Galilee and surrounding area

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Joshua 12:23 the king of Dor in the height of Dor, one; the king of Goiim in Gilgal, one;

Joshua 20:7 They set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (the same is Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.

Joshua 21:32 Out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its suburbs, the city of refuge for the manslayer, Hammothdor with its suburbs, and Kartan with its suburbs; three cities.

1 Kings 9:11 (now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire), that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.

2 Kings 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel Beth Maacah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.

1 Chronicles 6:76 and out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its suburbs, and Hammon with its suburbs, and Kiriathaim with its suburbs.

Isaiah 9:1 But there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time he has made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

Matthew 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee,

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.

Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee.

Matthew 4:15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,

Matthew 4:23 Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.

Matthew 4:25 Great multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.

Matthew 17:22 While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men,

Matthew 19:1 It happened when Jesus had finished these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the borders of Judea beyond the Jordan.

Matthew 21:11 The multitudes said, "This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."

Matthew 26:32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee."

Matthew 27:55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him.

Matthew 28:7 Go quickly and tell his disciples,'He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you."

Matthew 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."

Matthew 28:16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them.

Mark 1:9 It happened in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Mark 1:14 Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God,

Mark 1:28 The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.

Mark 1:39 He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons.

Mark 3:7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea,

Mark 6:21 Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.

Mark 9:30 They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it.

Mark 14:28 However, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee."

Mark 15:41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and served him; and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Mark 16:7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter,'He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.'"

Luke 1:26 Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

Luke 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;

Luke 2:39 When they had accomplished all things that were according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,

Luke 4:14 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area.

Luke 4:31 He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. He was teaching them on the Sabbath day,

Luke 5:17 It happened on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was with him to heal them.

Luke 6:17 He came down with them, and stood on a level place, with a crowd of his disciples, and a great number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;

Luke 17:11 It happened as he was on his way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee.

Luke 23:5 But they insisted, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place."

Luke 23:49 All his acquaintances, and the women who followed with him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Luke 23:55 The women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid.

Luke 24:6 He isn't here, but is risen. Remember what he told you when he was still in Galilee,

John 1:43 On the next day, he was determined to go out into Galilee, and he found Philip. Jesus said to him, "Follow me."

John 2:1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there.

John 2:11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

John 4:3 he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.

John 4:43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee.

John 4:45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast.

John 4:46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

John 4:54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

John 7:1 After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn't walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.

John 7:3 His brothers therefore said to him, "Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do.

John 7:9 Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee.

John 7:41 Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "What, does the Christ come out of Galilee?

John 7:52 They answered him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee. "

John 12:21 These, therefore, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we want to see Jesus."

John 21:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.

Acts 1:11 who also said, "You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky."

Acts 9:31 So the assemblies throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, and were built up. They were multiplied, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 10:37 that spoken word you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

Acts 13:31 and he was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses to the people.


gal'-i-le (ha-galil, hagelilah, literally, "the circuit" or "district"; he Galilaia):

1. Galilee of the Nations:

Kedesh, the city of refuge, is described as lying in Galilee, in Mt. Naphtali (Joshua 20:7; compare Joshua 21:32). The name seems originally to have referred to the territory of Naphtali. Joshua's victorious campaign in the north (Joshua 11), and, subsequently, the triumph of the northern tribes under Deborah and Barak (Judges 4 f) gave Israel supremacy; yet the tribe of Naphtali was not able to drive out all the former inhabitants of the land (Judges 1:33). In the time of Solomon the name applied to a much wider region, including the territory of Asher. In this land lay the cities given by Solomon to Hiram (1 Kings 9:11). Cabul here named must be identical with that of Joshua 19:27. The Asherites also failed to possess certain cities in their allotted portion, so that the heathen continued to dwell among them. To this state of things, probably, is due the name given in Isaiah 9:1 to this region, "Galilee of the nations," i.e. a district occupied by a mixed population of Jews and heathen. It may also be referred to in Joshua 12:23, where possibly we should read "king of the nations of Galilee" (legalil), instead of "Gilgal" (begilgal). Yet it was within this territory that, according to 2 Samuel 20:18 (Septuagint) lay the two cities noted for their preservation of ancient Israelite religious customs in their purity-Abel-bethmaacah and Dan.

