Judea ("Judaea" in the KJV translation), formed from much of the land given to ancient Israel, is the most frequently referenced Roman province in the New Testament (Matthew 2:1, Mark 1:5, Luke 1:5, John 3:22, etc.).
The province was originally formed in 6 A.D. It was composed of the regions (districts) named Samaria (mentioned thirteen times in the New Testament), Judea itself (where Jerusalem is located) and a part of Idumea (Idumeae, both of which are another name for Edom, Isaiah 34:5 - 6, Ezekiel 35:15, 36:5, Mark 3:8).
The regions of Galilee (mentioned sixty-six times and located just south of Syria) and Perea (not named in Scripture) were added to the province of Judea in 44 A.D. under Emperor Claudius.
Cities within the provincial area include Antipatris (Acts 23:31), Azotus (Acts 8:40), Bethabara (John 1:28), Bethany (Matthew 21:17, 26:6, etc.), Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1, 5 - 6, 8, 16, Luke 2:4, etc.), Caesarea (Acts 8:40, etc.) and Cana (John 2:1, 11, 4:46, 21:2).
Additional cities of Israel in this province include Capernaum (Matthew 4:13, etc.), Chorazin (Matthew 11:21, Luke 10:13), Emmaus (Luke 24:13), Gaza (Acts 8:26), Jericho (Matthew 20:29, etc.), Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1, etc.) and Joppa (Acts 9:36, etc.).
The Judea province also included Lydda (Acts 9:32, 35, 38), Magdala (Matthew 15:39), Nain (Luke 7:11), Nazareth (Matthew 2:23, etc.) and Sychar (John 4:5).
Most famous Roman ruler
The most well-known Roman ruler over Judea is Pontius Pilate, who governed as a Prefect from 26 to 36 A.D. Mentioned more than fifty times in the New Testament (Matthew 27:2, Mark 15:1, etc.) he was the person who had the legal authority to put Jesus Christ to death (John 18:31, 19:10).
Proof that Pilate governed for Rome in Judea, at the time of Christ, was found in 1961. A carved limestone block called the Pilate Stone was found in Caesarea, the provincial capital, which not only listed his name but also labeled him the Prefect of the province.
A troubled province
Judea was a tumultuous province to govern. In 66 A.D., it began a war against Rome that ultimately resulted in the total destruction of Jerusalem's temple in 70 A.D. and ended with the taking of Masada in 73. In 132 A.D., another rebellion was started known as Bar Kokhba's revolt. It brought a short-lived independence from the Empire that was ended in 135 and cost the lives of more than half a million Jews.
Emperor Hadrian, after the rebellion, expelled all Jews from Jerusalem and combined the provinces of Syria and Judea into a new provincial territory called Syria Palaestina.