Matthew 15:39: "And came to the coasts of Magdala."--Mark 8:10: "came into the parts of Dalmanutha."
The story is one and the same; and that country is one and the same: but the names Magdala and Dalmanutha are not so to be confounded, as if the city 'Magdala' was also called Dalmanutha; but Dalmanutha is to be supposed to be some particular place within the bounds of Magdala. I observe the Arabic interpreter in the London Polyglott Bible, for Dalmanutha, in Mark, reads Magdala, as it is in Matthew; in no false sense, but in no true interpretation. But the Arabic of Erpenius' edition reads Dalmanutha.--"Erasmus notes (saith Beza upon the place), that a certain Greek copy hath Magdala. And Austin writes, that most copies have Mageda. But in our very old copy, and in another besides, 'into the parts of Dalmanutha,' is written 'into the coasts of Madegada.'"
If the name and situation of Magdala in the Talmudists had been known to these interpreters, I scarcely think they would have dashed upon so many uncertainties. We have largely and plainly treated of it in another volume, out of those authors: and out of the same, unless I mistake, something may be fetched, which may afford light to Mark's text of Dalmanutha. Which thing before we take in hand, perhaps it will not be unacceptable to the reader, if we describe the sea of Gennesaret, and the places adjoining, by some kind of delineation, according to their situation, which we take up from the Hebrew writers.
Comparing this my little map with others, since you see it to differ so much from them, you will expect that I sufficiently prove and illustrate the situation of the places, or I shall come off with shame. I did that, if my opinion deceive me not, a good while ago, in some chapters in the Chorographical century. I will here despatch the sum total in a few lines:
I. "Chammath was so called, because of the warm baths of Tiberias: from which it was so very little distant, that, as to a sabbath-day's journey, the men of Tiberias and the men of Chammath might make but one city."
It is called Chammath of Gadara, not only to distinguish it from Chammath of Pella, that is, 'Callirrhoe'; but because a part of it was built upon the bank of Gadara, and another part upon the bank of Nephthali, or Tiberias, the bridge lying between: which shall be shewn presently.
Tiberias stood touching on the sea; "for on one side it had the sea for a wall."
"Gennesaret was a place near Tiberias, where were gardens and paradises." They are the words of the Aruch.
Capernaum we place within the country of Gennesaret upon the credit of the evangelists, Matthew 14:34, and Mark 6:53, compared with John 6:22,24.
Taricha was distant from Tiberias thirty furlongs: Bethmaus, four furlongs.
Magdala was beyond Jordan; for it is called Magdala of Gadara: and that which is said by the Talmudists, "The Gadarenes might, by the permission of R. Juda Nasi, come down to Chammath on the sabbath, and walk through it, unto the furthest street, even to the bridge," is expressed and expounded by them in the same place, "That the people of Magdala, by the permission of R. Judah Nasi, went up to Chammath," &c. From which single tradition one may infer, 1. That Magdala was on the bank of Gadara. 2. That it was not distant from Chammath above a sabbath-day's journey. 3. That it was on that side of Chammath, which was built on the same bank of Gadara by which it reached to the bridge above Jordan, which joined it to the other side on the bank of Galilee.
"Hippo was distant from Tiberias thirty furlongs." With which measure compare these words, which are spoken of Susitha; which that it was the same with Hippo, both the derivation of the words and other things do evince:
"R. Juda saith, The monoceros entered not into Noah's ark, but his whelps entered. R. Nehemiah saith, Neither he nor his whelps entered, but Noah tied him to the ark. And he made furrows in the waves, for as much space as is from Tiberias to Susitha." And again, "The ark of Noah swam upon the waters as upon two rafters, as much space as is from Tiberias to Susitha."
Gadara was distant sixty furlongs from Tiberias.
"Bethsaida was in lower Gaulonitis," beyond Jordan in Batanea. It is shown to pilgrims on the shore of the sea of Gennesaret in Galilee; and thence the error of the maps was taken. Hear our countryman Biddulph, who saw those places about the year 1600:
"March the twenty-fourth, we rode by the sea of Galilee, which hath two names, John 6:1, 'The sea of Galilee,' and 'Tiberias of Galilee,' because it is in Galilee; and 'of Tiberias,' because the city of Tiberias was built near it: also Bethsaida, another ancient city. We saw some ruins of the walls of both. But it is said in that chapter, John 6:1, that Jesus sailed over the sea of Galilee. And elsewhere, that he went over the lake; and Luke 9:10, it is said that he departed into a desert place near the city Bethsaida. Which text of John I learned better to understand by seeing, than ever I could by reading. For when Tiberias and Bethsaida were both on the same shore of the sea, and Christ went from Tiberias to, or near, Bethsaida; hence I gather, that our Saviour Christ sailed not over the length or breadth of the sea, but that he passed some bay, as much as Tiberias was distant from Bethsaida. Which is proved thence, in that it is said elsewhere, That a great multitude followed him thither on foot; which they could not do if he had sailed over the whole sea, to that shore among the Gergasenes which is without the holy land." These are his words.
But take heed, sir, that your guides, who show those places under those names, do not impose upon you. If you will take Josephus for a guide, he will teach, that "Philip repaired the town Bethsaida; and he called it Julias, from Julias the daughter of Caesar": and, that "that Julias was in lower Gaulonitis." Nor is the argument good, "otherwise they would not follow him a-foot"; for, from Capernaum and Tiberias, there was a very beaten and common way by the bridge of Chammath into the country of the Gadarenes, and so to Bethsaida.
Cana was a great way distant from Tiberias: Josephus spent a whole night travelling from this town to that with his army. It was situate against Julias of Betharamphtha, as may be gathered from the same author in the place quoted in the margin. Now that Julias was situate at the very influx of Jordan into the sea of Gennesaret.
These things might be more largely explained and illustrated, but we are afraid of being too long; and so much the more, because we have treated copiously of them elsewhere. This will be enough to an unbiased reader, to whose judgment we leave it; and now go on to Dalmanutha.