Concerning the Nain in Josephus and the Rabbins.

The Darshanim [expositors] upon Bereshith Rabba speak of a certain place called Naim, upon this occasion: "Issachar is a bony [or strong] ass, Genesis 49:14. It is spoken of Issachar's country; for as an ass is low before and behind, and high in the middle, so is it in the tribe of Issachar; it is a valley here and a valley there, and hilly otherwhere; it couches between two borders. These are the two valleys, the valley of Pislan, and the valley of Jezreel. And he saw that rest was good, this is Tinaam: and the land that it was pleasant, this is Naim."

We have here, by the way, a taste of those allegorical and far-fetched ways of expounding the Scriptures, wherein these egregious commentators do so much please and value themselves. However, we are thus far beholding to them, that they have given us to understand that there was a Nain in the tribe of Issachar, called so from the pleasantness of its situation (as indeed Tinaam bears the same derivation), which we have some reason to judge was the same Nain with ours in the evangelist, and that in Josephus.

"It was usual for the Galileans, coming up to the holy city to the feasts, to take their journey through the Samaritans country, And then their way lay through a town called Nais." I confess the Greek expressions are something perplexed; but it is no great matter. "It happened that some of the Samaritans and inhabitants of the great plain fought with them, and killed a great number."

You may think he repeats the very same story, though differing in some circumstances. "There was another fight betwixt the Galileans and Samaritans; For hard by a town called Gema, situated in the great plain of Samaria, multitudes of Jews going up to the feast, there was a certain Galilean slain."

It is not much worth our examining whether this be one and the same story with the other, or whether this Gema be the same town with Nain: but this we may gather hence, that Nain was in the extreme borders of Issachar, touching upon the Samaritan country, and Gema in the extreme borders of Samaria that were next adjoining to Issachar. And when the Galileans went down from Nain, a town in Issachar, into the great plain of Samaria, the first town in their way is Gema, there the enemy meets and fights them: if at least Gema and Nain be not one and the same place.