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A Commentary on the New Testament
from the Talmud and Hebraica
A Chorographical Century
Caphar Hananiah. The Middle of Galilee.
It seems also to be called 'Caphar Hanan': hence "R. Jacob of Caphar Hanan."
Mention is made of this place once and again: "If any one have five sheep in Caphar Hananiah, and five more in Caphar Uthni, they are not joined together," that is, they are not numbered to be tithed, "until he hath one in Zippor."--The Gloss is, "From Caphar Uthni to Caphar Hananiah, are two-and-thirty miles, and Zippor is in the middle."
"The men of the family of Mamal, and the men of the family of Gorion, in the years of dearth, distributed to the poor figs and raisins in Arumah. And the poor of Caphar Shichin, and the poor of Caphar Hanaiah, came: and when it now grew dark, they contained themselves within the bounds [of the sabbath], and in the morning went forward." The Gloss is, "Arumah is the name of a place. The poor of Caphar Shichin were neighbours to those of Arumah, being distant only four thousand (cubits)." Which distance exceeding a sabbath-day's journey, the poor, before the coming-in of the sabbath, contained themselves within the bounds of Arumah; that, the morning following, they might betake themselves to the houses of those that distributed their charity, and not break the sabbath. He that turns over the Talmudical writers will meet with very frequent mention of this city.
You observe before in Pliny, that Sycaminum was seated between Dor and Carmel; and in the Talmudic writers, that the plenty of sycamines began at Caphar Hananiah.
The country of Samaria contained only two tribes, and those of the brethren, Ephraim and Manasses: Galilee four, Issachar, Zebulun, Nephthalim, and Asher, and a part also of the Danites.
The maps agree indeed about the order in which these tribes were seated, but about the proper place of their situation, Oh how great a disagreement is there among them! The tribe of Issachar held the south country of Galilee: some maps place it on the south of the sea of Gennesaret, not illy: but it is ill done of them to stretch it unto the sea itself: and others, worst of all, who set it on the west of that sea. Of this land Josephus writes thus; "And after these (the Manassites) Issachar maketh mount Carmel and the river her bounds in length, and mount Itaburion in breadth."
The country of Zabulon touched upon that of Issachar on the north. Some maps spread it out unto the sea of Gennesaret; some place it a long way above that sea northwardly; the former not well,--the latter exceedingly ill. Of it thus writes the same Josephus, "The Zabulonites had for their portion the land unto Gennesaret, extending unto Carmel and the sea." Observing that clause, "unto Gennesaret," we (persuaded also by the Talmudical writers, and led by reason) do suppose the land of Zabulon to lie on the south shore and coast of the sea of Gennesaret, and that whole sea to be comprised within the land of Nephthali. With what arguments, we are led we shew afterward, when we treat of that sea. Which assertion, we know, is exposed, and lies open to this objection:--
Object. Josephus saith, in the place but now quoted, that, "the upper parts of Galilee unto mount Libanus, and the springs of Jordan," belonged to the portion of Nephthali. But now if you stretch the portion of Nephthali from the springs of Jordan to the utmost southern coast of the sea of Gennesaret (which our opinion does), alas, how much doth this exceed the proportion of the other tribes! For from Scythopolis, the utmost south border of Galilee, to the south coast of the sea of Gennesaret, was not above fifteen miles: within which space the whole breadth of the two tribes of Issachar and Zabulon is contained. But from the south coast of Gennesaret to the springs of Jordan, were about forty miles; which to assign to the land of Nephthali alone, is neither proportionable nor congruous.
Ans. This objection indeed would have some weight in it, if the land of Nephthali did extend itself eastwardly as much as the land of Issachar and Zabulon. For these run out as far as the Mediterranean sea; but that hath the land of Asher, and the jurisdiction of Tyre and Sidon lying between it and the sea. So that when the breadth of those countries is measured from south to north, the breadth of this is measured from east to west. There is therefore no such great inequality between these, when this is contained in the like straits of breadth with them, and they enjoy the like length with this.
The confines of the land of Nephthali bounded the land of Asher on one side, and those of Tyre and Sidon on the other: and this land, in the same manner as the portion of Nephthali, extends itself in length from south to north; and (which somewhat agrees with our opinion, and answers the objection mentioned before) Josephus allows it a greater length than we do the land of Nephthali, or at least equal to it. For, "The Asherites possess all that hollow valley so called, because it is such that runs from Carmel to Sidon."
