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PERAEA (See also wiki article Perea_(Holy_Land).)

PERAEA - The region called by Josephus 'the Peraea' is referred to in the NT as 'beyond the Jordan' (Mt.19.1, Mk.3.8) in obvious dependence on OT usage (Gn.50.10 etc.). When Josephus says that it stretches from Machaerus to Pella, and from Philadelphia ('Amman) to the Jordan, he probably gives political boundaries, excluding Decapolis (BJ iii. iii. 3 [46]). The name seems to have covered the ancient 'Land of Gilead,' what is now known as Jebel 'Ajlun. But Josephus also uses it in a broader sense when he calls Gadara its capital (BJ iv. vii. 3, 6 [413,439]).

Transjordan had become strongly Hellenistic under the Seleucids. Judas Maccabaeus found it necessary to remove the Jews from the northern areas (1 Mac.5.45). Later the Jews sought to destroy the Hellenistic cities and make the area Jewish. Alexander Jannaeus held sway over most of Transjordan at the time of his death. But Pompey rehabilitated the Hellenistic cities. (See DECAPOLIS.) In 23 BC Augustus conferred Trachonitis, Batanaea and Auranitis on Herod, and several years later augmented this with the tetrarchy of Zenodorus, composed of Ulatha, Paneas, and the region adjacent to the Sea of Galilee. Herod was also permitted to name his brother Pheroras tetrarch of Peraea (Ant. xv. x. 3 [362] etc.). Later it came to Herod Antipas (xvii. viii. 1 [188]). From Peraea, Simon made his ill-starred raid upon Jericho (xvii. x. 6 [273ff]). It was part of the jurisdiction of Felix (BJ li. xii. 8 [247]). Manasseh was made governor after the disaster to Cestius (ii. xx. 4 [566]). Placidus effected its final subjugation to the Romans (iv. vii. 3, 6 [413, 439]). It was attached by the Moslems to the province of Damascus. Subsequently it was under Kerak.

The Mishnah recognizes the land beyond the Jordan as a province of the land of Israel, ranking with Judaea and Galilee on the W. According to Mk.10.1 and Mt.19.1 (but not Luke) Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem was through Peraea, and according to Jn.10.40 he retired 'across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized'?i.e. in Peraea. It was probably on the border of Peraea that Jesus was baptized. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - W. E.—E. G. K.]