Judae'a (Ι᾿ουδαία, fem. Of Ι᾿ουδαῖος, Jew or Jewish, sc. land; once in A.V. for Chald. יהוּד, Judah, Ezr 5:8; "Jewry," Lu 23:5; Joh 7:1), the southernmost of the three divisions of the Holy Land. It denoted the kingdom of Judah as distinguished from that of Israel. SEE JUDAH. But after the captivity, as most of the exiles who returned belonged to the kingdom of Judah, the name Judaea (Judah) was applied generally to the whole of Palestine west of the Jordan (Hag 1:1,14; Hag 2; Hag 2). Under the Romans, in the time of Christ, Palestine was divided into Galilee, Samaria, and Judaea (Joh 4:4-5; Ac 9:31), the last including the whole of the southern part west of the Jordan But this division was only observed as a political and local distinction, for the sake of indicating the part of the country, just as we use the name of a county (Mt 2:1,5; Mt 3; Mt 1;
4:25; Lu 1:65); but when the whole of Palestine was to be indicated in a general way, the term Judaea was still employed. Thus persons in Galilee and elsewhere spoke of going to Judaea (Joh 7:3; Joh 11:7), to distinguish the part of Palestine to which they were proceeding; but when persons in Rome and other places spoke of Judea (Ac 28:21), they used the word as a general denomination for the country of the Jews, or Palestine. Indeed, the name seems to have had a more extensive application than even to Palestine west of the Jordan It denoted all the dominions of Herod the Great, who was called the king of Judaea; and much of these lay beyond the river (comp. Mt 19:1; Mr 10:1). After the death of Herod, however, the Judaea to which his son Archelaus succeeded was only the southern province so called (Mt 2:22), which afterwards became a Roman province dependent on Syria and governed by procurators, and this was its condition during our Lord's ministry (see Nohrbor, Judoea provincia Romanorum, Upsal. 1822). It was afterwards for a time partly under the dominion of Herod Agrippa the elder (Ac 12:1-19), but on his death it reverted to its former condition under the Romans. See Smith's Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.
It is only Judaea, in the provincial sense, that requires our present notice, the country at large being described in the article PALESTINE. In this sense, however, it was much more extensive than the domain of the tribe of Judah, even more so than the kingdom of the same name. There are no materials for describing its limits with precision, but it included the ancient territories of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. It is, however, not correct to describe Idumaea as not anciently belonging to Judah. The Idumaea of later times, or that which belonged to Judaea, was the southern part of the ancient Judah, into which the Idumaeans had intruded during the exile, and the annexation of which to Judea only restored what had anciently belonged to it.
The name Judea occurs among the list of nations represented at the paschal outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:9), where some have preferred the various readings India or Idumoea (see Kuinol, ad loc.), and even Junia (Ι᾿ουνίαν, Schulthess, De charismat. 1, 145), a place in Armenia, with various other conjectural emendations (see Bowyer's Conjectures on the N.T. ad loc.), all alike unnecessary (see Hackett, Alford, ad loc.).
In the Rabbinical writings, Judaea, as a division of Palestine, is frequently called" the south," or "the south country," to distinguish it from Galilee, which was called" the north" (Lightfoot, Chorog. Cent. 12). The distinction of the tribe of Judah into "the Mountain," "the Plain," and /" the Vale," which we meet with in the Old Testament (Nu 13:30), was preserved under the more extended denomination of Judea (for the more specific divisions in Jos 15:21-63, see Keil's Comment. ad loc.; Schwarz, Palest. p. 93-122). The Mountain, or hill country of Judaea (Jos 21:11; Lu 1:39), was that "broad back of mountains," as Lightfoot calls it (Chorog. Cent. 11), which fills the center of the country from Hebron northward to beyond Jerusalem (for Lu 1:39, SEE JUTTAH ). The Plain was the low country towards the sea coast, and seems to have included not only the broad plain which extends between the sea and the hill country, but the lower parts of the hilly region itself in that direction. Thus the Rabbins allege that from Beth-horon to the sea is one region (Talmud Hieros. Shebiith, 9:2). The Vale is defined by the Rabbins as extending from Engedi to Jericho (Lightfoot, Panergon, § 2); from which, and other indications, it seems to have included such parts of the Ghor, or great plain of the Jordan, as lay within the territory of Judaea. This appropriation of the terms is far