The people of Issachar had "Carmel and the river for their bounds in length": the people of Zabulon, "Carmel and the sea."
Carmel was not so much one mountain as a mountainous country, containing almost the whole breadth of the land of Issachar, and a great part of that of Zabulon. It was, as it seems, a certain famous peak among many other mountain tops, known by the same name, lifted up and advanced above the rest. The promontory Carmel, in Pliny, and in the mountain a town of the same name, heretofore called Ecbatane; where probably Vespasian sometimes consulted the oracle of the god Carmel.
The sea washes upon the foot of the mountain. "R. Samuel Bar Chaiah Bar Judah said, in the name of R. Chaninah, Any one sitting upon mount Carmel when the orb of the setting sun begins now to disappear, if he goes down and washes himself in the great sea, and goes up and eats his Truma, it is to be presumed that he washed in the day time."
"Carmel and the river." What is that river? Kishon, say the maps: for some describe it not far from Carmel, pouring out itself into the sea: and that not without a reason, fetched from 1 Kings 18:40. But you must suppose Kishon to flow south of Carmel,--not, as some would have it, on the north.
"The lake Cendevia flows at the foot of Carmel; and out of it the river Pagida or Bel, mingling glassy sands with its small shore"; so Pliny,--who hath moreover these words, "Near is the colony of Claudius Caesar, Ptolemais, heretofore Ace, the town Ecdippa, the white promontory, Tyrus, heretofore an island, &c. Thence are the town Ide [otherwise Enhydra], and Sarepta, and Ornithon; and Sidon, skillful in making glass," &c.
These places you may call not so much the bounds of Galilee as of Phoenicia: for in Ptolemais itself, or Acon, was the separation and parting of the land of Israel from Phoenicia. Hence Josephus, "Phoenice and Syria do compass the two Galilees, the upper and the nether so called: and Ptolemais and Carmel set bounds to the country on the west."--What! do Ptolemais and Carmel stint the whole length of Galilee on the west? He had said elsewhere, which we also have produced elsewhere, that the land of Nephthali was extended as far as mount Libanus (on the north): alas, how far behind Ptolemais! And the land Asher was extended so far also: but "Ptolemais was the sea-borders of Palestine" (to use Pliny's words), for from hence onward were the territories of Tyre and Sidon; and Galilee was not now bounded any longer by the sea, but by those territories.
We saw in the scheme produced by us in the second chapter of this little work, wherein the compass of the land under the second Temple is briefly described, how, "The walls of Aco" are there set for a bound; and that in the sense which we speak of, which afterward also will appear more....
"Ptolemais" (which is also called Acon) "is a city of Galilee on the sea-coast, situate in a great champaign, but it is compassed with hills; on the east, sixty furlongs off, with the hill-country of Galilee; on the south with Carmel, distant a hundred and twenty furlongs; on the north, with a very high mountain which is called Climax" (or the ladder), "belonging to the Tyrians, and is a hundred furlongs distant. Two miles off of that city the river Beleus flows, a very small one, near which is the sepulchre of Memnon; having about it the space of a hundred cubits, but well worthy admiration. For it is in the form of a round valley, affording glassy sand, which when many ships coming thither have gathered, the place is again replenished."
"From Acon onwards to the north" (is heathen land), and Acon itself is reckoned for the north (that is, for heathen land).
"In Acon the land of Israel is, and is not." And therefore, "R. Josi Ben Hananiah kissed the arch of Acon, and said, Hitherto is the land of Israel."
"R. Simeon Ben Gamaliel said, I saw Simeon Ben Cahna drinking wine in Acon, &c. But was it within the bounds of the land or not?" See the author of Juchasin disputing largely of this matter, in the place of the margin.
There was the bath of Venus in Acon: Where R. Gamaliel washing, was asked by a certain heathen (whose name in the Babylonian 'Proculus, the son of the philosopher'), "What have you to do with the bath of Venus,--Then it is written in your law, 'There shall not cleave to thy hand any of the accursed thing?' He answered, I must not answer you in the bath" (because you must not speak of the law when you stand naked). "When he came out therefore he said, I went not into her bounds, but she came into mine." (The Gloss is, 'The bath was before she was.') "And we say not, Let us make a fair bath for Venus,--but, Let us make a fair Venus for the bath," &c.
