Page images
PDF
EPUB

there happened grievous disputes and quarrels between the Jews ará Syrians about this city. The first claimed a right to it, because it had been rebuilt by Herod, and the latter on the contrary maintained that it was theirs, because no Jew had any footing therein, when it was a first built by Strato (8). We take notice of these particulars, because Josephus ascribes to them the cause of the war, and the ruin of the Jewish nation. As the first propagators of Christianity were forced to go through Cæsarea, in order to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, it is therefore frequently mentioned in the Aets (b). It was formerly a bishop's see, and a council was held there towards the end of the second century, in which Theophilus, the then bishop of it, presided. Cæsarea was about fourscore miles from Jerusalem. There were two mountains in Samaria, famous for the blessings and curses of the law; namelt, Gerizim, whereon stood the temple of the Samaritans, and Ebal. Before the schism of the ten tribes, Samaria belonged to the tribe a Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manasseh. The soil of it is nearly the same as that of Judea. Galilee.

: Galilee is often mentioned in the Old Testament (i). We

acce read in the Ift book of Kings, that Solomon would have given Hiram twenty cities in Galilee, but the latter would not accept of them (k). This is to be understood of Upper Galilee, which bordered upon Tyre, and was mostly inhabited by heathens. And this, in all probability is the same as is called in scripture Galilee of the Gentiles (1). Some authors make Galilee reach beyond Jordan; but this opinion is rejected by others, because Josephus always places it on this side the river (*). "Without entering into this dispute, we shall at present speak of Galilee on this side Jordan, and afterwards of the country on the other side.

Galilee was bounded on the north, according to Josephus (m), by the Tyrians; on the west by the city and territory of Ptolemaïs, and mount Carmel; on the south with Samaria and Scythopolis, as far as the river Jordan; and on the east by Hippene and Gadaris. To begin then with the first, as lying near Samaria and Judea which we have been giving an account of, it reached in length from Tiberius to Zabulon, and in breadın from a village called by Josephus Xaloth, which was situated in the great plain (+), to another named Bersabe (II).

Wc

Essss

(5) Id. Antiq. 1. xx. C. 6.
1) Acts viii. 40. ix. 3ö. xii. 19. xviii, 22. xxi. 8. xxiii. 33.
(1) Jolh. XX. 7. i Chron. vi. 76.
(kj i Kings ix. 11, 12. Joseph. Ant. l. viii. c. 2.

d) Isai, ix. 1. Matth. iv. 15.

(*) In order to frame a notion of what is on this fide Jordan, we must is present to ourselves the children of Israel, as coming out of Egypt. In this view, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee will be found to be on this fide Jordan ; and Peræa, Gaulonitis, &c. on the other. . (m) Joseph, de Bell. Jud. I. 3. c. 2.

(t) There was another plain on the west of Galilee, called also the great plain of Jizreel, or Efdraelon. . (II) We must take care not to confound this Bersabe with Beer-sheba before mentioned

We learn from Josephus (n) that the chief cities of Lower Galilee were Tiberias, Sephoris, and Gabara. Tiberias the capital of Galilee was so named by Herod Antipas, the founder or repairer of it, in honour of Tiberius: It was situated in a plain, near the lake of Gennesareth, which, from that city, was also called the lake or sea of Tiberias.

This city is very famous, and frequently mentioned in the mil. Jewish writers, because after the taking of Jerufalem, there was at Tiberias a succession of Hebrew judges and doctors (*), till the 4th century. It was a bifhop's see in this fame century. We are tuld by St. Epiphanius (0), that a Hebrew translation of St. John's gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles, was kept in this city. Tiberias inight be about fourscore and ten miles from Jerusalem. Sephoris, otherwise c. called Diocæsarea, was also a considerable city, which lav in Deportive the midst of Lower Galilee towards the west. It even became the metropolis of this country, after Nero had bestowed it upon Agrippa the Younger (). Josephus represents it as the strongest place in Galilee (9). It was also a bishop's see. Though the same author ranks Gabara among the chief cities of Galilee, yet he hath nothing remarkable about it, nor about Scythopolis, which was formerly called Bethschan (r). There would be no occasion neither to speak of Giscala, another city of Lower Galilee, was it not for one particular recorded by St. Jerom (s), which

is, that St. Paul was of that city, and that when Judea was conquered E by the Romans, he went and dwelt at Tarsus in Cilicia. Giscala was a

very strong place. It held out against the Romans to the last extremity: but was at length surrendered to Titus upon terms. Jofephus relates a remarkable circumstance that happened at that time (t). Namely, that Titus having made some overtures of peace to the inhabitants of

Giscala, on the sabbath-day, one John, the head of a troop of robbers, : defired him to put it off till the next day, because it was unlawful for

the Jews, either to make war or peace on that day. Titus readily granted them their request, and even removed his troops, and encamp

ed farther off the city. From whence John took an occasion of Aying E in the night to Jerusalem with several thousands of people. Titus en

tered the city the next morning, and sent a party of horse to pursue those that were fled away.

