Josephus thus describes it: "By the lake Gennesar, is a country extended, of the same name, of a wonderful nature and pleasantness. For such is the fruitfulness of it, that it denies no plant," &c. "The temper of the air suits itself with different fruits: so that here grow nuts, a more winter fruit; there palms, which are nourished with heat; and near them figs and olives, which require a more moderate air," &c.
The Talmudists speak like things of the fertility and pleasure of this place.
"The Rabbins say, Why is it called Gennesar? Because of the gardens of princes. Those are the great men who have gardens in that place. And it was of the lot of Nephthali" (they are the words of the author of Aruch), "as it is said, 'And a thousand princes were of Nephthali.'"
The fruits of Gennesaret are mentioned as being of great fame. "Wherefore (say they) are there not of the fruits of Gennesaret at Jerusalem? The reason is, that they who came to the feasts should not say, We had not come but to eat the fruits of Gennesaret."
And elsewhere, where it is disputed, what is the more noble part of food, something seasoned with salt, or a morsel,--and it is concluded, that that which is seasoned is to be preferred, and that thanks are to be given upon it; the mention of the fruits of Gennesaret is brought in, which are preferred also before a morsel.
Hereupon there is mention of the 'Tent of Gennesaret,' that is, as the Gloss speaks, "When Genosar, which is also called Chinnereth, abounded with noble gardens, they made certain shady bowers, or small tents, for that time, wherein they gathered the fruits."
The length of this most fruitful soil, lying along the seashore, was but thirty furlongs, and the breadth twenty.
"And expositors say (they are the words of the Aruch), that there is a place near to Tiberias, in which are gardens and paradises." Let that be noted, 'There is a place near to Tiberias.'