Lake Gennesaret

Bahr Tabariyeh. This is called by four different names in Scripture:

1. The "Sea of Chinnereth," or "Chinneroth" (Heb. kinneret, "harp-shaped"), for the shape of the sea (Num 34:11; Josh 12:3; 13:27).

2. The "lake of Gennesaret" (Luke 5:1), the name of the extended plain adjoining the lake.

3. The "Sea of Tiberias" (John 6:1; 21:1), the name used by the natives at this time-Bahr Tarbariyeh;

4. "Galilee" (Matt 4:18; 15:29).

The lake is about 60 miles from Jerusalem and at one time was 13 miles long and 8 miles wide at its greatest extent, although recent changes have reduced its length. Its surface is about 700 feet below sea level, and it is about 150 feet deep at its lowest point. The Jordan River flows through it, providing much of its water supply, there are springs in the lake floor. The fresh waters of the lake are clean, and they have always been well stocked with a variety of fish.

Several towns dotted its shores in NT times, but almost all of them (Bethsaida, Capernaum, Tiberias, etc.) stood on its northern and western shores because the eastern slopes rise more precipitously from the water. The sea was the highway for considerable traffic between Damascus and the Mediterranean, and the customhouse duties from which Christ took Matthew brought huge revenue. Hot springs along the western shore, especially at Tiberias, brought multitudes to be cured. The high hills surrounding the below sea-level water combined with abrupt temperature changes contributed to sudden and violent storms on the lake, as various NT passages indicate (Mark 4:35-41; 6:45-52; John 6:16-21).

It was on or around this lake that Jesus did many of His wonderful miracles. 18 of the 33 recorded miracles of Christ were probably done in the immediate neighborhood of the Sea of Galilee. In the city of Capernaum alone He performed 10 of these.

Matt. 4:18; 15:29; Mark 1:16; 7:31; John 6:1

see also Sea of Galilee and Sea of Tiberias

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