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A Far Country Decapolis

The Decapolis is mentioned by name only three times in the New Testament. In addition to these three instances, on at least two other occasions, Jesus visited specific locations in the largely pagan league of cities to the east of the Sea of Galil...


A New Tomb

Throughout Bible times, the burial ritual was regarded as very important. Jesus, sharing fully in our humanity (Heb. 2:14), was given a typical, though hurried, burial. Understanding the burial customs and practices of first-century Israel can hel...


City of Great Kings

Jerusalem was a fitting place for Jesus, the greatest king of all, to live out the final moments of his life.Jerusalem held deep cultural and religious significance for the Jewish people. Many of their great leaders, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, reig...


Fertility Cults of Canaan

Fertility Cults of CanaanOnly recently have scholars begun to unravel the complex religious rituals of Israel's Canaanite neighbors. Much of our knowledge of the origins and character of these fertility cults remains tentative and widely debated. ...




The town of Capernaum stood near the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee, situated along the busy Via Maris trade route, also known as the 'Way of the Sea.'The prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would live by "the way to the sea,&qu...


City Daughters

City DaughtersA city king's influence often extended beyond the city walls. Major cities, such as Gezer, had smaller villages, known as "daughters," that cropped up outside the city walls. Unlike a city, these villages were not walled. T...


Cultural Images in Jesus Teaching

Jesus used various word pictures and ideas that were familiar to the people of his time in order to communicate effectively with both religious Jews and pagans.The Bridegroom ImageFor example, Jesus described his deep love for his followers in ter...


Decapolis Area

Decapolis means "10 cities." Though the number of cities changed from time to time, the Decapolis was a group of independent city-states that were thoroughly pagan and Hellenistic. Veterans of Alexander the Great's army founded several o...



Gamla is often called the "Masada" of the north because of the siege and fall of the town to the Romans during the Jewish Revolts. The city was originally settled by a group of Jews returning from captivity around 150 BC.The city is loca...



Antipas Definition

Son of Herod the Great. He heard about Jesus, listened to John the Baptist's teachings, met Jesus but sent him to Pilate (Mark 6:14%u201420; Luke 23:8).


Calvary Definition

Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified (Luke 23:33).


Dereshah Definition

A short sermon offered by the reader of the Torah or Haftarah in the synagogue. Any adult member of the community was eligible to speak the sermon, and it was frequently quite short (Jesus spoke only a few words, Luke 4:21).