An administrative division of a realm under the control of a central government. (Es 1:16; 2:3, 18) The Bible mentions jurisdictional districts in connection with Israel, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. (1Ki 20:14-19; Es 1:1-3; Da 3:1, 3, 30) The Hebrew and Aramaic word for “jurisdictional district” (medhi·nahʹ) comes from the root verb din, meaning “judge.”
Daniel the prophet was made ruler over all the jurisdictional district of Babylon, perhaps the principal one that included the city of Babylon. (Da 2:48) His three Hebrew companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were also appointed to serve in administrative capacities in this district. (Da 2:49; 3:12) Elam appears to have been another Babylonian jurisdictional district. (Da 8:2) Possibly because of having lived in the jurisdictional district of Babylon, the repatriated Jewish exiles are called “sons of the jurisdictional district.” (Ezr 2:1; Ne 7:6) Or, this designation may allude to their being inhabitants of the Medo-Persian jurisdictional district of Judah.—Ne 1:3.
At least during the reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes I) the Medo-Persian Empire consisted of 127 jurisdictional districts, from India to Ethiopia. Jews were scattered throughout this vast realm. (Es 1:1; 3:8; 4:3; 8:17; 9:2, 30) The land of Judah, with its own governor and lesser administrative heads, was itself one of the 127 jurisdictional districts. (Ne 1:3; 11:3) Seemingly, however, Judah was part of a still larger political division administered by a higher governmental official. Apparently this official directed any serious complaints concerning the districts under his jurisdiction to the king and then waited for royal authorization to act. Also, lesser officials could request that the activities of a particular jurisdictional district be investigated. (Ezr 4:8-23; 5:3-17) When authorized by the king, jurisdictional districts could receive money from the royal treasury, and the royal decrees were sent by means of couriers to the various parts of the empire. (Ezr 6:6-12; Es 1:22; 3:12-15; 8:10-14) Therefore, all the inhabitants of the jurisdictional districts were familiar with the laws and decrees of the central government.—Compare Es 4:11.
The system of jurisdictional districts existing in nations of antiquity often made the lot of the subject peoples more difficult. This fact is acknowledged by the wise writer of Ecclesiastes (5:8).—See PROVINCE.