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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Judah, Wilderness of.

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The desert of Judah (מַדְבִּר יְהוּדָה ) is mentioned in the title of Psalms 63, and the desert of Judaea (αἱ ἔρεμαι , or ἔρημος τής Ι᾿ουδαίας ), frequently referred to in the gospels, is considered to be the same locality. It was situated adjacent to the Dead Sea and the River Jordan, and was a mountainous and thinly inhabited tract of country, but abounding in pastures. In the time of Joshua it had six cities, with their villages (Joshua 15:61-62), but it is now, and has long been, one of the most dreary and desolate regions of the whole country (Robinson's Researches, 2, 202, 310). The positions of this desert specially alluded to in the N.T. are,

(1.) That in which John the Baptist grew up, probably west of the Dead Sea (Luke 1:80; Luke 3:2);

(2.) That where he baptized, i.e. the uninhabited tract along the Jordan (Matthew 3:1; Mark 1:4; compare 5);

(3.) That where Jesus was tempted, perhaps the high desert west of Jericho (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12-13);

(4.) The tract between the Mount of Olives and Jericho, probably referred to in Acts 21:38 (see Josephus, Ant. 20, 8, 6);

(5.) The tract adjacent to the city Ephraim, probably Tayibeh, towards the Jordan (John 11:54). (See JUDAH, TRIBE OF).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Judah, Wilderness of.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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