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THE RUINS OF CAPERNAUM ON THE LAKE OF
TIBERIAS. “ FEBRUARY 12. We came suddenly in sight of the lake and town of Tiberias. We were on the brow of a steep bill, facing to the eastward, and forming the western boundary of the hollow in which the lake is contained. The view from hence is grand and interesting. To the south, inclining easterly, the vale of Jordan was distinctly open; to the southwest the rounded top of Tabor rose above the intervening hills; to the north the lofty Libanus reared its snow-clad head; while the bare and yellow mountains of the eastern shore served but to give a brighter blue to the scarcely ruffled waters of the lake below.
In more early times the sea of Galilee, or Lake of Gennesareth, was called the sea of Chinnereth, from a city of that name seated on it, belonging to the children of Naphtali,* and the edge of this sea on the other side Jordan, eastward, was made the western boundary of the portion of Gad, who occu pied all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the children of Ammon.t Ģennesareth is most probably the original name of this sea of Chinnereth gradually corrupted: Galilee was the name given to the lake,
* Judges xix. 35. VOL. II. 3d SERIES.
+ Joshua xiii. 24-27. A
from its situation on the eastern borders of that division of Palestine ; and Tiberias, which is the most modern name, must have been bestowed on it after the building of that city by Herod. This last, both the town and the lake still retain, under the Arabic form of Tabereeah; and the present inhabitants, like the earliest ones, call their water a sea, and reckon it, and the Dead Sea to the south of them, to be the two largest known, except the great ocean. Diodorus Siculus, in his account of the marvellous properties of the Lake Asphaltes, fails not to remark the great singularity of the bitterness of its waters : though there are, as he says, great rivers whose waters are exceedingly sweet, empty themselves into it ;* and this may be strictly said of the Zerkah, the Hieromax, and the Jordan, the two last of which empty themselves first into the Lake of Tiberias, and then go by the southern channel of the Jordan, through the valley of Jericho, into the Dead Sea.”+
BUCKINGHAM. Last month we gave a sketch of the ruins of Tiberias, concerning which Mr. Buckingham says: “The appearance of the lake as
seen from this point of view at Capernaum, is still grand; its greatest length runs nearly north and south, from twelve to fifteen miles, and its breadth seems to be, in general, from six to nine miles. The barren aspect of the mountains on each side, and the total absence of wood, give, however, a cast of dulness to the picture; and this is increased to melancholy by the dead calm of its waters, and the silence which reigns throughout its whole extent, where not a boat or vessel of any kind is to be found. The name of Capharnaoom, which is said to have been the one borne by this city anciently, is unquestionably meant for the Capernaum of the Scriptures. That this was a
* Diod. Sic. I. ii. c. 4. & l. xix. c. 6.
+ It is for this reason that the Dead Sea is called in Scripture the salt sea, at the south end of Jordan. John xviii. 19.
place of some wealth and consequence, may be inferred from the address to it by Christ, when he began to upbraid the cities, wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.
6 Woe unto thee Chorazin! Woe unto thee Bethsaida! And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell."* It was also seated on the shores of the Lake of Tiberias; for after the feeding of the five thousand on a mountain vear that place, Jesus entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum;t and the multitude having lost him, after his walking on the sea to overtake the boat in which his disciples were, they also took shipping and came to Capernaum seeking him. I This in name and position, corresponds with the Caphar Nahum of the present day. The other name of Tal-hewn may be thought to have some affinity with that of Dalmanutha, a name given in the gospel, seemingly to Capernaum itself, or the country about it at least; as St. Mark, in his Gospel, after describing the feeding of the four thousand, says, “ And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha."s. It is a matter of some difficulty to fix on the site of many of the towns of this lake with any precision, more particularly Chorazin, Bethsaida, Gennesareth, and Capernaum. The city of Tiberias, was unequivocally on the west, where the present town of Tabareeah stands ; and we have the testimony of Pliny, that Julias and Hippos were on the east, Tarichaea on the southern shores of the lake, so that the others were probably toward the north, and Capernaum or Dalmanutha, here at the ruins called Caphar Nahoam, and Tal-hewn, which agrees with all the authorities for its position.
• Matthew xi. 20—23, and Luke x. 13-15. † John vi. 17. St. Mark viii. 10. St. Mark viii, 10,