The small towns and villages of Galilee have received abundantly more honour from our Saviour's presence in them, than from whatever else is recorded of them in history. It doth not indeed appear from the gospels that Jesus CHRIST ever was in the cities last mentioned, for he exerciled his ministry only in the smallest towns of this province. For the same reason undoubtedly it was, that he avoided, as much as possible, all concourse of people, that he stole away from the multitude that would have made him king, and that he forbid those that were the

witnefles (n) Joseph. in Vita.

(*) Maimon. Sanch. 4. Tiberias was the place where the Massorites refided. (0) Hæres. xxx. p. 127.

() Joseph. Antig. 1. xviii. c. 3. (9) Id. de Bell. Jud. I. iii. c. I. (r) Judg. i. 27. i Chron. vii. 29. Catalog. Scrip. Eccl.

(c) Joseph, de Bell. Jud. I. iv. c. 4. witnesses of his miracles to make them known, as we have before observed, for fear his enemies should from thence take occasion of charging him with fedition. At Tiberias stood the palace of Herod the Tetrarch, and here the Jews had great authority, as well as at Sephoris, which besides was well guarded, and strongly fortified. It was not therefore consistent with the wisdom of Jesus CHRIST, who was to fuffer death at a certain time and place, to run himself into an unnecelsary danger in those cities, where perhaps, after all, his doctrine would have been rejected. To which we may add, that it is probable he seldom went to those cities that were inhabited both by Jews and heathens, for fear of creating in the former an aversion to his precepts. The case was otherwise with Jerusalem. There stood the temple, there it was necefiary he should preach, and there he was to lay down his life for the redemption of mankind. Nazareth.

in In order therefore to take a view of the chief places of

" Galilee, we shall begin with Nazareth (u), where JESUS CHRIST was brought up, where he preached, and from whence be was called a Nazarene. It was but a small town, built on a rock, from the top of which the inhabitants would have thrown Jesus CHRIST headlong (x). It lay west of Jordan, not far from mount Tabor; at the distance of about twenty-seven leagues from Jerusalem. If we will believe St. Epiphanius (y), there were no Christians at Nazareth before the time of Conftantine, who caused a church to be built there. It appears from the gospel according to St. John (z) that Nazareth was looked upon by the Jews as a very contemptible place. It was still in being in the twelfth century (a). At some distance from thence towards the fouth stood the little town Naïn, where Jesus CHRIST restored to life a widow's son (b), and on the north, Cana, where he did his first mi. racle, by changing water into wine (c), and where he cured the son of an officer belonging to Herod Antipas (it).

St. Matthew tells us, that Jesus Christ departed from Nazareth, and went into Capernaum, a lea-port town, on the borders of Zebulun aut Nephthali (e), where he did many miracles. The reason why he chose to go there, was, because that place lying nearer the sea of Tiberias, he could conveniently go backwards and forwards to preach the gospel in the neighbouring parts. It may be inferred from the saying of JESUS Christ concerning Capernaum, namely, that it had been exalted unti heaven (f), that it was a confiderable city. The Jews had a synagogue there (8), as the Christians had a church afterwards. Not far from Bethsaida.

can thence was Bethsaida, of which were Philip, Andrew, and

adde Peter (?), and where Jesus Christ restored a blind man to his fight. Geographers are not agreed about the situation of this city. The Evangelills place it always in Galilee (i), and on this side Jordan.

Besides

(u) Mat. j. 23. Mark i. 9.
() Epiphan. Häres, I. p. 136.
(ii) Gul. Tyr. l. xxii. 26.
(c) John ii. 9-1l. («) Id. iv. 50.
(f) Mat. xi. 23.
(1) John i. 45. Mark viii. 23.

(3x) Luke iv. 29.
(2) John i. 46.
(0) Luke vii. 11-15.

(c) Mat. iv. 13.
(8) John vi. 59.
(i) John xii. 21.

Besides Jesus Christ joins Capernaum with Bethfaida and Chorazin (k), ** which were two towns of Galilee, on this side the lake. Notwithstanda wing, Josephus speaks of a village called Bethsaida, where Philip the

Tetrarch, whose dominions were on the other side the lake, built a city,

which he named Julias (1). For which reason several authors have Es imagined, that the Bethsaida mentioned in the gospel, was on the other

side the lake of Tiberias. But there can be no manner of inconvenience thi in supposing two cities of the same name, because the word Bethfaida

fignifying a house of fishing, there might be one on each side the lake. * Near the eastern Bethsaida was a defert of the same name, where Jesus 15 CHRIST. went, when he was informed that Herod the Tetrarch desired te to see him (m). A little above Bethsaida, stood Chorazin, and two vil. K lages ityled Dalmanutha and Magdala, where Jesus CHRIST preached (n).

