Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Ten cities, the ten city region
Strong's Concordance #G1179

The Decapolis was a group of ten, possibly more, cities within a region that was primary located east of the Jordan River and southeast of the Sea of Galilee. It is only recorded by name three times in the New Testament. It did not become a part of a Roman province until the reign of Emperor Trajan (98 to 117 A.D.).

Biblical references to places within the Decapolis region include "the country of the Gadarenes" (Mark 5:1) and "the country of the Gergesenes" (Matthew 8:28). It is one of the few areas Jesus visited where Gentiles (non-Jews) composed the majority of the population.

The Bible does not name which ten or so cities are considered the Decapolis. Pliny's Natural History (published c. 77 A.D.), however, lists the cities as Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias (Dion), Canatha, Raphana and Damascus.

Important Verses

Matthew 4:23, 25, 5:1 - 2
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people . . .

And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them . . .

Map of New Testament Roman Provinces in Judea
Location of Decapolis

Mark 5:15, 17, 20
And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid . . .

And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts . . .

And he (the man who had a legion of demons cast out of him) departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Mark 7:31 - 32
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).