A story, done at Acon before R. Judah, is related, not unworthy to be mentioned. "Rabbi came to a certain place, and saw the men of that place baking their dough in uncleanness. When he inquired of them, Why they did so, they answered, A certain scholar came hither, and taught us, the waters are not of those waters (that bring pollution). He spake of the waters of eggs; but they thought that he spake of the waters of the marshes." These things we have the more willingly produced, that the reader may see that the letter ain was no sound with these; examples like to which we bring elsewhere. Now hear the Glosser; "Rabbi saw this (saith he) in Acon, in which is Israelitic land and heathen land:--now he saw them standing within the limits of Israelitic land, and baking their dough in uncleanness, and wondered, until they told him, A certain scholar came hither," &c.
Caphar Acon, is very frequently mentioned by the Talmudists.
"A city which produceth fifteen hundred footmen, as Caphar Acon, if nine dead persons be carried out thence in three days successively, behold! it is the plague: but if in one day, or in four days, then it is not the plague. And a city which produceth five hundred foot, as Caphar Amiku," &c.
Hence are the names of some Acon Rabbins; as,
"R. Tanchum, the son of R. Chaia of Caphar Acon."
"R. Simeon Ben Judah, A man of Caphar Acon."
"R. Abba of Acon": and others.
Weigh this story: "One brought a bill of divorce to R. Ismael; who said to him, Whence are you? He answered, From Caphar Samai, which is in the confines of Acon.--Then it is needful, saith he, that you say, It was written, I being present,--and sealed, I being present. When he went out, R. Illai said unto him, Is not Caphar Samai of the land of Israel, being nearer to Zippor than Acon?" And a little after: "The cities which are in the borders of Zippor near to Acon, and which are in the borders of Acon near to Zippor, what will you do concerning them? As Acon is, so is Zippor."
"Travelling from Acon to Achzib, on the right hand of the way, eastwardly, it is clean, from the notion of heathen land, and is bound to tithes, and to the law of the seventh year, until you are certified that it is free. On the left hand of the way, westward, it is unclean, under the notion of Gentile land; and it is free from tithes, and from the law concerning the seventh year, till you are certified it is bound to those things, even until you come to Achzib." The Gemara hath these words: but the text, on which is this commentary, is this: "The three countries" (namely, Judea, Galilee, and Perea) "are bound to the law of the seventh year: whatsoever they possessed, who came up out of Babylon, from the land of Israel unto Chezib (the Jerusalem Misna read Ghezib), is not fed nor tilled: but whatsoever they possessed, who came up out of Egypt, from Chezib to the river, and to Amanah, is fed, but not tilled: from the river and from Amanah, inwards, is fed and tilled."
Of Amanah we shall speak by and by. "The river (saith R. Solomon upon the place) is the river of Egypt."--"And Chezib (saith Rambam) is the name of a place, which divided between the land of Israel, which they possessed that came up out of Babylon, and that land which they possessed that came up out of Egypt. Now that land, which they possessed that came up out of Egypt, as to the Demai" (or doubt of tithing), "is, as it were, without the land." Hence is that in the text, on which he makes this comment, "From Chezib, and beyond, is free from the Demai."
The word Chezib, and Achzib, at last passed into Ecdippa, according to the manner of the Syrian dialect; to which it is common to change zain of the Hebrews into daleth.
"Climax (or the ladder) of the Tyrians," in the Talmudists is, 'The ladder of Tyre.' "Before they came to Climax of the Tyrians, they forgot all."--The discourse is, in the place cited, about some Romans sent to Rabban Gamaliel, to inquire of the Jewish law.
Of him also is this story, and of the same place: "When he went sometime out of Chezib, one came to him, to ask him of a certain vow of his. He said to him, who went with him, Tell him, that we have drunk an Italian quart of wine. He saith to him, Well. He saith to him that asked, Go with us, until our wine be allayed. When they came to the ladder of the Tyrians, Rabban Gamaliel came down, and veils himself, and, sitting, resolved his vow. From this example we learn these things, that a quart of wine makes one drunk, that the way allays wine," &c.
