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el-'Arai. Julias. Bethsaida means in Heb. "house of fishing." It was a Roman period fishing village on the NE coast of the Sea of Galilee. Bathsaida Julias was a new city built by Philip the Tetrarch. It was originally a small town, but Philip the Tetrarch, having raised it to the rank of city, called it Julias, after Julia, the daughter of the Emperor Augustus (Josephus Ant.18.2.1). Philip died and was buried there. It is probably to be identified with et-Tell, a little more than a mile N of the Sea of Galilee. It was probably a Greek-speaking place, cf. John 12:20f.
It was the home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, and Jesus went there frequently. Jesus also rebuked the people there for not receiving His teachings:
Luke 10:13-16 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades. He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me."
Also see Matt 11:21; Mark 6:45; John 1:44
Maps are essential for any serious Bible study, they help students of the Scriptures understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in the Bible.
Map of NT Israel (Click to Enlarge)
Israel in the First Century
Map of Israel (First Century AD)