Iturea

ITUREA (ĭt'ū-rē'a, Gr. Itouraia, pertaining to Jetur). This word is found only once in Scripture, in the description of Philip’s territory: “of Iturea and Traconitis” (Luke.3.1). It was a region NE of Palestine, beyond the Jordan, and cannot now be exactly located. The Itureans were descended from Ishmael (Gen.25.15), who had a son named Jetur, from whom the name Iturea is derived. The Itureans were seminomads and famous archers, a lawless and predatory people. According to an ancient writer, David warred against them. It is not known when they moved from the desert to the mountains in the north. Until the fourth century a.d. there was no defined territory called Iturea; only the ethnic name Itureans was used. In Luke.3.1, according to Ramsay, the word is an adjective. In 105 b.c. Aristobulus I conquered and annexed the kingdom to Judea. In 66 Pompey defeated its king, Ptolemaeus, who purchased immunity with a large sum of money. Lysanias, son of Ptolemaeus, was put to death by Antony, who thereupon gave the tetrarchy to Cleopatra (36). Later Augustus gave it to Herod the Great, and after his death it passed to his son Philip.