shepherd with flock in olive
grove on Mt. Scopus just north of Jerusalem
Greco-Roman name for
the land of the tribe of Judah, whose only stable border was
fixed by the Dead Sea to the east. The tribal homeland had about
a fifteen mile radius in the hill country of the southeastern
corner of Palestine, with its center at Hebron.
There mountain ridges rose to almost 3400 feet above the level
of the Mediterranean only to descend 4700 feet eastward to the
surface of the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the face of this
fortress palace in the Judean wilderness 4 miles east of Bethlehem.
David's conquest of Jerusalem
on the border with Benjamin shifted Judea's center further
north. During the reigns of David & Solomon (10th c. BCE)
the tribe of Judah absorbed the ancestral lands of Benjamin [to
the north of Jerusalem], Dan [to the west] & Simeon [to the south].
So after Solomon the northern boundary of Judah ran on a
line just north of Modein in the west to Jericho in the east.
After the Babylonian exile (6th c. BCE), the province of Judea
was reduced to a ring of about a 10 mile radius around
well at Gibeon, capitol of
Benjamin under Saul
absorbed into Judah under Solomon (10th c.
After Judea won
independence from Hellenistic Syria (2nd c.
extended its borders westward to the Mediterranean from
annexed the historic Judean homeland in the south that had been
claimed by Idumea.
Though later Hasmoneans
extended Judean control over
Galilee & the
Golan, these were
treated as occupied territories & never integrated into Judea even
So, except for Samaria these territories were easily
separated from Judea after Herod's death. During the 1st c.
CE the Roman province of Judea
proper was reduced to a military prefecture about 45 miles square,
with its capitol at
view from top of Mt. of
Olives westward toward the Kidron valley
Perspective on the
World of Jesus
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