason why there needed to be more soldiers that came from the tribe of Yehudah?
    – Shmuel
    Mar 5 at 15:16
  • @Shmuel - wdym?! there were 200k troops from 12 tribes, including 10k from Yehuda (or maybe 200k from 11 tribes + 10k from Yehuda). At any rate, Yehuda is singled out and its contribution is sub-par.
    – sds
    Mar 5 at 15:18
  • @sds maybe if we figure out why Yehuda was singled out, the other question will be answered too?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 5 at 15:19
  • @RabbiKaii: Yehuda was singled out either because it was the tribe of kingship (as per Yakov's blessing) or because its contribution was sub-par. Do you have a 3rd theory?
    – sds
    Mar 5 at 15:20
  • Refer to Ahavas Yehonasan by Rav Eybeschutz on that posuk. I think he means that the people of Yehudah did not know how to find, so they teached them. Similary, see what the Abarbanel ad loc. writes on why Yehudah was singled out.
    – Shmuel
    Mar 5 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


It’s possible that most of the fighters were from Yosef, just like we find by the first war against amalek, that moshe appointed yehoshua, who was from Yosef.

It’s brought down in many places that amalek will fall specifically in the hands of rochel’s descendants - yehoshua from Yosef; shaul, mordechai and ester from binyomin; and moshiach Ben Yosef

See mechilta ki tetzei 10:1, based on a verse in Obadiah 1:18

  • sds did you really just accept this in less than a minute of it being answered? Genuinely curious - or is this just some feature of stack exchange I am unaware of?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 21 at 15:18
  • @RabbiKaii, I was just about to ask that question Mar 21 at 15:19
  • 1
    @Rabbi there is no feature like that. Only askers can mark accepted. Not even mods.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21 at 15:35

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