We neither dare, nor indeed can, number up all the cities of Decapolis of the same condition with Beth-shean: yet the Jerusalem Talmudists fix and rank these three under the same condition with it, in those words which were alleged before, Caphar Carnaim excepted, of which afterward.
I. Caphar Tsemach. Let something be observed of its name out of R. Solomon.
1. In the Jerusalem Talmudists it is Caphar Tsemach; but R. Solomon citing them reads Caphar Amas; which one would wonder at. But this is not so strange to the Chaldee and Syriac dialect, with which it is very usual to change Tsade into Ain. So that the Rabbin in the pronouncing of the word Amas, plays the Syrian in the first letter, and the Grecian in the last, ending the word in Samech for Cheth.
2. We dare pronounce nothing confidently of the situation of the place: we have only said this of it before, that it is reckoned by the Jerusalem writers among "the cities forbidden in the borders"; perhaps, in the coast, of which before: but I resolve nothing.
II. Beth Gubrin. The situation of this place also is unknown. There was a Gabara about Caesarea Philippi, called by the Rabbins 'Tarnegola the Upper.' But we dare not confound words and places. It is famous for R. Jochanan of Beth Gubrin, who said, "There are four noble tongues," &c.
III. "Caphar Karnaim (say the Jerusalem Talmudists) is of the same condition with Beth-shean"; that is, of heathen jurisdiction.
And now let the reader judge whether these were some of the Decapolitan cities. Whether they were or no, we neither determine, nor are we much solicitous about it: that which we chiefly urge is, that, by the places before mentioned, it appears, as I suppose, that the cities of Decapolis were indeed within the limits of the land of Israel, but inhabited by Gentiles. Jews indeed dwelt with them, but fewer in number, inferior in power, and not so free both in their possessions and privileges. And if you ask the reason why they would dwell in such an inferiority with the heathens, take this: "The Rabbins deliver. Let one always live in the land of Israel, though it be in a city the greatest part of which are heathens. And let not a man dwell without the land, yea, not in a city the greatest part of which are Israelites. For he that lives in the land of Israel hath God; but he that lives without the land is as if he had not God; as it is said, 'To give you the land of Canaan, that God may be with you,'" &c. Would you have more reasons? "Whosoever lives within the land of Israel is absolved from iniquity. And whosoever is buried within the land of Israel is as if he were buried under the altar." Take one for all: "The men of Israel are very wise; for the very climate makes wise." O most wise Rabbins!.