Geography of Palestine during the time of Lord Jesus

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12 Questions

Where did Jesus live during his time?


Name three provinces into which Palestine was divided during the time of Jesus.

Judaea, Samaria, Galilee

What are the principal towns mentioned in the Gospel story in the province of Judaea?

Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ain Karim, Emmaus, Jericho, Bethany

Which province of Palestine was known for being the most favored by nature?


What was the nature of the economy in first-century Palestine?

Agrarian economy

What percentage of the population in first-century Palestine was made up of the peasantry?


What were the principal products of production in Palestine?

Grain, vegetables, fruits, legumes, spices, and meat

What did the peasants' diet mainly consist of?

Bread and salt, along with olives, oil, onions, and perhaps some grapes

Who were included in the peasantry?

Small landowners, tenants, and landless peasants

What was the primary source of income for the elites in Palestine?

Medium-sized and large estates

Who proclaimed Herod the Great as the King of the Jews?


What were the languages spoken in Palestine during that time?

Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin

Study Notes

Geography of Palestine

  • The region is also known as the Middle East, with Palestine as its heart, where Jesus lived.
  • Palestine was divided into three provinces during Jesus' time: Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee.
  • Key towns in Judaea: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ain Karim, Emmaus, Jericho, and Bethany.
  • Key towns in Samaria: Samaria and Sychar.
  • Key towns in Galilee: Cana, Chorazin, Nazareth, Capernaum, Bethsaida, and Tiberias.

Economic Situation

  • Palestine's economy was primarily agrarian, based on subsistence-level farming by peasants who made up 90% of the population.
  • Principal products: grain, vegetables, fruits, legumes, spices, and meat.
  • Peasants' diet consisted mainly of bread, salt, olives, oil, onions, and grapes.
  • The economic condition of peasants was precarious due to subsistence-level farming, taxes, rents, and natural disasters.
  • Elites drew their income from medium-sized and large estates.


  • Trade was significant, with both local and international trade.
  • Principal exports: olive oil, dates, opobalsam, and spices.

Political Situation

  • The Roman Empire governed the conquered people wisely, which contributed to their powerful empire.
  • Herod the Great, a half-Jew, was proclaimed King of the Jews by Octavian in 31 B.C.
  • Herod's territory included Idumea, Judaea, Samaria, Galilee, and north and east of the Sea of Galilee.
  • Herod rebuilt the temple, which was completed in 63 A.D.
  • Herod was suspicious and reacted violently against any attempt to usurp his power.
  • After Herod's death, his kingdom was divided among his sons, with the Roman Procurator governing the territory.


  • Hebrew was the sacred language.
  • Aramaic was the language of ordinary people.
  • Greek was the universal language of the Roman Empire.
  • Latin was the language of Roman soldiers.

Explore the landscape and provinces of Palestine during the time of Jesus. Discover the significance of towns like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and others mentioned in the Gospel stories.

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