a small province on the northwest border of Palestine by the base of Mount Hermon
Ituraea = "past the limits" or "he will arrange"
1) a mountainous region, lying northeast of Palestine and west of
Damascus. At the time when John the Baptist made his public
appearance it was subject to Philip the tetrarch, son of Herod the
Great, among the regions assigned to this prince after his
father's death. It was brought under Jewish control by king
Aristobulus around 100 B.C. Its inhabitants had been noted for
robbery and skilful use of the bow.
2484 Itouraia ee-too-rah'-yah
of Hebrew origin (3195); Ituraea (i.e. Jetur), a region of
see HEBREW for 03195
(land of Jether
), a small province on the northwestern border of Palestine, lying along the base of Mount Hermon, only mentioned in (Luke 3:1
) Jetur the son of Ishmael gave his name like the rest of his brethren, to the little province he colonized. (Genesis 25:15,16
) It adjoined Trachonitis, and lay along the base of Libanus between Tiberias and Damascus. At the place indicated is situated the modern province of Jedur
, which is the Arabic form of the Hebrew Jetur
- it-u-re'-a (Itouraia):
1. The Word an Adjective:
The term occurs only once in Scripture, in the definition of Philip's territory: tes Itouraias kai Trachonitidos choras, which the King James Version renders: "of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis," and Revised Version: "the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis" (Lk 3:1). Sir W.M. Ramsay has given reasons for the belief that this word was certainly never used as a noun by any writer before the time of Eusebius (Expos, 1894, IX, 51 ff, 143 ff, 288 ff). It must be taken as an adjective indicating the country occupied by the Itureans.
2. The Itureans:
The descent of the Itureans must probably be traced to Jetur, son of Ishmael (Gen 25:15), whose progeny were clearly numbered among the Arabian nomads. According to Eupolemus (circa 150 BC), quoted by Eusebius (Praep. Evang. IX, 30), they were associated with the Nabateans, Moabites and Ammonites against whom David warred on the East of the Jordan. They are often mentioned by Latin writers; their skill in archery seems greatly to have impressed the Romans. They were skillful archers (Caesar, Bell. Afr. 20); a lawless (Strabo, xvi.2,10) and predatory people (Cicero, Philipp. ii.112). In the Latin inscriptions Iturean soldiers have Syrian names (HJP, I, ii, 326). They would therefore be the most northerly of the confederates opposed to David (supra), and their country may naturally be sought in the neighborhood of Mt. Hermon.
3. Indications of Their Territory:
There is nothing to show when they moved from the desert to this district. Aristobulus made war against the Itureans, compelled many of them to be circumcised, and added a great part of their territory to Judea, 140 BC (Ant., XIII, xi, 3). Dio Cassius calls Lysanias "king of the Itureans" (xlix.32), and from him Zenodorus leased land which included Ulatha and Paneas, 25 BC. The capital of Lysanias was Chalcis, and he ruled over the land from Damascus to the sea. Josephus speaks of Soemus as a tetrarch in Lebanon (Vita, 11); while Tacitus calls him governor of the Itureans (Ann. xii.23). The country of Zenodorus, lying between Trachonitis and Galilee, and including Paneas and Ulatha, Augustus bestowed on Herod, 20 BC (Ant., XV, x, 3). In defining the tetrarchy of Philip, Josephus names Batanea, Trachonitis and Auranitis, but says nothing of the Itureans (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). Paneas and Ulatha were doubtless included, and this may have been Iturean territory (HJP, I, ii, 333). It seems probable, therefore, that the Itureans dwelt mainly in the mountains, and in the broad valley of Coele-Syria; but they may also have occupied the district to the Southeast of Hermon, the modern Jedur. It is not possible to define more closely the Iturean country; indeed it is not clear whether Luke intended to indicate two separate parts of the dominion of Philip, or used names which to some extent overlapped.
It has been suggested that the name Jedur may be derived from the Hebrew yeTur, and so be equivalent to Ituraea. But the derivation is impossible.