Perea was the term used by the historian Flavius Josephus, and others, for a section of the territory east of The Jordan River, opposite Judea and Samaria (see Bible Places). Although the word Perea is not found in the Scriptures, the area was mentioned frequently in the Gospels as the "land beyond the Jordan." John The Baptist baptized in Perea, and was also martyred there at Herod's fortress of Machaerus. Jesus Christ often visited Perea during His ministry, and had many followers from there, which at the time had a large Jewish population (today, Perea is in the Arab Kingdom of Jordan).
John The Baptist in Perea
John the Baptist baptized in the Jordan River, on the Perea side of the river:
"And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
"He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
"And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?"
"He said, "I am not." [Note: John apparently did not yet fully realize that he was indeed The Elijah To Come in his day, as Jesus Christ later made clear: "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come" Matthew 11:13-14 RSV]
"Are you the prophet?"
"And he answered, "No."
"They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
"He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said."
"Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"
"John answered them, "I baptize with water [see Baptism]; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."
"This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan [i.e. Perea], where John was baptizing." (John 1:19-28 RSV)
John was arrested and martyred in Perea by Herod Antipas (see The Herods):
"For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in Prison, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because John said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet [see Prophets]."
"But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus." (Matthew 14:3-12 RSV)
Jesus Christ In Perea
Jesus Christ often crossed the Jordan, from Galilee, Samaria and Judea, into Perea:
"Now when He heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea [i.e. The Sea Of Galilee], in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali [see Tribal Lands], that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned."
"From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
"As He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him."
"And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him."
"And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought Him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and He healed them. And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. [i.e. Perea]." (Matthew 14:12-25 RSV)
"Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, He went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan [i.e. Perea]; and large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there." (Matthew 19:1 RSV)
Fact Finder: Were some of the Ten Cities, or Decapolis, located in Perea?
See The Decapolis