Thursday, January 23, 2014
Sea of Chinnereth, Sea of Tiberias, Lake of Gennesaret, Sea of Galilee and Lake of Galilee
The names of places change – even in the Bible -- and unless you are aware of those changes you may not know that different names ion the Bible are references to the same place. A good example is a very well-known body of water in the Bible.
Sea of Chinnereth
In Numbers 34:11 & Joshua 13:27, YAHWEH and Moses called it the Sea of Chinnereth. A Canaanite fortified village called Chinnereth was located on northwestern shore of that body of water. It had been there long before the Israelites settled there. The body of water was named after the village.
Today that village is called Tell Kinneret.
Lake of Gennesaret
The name of the village above is also spelled Kinnereth and it gradually changed over the years to Genezareth, Genezar and Gennesaret.[i]
The Sea of Galilee
In Joshua 20:7 we read: “And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.” Galilee was an area in the area given to the tribe of Naphtali. The name “Sea of Galilee” doesn’t appear in the Hebrew Bible. It appears that the body of water acquired the name Galilee from the name of the surrounding area after being known as the Sea of Chinnereth. In Matthew 4:18, it is called the Sea of Galilee.
Sea of Tiberias
The city of Tiberias was founded sometime around 20 CE by the Roman client king Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. The city was built as a spa and developed around 17 natural mineral hot springs and was populated mainly by Jews. It was place with a growing spiritual and religious status, which exerted a strong influence on health practices associated with bathing in the natural springs.[ii]
Sea or Lake?
When we look up the definitions of “lake” and “sea” in an English dictionary we find the following:
● lake – a body of fresh or salt water of considerable size, surrounded by land.
● sea – the salt waters that cover the greater part of the earth's surface.
The Sea of Galilee is an inland body of fresh water 13 miles long x 8 miles wide x 150 feet deep. Based on the English definitions above, the Sea of Galilee is a lake. Of course, that means that the “Dead Sea” is one too.
The next time you find the Sea of Chinnereth, Sea of Tiberias, Lake of Gennesaret, Sea of Galilee or Lake of Galilee you will realize that they are all names of the same body of water.
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