Tiberias

a city, the modern Tubarich, on the western shore of the Sea of
Tiberias. It is said to have been founded by Herod Antipas (A.D.
16), on the site of the ruins of an older city called Rakkath,
and to have been thus named by him after the Emperor Tiberius.
It is mentioned only three times in the history of our Lord
(John 6:1,23; 21:1).

In 1837 about one-half of the inhabitants perished by an
earthquake. The population of the city is now about six
thousand, nearly the one-half being Jews. "We do not read that
our Lord ever entered this city. The reason of this is probably
to be found in the fact that it was practically a heathen city,
though standing upon Jewish soil. Herod, its founder, had
brought together the arts of Greece, the idolatry of Rome, and
the gross lewdness of Asia. There were in it a theatre for the
performance of comedies, a forum, a stadium, a palace roofed
with gold in imitation of those in Italy, statues of the Roman
gods, and busts of the deified emperors. He who was not sent but
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel might well hold himself
aloof from such scenes as these" (Manning's Those Holy Fields).

After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Tiberias became one of
the chief residences of the Jews in Israel. It was for more
than three hundred years their metropolis. From about A.D. 150
the Sanhedrin settled here, and established rabbinical schools,
which rose to great celebrity. Here the Jerusalem (or
Palestinian) Talmud was compiled about the beginning of the
fifth century. To this same rabbinical school also we are
indebted for the Masora, a "body of traditions which transmitted
the readings of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and
preserved, by means of the vowel-system, the pronunciation of
the Hebrew." In its original form, and in all manuscripts, the
Hebrew is written without vowels; hence, when it ceased to be a
spoken language, the importance of knowing what vowels to insert
between the consonants. This is supplied by the Masora, and
hence these vowels are called the "Masoretic vowel-points."