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"northernmost province of Palestine," late 12c., from Latin Galilaea, Greek Galilaia, from Hebrew Haggalil, literally "The District," a compressed form of Gelil haggoyim "the District of Nations" (cf. Isa. viii:23). The adjective Galilean is used both of Christ (1630s), who was born there, and of the Italian astronomer Galileo (1727).
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 Palestine, 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." Palestine 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. (Comp. 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).
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 Palestine. 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."