The lake of Gennesaret; or, the sea of Galilee and Tiberias.

Jordan is measured at one hundred and twenty furlongs, from the lake of Samochonitis to that of Gennesaret. That lake, in the Old Testament, is 'The sea of Chinnereth,' Numbers 34:11, &c. In the Targumists, 'The sea of Genesar'; sometimes, 'of Genesor'; sometimes, 'of Ginosar': it is the same also in the Talmudists, but most frequently 'The sea of Tiberiah.' Both names are used by the evangelists; 'the lake of Gennesaret,' Luke 5:1; 'the sea of Tiberias,' John 21:1; and 'the sea of Galilee,' John 6:1.

The name 'Chinnereth' passed into 'Genesar,' in regard of the pleasantness of the country, well filled with gardens and paradises: of which we shall speak afterward. [chapter 79]

It is disputed by the Jerusalem Talmudists, why 'Chinneroth' occurs sometimes in the plural number; as Joshua 11:2, 'The south of Chinneroth'; and Joshua 12:3, 'The sea of Chinneroth.' "Thence (say they) are there two Gennesarets?" Or there were "but two castles, as Beth-Jerach, and Sinnabris, which are towers of the people of Chinnereth; but the fortification is destroyed, and fallen into the hands of the Gentiles"...Sinnabri in the Talmudists is Sennabris, in Josephus, being distant from Tiberias thirty furlongs. For he tells us, that Vespasian encamped thirty furlongs from Tiberias, "at a certain station, that might easily be seen by the innovators, called Sennabris." He speaks also of the town, Ginnabrin, not far distant certainly from this place. For describing the country about Jordan, he saith, that from both regions of it runs out a very long back of mountains, but distant some miles from the river: on this side, from the region of Scythopolis to the Dead Sea; on that side, from Julias to Somorrha, towards the rock of Arabia: and that there lies a plain between, which is called "the great plain, lying along from the town Gennabrin to the lake Asphaltites."

The same Josephus writes thus of the lake Gennesaret: "The lake Gennesar is so called from the adjacent country, being forty furlongs in breadth, and moreover a hundred in length; it is both sweet and excellent to drink."

Pliny thus;--"Jordan, upon the first fall of the valleys, pours itself into the lake, which many call Genesar, sixteen miles long and six miles broad."

"The sea of Tiberias is like the gliding waters." While the masters produce these words, they discourse what is to be thought of those waters, where the unclean fish swim together with the clean; whether such waters are fit to boil food or no: and it is answered, 'Flowing and gliding waters are fit; those that do not glide are not; and that the lake of Gennesaret is to be numbered among gliding waters.'

The Jews believe, or feign, that this lake is beloved by God above all the lakes of the land of Canaan. "Seven seas (say they) have I created, saith God, and of them all I have chosen none but the sea of Gennesaret." Which words, perhaps, were invented for the praise of the university at Tiberias, that was contiguous to this lake; but they are much more agreeable to truth, being applied to the very frequent resorts of our Saviour thither.