Or land of the Jews, a name sometimes given to the southern part of the Holy Land; and sometimes, especially by foreigners, to the whole country. In the general division of Canaan among the tribes, the southeast part fell to the lot of the tribe of Judah. With the increasing ascendency of that tribe the name of Judah covered a more extended territory, 2Sa 5:5; and after the secession of the ten tribes, the kingdom of Judah included the territory of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with a part of that of Simeon and Dan. Judah thus occupied all the southern portion of Palestine, while the northern part was called Galilee, and the middle Samaria. After the captivity, as most of those who returned were of the kingdom of Judah, the name Judah, or Judea, was applied generally to the whole of Palestine, Hag 1:1,14; 2:2; and this use of the word has never wholly ceased. When the whole country fell into the power of the Romans, the former division into Galilee, Samaria, and Judea seems to have again become current, Lu 2:4; Joh 4:3-4. Josephus describes Judea in his day as bounded north by Samaria, east by the Jordan, west by the Mediterranean, and south by the territory of the Arabs. These boundaries seem to include a part of Idumaea. Judea in this extent constituted part of the kingdom of Herod the Great, and afterwards belonged to his son Archelaus. When the latter was banished for his cruelties, Judea was reduced to the form of a Roman province, annexed to the proconsulate of Syria, and governed by procurators, until it was at length given as part of his kingdom to Herod Agrippa II. During all this time, the boundaries of the province were often varied, by the addition or abstraction of different towns and cities.
The original territory of the tribe of Judah was an elevated plain, much broken by frequent hills, ravines, and valleys, and sinking into fine plains and pasture-grounds on the west and south, Zec 7:7. It was a healthy, pleasant, and fruitful land. The valleys yielded large crops of grain; and the hills were terraced, watered, covered with vines, Ge 49:11-12, and rich in olives, figs, and many other fruits. See CANAAN. The "hill country" of Judah lay south and southeast of Jerusalem, Lu 1:39,65, including Bethlehem, Hebron, etc. "The plain" refers usually to the low ground near the Jordan, 2Sa 2:29; 2Ki 25:4-5.
The "wilderness of Judea," in which John began to preach, and where Christ was tempted, seems to have been in the eastern part of Judah, adjacent to the Dead sea, and stretching towards Jericho, 2Sa 15:28. It is still one of the most dreary and desolate regions of the whole country, Mt 3:1; 4:1.
After the Captivity this name was applied to the whole of the country west of the Jordan (Hag 1:1,14; 2:2). But under the Romans, in the time of Christ, it denoted the southernmost of the three divisions of Palestine (Mt 2:1,5; 3:1; 4:25), although it was also sometimes used for Palestine generally (Ac 28:21).
The province of Judea, as distinguished from Galilee and Samaria, included the territories of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. Under the Romans it was a part of the province of Syria, and was governed by a procurator.
First so-called as a "province" of Persia (Da 5:13; Ezr 5:8; Ne 11:3; Es 8:9). On the return from Babylon the Jews, besides Judah, included large portions of Benjamin, Levi, Ephraim, and Manasseh (Ezr 1:5; 10:5-9; Ne 11:4-36; 1Ch 9:3; "Israel," Ezr 2:70,59; 3:1; 10:5; Ne 7:73), and many whose pedigree could not be found. The number twelve was retained in the sin offerings, as though all the tribes were represented (Ezr 6:17; 8:35). The amalgamation began when Jeroboam's idolatry drove the godly of northern Israel to Judah, again it took place under Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30-33). Anna was of Asher (Lu 2:36); Paul of Benjamin (Ro 11:1); Barnabas of Levi (Ac 4:36). The "twelve tribes" appear Ac 26:7; Jas 1:1.
