I. Although the whole Transjordanine country might justly enough be called Perea, for this very reason, because it was on the other side Jordan; yet, generally speaking, the country is distinguished, and that is peculiarly called Perea, which was the kingdom of Sehon, the dwelling afterward of the Reubenites, and part of the tribes of Gad.
Hence that of Ptolemy, that "from the east of the river Jordan," there are only these cities reckoned up by him: Cosmos. Livias. Callirrhoe (of old, Lasha.) Gazorus. Epicaerus.
Other places that were beyond Jordan he mentions under other districts; as, some under Coelosyria, others under Batanea.
That which we are now inquiring about, is, whether the Transjordanine country was ever called Galilee. The rise of this question is, because our Evangelist mentions the whole tetrarchy of Herod, under the name of Galilee, when as Perea was a great part of it. I incline much to the affirmative, for these reasons: and first, I suppose that the upper part of the country 'beyond Jordan' might be called 'Galilee.'
1. From Matthew 4:15, "by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles." Are not those places beyond the sea of Gennesaret, called, in this place, 'Galilee of the Gentiles,' in distinction to Galilee properly so called, on this side Jordan?
2. Judas, who moved the sedition against the Roman tax, is, by Gamaliel, called 'Judas of Galilee,' Acts 5:37,--who yet, by Josephus, is called, "A Gaulonite of the city of Gamala." Now it is well enough known that Gaulona and Gamala were beyond Jordan.
II. I suppose Perea, properly so called, to have gone also under the name of Galilee, for these reasons:
1. The whole land of Canaan, both that beyond and that on this side Jordan, was under the jurisdiction of Herod the Great. So that divide this whole country into four tetrarchies, the first Judea; the second Samaria; both which were under the government of Pilate; the third, Iturea and Trachonitis, under Philip; the fourth will be Galilee on this side, and Perea beyond Jordan. Whereas, therefore, St. Luke, in the division of the tetrarchies, names only Galilee, as that which belonged to Herod, it is manifest he includes Perea under that of Galilee, and speaks of it as a known and commonly-received thing.
2. In Luke 7:11, it is said of Jesus, that "as he went to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee." One would have thought it had been proper to have said, "through the midst of Galilee and Samaria." For when he went from Jerusalem to his own country, he then passed through Samaria, and so into Galilee; but going from home to Jerusalem, he in his passage went through Galilee, and then through Samaria: but now it is very certain, that in that journey he did pass through Perea, having first gone through the Samaritan country. Whence it is very probable that Perea is called, by our evangelist in this place, Galilee; in the very same manner as he had also included it in the mention of Galilee, Luke 3:1.
3. In that tragical feast, wherein the last mess was the head of John Baptist, those who then were treated by Herod are called the "great estates of Galilee," Mark 6:21. Now, that supper was kept in the palace Herodium, which was in the very extreme parts of Perea towards the south; and, therefore, surely those "great estates of Galilee," that were with him, must be no other than the great estates of Perea.
4. There is mention of Geliloth of Jordan, Joshua 22:11, when the passage was concerning Perea: whence that country might well take its name of Galilee.