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Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary

house of fruits, or of food, or of snares

Smith's Bible Dictionary

(house of fish) of Galilee, (John 12:21) a city which was the native place of Andrew, Peter and Philip, (John 1:44; 12:21) in the land of Gennesareth, (Mark 6:46) comp. Mark 6:53 And therefore on the west side of the lake. By comparing the narratives in (Mark 6:31-53) and Luke 9:10-17 It appears certain that the Bethsaida at which the five thousand were fed must have been a second place of the same name on the east of the lake. (But in reality "there is but one Bethsaida, that known on our maps at Bethsaida Julias." L. Abbot in Biblical and Oriental Journal . The fact is that Bethsaida was a village on both sides of the Jordan as it enters the sea of Galilee on the north, so that the western part of the village was in Galilee and the eastern portion in Gaulonitis, part of the tetrarchy of Philip. This eastern portion was built up into a beautiful city by Herod Philip, and named by him Bethsaida Julias , after Julia the daughter of the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. On the plain of Butaiha, a mile or two to the east, the five thousand were fed. The western part of the town remained a small village.--ED.)

ATS Bible Dictionary

Place of fishing, 1. A city in Galilee, on the western shore of the lake of Gennesareth, a little north of Capernaum; it was the birthplace of the apostles Philip, Andrew, and Peter, and was often visited by our Lord, Matthew 11:21; Mark 6:45; 8:22.

2. A city in Gaulonitis, north of the same lake, and east of the Jordan. Near this place Christ fed the five thousand. It lay on a gentle hill near the Jordan separated from the sea of Galilee by a plain three miles wide, of surpassing fertility, Luke 9:10. Compare Matthew 14:13-22; Mark 6:31-45. This town was enlarged by Philip, tetrarch of that region, Luke 3:1, and called Julias in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It is now little but ruins.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
House of fish.

(1.) A town in Galilee, on the west side of the sea of Tiberias, in the "land of Gennesaret." It was the native place of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, and was frequently resorted to by Jesus (Mark 6:45; John 1:44; 12:21). It is supposed to have been at the modern `Ain Tabighah, a bay to the north of Gennesaret.

(2.) A city near which Christ fed 5,000 (Luke 9:10; Comp. John 6:17; Matthew 14:15-21), and where the blind man had his sight restored (Mark 8:22), on the east side of the lake, two miles up the Jordan. It stood within the region of Gaulonitis, and was enlarged by Philip the tetrarch, who called it "Julias," after the emperor's daughter. Or, as some have supposed, there may have been but one Bethsaida built on both sides of the lake, near where the Jordan enters it. Now the ruins et-Tel.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

beth-sa'-i-da (Bethsaida, "house of fishing"):

(1) A city East of the Jordan, in a "desert place" (that is, uncultivated ground used for grazing) at which Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes (Mark 6:32 Luke 9:10). This is doubtless to be identified with the village of Bethsaida in Lower Gaulonitis which the Tetrarch Philip raised to the rank of a city, and called Julias, in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It lay near the place where the Jordan enters the Sea of Gennesaret (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; BJ, II, ix, 1; III, x, 7; Vita, 72). This city may be located at et-Tell, a ruined site on the East side of the Jordan on rising ground, fully a mile from the sea. As this is too far from the sea for a fishing village, Schumacher (The Jaulan, 246) suggests that el-`Araj, "a large, completely destroyed site close to the lake," connected in ancient times with et-Tell "by the beautiful roads still visible," may have been the fishing village, and et-Tell the princely residence. He is however inclined to favor el-Mes`adiyeh, a ruin and winter village of Arab et-Tellawiyeh, which stands on an artificial mound, about a mile and a half from the mouth of the Jordan. It should be noted, however, that the name is in origin radically different from Bethsaida. The substitution of sin for cad is easy: but the insertion of the guttural `ain is impossible. No trace of the name Bethsaida has been found in the district; but any one of the sites named would meet the requirements.

