7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Capernaum


A chief city of Galilee in the time of Christ, not mentioned before the captivity in Babylon. It lay on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about five miles from the Jordan and on the frequented route from Damascus to the Mediterranean. This seems to have been the residence of Christ, during the three years of his ministry, more than any other place. The brothers Andrew and Peter dwelt there; Christ often taught in the synagogue, and wrought mighty works there. Mt 17:23; Mr 1:21-35; Joh 6:17,59; and it is called "his own city," Mt 4:12-16; 9:1; Mr 2:1. Its inhabitants were thus "exalted unto heaven;" but their unbelief and impenitence cast them down to destruction, Mt 11:20-24. The very name and site of Capernaum have been lost. Dr. Robinson, however, finds them at Khan Minyeh, on the northern border of the fine plain of Gennesareth, where ruins of some extent still remain, and a copious fountain not far from the sea.

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Nahum's town, a Galilean city frequently mentioned in the history of our Lord. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament. After our Lord's expulsion from Nazareth (Mt 4:13-16; Lu 4:16-31), Capernaum became his "own city." It was the scene of many acts and incidents of his life (Mt 8:5,14-15; 9:2-6,10-17; 15:1-20; Mr 1:32-34, etc.). The impenitence and unbelief of its inhabitants after the many evidences our Lord gave among them of the truth of his mission, brought down upon them a heavy denunciation of judgement (Mt 11:23).

It stood on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The "land of Gennesaret," near, if not in, which it was situated, was one of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Palestine. This city lay on the great highway from Damascus to Acco and Tyre. It has been identified with Tell Hum, about two miles south-west of where the Jordan flows into the lake. Here are extensive ruins of walls and foundations, and also the remains of what must have been a beautiful synagogue, which it is conjectured may have been the one built by the centurion (Lu 7:5), in which our Lord frequently taught (Joh 6:59; Mr 1:21; Lu 4:33). Others have conjectured that the ruins of the city are to be found at Khan Minyeh, some three miles further to the south on the shore of the lake. "If Tell Hum be Capernaum, the remains spoken of are without doubt the ruins of the synagogue built by the Roman centurion, and one of the most sacred places on earth. It was in this building that our Lord gave the well-known discourse in John 6; and it was not without a certain strange feeling that on turning over a large block we found the pot of manna engraved on its face, and remembered the words, 'I am that bread of life: your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.'", (The Recovery of Jerusalem.)

Illustration: Ruins of Capernaum

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("the village of Nachum".) N.W. of sea of Tiberius, in the land of Gennesaret (now El Ghuweir. compare Mt 14:34 with Joh 6:17,21-24), a most populous and prosperous region. By some identified now with the mound at Khan Minyeh; by others with Tell Hum. Visited by Jesus for a few days (Joh 2:12); afterward "His own city" and home, to which He retired from Nazareth (where He was reared, as in Bethlehem He was born), when He heard that Herod Antipas, who often resided at Sepphoris, or Diocaesarea, near Nazareth, had imprisoned John the Baptist. Capernaum was less conspicuous, and more suited to be the center of the unobtrusive but energetic ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Remains of ancient potteries, tanneries, etc., still are seen at Tabiga, the manufacturing suburb of Capernaum The prophet Isaiah (Isa 9:2) had foretold that this region, namely, Zabulon and Nephthalim, the one most bordering on Gentile darkness, was to be the first to see the great light (Mt 4:12-16).

Designated "His own city" (Mt 9:1; Mr 2:1, "at home," KJV "in the house".) The scene of most of His mighty words, and therefore the most guilty in its impenitence. Mt 11:20-24; "exalted unto heaven" in privileges, it was doomed for neglect of them to be "brought down to hell." Josephus mentions a fountain in Gennesaret, "Capharnaum," identified by some with Ain et Tin (the spring of the fig tree) near Khan Minyeh. The "round fountain" is three miles southward. Tell Hum is three or four miles more to the N. than Khan Minyeh, and so more convenient for the people to run round the N. end of the lake afoot to the E. side while Jesus crossed there by water (Mr 6:32-33). Hum is the last. syllable of Kefr na hum, and was used as an abbreviation.

Tell Hum is the site, according to Arab and Jewish tradition. It is on a point of the shore running into the lake, and backed by rising ground, three miles from where the Jordan enters the lake. Ruins of walls and foundations cover a space half a mile long by a quarter wide. Josephus says: "Gennesaret plain is watered by a most fertile fountain, which the people call Capharnaum. Some have thought this fountain a vein of the Nile, since it produces a fish like the coracinus in the lake near Alexandria." The round fountain at Tabiga, two miles S. of Tell Hum, meets the requirements of Josephus' description. Tristram (Land of Israel) fixes on the round fountain Ain Mudawarah as the fount meant by Josephus (and the site of Capernaum); for he found in it the siluroid catfish or coracine, identical with that of the ponds of Lower Egypt. But this site is too far S., and the catfish is found in the lake also, and was probably in Tabiga.

