We took a boat accross the sea of Galilee, also known as lake Tiberias, sea of Chinnereth (a name linked to the harp shape of the lake/sea), lake of Gennesareth or Bahr Tubariyeh (Arabic name, meaning lake Tiberia) to Caphernaum.
More about the boat on Friday.
The lake's surface is 214m below sea level and 21km by 13km. The fresh water (why refer to at as a sea?) is provided by the river Jordan from the slopes of Mt Hebron. The river flows through the lake and exits in the south, to form the border between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordania. The lake provides about one third of the water requirements of Israel. The rest of the requirement is purified from the Mediteranean. This one third makes control of Mt Hebron and the flow towards Galilee of strategic importance to Israel. The high hills surrounding the below sea-level water combined with abrupt temperature changes contributes to sudden and violent storms on the lake.
Before Biblical times, this area was part of the trade routes (eg. between the Med and Damascus), where the Hittites lived. The land also changed hands a lot, as was wont at the time. When the Israelites under Joshua settled the Promised Land, this area was given to the tribe of Naphtali. Later on, the land slipped gradually back into the hands of gentiles. In 1 Kings 9:10-13 - At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD and the king's house, and Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, they did not please him. Therefore he said, "What kind of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?" So they are called the land of Cabul to this day.
Cabul means "not happy". Could it be the origin of the the expression "bulldust"?
2 Kings 15:29 - In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.
By the time Jesus left Nazareth to minister around the sea of Galilee, from his base in Caphernaum, this was mostly gentile land.
History continues: Twelve Hezbollah rockets hit the city of Tiberias on the shore of the lake during Israel’s 2006 war in Lebanon.