2. Ancient Boundaries:

There is nothing to guide us as to the northern boundary of Galilee in the earliest times. On the East it was bounded by the upper Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, and on the South by the plain of el-BaTTauf. That all within these limits belonged to Galilee we may be sure. Possibly, however, it included Zebulun, which seems to be reckoned to it in Isaiah 9:1. In this territory also there were unconquered Canaanite cities (Judges 1, 30).

3. Before the Exile:

At the instigation of Asa, king of Judah, Benhadad, son of Tabrimmon of Damascus, moved against Israel, and the cities which he smote all lay within the circle of Galilee (1 Kings 15:20). Galilee must have been the arena of conflict between Jehoahaz and Hazael, king of Syria. The cities which the latter captured were recovered from his son Benhadad by Joash, who defeated him three times (2 Kings 10:32; 2 Kings 13:22). The affliction of Israel nevertheless continued "very bitter," and God saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash, the great warrior monarch of the Northern Kingdom, under whom Galilee passed completely into the hands of Israel (2 Kings 14:25). But the days of Israel's supremacy in Northern Palestine were nearly over. The beginning of the end came with the invasion of Tiglath-pileser III, who took the chief cities in Galilee, and sent their inhabitants captive to Assyria (2 Kings 14:29). Probably, as in the case of the Southern Kingdom, the poorest of the land were left as husbandmen. At any rate there still remained Israelites in the district (2 Chronicles 30:10 f); but the measures taken by the conqueror must have made for the rapid increase of the heathen element.

4. After the Exile:

In post-exilie times Galilee is the name given to the most northerly of the three divisions of Western Palestine. The boundaries are indicated by Josephus (BJ, III, iii, 1). It was divided into Lower and Upper Galilee, and was encompassed by Phoenicia and Syria. It marched with Ptolemais and Mt. Carmel on the West. The mountain, formerly Galliean, now belonged to the Syrians. On the South it adjoined Samaria and Scythopolis (Beisan) as far as the river Jordan. It was bounded on the East by Hippene, Gadara, Gaulonitis and the borders of the kingdom of Agrippa, while the northern frontier was marked by Tyre and the country of the Tyrians. The northern limit of Samaria was Ginea, the modern Jenin, on the south border of Esdraelon. Lower Galilee, therefore, included the great plain, and stretched northward to the plain of er-Rameh-Ramah of Joshua 19:36. Josephus mentions Bersabe, the modern Abu-Sheba, and the Talmud, Kephar Chananyah, the modern Kefr `Anan, as the northern border; the former being about a mile North of the latter. The plain reaches to the foot of the mountain chain, which, running East and West, forms a natural line of division. Upper Galilee may have included the land as far as the gorge of the LiTany, which, again, would have formed a natural boundary to the N. Josephus, however, speaks of Kedesh as belonging to the Syrians (BJ, II, xviii, 1), situated "between the land of the Tyrians and Galilee" (Ant., XIII, v, 6). This gives a point on the northern frontier in his time; but the rest is left indefinite. Guthe, Sunday and others, followed by Cheyne (EB, under the word), on quite inadequate grounds conclude that certain localities on the East of the Sea of Galilee were reckoned as Galilean.

5. Character of the Galileans:

In the mixed population after the exile the purely Jewish element must have been relatively small. In 165 B.C. Simon Maccabeus was able to rescue them from their threatening neighbors by carrying the whole community away to Judea (1 Maccabees 5:14). Josephus tells of the conquest by Aristobulus I of Ituraea (Ant., XIII, xi, 3). He compelled many of them to adopt Jewish religious customs, and to obey the Jewish law. There can be little doubt that Galilee and its people were treated in the same way. While Jewish in their religion, and in their patriotism too, as subsequent history showed, the population of Galilee was composed of strangely mingled elements-Aramaean, Iturean, Phoenician and Greek In the circumstances they could not be expected to prove such sticklers for high orthodoxy as the Judeans. Their mixed origin explains the differences in speech which distinguished them from their brethren in the South, who regarded Galilee and the Galileans with a certain proud contempt (John 1:46; John 7:52). But a fine type of manhood was developed among the peasant farmers of the two Galilees which, according to Josephus (BJ, III, iii, 2), were "always able to make a strong resistance on all occasions of war; for the Galileans are inured to war from their infancy. nor hath the country ever been destitute of men of courage." Josephus, himself a Galilean, knew his countrymen well, and on them he mainly relied in the war with Rome. In Galilee also the Messianic hope was cherished with the deepest intensity. When the Messiah appeared, with His own Galilean upbringing, it was from the north-countrymen that He received the warmest welcome, and among them His appeal elicited the most gratifying response.

