Nachshon son of Aminadav was the prince of the Tribe of Judah during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. He is known for his bravery as the first to enter the Sea of Reeds, prompting its miraculous split. Read on for 11 facts about this courageous Biblical figure.

1. He Was a Descendant of Judah

Nachshon was a fifth-generation descendant of Judah, son of Jacob. Scripture details his precise lineage: his father was Aminadav, son of Ram, son of Chetzron, son of Peretz, son of Judah.1

Read: 12 Facts About Judah

2. His Sister Was Aaron’s Wife

Nachshon is first mentioned in Scripture when describing the marriage of Aaron, brother of Moses: “Aaron took for a wife Elisheva, daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon.”2 He thus had marital ties with the paramount figures of the Jewish nation: Aaron, the future High Priest, and Moses, the greatest Jewish leader of all times.

Read: Who Was Elisheva?

3. The Talmud Sees Him as the Ideal Brother-in-Law

Why does the Bible record Nachshon’s name in the context of Elisheva’s marriage to Aaron? The sages explain that Aaron took note of Nachshon’s admirable qualities and considered them in his decision to marry Elisheva. This anecdote offers a valuable lesson: “Want to marry a woman? Check out her brothers.”3

Read: Practical Tips for Choosing a Soul Mate

4. He Jumped Into the Sea of Reeds

After leaving Egypt, the Israelites found themselves trapped between the Sea of Reeds ahead and the pursuing Egyptian army behind them. In this critical moment, G‑d issued a seemingly impossible directive to Moses: “Tell the people of Israel to travel on.”4

But who would take the initial step? It was Nachshon who exhibited remarkable bravery, plunging into the water and forging ahead. As he courageously advanced, G‑d miraculously split the sea, saving the people from their enemies.5

Read: Parting of the Red Sea

5. His Name Reflects Bravery

The name Nachshon bears similarity to "nachshol," Hebrew for "powerful wave."6 This resemblance is symbolic of Nachshon's fearless act of entering the sea despite the formidable waves in his path.7

Read: Split Your Sea

6. He Was One of 12 Tribal Princes

Aside from Moses, the overall leader of the nation, each of the 12 Tribes was guided by a prince from within their respective ranks. Nachshon held the position of prince within the tribe of Judah.8 Alongside other responsibilities, Nachshon and his fellow tribal leaders assisted Moses in fulfilling the Divine command to conduct a census of the people.9

Read: The Census: Making Each Person Count

7. First to Bring Dedication Sacrifices

After Moses erected the Tabernacle in the desert, the princes of the 12 Tribes donated inaugural offerings and gifts. These sacrifices were brought over 12 consecutive days, one prince’s offerings per day. As per G‑d’s instruction,10 the first one to bring his sacrifices—on the first of Nissan, 244911—was Nachshon.12 According to one tradition, this was a reward for being the first to enter the sea.13

Read: What Was the Mishkan (Tabernacle)?

8. He Was King David’s Ancestor

Nachshon was the progenitor of King David, and of all the kings of the Davidic dynasty. Here, too, Scripture details the precise lineage: Nachshon’s son was Salmah (or Salmon), father of Boaz, father of Oved, father of Jesse (Yishai), father of David.14

The Midrash adds that Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah descended from Nachshon as well—as will Moshiach, a descendant of King David.15

Read: The Story of King David

9. His Offerings Foretold Jewish Monarchy

Nachshon’s offering consisted of flour and incense presented in golden and silver vessels, accompanied by an array of oxen, rams, lambs, and goats.16 According to the Midrash, Nachshon was privy to a tradition passed down from Jacob, detailing his tribe’s future experiences throughout history until the era of Moshiach. Knowing the Jewish monarchy would descend from his lineage, Nachshon selected specific vessels and animals that symbolized the historical trajectory of the Davidic dynasty (for example, 17 peace offerings corresponding to the 17 kings from David to Zedekiah).17

Read: A History of the Hebrew Monarchy

10. Nachshon Is a Jewish Name

While not as prevalent as names like Abraham, Joseph, or David, the name Nachshon has been carried by various individuals across history. Among them was Rabbi Nachshon Gaon, a distinguished figure who served as the leader of the Sura Academy in Babylonia in 872–876 CE. Even today Nachshon is a relatively common given name and also a surname.

Read: Popular Jewish Names

11. His Courage Provides Timeless Inspiration

Nachshon’s name has become synonymous with fearless courage and the motivation to do the right thing even when it’s not popular. During Israel’s moment of uncertainty at the Sea of Reeds, while everyone else hesitated, Nachshon boldly obeyed G‑d’s command. The lesson for us: We must stay focused and faithful in fulfilling our life’s mission, refusing to be deterred by any obstacles that may arise along the way.

Read: Nachshon ben Aminadav