We must not forget to mention here Enon near Salim where John bapod tized, because there was plenty of water in that place (*). The two red last towns lay near the river Jordan, on the south side of the lake, beEr ween Tiberias and Scythopolis. balat Mount Tabor (+) is one of the most famous places of N

Mount Tabor. cipom Galilee ; and is frequently mentioned in the Old Testa. " mu ment (6). It stands about the middle of Lower Galilee, between Nazafalen · reth (II), and the country of Gennesareth. According to Josephus (P), it sals is 30 furlongs in heighi, and 26 round. It is remarkable upon this She top score, that it stands by itself in a plain (1), without any other moun. Notain or hill near, having a plain area at the top ($), most fertile and děle licious. Josephus tells us, that he had it surrounded with walls (*), po tem within the space of 40 days, for no other reason undoubtedly, but portant that he might render it the more inacceslible to the Romans. We learn aken from an ancient tradition (9), that it was upon mount Tabor JESUS in CHRIST was transfigured, and that it is the same place which is

by St. Peter called the Holy Mount (v). But this hath been called in with toy question by some learned authors, because the transhiguration is related

immediately after the discourse which Jesus CHRIST made to his disa ciples at Cæsarea-Philippi, and that the Evangelists do not mention our Saviour's coming back from thence into Galilee. This hath inclined those authors to believe, that that event happened upon a mountain near

Cæsarea

(l) Luke x. 13, 15.

(1) Joseph. Ant. 1. xviii. c. 3. (m) Luke ix. 9, 16. (n) Matt. xi. 21, Mark viii. 18. Mat. xv. 39.

*) John iii. 23. .(t) The same as is called Itabyrium (itabugow) by Josephus and the Seventy. Jer. xlvi. 18, &c.

(0) Joh. xix. 22. Judg. ir. 6, 12. Psal. lxxxix. 12. Jer. xlvi. 18. Hof. V 1.

(1) At two liours distance from Nazareth eastward.
(o) De Bell. Jud. 1. iv. c. 2. (1) The plain of Esdrelon.

() Of an oval figure extended about one furlong in breadth, and two in length. See Maundrell's Journey. p. 113.

(*) Of which it Mews many remains at this day. Maundrell. ibid.
19) Hieron. et Cyril. See Mat. xvii. 3. Mark ix, 2. Luke ix. 28.
(r) 2 Peter i. 18.

Cæsarea-Philippi (s). But after all, this is no sufficient reason for departing from so ancient a tradition. For tince the Evangelifts os serve (t), that fix days passed between Jesus Christ's discourse at Cæsarea-Philippi, and his transfiguration, he had time enough to return into Galilee, it being not above five and twenty leagues from Tabor. We meet in the first book of Chronicles with a city called Tabor (u). But it is not well known how it was situated in respect of the mount.

Since we are come to the lake of Gennefareth so frequent. The lake of

ly mentioned in the gospel, it will be proper to give a de.

lv arcane scription of it before we pass into Upper Galilee. This lake was formerly called Cinnereth (or), from a city of the same name, as is commonly supposed. Afterwards it went by the name of the lake of Gennesareth, which is a very beautiful country, on the west of this lake, wherein are situated most of the cities just before described 6). It was otherwise called the sea of Galilee, or the sea of Tiberias. Jofephus makes this lake to be 100 furlongs, that is, about four leagues in length; and 40 furlongs, or near two leagues in breadth. The river Jordan runs through the middle of it, and afterwards discharges itself into the Dead-rea. The water of the lake of Tiberias is fresh, sweet, and good to drink, and also very full of fish, as is evident from the gore pel history (z). Upper Galilee.

There are but very few cities of Upper Galilee, which nece contained the tribes of Nephthali and Ather, mentioned in the New Testament. It reached in breadth from Bersabe before-mentioned, to a village called Bacca, which, according to Josephus (*), die i vided the Tyrians from Galilee; and in length, from Thella, another vil. lage near Jordan, as far as Meroth (t). One of the first places on the weit of Upper Galilee was Dor, a sea-port town, and a bishop's see. Near Dor stands mount Carmel, famous in the Old Testament (a) for the miracle performed there by Elias; and in profane history, upon account of the idol Carmel, which was worshipped there by the heathens (6). We must take care not to confound this mount with a city of the same name, which was situated upon a mountain, in the tribe of Judah, and on the east of Hebron. Mount Carmel is never mentioned in the New Teftainent, though we find the contrary asserted by a geographer that lived in the twelfth century (I). From this mountain you go to Ptole

maïs,

(s) Viz. upon mount Panium, which is exceeding high, according to Jofephus. Ant. l. xv. c. 13. de Bel. J. i. 16.

10) Mat. Mark, Luke, ubi fupra. (w) 1 Chron. vi. 77.
(x) Numb. xxxiv. U. Josh, xii. 3.
(y) Joseph, de Bell. Jud. I. iii. c. 18. .
(2) Matth. iv. 18. and elsewhere.

(*) Concerning Bacca, Thella, and Meroth, see Joleph. de Bell. Jud. I. ij. C. 2.

(+) Sanson fays, that Meroth was a village: others, that it was a lake. Jose plius doth not expressly say what it was.

(a) i Kings xviii. 19, etc. . (6) Plin. xxxi. 2. Tacit. Hift. (II) Joan. Phoc. apud Rel. Pal. Sac. p. 330.

« PreviousContinue »