6. Later History:

In 47 B.C., Herod the Great, then a youth of 25, was made military commander of Galilee, and won great applause by the fashion in which he suppressed a band of robbers who had long vexed the country (Ant., XIV, ix, 2). When Herod came to the throne, 37 B.C., a period of peace and prosperity for Galilee began, which lasted till the banishment of his son Antipas in 40 A.D. The tetrarchy of Galilee was given to the latter at his father's death, 4 B.C. His reign, therefore, covered the whole life of Jesus, with the exception of His infancy. After the banishment of Antipas, Galilee was added to the dominions of Agrippa I, who ruled it till his death in 44 A.D. Then followed a period of Roman administration, after which it was given to Agrippa II, who sided with the Romans in the subsequent wars, and held his position till 100 A.D. The patriotic people, however, by no means submitted to his guidance. In their heroic struggle for independence, the command of the two Galilees, with Gamala, was entrusted to Josephus, who has left a vivid narrative, well illustrating the splendid courage of his freedom-loving countrymen. But against such an adversary as Rome even their wild bravery could not prevail; and the country soon lay at the feet of the victorious Vespasian, 67 A.D. There is no certain knowledge of the part played by Galilee in the rebellion under Hadrian, 132-35 A.D.

At the beginning of the Roman period Sepphoris (Cafuriyeh), about 3 miles North of Nazareth, took the leading place. Herod Antipas, however, built a new city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, which, in honor of the reigning emperor, he called Tiberias. Here he reared his "golden house," and made the city the capital of his tetrarchy. SeeTIBERIAS. After the fall of Jerusalem, Galilee, which had formerly been held in contempt, became the home of Jewish learning, and its chief seat was found in Tiberias where the Mishna was committed to writing, and the Jerusalem Talmud was composed. Thus a city into which at first no pious Jew would enter, in a province which had long been despised by the leaders of the nation, became the main center of their national and religious life.

7. Cities of Galilee:

Among the more notable cities in Galilee were Kedesh Naphtali, the city of refuge, the ruins of which lie on the heights West of el-Chuleh; Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, North of the Sea of Galilee; Nazareth, the city of the Savior's youth and young manhood; Jotapata, the scene of Josephus' heroic defense against the Romans, which stood at Tell Jefat, North of the plain of Asochis (BJ, III, vii, viii); Cana of Galilee; and Nain, on the northern slope of the mountain now called Little Hermon.

8. General Description:

In physical features Galilee is the most richly diversified and picturesque district in Western Palestine; while in beauty and fertility it is strongly contrasted with the barren uplands of Judah. Cut off from Mt. Lebanon in the North by the tremendous gorge of the Litany, it forms a broad and high plateau, sinking gradually southward until it approaches Cafed, when again it rises, culminating in Jebel Jermuk, the highest summit on the West of the Jordan. From Cafed there is a rapid descent by stony slope and rocky precipice to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The mountains of which Jebel Jermuk is the Northeast outrunner stretch westward across the country, and drop upon the plain of er-Rameh to the South. Irregular hills and valleys, with breadths of shady woodlands, lie between this plain and that of Asochis (el-Battauf). The latter is split from the East by the range of Jebel Tor`an. South of Asochis rise lower hills, in a cup-like hollow among which lies the town of Nazareth. South of the town they sink steeply into the plain of Esdraelon. The isolated form of Tabor stands out on the East, while Carmel bounds the view on the West. The high plateau in the North terminates abruptly at the lip of the upper Jordan valley. As the Jordan runs close to the base of the eastern hills, practically all this valley, with its fine rolling downs, is included in Galilee. The plain of Gennesaret runs along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. From the uplands to the West, stretching from Qurun Chattin (the traditional Mount of Beatitudes) to the neighborhood of Tabor, the land lets itself down in a series of broad and fertile terraces, falling at last almost precipitously on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The descent toward the Mediterranean is much more gradual; and the soil gathered in the longer valleys is deep and rich.

