"In Judea is the mountainous country, the plain, and the vale. What is the mountainous country of Judea? It is the king's mountain. The plain of it is the plain of the south. The vale is from En-gedi to Jericho. The plain of Lydda is as the plain of the south: and its mountainous country is as the king's mountainous country. From Beth-horon to the sea is one circumjacent region. Rabbi Jochanan saith, Yet it hath a mountainous part, a plain, and a vale. From Beth-horon to Emmaus is mountainous,--from Emmaus to Lydda is plain,--from Lydda to the sea is valley."
Judea is not divided amiss into four parts:--namely, into the country, which formerly was the Philistines', which takes up the western part. To this joins, on the east, the mountainous country of Judea, which is also called "The king's mount." To the mountainous country, on the east, joins a plain, a country more low and level than the mountains, which nevertheless here and there hath its hills..."A valley, lying between mountains, is reckoned with the mountains, and mountains in a valley are numbered with the valley." To the plain eastwardly joins a valley, lower than the plain,--namely, the coast of the sea of Sodom, and at length of Jordan.
The land of Benjamin, in like manner, which is numbered with Judea, in respect of its superficies, was of the same nature; which, although "it was a portion of the narrowest limits, by reason of the goodness of the soil," yet had its mountainous part, its plain, and vale: and that, not only towards Lydda, and the great sea, but towards Jericho and Jordan.
Judea did excel all the other parts of the land of Israel in very many privileges. For, besides that in it was seated Jerusalem, the metropolis of the whole nation, and in Jerusalem stood the Temple, and in the Temple sat the Sanhedrim:--this was also peculiar to it out of the Canons, that "it was not lawful to intercalate the year out of Judea, while they might do it in Judea." Maimonides gives the reason of the thing, "Because there dwelt the divine glory."--"Nor was the sheaf of the first-fruits of the barley to be fetched elsewhere, than from Judea, and as near as might be to Jerusalem." Once it was fetched a great way off, &c.