Judea is strictly the region W. of Jordan, S. of Samaria (though "beyond Jordan" is vaguely included in it Mr 10:1, and Galilee Lu 23:5). The village Anuath marked its northern boundary (Josephus, B. J., iii. 3, section 5), Jardan its southern boundary: comprising the territory of Judah, Dan, Simeon, and Benjamin, 100 miles long, 60 broad. Upon the deposition of the ethnarch Archelaus, A.D. 6, Judaea was ruled by a procurator subject to the governor of Syria; he resided at Caesarea on the coast. Judea was little frequented by our Lord, except Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Bethany (compare Joh 7:1 for the reason in part). Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 34:22) is fulfilled; "the cities of Judaea" are "a desolation without inhabitant," the vine-clad terraces and grainfields have only left their traces behind, ruins alone abound, and the scenery has but little beauty.
JUDEA, a district of Asia Minor, which is described both by ancient and modern geographers under a great variety of names, and with great diversity of extent. In the most extensive application of the name, it comprehends the whole country possessed by the Jews, or people of Israel; and included, therefore, very different portions of territory at different periods of their history. Upon the conquest of the country by Joshua, it was divided into twelve portions, according to the number of the tribes of Israel; and a general view of their respective allotments (though the intermediate boundaries cannot be very precisely ascertained) may convey some idea of its extent at that period. The portion of the tribe of Judah comprised all the country between Edom, or Idumea, on the south, the Mediterranean on the west, the Salt Sea on the east, and an imaginary line on the north, from the northern extremity of the Salt Sea to the Mediterranean. The portion of Simeon was included within that of Judah, and formed the southwest corner of the country; comprehending the towns of Bersaba, Gerar, Rapha, Gaza, Ascalon, and Azotus. The portion of Benjamin was situated to the north of Judah, near the centre of the kingdom, bounded on the east by the river Jordan, and containing part of Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethel, Rama, &c. The portion of Dan lay to the north- west of Judah, between that of Benjamin and the Mediterranean, reaching as far north as the latter, and containing Accaron and Jamnia. The portion of Ephraim stretched along the northern limits of Dan and Benjamin, between the river Jordan on the east, and the Mediterranean sea on the West; containing Sichem, Joppa, Lydda, Gazara, &c. The portion of the half tribe of Manasseh was situated north of Ephraim, between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean, reaching as far north as Dora, at the foot of Mount Carmel. The portion of Issachar stretched northward from Manasseh, and westward from Jordan, as far as Mount Tabor. The portion of Asher comprehended the maritime tract between Mount Carmel, as far as Sidon. The portion of Zebulon, bounded by Asher on the west, and Mount Tabor on the south, joined on the east the portion of Naphtali, which occupied the borders of the lake Gennesareth, or sea of Tiberias. The portion of Reuben lay to the eastward of the river Jordan, bounded on the south by the torrent of Arnon, and on the north by the river Jabok. The portion of Gad, also on the east of the Jordan, stretched from the Jabok toward the north, where it was bounded by the other half tribe of Manasseh, which occupied the country east of the lake Gennesareth, to the northern limits of the country. The whole of this extent between Coelo- Syria on the north, and Arabia Petraea on the south, the Mediterranean on the west, and Arabia Deserta on the east, may be considered as situated between 31 10' and 33 15' of north latitude, about a hundred and forty miles in length, and nearly a hundred in breadth. Reckoning from Dan to Beersheba, which are often mentioned in sacred Scripture as including the more settled and permanent possessions of the Israelites, its length would not exceed a hundred and twenty miles. But, if estimated from its boundaries in the reigns of David and Solomon, and several succeeding princes, its extent must be enlarged more than threefold; including both the land of Palestine, or of the Philistines, on the south, and the country of Phenice on the north, with part of Syria to the north-east. All this extent was originally comprehended in the land of promise, Ge 15:18; De 11:24; and was actually possessed by David and Solomon, 1Ki 9:20; 2Ch 8:7. It is described in numerous passages of the sacred writings, as all comprised in the Holy Land, from Hamath on the north, to the river of Egypt on the south; and from the Great or Mediterranean Sea on the west, to the deserts of Arabia on the east; a tract of country at least four hundred and sixty miles in length, and more than a hundred in breadth, Jos 15:2, &c; 19:24, &c; 1Ch 13:5; 2Ch 7:8; Eze 47:16,20; Am 6:14.