The district may be described as comparatively well watered. The Jordan with its mighty springs is, of course, too low for purposes of irrigation. But there are many perennial streams fed by fountains among the hills. The springs at Jenin are the main sources of the river Kishon, but for the greater part of its course through the plain the bed of that river is far below the surface of the adjoining land. The dews that descend from Lebanon and Hermon are also a perpetual source of moisture and refreshment.

9. Products:

Galilee was famous in ancient times for its rich and fruitful soil, "full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to pains in its cultivation by its fruitfulness; accordingly it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle" (BJ, III, iii, 2). See also GENNESARET, LAND OF. The grapes grown in Naphtali were in high repute, as were the pomegranates of Shikmona-the Sykaminos of Josephus-which stood on the shore near Mt. Carmel. The silver sheen of the olive meets the eye in almost every valley; and the olive oil produced in Galilee has always been esteemed of the highest excellence. Its wheat fields also yielded an abundant supply, the wheat of Chorazin being proverbial. The great plain of Esdraelon must also have furnished rich provision. It cannot be doubted that Galilee was largely drawn upon for the gifts in kind which Solomon bestowed upon the king of Tyre (2 Chronicles 2:10). At a much later day the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon depended upon the produce of Galilee (Acts 12:20).

Galilee was in easy touch with the outside world by means of the roads that traversed her valleys, crossed her ridges and ran out eastward, westward and southward. Thus she was connected with the harbors on the Phoenician seaboard, with Egypt on the South, with Damascus on the Northeast, and with the markets of the East by the great caravan routes (see "Roads" under PALESTINE).

10. Contact with the Outside World:

In the days of Christ the coming and going of the merchantmen, the passing of armies and the movements of the representatives of the Empire, must have made these highways a scene of perpetual activity, touching the dwellers in Galilee with the widening influences of the great world's life.

11. Population:

The peasant farmers of Galilee, we have seen, were a bold and enterprising race. Encouraged by the fruitfulness of their country, they were industrious cultivators of the soil. Josephus estimates the population at 3,000,000. This may be an exaggeration; but here we have all the conditions necessary for the support of a numerous and prosperous people. This helps us to understand the crowds that gathered round and followed Jesus in this district, where the greater part of His public life was spent. The cities, towns and villages in Galilee are frequently referred to in the Gospels. That the Jewish population in the centuries immediately after Christ was numerous and wealthy is sufficiently proved by the remains from those times, especially the ruins of synagogues, e.g. those at Tell Chum, Kerazeh, Irbid, el-Jish, Kefr Bir`im, Meiron, etc. Near the last named is shown the tomb of the great Jewish teacher Hillel.

Galilee was not without her own heroic memories. The great battlefields of Megiddo, Gilboa, and the waters of Merom lay within her borders; and among the famous men of the past she could claim Barak, Ibzan, Elon and Tola of the judges; of the prophets, Jonah and Elisha at least; possibly also Hosea who, according to a Jewish tradition, died in Babylon, but was brought to Galilee and buried in Cafed (Neubauer, Geog. der Talmud, 227). When the chief priests and Pharisees said, "Search, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet," it argued strange and inexcusable ignorance on their part (John 7:52). Perhaps, however, in this place we should read ho prophetes, "the prophet," i.e. the Messiah. It is significant that 11 out of the 12 apostles were Galileans.

For detailed description of the country, see ISSACHAR; ASHER; ZEBULUN; NAPHTALI; see also GALILEE, SEA OF.

W. Ewing

Strong's Greek
G1056: Galilaia

Galilee, the northern region of Palestine, also the name of a sea

Galeed (Ramoth-gilead)
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