To this neighborhood Jesus retired by boat with His disciples to rest awhile. The multitude following on foot along the northern shore of the lake would cross the Jordan by the ford at its mouth which is used by foot travelers to this day. The "desert" of the narrative is just the barriyeh of the Arabs where the animals are driven out for pasture. The "green grass" of Mark 6:39, and the "much grass" of John 6:10, point to some place in the plain of el-BaTeichah, on the rich soil of which the grass is green and plentiful compared with the scanty herbage on the higher slopes.

(2) Bethsaida of Galilee, where dwelt Philip, Andrew, Peter (John 1:44; John 12:21), and perhaps also James and John. The house of Andrew and Peter seems to have been not far from the synagogue in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14 Mark 1:29, etc.). Unless they had moved their residence from Bethsaida to Capernaum, of which there is no record, and which for fishermen was unlikely, Bethsaida must have lain close to Capernaum. It may have been the fishing town adjoining the larger city. As in the case of the other Bethsaida, no name has been recovered to guide us to the site. On the rocky promontory, however, East of Khan Minyeh we find Sheikh `Aly ec-Caiyadin, "Sheikh Aly of the Fishermen," as the name of a ruined weley, in which the second element in the name Bethsaida is represented. Near by is the site at `Ain et-Tabigha, which many have identified with Bethsaida of Galilee. The warm water from copious springs runs into a little bay of the sea in which fishes congregate in great numbers. This has therefore always been a favorite haunt of fishermen. If Capernaum were at Khan Minyeh, then the two lay close together. The names of many ancient places have been lost, and others have strayed from their original localities. The absence of any name resembling Bethsaida need not concern us.

Were There Two Bethsaidas?:

Many scholars maintain that all the New Testament references to Bethsaida apply to one place, namely, Bethsaida Julias. The arguments for and against this view may be summarized as follows:

(a) Galilee ran right round the lake, including most of the level coastland on the East. Thus Gamala, on the eastern shore, was within the jurisdiction of Josephus, who commanded in Galilee (BJ, II, xx, 4). Judas of Gamala (Ant., XVIII, i, l) is also called Judas of Galilee (ibid., i, 6). If Gamala, far down the eastern shore of the sea, were in Galilee, a fortiori Bethsaida, a town which lay on the very edge of the Jordan, may be described as in Galilee.

But Josephus makes it plain that Gamala, while added to his jurisdiction, was not in Galilee, but in Gaulonitis (BJ, II, xx, 6). Even if Judas were born in Gamala, and so might properly be called a Gaulonite, he may, like others, have come to be known as belonging to the province in which his active life was spent. "Jesus of Nazareth" was born in Bethlehem. Then Josephus explicitly says that Bethsaida was in Lower Gaulonitis (BJ, II, ix, 1). Further, Luke places the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the sea from Galilee (Luke 8:26)-antipera tes Galilaias ("over against Galilee").

(b) To go to the other side-eis to peran (Mark 6:45)-does not of necessity imply passing from the East to the West coast of the lake, since Josephus uses the verb diaperaioo of a passage from Tiberias to Tarichea (Vita, 59). But (i) this involved a passage from a point on the West to a point on the South shore, "crossing over" two considerable bays; whereas if the boat started from any point in el-BaTeichah, to which we seem to be limited by the "much grass," and by the definition of the district as belonging to Bethsaida, to sail to et-Tell, it was a matter of coasting not more than a couple of miles, with no bay to cross. (ii) No case can be cited where the phrase eis to peran certainly means anything else than "to the other side." (iii) Mark says that the boat started to go unto the other side to Bethsaida, while John, gives the direction "over the sea unto Capernaum" (Mark 6:17). The two towns were therefore practically in the same line. Now there is no question that Capernaum was on "the other side," nor is there any suggestion that the boat was driven out of its course; and it is quite obvious that, sailing toward Capernaum, whether at Tell Chum or at Khan Minyeh, it would never reach Bethsaida Julius. (iv) The present writer is familiar with these waters in both storm and calm. If the boat was taken from any point in el-BaTeichah towards et-Tell, no east wind would have distressed the rowers, protected as that part is by the mountains. Therefore it was no contrary wind that carried them toward Capernaum and the "land of Gennesaret." On the other hand, with a wind from the West, such as is often experienced, eight or nine hours might easily be occupied in covering the four or five miles from el-BaTeichah to the neighborhood of Capernaum.

