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Verse 1. The people pressed upon him. Multitudes came to hear. There were times in the life of our Saviour when thousands were anxious to hear him, and when many, as we have no reason to doubt, became his true followers. Indeed, it is not possible to tell what might have been his success, had not the Pharisees and scribes, and those who were in Office, opposed him, and taken measures to draw the people away from his ministry; for the common people heard him gladly, Mr 12:37.

The Lake of Gennesaret. Called also the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tiberias.

"Gennesaret was the more ancient name of the lake,

taken from a small territory or plain of that name

on its western borders. See Nu 34:11; Jos 19:35,

where, after the Hebrew orthography, it is called

Chinnereth" (Owen).

The plain lying between Capernaum and Tiberias is said by Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 536) to be a little longer than thirty, and not quite twenty furlongs in breadth. It is described by Josephus as being, in his time, universally fertile.

"Its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty. Its soil

is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it,

and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of

trees there; for the temperature of the air is so

well mixed that it agrees very well with these several

sorts; particularly walnuts, which require the

coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty. One may

call this the ambition of Nature, where it forces

those plants which are naturally enemies to one another

to agree together. It is a happy conjunction of the

seasons, as if every one laid claim to this country;

for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal

fruits beyond men's expectations, but preserves them a

great while. It supplies men with the principal

fruits; with grapes and figs continually during ten

months of the year, and the rest of the fruits, as they

become ripe, through the whole year; for, besides the

good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a

most fertile fountain."

Dr. Thomson describes it now as "preeminently fruitful in thorns." This was the region of the early toils of our Redeemer. Here he performed some of his first and most amazing miracles; here he selected his disciples; and here, on the shores of this little and retired lake, among people of poverty and inured to the privations of fishermen, he laid the foundation of a religion which is yet to spread through all the world, and which has already blessed millions of guilty and miserable men, and translated them to heaven.

{a} "And it came to pass" Mt 4:18; Mr 1:16

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