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Wilderness of Judea

D13 on the Map

Part of Judah E. of the Hill Country, descending to the Dead Sea. The wilderness of Judea extends from the waters of the Dead Sea to the very edge of the central plateau (or hill country), thus travelers from the E had to journey from five to eight hours through a waterless desert. Three well-watered spots are on its eastern edge, Jericho, 'Ain Feshka (10 miles S), and 'Ain Jidi (or Engedi 28 miles S). Three roads into Judea begin at Jericho; another road into Judea begins at 'Ain Feshka; and still another begins at Engedi. The roads from Jericho run NW to Ai and Bethel, SW to Jerusalem, and SSW to the lower Kidron and Bethlehem. Just after this last road crosses the Kidron it is joined by the road from 'Ain Feshka. The road from Engedi breaks into two branches, one running NW to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, a wild and difficult road never used by caravans, the other branch turning SW to Yuttah and Hebron.

Authorities say that the three features of Judea's geography that are most significant in her history are "her pastoral character, her neighborhood to the desert, her singular unsuitableness for the growth of a great city." Two, at least, of the prophets were born in the face of the wilderness of Judea-Amos at Tekoa, and Jeremiah at Anathoth. The wilderness was the scene of David's refuge from Saul; here John the Baptist prepared for his mission; and here our Lord suffered His temptation.

Josh. 15:61-63; Matt. 3:1.

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