(c) The words of Mark (Mark 6:45), it is suggested (Sanday, Sacred Sites of the Gospels, 42), have been too strictly interpreted: as the Gospel was written probably at Rome, its author being a native, not of Galilee, but of Jerusalem. Want of precision on topographical points, therefore, need not surprise us. But as we have seen above, the "want of precision" must also be attributed to the writer of John 6:17. The agreement of these two favors the strict interpretation. Further, if the Gospel of Mark embodies the recollections of Peter, it would be difficult to find a more reliable authority for topographical details connected with the sea on which his fisher life was spent.

(d) In support of the single-city theory it is further argued that

(i) Jesus withdrew to Bethsaida as being in the jurisdiction of Philip, when he heard of the murder of John by Antipas, and would not have sought again the territories of the latter so soon after leaving them.

(ii) Medieval works of travel notice only one Bethsaida.

(iii) The East coast of the sea was definitely attached to Galilee in A.D. 84, and Ptolemy (circa 140) places Julius in Galilee. It is therefore significant that only the Fourth Gospel speaks of "Bethsaida of Galilee."

(iv) There could hardly have been two Bethsaidas so close together.


(i) It is not said that Jesus came hither that he might leave the territory of Antipas for that of Philip; and in view of Mark 6:30, and Luke 9:10, the inference from Matthew 14:13 that he did so, is not warranted.

(ii) The Bethsaida of medieval writers was evidently on the West of the Jordan. If it lay on the East it is inconceivable that none of them should have mentioned the river in this connection.

(iii) If the 4th Gospel was not written until well into the 2nd century, then the apostle was not the author; but this is a very precarious assumption. John, writing after 84 A.D., would hardly have used the phrase "Bethsaida of Galilee" of a place only recently attached to that province, writing, as he was, at a distance from the scene, and recalling the former familiar conditions.

(iv) In view of the frequent repetition of names in Palestine the nearness of the two Bethsaidas raises no difficulty. The abundance of fish at each place furnished a good reason for the recurrence of the name.

W. Ewing

966. Bethsaida -- "house of fish," Bethsaida, the name of two ...
... 965, 966. Bethsaida. 967 . "house of fish," Bethsaida, the name of two
cities on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Part of Speech ...
// - 6k

406. Andreas -- "manly," Andrew, one of the twelve apostles of ...
... Phonetic Spelling: (an-dreh'-as) Short Definition: Andrew Definition: Andrew, brother
of Simon Peter, and one of the apostles of Jesus, belonging to Bethsaida. ...
// - 6k

417. anemos -- wind
... Mk 6:45,48: " 45 Immediately and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida,
while He Himself was sending the crowd away. . . 48 Seeing them ...
// - 7k


... A Chorographical Century. Chapters 91-100 Chapter 93 Julias-Bethsaida.
There were two Juliases, both in Perea, one built by Herod ...
/.../lightfoot/from the talmud and hebraica/chapter 93 julias-bethsaida.htm

Use Made of Water by the Heathen Type of the Angel at the Pool of ...
... Chapter V."Use Made of Water by the Heathen Type of the Angel at the Pool
of Bethsaida. "Well, but the nations, who are strangers ...
// baptism/chapter v use made of water.htm

Cure of the Blind Man at Bethsaida. --Peter's Second Confession. ...
... Section 180. Cure of the Blind Man at Bethsaida."Peter's Second
Confession."The Power of the Keys. (Mark, viii.; Matt., xvi.). ...
/.../section 180 cure of the.htm

The Cavils of the Pharisees Concerning Purification, and the ...
... quite in accordance with the abrupt departure of Jesus from Capernaum, and its motives,
that when, so far from finding rest and privacy at Bethsaida (east of ...
/.../the life and times of jesus the messiah/chapter xxxi the cavils of.htm

