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galilee Summary and Overview

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galilee in Easton's Bible Dictionary

circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it "the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15), and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending "from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west." Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three. It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee. And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea. In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on 'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria). When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus interposed in his behalf. (Compare Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true, for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford, Com.). The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).

galilee in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(circuit). This name, which in the Roman age was applied to a large province, seems to have been originally confined to a little "circuit" of country round Kedesh-Naphtali, in which were situated the twenty towns given by Solomon to Hiram king of Tyre as payment for his work in conveying timber from Lebanon to Jerusalem. #Jos 20:7; 1Ki 9:11| In the time of our Lord all Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria and Galilee. #Lu 17:11; Ac 9:31| Joseph. B.J. iii. 3. The latter included the whole northern section of the country, including the ancient territories of Issachar, Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali. On the west it was bounded by the territory of Ptolemais, which probably included the whole plain of Akka to the foot of Carmel. The southern border ran along the base of Carmel and of the hills of Samaria to Mount Gilboa, and then descended the valley of Jezreel by Scythopolis to the Jordan. The river Jordan, the Sea of Galilee, and the upper Jordan to the fountain at Dan, formed the eastern border; and the northern ran from Dan westward across the mountain ridge till it touched the territory of the Phoenicians. Galilee was divided into two sections, "Lower" and "Upper." Lower Galilee included the great plain of Esdraelon with its offshoots, which ran down to the Jordan and the Lake of Tiberias, and the whole of the hill country adjoining it on the north to the foot of the mountain range. It was thus one of the richest and most beautiful sections of Pales-tine. Upper Galilee embraced the whole mountain range lying between the upper Jordan and Phoenicia. To this region the name "Galilee of the Gentiles" is given in the Old and New Testaments. #Isa 9:1; Mt 4:16| Galilee was the scene of the greater part of our Lord's private life and public acts. It is a remarkable fact that the first three Gospels are chiefly taken up with our Lord's ministrations in this province, while the Gospel of John dwells more upon those in Judea. (Galilee in the time of Christ. --From Rev. Selah Merrill's late book (1881) with this title, we glean the following facts: Size. --It is estimated that of the 1000 square miles in Israel west of the Jordan, nearly one-third, almost 2000 square miles, belongs to Galilee. Population --The population is between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000. Dr. Merrill argues for the general correctness of Josephus' estimates, who says there were 204 cities and villages in Galilee, the smallest of which numbered 15,000 inhabitants. Character of the country. Galilee was a region of great natural fertility. Such is the fertility of the soil that it rejects no plant, for the air is so genial that it suits every variety. The walnut, which delights above other trees in a wintry climate, grows here luxuriantly together with the palm tree, which is flourished by heat. It not only possesses the extraordinary virtue of nourishing fruits of opposite climes, but also maintains a continual supply of them. Here were found all the productions which made Italy rich and beautiful. Forests covered its mountains and hills, while its uplands, gentle slopes and broader valleys were rich in pasture, meadows, cultivated fields, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees of every kind. Character of the Galileans.--They were thoroughly a Jewish people. With few exceptions they were wealthy and in general an influential class. If one should say the Jews were bigoted in religion, he should remember at the same time that in regard to social, commercial and political relations none were more cosmopolitan in either sentiment or practice than they. The Galileans had many manufactures, fisheries, some commerce, but were chiefly an agricultural people. They were eminent for patriotism and courage, as were their ancestors, with great respect for law and order.--ED.)

galilee in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

GAL'ILEE (circle, circuit), a name in the O.T. for a small district in the northern mountains of Naphtali, around Kedesh-naphtali, and including 20 towns given by Solomon to Hiram, king of Tyre, Josh 20:7 ,Josh 21:32; 1 Kgs 9:11; 2 Kgs 15:29, and called "Galilee of the nations" in Isa 9:1. Devastated during the wars of the Captivity, it was repeopled by strangers. In the time of the Maccabees they probably outnumbered the Jewish population, and gave their new name to a much wider district. In the time of our Lord, Palestine was divided into three provinces, of which Galilee was the most northern. It included the whole region from the Plain of Jezreel to the Litany (Leontes) River, being about 50 miles long by 20 to 25 miles wide. The northern part was known as Upper and the southern part as Lower Galilee. These included the territories given to Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar. The country was famed for its fertility, rich pastures, and fine forests. The portion west of the lake was the most beautiful. In the Roman period the population was dense, Josephus estimating it at 2,000,000 or 3,000,000, though that is probably an exaggeration. It had a mixed population of heathens, foreigners, and Jews. The latter, having a strong, if not dominant, influence, were less strict and less acquainted with the Law than their southern Judaean neighbors, by whom they were little esteemed. The noted mountains of Galilee were Carmel, Gilboa, and Tabor; the towns were Nazareth, Cana, Tiberias, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus spent the greater portion of his life and ministry in Galilee. Many of his most remarkable miracles, teachings, and labors were within this province of Galilee. His disciples were chiefly from this region. Acts 1:11. After the fall of Jerusalem, Galilee became the residence of celebrated rabbis and the centre of Jewish schools of learning.

galilee in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

(gal' ih lee) Place name meaning, "circle" or "region." The northern part of Israel above the hill country of Ephraim and the hill country of Judah (Joshua 20:7). The Septuagint or early Greek translation referred to a king of the nations of Galilee in Joshua 12:23, though the Hebrew reads, "Gilgal." Many scholars see the Greek as original (NRSV, REB). This would indicate a leader of a coalition of city-states whom Joshua defeated. Kedesh in Galilee was a city of refuge (Joshua 20:7) and a city for the Levites (Joshua 21:32). Solomon paid Hiram of Tyre twenty cities of Galilee for the building materials Hiram supplied for the Temple and royal palace (1 Kings 9:11), but the cities did not please Hiram, who called them Cabul, meaning, "like nothing" (1 Kings 9:12-13). Apparently, Galilee and Tyre bordered on each other. The cities may have been border villages whose ownership the two kings disputed. The Assyrians took the north under Tiglath-pileser in 733 (2 Kings 15:29) and divided it into three districts-the western coast or "the way of the sea" with capital at Dor, Galilee with capital at Megiddo, and beyond Jordan or Gilead (Isaiah 9:1). The term "Galilee" apparently was used prior to Israel's conquest, being mentioned in Egyptian records. It was used in Israel but not as a political designation. The tribes of Naphtali, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dan occupied the territory which covered approximately the forty-five-mile stretch between the Litani River in Lebanon and the Valley of Jezreel in Israel north to south and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River west to east. In the time of Jesus' Galilee, Herod Antipas governed Galilee and Perea. Jesus devoted most of His earthly ministry to Galilee, being known as the Galilean (Matthew 26:69). After the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, Galilee became the major center of Judaism, the Mishnah and Talmud being collected and written there.