Let this be marked by the way, that it is said "A quart of wine makes drunk": and let it be compared with what R. Chaia saith, "Four pots (to be drunk by every one in their sacred feasts) contain an Italian quart of wine": and judge how soberly they carried it in those feasts, if they mingled not much water with their wine.
This coast is described by Moses, Numbers 34:7: "From the Great Sea to mount Hor: from mount Hor to the entrance of Hamath," &c.
Mount Hor, in the Jewish writers, is Amanah; mention of which occurs, Canticles 4:8, where R. Solomon thus: "Amanah is a mount in the northern coast of the land of Israel, which in the Talmudical language is called, The mountainous plain of Amanon; the same with mount Hor."
In the Jerusalem Targum, for mount 'Hor' is the mount Manus: but the Targum of Jonathan renders it The mountain Umanis.
"What (say the Jerusalem writers) is of the land of Israel, and what without the land? Whatsoever comes down from mount Amanah inwards is of the land of Israel; whatsoever is without the mountainous place of Amanah is without the land."
And a little after; "R. Justa Bar Shunem said, When the Israelites that return" (from their dispersion), "shall have arrived at the mountainous places of Amanah, they shall sing a song; which is proved from that which is said (Canticles 4:8), He renders it, Thou shalt sing from the head of Amanah."
There was also a river of the same name with the mountain, of which the Targum in that place; "They that live by the river Amanah, and they that live on the top of the mountain of snow, shall offer thee a present." And the Aruch, which we have noted before, writes thus; "Kirmion is a river in the way to Damascus, and is the same with Amanah."
"The mountain of snow," among the paraphrasts and Talmudists, is the same with Hermon. The Samaritan interpreter upon Deuteronomy 4:48, "To the mountain of snow which is Hermon." And the Jerusalem writers say, "They built for the daughters of the Midianites little booths of hurdles from Beth-Jeshimon unto the mountain of snow, and placed there women selling cakes."
The Jerusalem Targum upon Numbers 35 writes thus; "The mountain of snow at Caesarea" (Philippi). See also Jonathan there.
The maps assign a double spring of Jordan; but by what right it scarce appears; much less does it appear by what right they should call this Jor,--and that Dan. There is indeed mention in Josephus of little Jordan and great Jordan. Hence, as it seems, was the first original of the double spring in the maps, and of a double river at those first springs. For thus Josephus; "There are fountains (in Daphne) which send little Jordan, as it is called, into the great." He treats, in the text cited, of the lake Samochonitis, and saith, "That the fens of it are extended to the country Daphne, which, as it is otherwise pleasant, so it contains springs, from which issue little Jordan," &c.
Riblah (that we may note this by the way) by the Targumists is rendered Daphne. They, upon Numbers 34:11, for that which is in the Hebrew, "And the border shall go down to Riblah," render it, "And the border shall go down to Daphne." See also Aruch in Daphne. But this certainly is not that Daphne of which Josephus here speaks; which will sufficiently appear by those things that follow. But as to the things before us:--
I. Both he and the Talmudists assign Panium or Paneas to be the spring of Jordan; nor do they name another.
"Near Panium, as they call it (saith he), is a most delightful cave in a mountain; and under it the land hollowing itself into a huge vale, full of standing waters. Over it a great mountain hangs; and under the cave, rise the springs of the river Jordan."
And again, "By the springs of Jordan: now the place is called Panium."
And elsewhere, "Panium seems to be the fountain of Jordan": and more may be read there.
The Talmudists write thus; "Rabh saith, Jordan riseth out of the cave of Pamias: and so is the tradition."
"R. Isaac saith, Leshem is Pamias." The Gloss is, "Leshem is a city which the Danites subdued (Judg 18:29): Pamias is a place whence Jordan ariseth."
And Pliny, "The river of Jordan ariseth out of the fountain Paneas."
II. That fountain of Jordan was the so-much-famed fountain of 'little Jordan,' as it is called. For so it is plainly collected from Josephus. Concerning the Danites invading Laish, or Leshem, which being subdued they called Dan, he speaks thus; "But they, travelling a day's journey through the great plain of Sidon, not far from mount Libanus, and the springs of lesser Jordan, observe the land to be good and fruitful, and shew it unto their tribe; who, invading it with an army, build the city Dan."