The recent discovery of the aqueduct which once led Tabiga's waters into the plain of Gennesaret, watering the plain as Josephus describes, decides the question. And the city's site needs not to be put close to the fountain bearing its name in the time of Josephus. The synagogue called "the White Synagogue," is 74 ft. 9 in. long, and 56 ft. 9 inches broad, built N. and S., with three entrances at the S end. Lu 7:5; the centurion (probably of the detachment quartered there, for it was large enough to be called a "city ") "hath built us a (Greek text has "the"), i.e. our, synagogue," the only one in the place. Jairus was its "ruler." Vine leaves, and the pot of manna, are still to be seen among the rich carvings of the ruins Of the lintel at Tell Hum. If Jesus' discourse at Capernaum (Joh 6:31-32) was delivered in the synagogue of what is now Tell Hum, how appropriate is the Jews' reference to the manna, and His reply, "My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven."

Capernaum was lower than Nazareth and Cana, from whence He "went down" to it (Joh 2:12; Lu 4:31); the "exalted" in Mt 11:23 is not in respect to physical but spiritual elevation. There was a receipt of customs there of the commerce both of the lake and of the caravans passing by land by "the way of the sea" southwards. Here Levi, or Matthew, was called (Mt 9:9; 17:24). Simon Peter and Andrew belonged to Capernaum (Mr 1:21-29), and perhaps received Jesus' call at the adjoining sea beach (Mr 1:16-17). He healed the centurion's servant there, and Simon's wife's mother (Mt 8:5,14), the paralytic (Mt 9:1), the unclean demon-possessed man (Lu 4:33). The nobleman's son at Capernaum was healed by Jesus at Cana (Joh 4:46). Jesus' teaching humility by a child occurred here (Mr 9:33-36). The utter uncertainty of the site shows the exact fulfillment of its doom foretold by the Lord.

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The headquarters of Christ in His Galil

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Remarkable as being called the Lord's 'own city. Mt 9:1; Mr 2:1. It was one which He often visited, and in which many of His 'mighty works' were done. He speaks of it as 'exalted to heaven;' perhaps in the privilege of the presence and testimony of the Lord; but, because of refusing Him and His works, it should be 'brought down to hell' (Hades). Mt 11:23. It has been so destroyed that even its ruins cannot with certainty be discovered. It was in the district of Gennesaret (Mt 14:34; Joh 6:17,24), therefore on the N.W. of the Sea of Galilee. Its identification varies between Khan Minia, 32 52' N, and Tell Hum, about 3 miles farther N.E. There are ruins or rather mounds in both places, and the relies of a synagogue at the latter, but a fountain of water, of which Josephus speaks, is only found at Khan Minia.

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(village of Nahum) was on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Mt 4:13

comp. John 6:24 It was in the "land of Gennesaret," [

Mt 14:34

comp. John 6:17,21,24 ] It was of sufficient size to be always called a "city,"

Mt 9:1; Mr 1:33

had its own synagogue, in which our Lord frequently taught,

Mr 1:21; Lu 4:33,38; Joh 6:59

and there was also a customs station, where the dues were gathered both by stationary and by itinerant officers.

Mt 9:9; 17:24; Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27

The only interest attaching to Capernaum is as the residence of our Lord and his apostles, the scene of so many miracles and "gracious words." It was when he returned thither that he is said to have been "in the house."

Mr 2:1

The spots which lay claim to its site are,

1. Kahn Minyeh, a mound of ruins which takes its name from an old khan hard by. This mound is situated close upon the seashore at the northwestern extremity of the plain (now El Ghuweir).

2. Three miles north of Khan Minyeh is the other claimant, Tell Hum, --ruins of walls and foundations covering a space of half a mile long by a quarter wide, on a point of the shore projecting into the lake and backed by a very gently-rising ground. It is impossible to locate it with certainty, but the probability is in favor of Tell Hum.

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CAPERNAUM, a city celebrated in the Gospels, being the place where Jesus usually resided during the time of his ministry. It stood on the sea coast, that is, on the coast of the sea of Galilee, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtalim, Mt 4:15, and consequently toward the upper part of it. As it was a convenient port from Galilee to any place on the other side of the sea, this might be our Lord's inducement to make it the place of his most constant residence. Upon this account Capernaum was highly honoured; and though "exalted unto heaven," as its inhabitants boasted, because it made no proper use of this signal favour it drew from him the severe denunciation, that it should "be brought down to hell," Mt 11:23. This sentence of destruction has been fully realized; the ancient city is reduced to a state of utter desolation. Burckhardt supposes the ruins called Tal Houm, near the rivulet called El Eshe, to be those of Capernaum. Mr. Buckingham, who gives this place the name of Talhhewn, describes considerable and extensive ruins; the only remains of those edifices which exalted Capernaum above its fellows.

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