1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 9: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, The Geopolitical Districts of the Promised Land, Continued


We have looked at Phoenica, Galilee and Samaria. 


Let us look at the remaining geopolitical entity on the west side of the Jordan River.


JUDEA (Jew dee' uh) means Jewish – The fourth major geopolitical entity of Cisjordon was Judea.


Prior to the Babylonian exile of the southern kingdom that area was known as the Hill country of Judah (fourth son of Jacob and son of Leah). 


Occupied by the tribe of Judah as well as Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim.


After the exile it was known as Judea.


According to 2 Kings 23:8 the heartland of Judea extended from Geba, a town about 5 miles north of Jerusalem to Beersheba in the south. 


So Judea always included Jerusalem, the capital of all of Israel and then the capital of Judea when the kingdom was divided.


The Judean region extends east as far as the Judean wilderness, and as far west as the steep and rocky descent into a slender moat that divides it to form the Shephela.


SHEPHELAH (sheh' fih lahh) Transliteration of Hebrew geographical term meaning, “lowland.” Region of low foothills between the Philistine coastal plain and the highlands of Judah farther inland. It served as a battleground for Israel and Philistia during the period of the judges and early monarchy. Joshua 15:33-41 lists about thirty villages and towns located in the region.


So the heartland of Judea took in no more than 50 miles north-south and only 15 east-west.


Judea was a very small tract of uncultivable land that was isolated from international traffic, and that never experienced independent material prosperity.


It was a land that promoted a pastoral life-style and was a place of fortresses, shrines and villages.


Until David came on the scene, this area played a negligible role in Israel’s history. 


But beginning with the Davidic monarchy the history of Old Testament Jerusalem pretty much describes the history of Judea itself.


Herod the Great, appointed over roughly the same territory by Rome, had the title, king of Judea.


Judea, Samaria, and Galilee were generally considered, in Roman times, to be the three main geographical divisions of Palestine.


In addition to the four major geopolitical entities of Cisjordan there was also the province of Idumea [id-yoo-MEE-uh] in the post-exilic: after the exile) and New Testament politics. 


Isaiah and Ezekiel both use the name twice and it is referred to in Mark 3:8 as Idumaea )id-oo-mah'-yah).


Idumea is the greek name for Edom for which the area was named due to the Edomite refugees who had fled north to avoid the growing pressure from their Nabatean neighbors.


In NT times, it referred to the region of s Judah occupied by the Edomites following the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. Pressure from the Nabateans caused the Edomites to migrate heavily into the territory.


Idumea came under the governorship of Herod the Great, and in a.d. 41 was included in the kingdom of Agrippa I.


Idumean territory eventually stretched from Beth-zur (near Hebron) to Beersheba and from the Dead sea to the edge of the Philistine plain. 


It was at times detached from Judea and at times reannexed.


TRANSJORDAN – With Israel being the location of reference, the land across the Jordan or the other side of Jordan is referred to as Transjordan.


That stretch of land between Mt. Hermon on the north and  the Gulf of Aquaba (some 250 miles) on the south, and from the Jordan Rift Valley on the west to the fringes of the eastern desert (between 30 and 80 miles).


Old Testament Transjordania was a composition of five geopolitical entities. 


From north to south those included Bashan, Gilead, Mishor, Moab, and Edom. (B, G, Mi, Mo, In alphabetical order from north to south except for Edom)


BASHAN (Bay' shan) – This is the northernmost region of Palestine east of the Jordan River.


Bashan means a fruitful or smooth plain.


Though its precise extent cannot be determined with certainty, it was generally east of the Sea of Galilee.


Bashan stretched 35 miles from Mt. Hermon down to the Yarmuk River and extended as far east as Kenath (Num 32:42) and Salecah (Deut 3:10).


It was known as a particularly fertile area (Deut. 32:14; Ezek. 39:18).


In the time of Moses it was ruled over by a king named Og (ogue), whom the Israelite army defeated (Num. 21:33-35).


It included six walled cities and was assigned to half of the tribe of Manasseh (Deut. 3:13; Josh. 13:29-31).


Probably on account of its frontier location, it changed hands several times during the course of Israelite history.


During New Testament times, the region north of the Yarmuk consisted basically of the provinces that made up the tetrarchy of Philip, brother of Herod Antipas: Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Auranitis, Batanea, and Iturea.


Gaulanitis (Golan Heights) mountains that rise sharply just to the east of the Hula valley and the Sea of Galilee.


Trachonitis means stony ground


Auranitis was coveted by the Romans because of its fertile soilwas capable of producing vast supplies of wheat, which rendered the district an important granary for Palestine and Syria.


Batanea is the Greek form for Bashan; but as a province, it was distinguished from the other sectors of Philip’s rule. 


Jewish pilgrims passed from Babylon to Jerusalem on a major road through Batenea and according to Eusebius the cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei mentioned in Joshua 12:4, were both a part of Batanea


Iturea refers to some of the tribal descendants of Ishmael’s son Jetur (Gen 25:15).


It is thought that Iturea lay in the Beqa valley, extending no farther than the mountains that flanked it on either side. 


It would have encompassed the land between the province of Abilene (part of the tetrarachy of Lysanias, and the area of Mt. Hermon