In like manner speaking of Jeroboam, he saith these things; "He built two temples for the golden calves,--one in Beth-el, the other in Dan, which is at the springs of little Jordan."
You may certainly wonder and be amazed that the fountain of Little Jordan should be so famed and known; and in the mean time, the fountain of Great Jordan to lie hid, not to be spoken of, and to be buried in eternal obscurity. What! is the less worthy of so much fame; and the greater, of none at all? Let us have liberty to speak freely what we think, with the leave of chorographers.
I. It does not appear that any other river of Jordan flows into the lake Samochonitis beside that which ariseth from Paneas. In what author will you find the least sign of such a river? But only that such a conjecture crept into the maps, and into the minds of men, out of the before alleged words of Josephus, misconceived.
II. We think, therefore, that Jordan is called the Greater and the Less, not upon any account of two fountains, or two rivers, different and distant from one another; but upon account of the distinct greatness of the same river. Jordan, rising out of Paneas, was called Little, until it flowed into the lake Samochonitis; but afterward coming out of that lake, when it had obtained a great increase from that lake, it was thenceforth called Jordan the Greater. Samochonitis received Little Jordan, and sent forth the Great. For since both that lake and the country adjacent was very fenny, as appears out of Josephus,--the lake was not so much increased by Jordan flowing into it, as it increased Jordan flowing out of it. "Moors and fenny places possess the parts about the lake Samochonitis." The river, therefore, below Samochonitis seems to be called 'Jordan'; above Samochonitis, 'Little Jordan.'
Caesarea Philippi was built at Paneas, the fountain of Jordan: which let the maps observe that they place it not too remote thence. "Philip built the city Caesarea in Paneas, at the springs of the Jordan." And also, "Having finished Paneas, he named it Caesarea."
'The sea of Apamia' is reckoned the seventh among those seas that compass the land of Israel; which word hath a sound so near akin to the word Pamias, by which name the Rabbins point out the fountains of Jordan,--that the mention of that word cannot but excite the memory of this, yea, almost persuade that both design one and the same place: and that the sea Apamia was nothing else but some great collection of waters at the very springs of Jordan.
This also might moreover be added to strengthen that persuasion, that, in both places, in the quotations cited in the Jerusalem Talmud, these words are added; "The sea of Apamia is the same with the sea of Chamats, which Diocletianus, by the gathering together of the waters, caused to be made." But now that Diocletianus, whosoever he was (we prove elsewhere that he was the emperor), lived sometime at Paneas; as is clear also from the same Talmud.
But the thing is otherwise. Pamias and Apamia were different places, and far distant from each other: one in the land of Israel; the other in the confines indeed of the land of Israel, but in Syria.
Let this tradition be marked:--"Ariston brought his first-fruits from Apamia, and they were received: for they said, He that hath a possession in Syria, is as if he had it in the suburbs of Jerusalem." The Gloss is, "Apamia is the name of a place in Syria."
And these things do appear more clearly in the Targumists, to omit other authors. The Samaritan interpreter renders the word Shepham, Numbers 34:10, by Apamia with Ain. (Note Shin changed into Ain; note also, in the word Bozor, 2 Peter 2:15, Ain changed into Shin.) Jonathan reads it Apamia, with Aleph: for "From Shepham to Riblah," he renders 'From Apamia to Daphne.'
In the Holy Scriptures it is the 'Water of Merom,' Joshua 11:5. In the Babylonian Talmudists it is 'The Sibbechean sea.' Hence is that, "Jordan ariseth out of the cave of Paneas, and flows into the Sibbechean sea." In the Jerusalem Talmudists, sometimes it is 'The sea of Cobebo,' as we have noted before; and sometimes 'The sea of Samaco'; whence in other languages it is 'Samachonitis.'
