International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
1. The Word an Adjective:
The term occurs only once in Scripture, in the definition of Philip’s territory: tes Itouraias kai Trachonitidos choras, which the
2. The Itureans:
The descent of the Itureans must probably be traced to Jetur, son of Ishmael (
3. Indications of Their Territory:
There is nothing to show when they moved from the desert to this district. Aristobulus made war against the Itureans, compelled many of them to be circumcised, and added a great part of their territory to Judea, 140 BC (Ant., XIII, xi, 3). Dio Cassius calls Lysanias "king of the Itureans" (xlix.32), and from him Zenodorus leased land which included Ulatha and Paneas, 25 BC. The capital of Lysanias was Chalcis, and he ruled over the land from Damascus to the sea. Josephus speaks of Soemus as a tetrarch in Lebanon (Vita, 11); while Tacitus calls him governor of the Itureans (Ann. xii.23). The country of Zenodorus, lying between Trachonitis and Galilee, and including Paneas and Ulatha, Augustus bestowed on Herod, 20 BC (Ant., XV, x, 3). In defining the tetrarchy of Philip, Josephus names Batanea, Trachonitis and Auranitis, but says nothing of the Itureans (Ant., XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). Paneas and Ulatha were doubtless included, and this may have been Iturean territory (HJP, I, ii, 333). It seems probable, therefore, that the Itureans dwelt mainly in the mountains, and in the broad valley of Coele-Syria; but they may also have occupied the district to the Southeast of Hermon, the modern Jedur. It is not possible to define more closely the Iturean country; indeed it is not clear whether Luke intended to indicate two separate parts of the dominion of Philip, or used names which to some extent overlapped.
It has been suggested that the name Jedur may be derived from the Hebrew yeTur, and so be equivalent to Ituraea. But the derivation is impossible.