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Galilee, Sea of

Galilee, Sea of [S]

( Matthew 4:18 ; 15:29 ), is mentioned in the Bible under three other names.

  • In the Old Testament it is called the "sea of Chinnereth" ( Numbers 34:11 ; Joshua 12:3 ; 13:27 ), as is supposed from its harp-like shape. (2). The "lake of Gennesareth" once by ( Luke 5:1 ), from the flat district lying on its west coast.
  • ( John 6:1 ; 21:1 ) calls it the "sea of Tiberias" (q.v.). The modern Arabs retain this name, Bahr Tabariyeh.

    This lake is 12 1/2 miles long, and from 4 to 7 1/2 broad. Its surface is 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its depth is from 80 to 160 feet. The Jordan enters it 10 1/2 miles below the southern extremity of the Huleh Lake, or about 26 1/2 miles from its source. In this distance of 26 1/2 miles there is a fall in the river of 1,682 feet, or of more than 60 feet to the mile. It is 27 miles east of the Mediterranean, and about 60 miles north-east of Jerusalem. It is of an oval shape, and abounds in fish.

    Its present appearance is thus described: "The utter loneliness and absolute stillness of the scene are exceedingly impressive. It seems as if all nature had gone to rest, languishing under the scorching heat. How different it was in the days of our Lord! Then all was life and bustle along the shores; the cities and villages that thickly studded them resounded with the hum of a busy population; while from hill-side and corn-field came the cheerful cry of shepherd and ploughman. The lake, too, was dotted with dark fishing-boats and spangled with white sails. Now a mournful, solitary silence reigns over sea and shore. The cities are in ruins!"

    This sea is chiefly of interest as associated with the public ministry of our Lord. Capernaum, "his own city" ( Matthew 9:1 ), stood on its shores. From among the fishermen who plied their calling on its waters he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, and James and John, to be disciples, and sent them forth to be "fishers of men" ( Matthew 4:18 Matthew 4:22 ; Mark 1:16-20 ; Luke 5: : 1-11). He stilled its tempest, saying to the storm that swept over it, "Peace, be still" ( Matthew 8:23-27 ; Mark 7:31-35 ); and here also he showed himself after his resurrection to his disciples ( John 21 ).

    "The Sea of Galilee is indeed the cradle of the gospel. The subterranean fires of nature prepared a lake basin, through which a river afterwards ran, keeping its waters always fresh. In this basin a vast quantity of shell-fish swarmed, and multiplied to such an extent that they formed the food of an extraordinary profusion of fish. The great variety and abundance of the fish in the lake attracted to its shores a larger and more varied population than existed elsewhere in Palestine, whereby this secluded district was brought into contact with all parts of the world. And this large and varied population, with access to all nations and countries, attracted the Lord Jesus, and induced him to make this spot the centre of his public ministry."

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Galilee, Sea of". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Galilee, Sea of. [E]

    So called from the province of Galilee, which bordered on the western side. ( Matthew 4:18 ) It was also called the "Sea of Tiberias," from the celebrated city of that name. ( John 6:1 ) At its northwestern angle was a beautiful and fertile plain called "Gennesaret," and from that it derived the name of "Lake of Gennesaret." ( Luke 5:1 ) It was called in the Old Testament "the Sea of Chinnereth" or "Cinneroth," ( Numbers 34:11 ; Joshua 12:3 ) from a town of that name which stood on or near its shore. ( Joshua 19:35 ) Its modern name is Bahr Tubariyeh . Most of our Lords public life was spent in the environs of this sea. The surrounding region was then the most densely peopled in all Palestine. no less than nine very populous cities stood on the very shores of the lake. The Sea of Galilee is of an oval long and six broad. It is 60 miles northeast of Jerusalem and 27 east of the Mediterranean Sea. The river Jordan enters it at its northern end and passes out at its southern end. In fact the bed of the lake is just a lower section of the Great Jordan valley. Its more remarkable feature is its deep depression, being no less than 700 feet below the level of the ocean. The scenery is bleak and monotonous, being surrounded by a high and almost unbroken wall of hills, on account of which it is exposed to frequent sudden and violent storms. The great depression makes the climate of the shores almost tropical. This is very sensibly felt by the traveller in going down from the plains of Galilee. In summer the heat is intense, and even in early spring the air has something of an Egyptian balminess. The water of the lake is sweet, cool and transparent; and as the beach is everywhere pebbly is has a beautiful sparkling look. It abounds in fish now as in ancient times. There were large fisheries on the lake, and much commerce was carried on upon it. [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary


    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Galilee, Sea of'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.