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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Galilee

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Galilee (găl'i-lee), circle, circuit. A name in the Old Testament for a small district in the northern mountains of Naphtali, around Kedesh-naphtali, and including 20 towns given by Solomon to Hiram, king of Tyre, Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:32; 1 Kings 9:11; 2 Kings 15:29, and called "Galilee of the nations" in Isaiah 9:1. Devastated during the wars of the Captivity, it was repeopled by strangers. In the time of the Maccabees they probably outnumbered the Jewish population, and gave their new name to a much wider district. In the time of our Lord, Palestine was divided into three provinces, of which Galilee was the most northern. It included the whole region from the plain of Jezreel to the Litany (Leontes) river, being about 50 miles long by 20 to 25 miles wide. The northern part was known as Upper and the southern part as Lower Galilee. These included the territories given to Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar. The country was famed for its fertility, rich pastures, and fine forests. The portion west of the lake was the most beautiful. In the Roman period the population was dense, Josephus estimating it at 2,000,000 or 3,000,000, though that is probably an exaggeration. It had a mixed population of heathens, foreigners, and Jews. The latter, having a strong, if not dominant, influence, were less strict and less acquainted with the Law than their southern Judæan neighbors, by whom they were little esteemed. The noted mountains of Galilee were Carmel, Gilboa, and Tabor; the towns were Nazareth, Cana, Tiberias, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. Jesus spent the greater portion of his life and ministry in Galilee. Many of his most remarkable miracles, teachings, and labors were within this province of Galilee. His disciples were chiefly from this region. Acts 1:11. After the fall of Jerusalem, Galilee became the residence of celebrated rabbis and the centre of Jewish schools of learning.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Galilee'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/g/galilee.html. 1893.

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