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Perea. Beyond Jordan.

Chapter 91
Perea. Beyond Jordan.

"The length of Perea was from Macherus to Pella: the breadth from Philadelphia to Jordan."

"The mountainous part of it was mount Macvar, and Gedor," &c. "The plain of it was Heshbon, with all its cities, which are in the plain, Dibon, and Bamoth-Baal, and Beth-Baal-Meon," &c. "The valley of it is Beth-Haran, and Beth-Nimrah, and Succoth," &c.

The mention of the mountains of Macvar occurs in that hyperbolical tradition of R. Eleazar Ben Diglai, saying, "The goats in the mountains of Macvar sneezed at the smell of the perfume of the incense in the Temple." The word Macherus is derived from Macvar.

The whole country, indeed, which was beyond Jordan, was called Perea: but it was so divided, that the southern part of it was particularly called Perea; the other part was called Batanea, Auranitis, Trachonitis. So it is called by Josephus, because, by the donation of Augustus, "Perea and Galilee came into the possession of Herod Antipas: and Batanea, and Trachon, and Auranitis, into that of Philip."

Bashan passed into Batanea, according to the Syriac idiom, that changeth Shin into Thau: Batanin, in the Samaritan interpreter; Matanin, in the Targumists, by the alternate use of Mem and Beth, which is not unusual with them.

Golan was the chief city of this country, Joshua 20:8. Whence is Gaulonitis, and that "Upper and Nether Gaulonitis."

In the Jews we read, "Trachon, which is bounded at Bozra." Not Bozrah of Edom, Isaiah 63:1; nor Bezer of the Reubenites, Joshua 20:8; but another, to wit, Bosorra, or Bosor, in the land of Gilead. Concerning which, see Josephus, and the First Book of Maccabees, 5:26.

While we speak of the difference between Bezer and Bozrah, we cannot pass by a simple example of this thing, propounded by the Babylonian Talmudists. "The prince of Rome" [viz. Samael, the angel of death, as the Gloss tells us] "did formerly commit a threefold error; as it is written, 'Who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?' In this matter he errs, because there is no refuge but in Bezer, and he betook himself to Bozrah," &c.

"Batanea is bounded by Trachonitis."

Auranitis.--Josephus sometimes calls it 'Abranitis.'--"Caesar (saith he) gave to Herod [the Great] Trachon, and Batanea, and Abranitis"; and that, that he should restrain and subdue the robbers, who most miserably vexed those countries, &c.