|Cities of Ancient Israel|
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Tell. Hum [Kefar Nahum]. Greek and Latin `Capharnaum', Heb. Kefar Nahum. Capernaum was a small town on the W shore of the Sea of Galilee right on the highway which went from the Mediterranean coast to Damascus. It had a small port for the many fishermen who had lived there. Capernaum was mentioned in Roman and Jewish sources. There is rarely a city mentioned more often in the N.T. than Capernaum. Jesus traveled there from Nazareth, to the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, and found his first disciples, Andrew, Peter, and the two sons of Zebedee (Matt 4:13-22). He taught in their synagogue (Jn 6:24-59), and it was here that Peter found the coin from the mouth of the fish, upon the command of Jesus, to pay the tax-gatherers (Matt 17:24-27). He resided for a time at Peters house in Capernaum, teaching and healing the sick (Lk 4:31-41). Once He had left, He rebuked the city for their unbelief (Lk 10:15).
Capernaum was described in other sources as a seat of "minim" which means sectarians. Recently there have been excavations that have uncovered the 2-story synagogue. It was of a beautiful ornamented style cut in limestone, rather than the typical black basalt seen around the area, and was 65 feet long. The carved stone ornametation depicted stylized plants, fruits, 5-pointed stars, geometric motifs, and even mythological figures. Their were also dedicatory inscriptions written in Aramaic and Greek.
Today, near the synagogue, there is an octagonal Byzantine church with a mosaic floor built upon the site believed to be the house of Peter. Recent excavations beneath this church has revealed houses dating back to the first century. Some believe that one of these houses could very well be the house of Peter.
John 6:24-27 "when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?" 26 Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled."
See Matt. 4:13; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31; John 2:12
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