After the death of Solomon, when the kingdom of the Hebrews had attained its greatest extent, it was divided, in consequence of a revolt of ten tribes, into two distinct sovereignties, named Israel and Judah; the former of which had its seat of government in Samaria, and the latter in Jerusalem. The territories of both were gradually curtailed and laid waste by the revolt of tributary princes, and the incursions of powerful neighbours; and both were at length completely overthrown; that of Israel, by the king of Assyria, about B.C. 720; and that of Judah, by Nebuchadnezzar, about a hundred and fourteen years later.
After a captivity of seventy years, the Jews, who had been the subjects of Judah, having received permission from Cyrus to return to their native country, not only occupied the former territories of that kingdom, but extended themselves over great part of what had belonged to the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel: and then, for the first time, gave the name of Judea to the whole country over which they had again established their dominion. The same name was given to that kingdom as possessed by Herod the Great under the Romans; but, in the enumeration of the provinces of the empire, it was recognised only by the name of Palestine. All traces of its ancient division among the twelve tribes were now abolished, and it was distributed into four provinces; namely, Judea Proper in the south, Galilee in the north, Samaria in the centre, and Peraea on the east of the river Jordan. Judea Proper, situated in 31 40' north latitude, was bounded on the north by Samaria, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the east by the river Jordan, on the south by Arabia Petraea; and comprised the ancient settlements of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, and Simeon, with Philistia and Idumea. It is divided by Josephus into eleven toparchies, and by Pliny into ten; but these subdivisions are little noticed by ancient writers, and their boundaries are very imperfectly ascertained. The principal places in the north-east quarter of the province were Jerusalem, the capital, which was entirely destroyed in the reign of Hadrian, and replaced by a new city named AElia, a little farther north, which is now the site of the modern Jerusalem; Jericho, the city of palm trees, about nineteen miles eastward of Jerusalem, and eight from the river Jordan; Phaselis, built by Herod in memory of his brother, fifteen miles north-west of Jericho; Archelais, built by Archelaus, ten miles north of Jericho; Gophna, fifteen miles north of Jerusalem, in the road to Sichem; Bethel, twelve miles north of Jerusalem, originally called Luz; Gilgal, about one mile and a half from Jericho; Engeddi, a hundred furlongs south south-east of Jericho, near the northern extremity of the Dead Sea; Masada, a strong fortress built by Judas Maccabeus, the last refuge of the Jews after the fall of Jerusalem; Ephraim, a small town westward of Jericho; Anathoth, a Levitical town, nearly four miles north of Jerusalem. In the southeast quarter of the province were situated Bethlehem, or Ephrath, about six miles south from the capital; Bethzur, now St. Philip, a strong place on the road to Hebron, ten miles south of Jerusalem; Ziph, a small town between Hebron and the Dead Sea; Zoar, at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, near the situation of Sodom; Hebron, formerly Kirjath-arba, a very ancient town in a hilly country, twenty-five miles south of the capital; Arad, about twenty- four miles southward from Hebron, and near the Ascensus Avrabim, or Scorpion Mountains, on the border of Arabia Petraea; and Thamar, on the southern limit of the province, near the south extremity of the Dead Sea. In the north-west quarter were Bethshemesh, or Heliopolis, a Levitical city, about ten miles west of the capital; Rama, six miles north from Jerusalem; Emmaus, a village eight miles north north-west from Jerusalem, afterward called Nicopolis, in consequence of a victory gained by Vespasian over the revolted Jews; Bethoron, a populous Levitical city on the road to Lydda, a few miles north-west of Emmaus; Kirjath-jearim, on the road to Joppa, nine miles w