What was the Wilderness of Judea?

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The wilderness of Judea was a rocky and relatively barren area of land between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. In this area there were no major cities, but Masada, Qumran, and Engedi were located in this region. This would’ve been the area where Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. The wilderness of Judea was also a place of thieves and robbers, as mentioned in the story of the good Samaritan, who was beaten and robbed on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. This dry and fierce Judean wilderness was where the scapegoat was released to die in the wilderness. It is also the wilderness where David fled to when King Saul chased him “as a partridge in the mountains” (1 Sam 16:20). The southern portion was mentioned in the Psalms as “Waste Places” and “Desolation”. There were no rivers in the Judean Wilderness, only streams that formed during the rainfall.

Isaiah 51:3 – For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.