preferable to that of some writers, such as Lightfoot, who suppose "the Plain" to be the broad valley of the Jordan, and "the Valley" to be the lower valley of the same river. That which is called the Wilderness of Judaea was the wild and inhospitable region lying eastward of Jerusalem, in the direction of the Jordan and Dead Sea (Isa 40:3; Mt 3:1; Lu 1:80; Lu 3:2-4). In the N.T. only the Highlands and the Desert of Judaea are distinguished. We may have some notion of the extent northward which Judaea had obtained, from Josephus calling Jerusalem the center of the country ( War, 3, 3, 5), which is remarkable, seeing that Jerusalem was originally in the northernmost border of the tribe of Judah. In fact. he describes the breadth of the country as extending from the Jordan to Joppa which shows that this city was in Judaea. How much further to the north — the boundary — lay we cannot know with precision, as we are unacquainted with the site of Annath, otherwise Borceros, which he says lay on the boundary in between Judaea and Samaria. The mere fact that Josephus makes Jerusalem the center of the land seems to prove that the province did not extend so far to the south as the ancient kingdom of the same name. As the southern boundary of Judea was also that of the whole country, it is only necessary to remark that Josephus places the southern boundary of the Judaea of the time of Christ at a village called Jardan, on the confines of Arabia Petraea. No place of this name has been found, and the indication is very indistinct, from the fact that all the country which lay beyond the Idumaea of those times was then called Arabia. In fixing this boundary, Josephus regards Idumaea as part of Judaea, for he immediately after reckons that as one of the eleven districts into which Judaea was divided. Most of these districts were denominated, like our counties, from the chief towns. They were,
1. Jerusalem; 2. Gophna; 3. Acrabatta; 4. Thumna; 5. Lydda; 6. Emmaus; 7. Pella; 8. Idumaea; 9. Engaddi; 10. Herodium; and, 11. Jericho.
Judaea is, as the above intimations would suggest, a country full of hills and valleys. The hills are generally separated from one another by valleys and torrents, and are, for the most part, of moderate height, uneven, and seldom of any regular figure. The rock of which they are composed is easily converted into soil, which being arrested by the terraces when washed down by the rains, renders the hills cultivable in a series of long, narrow gardens, formed by these terraces from the base upwards. In this manner the hills were in ancient times cultivated most industriously, and enriched and beautified with the fig tree, the olive tree, and the vine; and it is thus that the scanty cultivation which still subsists is now carried on. But when the inhabitants were rooted out, and the culture neglected. the terraces fell to decay, and the soil which had been collected, in them was washed down into the valleys, leaving only the arid rock, naked and desolate. This is the general character of the scenery; but in some parts the hills are beautifully wooded, and in others the application of the ancient mode of cultivation still suggests to the traveler how rich the country once was and might be again, and how beautiful the prospects which it offered. As, however, much of this was the result of cultivation, the country was probably anciently, as at present, naturally less fertile than either Samaria or Galilee. The present difference is very pointedly remarked by different travelers; and lord Lindsay plainly declares that "all Judea, except the hills of Hebron and the vales immediately about Jerusalem, is barren and desolate. But the prospect brightens as soon as you quit it, and Samaria and Galilee still smile like the land of promise." But there is a season — after the spring rains, and before the summer heat has absorbed all the moisture left by them — when even the desert is clothed with verdure, and at that season the valleys of Judaea present a refreshingly green appearance. This vernal season, however, is of short duration, and by the beginning of May the grass upon the mountains, and every vestige of vegetation upon the lower grounds, have in general completely disappeared. (See Kitto, Pictorial History of Palestine, Introduct. p. 39, 40, 119, 120; and the Travels of Nau, p. 439; Roger, p. 182; Mariti, 2, 362; Lindsay, 2, 70; Stephens, 2, 249; Elliot, p. 408, 409; Olin, 2, 323; Stanley, p. 161, 173. For a general discussion, see Reland, Paloest. p. 31, 174, 178; Rosenmüller, Bibl. Geogr. 2, 2, 149; Ritter, Erdk. 14, 81, 1064, 1080, 1088; 15, 25, 125, 131, 655; 16, 1 sq., 21 sq., 33 sq., 35 sq., 509 sq., 26, 114 sq., 547.) SEE JUDAH, TRIBE OF.