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Region. The northern part of Palestine, also referred to as Galilee of the gentiles because of the Assyrian conquest (Is 9:1). The S border was the Valley of Jezreel, the E border was to Sea of Galilee, the N border was Lebanon, and the W border was the Plain of Acre. It is the highest region in the country, with the coolest temperature. It was well watered by the winter rains and had numerous and abundant springs. The area is divided into two parts by a deep valley, thus upper Galilee and lower Galilee. Upper Galilee rose to a height of more than 3000 feet above sea level. Galilee's lush territory and fertile soil for agriculture provide a basis for rich economy in this region. It also contained a major road which brought the peoples of the Mediterranean to the lands of the East.
Galilee is referred to only seven times in the O.T. Josh. 12:23; 20:7; 21:32 (1 Chr. 6:76); 1 Kgs. 9:11; 2 Kgs. 15:29. In the territory was first conquered under Joshua the tribes that inhabited the territory dwelt among the Canaanite inhabitants. In 732 Tiglath-Pileser III conquered Galilee, and a region became an Assyrian Satrapy, known in the Assyrian documents as the Satrapy of Megiddo. In the Persian period Galilee was outside the Jewish state, and Galilee and Samaria were both a single district. Under the Seleucids this district was called an eparchy, and under the Ptolemies Galilee formed a separate hyparchy. At this time there were many Greeks and Phoenicians there, and some Jewish settlements. In 104-103 B.C. the Hasmonean Aristobulus conquered Galilee and added it to his kingdom. It remained a Jewish territory even after Palestine had been conquered by Pompey in 64 B.C., and later it became part of Herod's kingdom. After Herod's death in 4 B.C. Galilee and Perea was passed on to his son Herod Antipas who became Tetrarch, he founded the city of Tiberias and made it capital of Galilee.
Most of the early ministry of Jesus took place in Galilee. He lived in Nazareth (Matt 21:11) and performed his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11). When he ministry in Galilee the crowds received him gladly (Mark 12:37), and it was in Judea were Jesus was put to death. During the last supper Jesus told his disciples that after he been raised from the dead, He would go before them to meet them (Mark 14:28). After his resurrection an angel informed the disciples that Jesus had preceded them in Galilee were they would see him as he had promised (Mark 16:7).
During the Jewish war against the Romans Galilee was where the first battles were fought and the city was fortified by Josephus. After the revolt was put down Galilee was made part of the Roman province of Judea. The area of thrived after the period of the Second Jewish Revolt (A.D. 132-135), with numerous cities and villages.
Luke 1:26; 2:4; 3:1; Mark. 1:9; 1:14, 28; Matt. 4:23; 28:26; John 7:1; Acts 9:31.
See Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee
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