"The lake Semechonitis is thirty furlongs in breadth, and sixty in length. The fens of it are stretched out unto the country Daphne; a country, as it is otherwise pleasant, so containing fountains: [Greek passage omitted]. The scruple lies concerning the pointing...The sentence and sense seems indeed to flow more smoothly, if you should render it thus, "The springs which, nourishing Little Jordan, as it is called, send it out into the Great, under the temple of the golden calf": but then a just doubt ariseth of the situation of that temple. That clause, therefore, is rather to be referred to the foregoing, so that the sense may go thus; "The springs, which, nourishing Little Jordan, as it is called, under the temple of the golden calf, send it into the Great": and so you have the temple of the golden calf at the springs of Jordan, and the place adjacent called Daphne, and the marshes of Samochonitis reaching thither.
The Jerusalem Gemarists do thus explain those words of Ezekiel, 47:8: "These waters go forth into the east coast: that is, into the lake Samochonitis. And they shall go down into the plain; that is, into the sea of Tiberias. And they shall go out into the sea; that is, into the Dead Sea."
"The city Hazor (saith Josephus) lies on the lake Semechonitis." This city is the metropolis of Canaan, that is, of that northern country, which is known by that name: which is called also 'Galilee of the Gentiles.' Jabin the king of Hazor, and others, fight with Joshua at the waters of Merom, that is, at the lake Samochonitis, Joshua 11:4. And Jonathan in the same place, as it seems, with the army of Demetrius, "in the plain of Asor," as the same Josephus writes. But, in the Book of the Maccabees, it is, "The plain of Nasor," 1 Maccabees 11:67.
Jordan is measured at one hundred and twenty furlongs, from the lake of Samochonitis to that of Gennesaret. That lake, in the Old Testament, is 'The sea of Chinnereth,' Numbers 34:11, &c. In the Targumists, 'The sea of Genesar'; sometimes, 'of Genesor'; sometimes, 'of Ginosar': it is the same also in the Talmudists, but most frequently 'The sea of Tiberiah.' Both names are used by the evangelists; 'the lake of Gennesaret,' Luke 5:1; 'the sea of Tiberias,' John 21:1; and 'the sea of Galilee,' John 6:1.
The name 'Chinnereth' passed into 'Genesar,' in regard of the pleasantness of the country, well filled with gardens and paradises: of which we shall speak afterward. [chapter 79]
It is disputed by the Jerusalem Talmudists, why 'Chinneroth' occurs sometimes in the plural number; as Joshua 11:2, 'The south of Chinneroth'; and Joshua 12:3, 'The sea of Chinneroth.' "Thence (say they) are there two Gennesarets?" Or there were "but two castles, as Beth-Jerach, and Sinnabris, which are towers of the people of Chinnereth; but the fortification is destroyed, and fallen into the hands of the Gentiles"...Sinnabri in the Talmudists is Sennabris, in Josephus, being distant from Tiberias thirty furlongs. For he tells us, that Vespasian encamped thirty furlongs from Tiberias, "at a certain station, that might easily be seen by the innovators, called Sennabris." He speaks also of the town, Ginnabrin, not far distant certainly from this place. For describing the country about Jordan, he saith, that from both regions of it runs out a very long back of mountains, but distant some miles from the river: on this side, from the region of Scythopolis to the Dead Sea; on that side, from Julias to Somorrha, towards the rock of Arabia: and that there lies a plain between, which is called "the great plain, lying along from the town Gennabrin to the lake Asphaltites."
The same Josephus writes thus of the lake Gennesaret: "The lake Gennesar is so called from the adjacent country, being forty furlongs in breadth, and moreover a hundred in length; it is both sweet and excellent to drink."
Pliny thus;--"Jordan, upon the first fall of the valleys, pours itself into the lake, which many call Genesar, sixteen miles long and six miles broad."
"The sea of Tiberias is like the gliding waters." While the masters produce these words, they discourse what is to be thought of those waters, where the unclean fish swim together with the clean; whether such waters are fit to boil food or no: and it is answered, 'Flowing and gliding waters are fit; those that do not glide are not; and that the lake of Gennesaret is to be numbered among gliding waters.'
The Jews believe, or feign, that this lake is beloved by God above all the lakes of the land of Canaan. "Seven seas (say they) have I created, saith God, and of them all I have chosen none but the sea of Gennesaret." Which words, perhaps, were invented for the praise of the university at Tiberias, that was contiguous to this lake; but they are much more agreeable to truth, being applied to the very frequent resorts of our Saviour thither.
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