Region in southern Palestine.

Judea gets its name from the tribe of Judah, which settled in southern Palestine. When the kingdom split into north and south in 922 B.C., the northern half was called Israel and the southern part was called Judah. The kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587 B.C. Afterward, the region became known as Judea and its people as Judeans or Jews (Ezra 5:8). Jerusalem remained its principal city. Judea became part of the Persian and Greek empires before achieving independence under the Maccabees in the second century B.C. In New Testament times, Judea was a Roman province that was ruled by Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.) and later by Roman governors. During Jesus' adult life the governor was Pontius Pilate.
Judah Judea

Central Judea south
of Jerusalem

was born in Bethlehem of Judea, but later lived in Nazareth in Galilee. John's gospel relates that Jesus came to Judea repeatedly during his ministry. He frequently taught in the Temple and performed healings in Jerusalem and the nearby village of Bethany. The other three gospels suggest that Jesus made one trip to Jerusalem at the end of his ministry. After Jesus' death and resurrection his disciples remained active in Judea, and the number of Christians in the region grew (Acts 1:8; 26:20; Gal 1:22). Non-Christians in Judea were sometimes hostile to the church there (1 Thess 2:14; Rom 15:31).


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