Biblical Geography and History

By Charles Foster Kent | Go to book overview

XXIV
THE SCENES OF JESUS' MINISTRY

Why Jesus Made Capernaum His Home . At the beginning of his Galilean ministry Jesus transferred his home, as well as the scene of his work, from Nazareth to Capernaum. The choice of this city reveals the breadth of his purpose. Capernaum was the commercial metropolis of northern Palestine. Here converged the great highways from Egypt, central Palestine, Gilead, and Arabia on the south, which in turn led to Phœnicia, northern Syria, Damascus, and Babylonia. Although it was a strongly Jewish town, its population was necessarily cosmopolitan. Many different occupations were here represented. The fish that were caught, especially in the northern part of the lake, were famous throughout Galilee. The basaltic, well-watered plains about the northern end of the Sea of Galilee bore rich crops of grain; while on the rocky but fertile hills shepherds pastured their flocks. The position of the town also made it an important commercial centre. Roman tax collectors and centurions made it their head-quarters. Thus Capernaum was an epitome of the varied life of Galilee. Teachings implanted at this strategic point would also quickly spread in all directions along the eastern Mediterranean seaboard.

Site of Capernaum: Archæological Evidence . The exact situation of Capernaum has been the subject of long dispute. The two rival sites are (1) Tell Hum, at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, and (2) Khan Minyeh, or the neighboring hill known as Tell Oreimeh on the northwestern side of the lake.(33) Although extensive excavations have not yet been conducted at these points, the archæological evidence thus far discovered

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