The First Disciples
... It is certain that some from the borders of the lake were at this time among his
constant attendants: Andrew and Simon of Bethsaida, John the son of Zebedee ...
/.../rhees/the life of jesus of nazareth/viii the first disciples.htm

Gamala. Chorazin.
... These things determine the situation of Gamala:"1. It was "in lower Gaulon," in
which, as we have seen, Bethsaida was.2. It was "upon the lake [of Gennesaret ...
/.../lightfoot/from the talmud and hebraica/chapter 94 gamala chorazin.htm

The Insults Received by Jesus in the Court of Caiphas.
... and exclaimed, 'Behold thy precious unction, behold the spikenard worth three hundred
pence; thou hast been baptised in the pool of Bethsaida.' They intended ...
/.../chapter ix the insults received.htm

The Miraculous Feeding of the Five Thousand
... [3200] It must, however, not be confounded with the other Fisher-town,' or Bethsaida,
on the western shore of the Lake, [3201] which the Fourth Gospel ...
/.../the life and times of jesus the messiah/chapter xxix the miraculous feeding.htm

Third Withdrawal from Herod's Territory.
... (Magadan and Bethsaida. ... [Not the suburb of Capernaum, but Bethsaida Julias, a town
on the east side of the Jordan, near where it flows into the Sea of Galilee. ...
/.../mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/lxx third withdrawal from herods.htm

Bread from Heaven
... had done. And He took them, and went aside privately into a desert place
belonging to the city, called Bethsaida.11. And the people ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture e/bread from heaven.htm

Bethsaida (7 Occurrences)
... Or, as some have supposed, there may have been but one Bethsaida built on both
sides of the lake, near where the Jordan enters it. ...BETHSAIDA. ...
/b/bethsaida.htm - 19k

Beth-sa'ida (6 Occurrences)
... Mark 6:45 And immediately he constrained his disciples to go into the boat, and
to go before to the other side, unto Bethsaida, till he may let the multitude ...
/b/beth-sa'ida.htm - 7k

Chorazin (2 Occurrences)
... Named along with Bethsaida and Capernaum as one of the cities in which our Lord's
"mighty works" were done, and which was doomed to woe because of signal ...
/c/chorazin.htm - 8k

Korazin (2 Occurrences)
... Korazin (2 Occurrences). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ...
(See NIV). Luke 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ...
/k/korazin.htm - 7k

Woe (102 Occurrences)
... Woe (102 Occurrences). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ...
Luke 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ...
/w/woe.htm - 37k

Repented (49 Occurrences)
... WBS). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For ... RSV).
Luke 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For ...
/r/repented.htm - 22k

Magadan (1 Occurrence)
... After the feeding of the 4,000, Jesus and His disciples came to these parts. Thence
they departed to "the other side" (Mark 8:13), arriving at Bethsaida. ...
/m/magadan.htm - 8k

Miracles (65 Occurrences)
... (See NAS NIV). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ... (See NIV).
Luke 10:13 "Alas for thee, Chorazin! Alas for thee, Bethsaida! ...
/m/miracles.htm - 25k

Mighty (514 Occurrences)
... (WEB KJV WEY ASV WBS YLT RSV). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you,
Bethsaida! ... Luke 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ...
/m/mighty.htm - 36k

Performed (110 Occurrences)
... (See NIV). Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! ... (KJV WBS NAS
RSV). Luke 10:13 "Alas for thee, Chorazin! Alas for thee, Bethsaida! ...
/p/performed.htm - 37k

Bible Concordance
Bethsaida (7 Occurrences)

Matthew 11:21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Mark 6:45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the multitude away.

Mark 8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.

Luke 9:10 The apostles, when they had returned, told him what things they had done. He took them, and withdrew apart to a deserted place of a city called Bethsaida.

Luke 10:13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

John 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.

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



Bethsaida: A City of Galilee: Jesus Cures a Blind Man In

Bethsaida: A City of Galilee: Jesus Prophesies Against

Bethsaida: A City of Galilee: Jesus Visits

Bethsaida: A City of Galilee: The City of Philip, Andrew, and Peter

Bethsaida: Desert of, East of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus Feeds More than Five Thousand People In

Related Terms

Beth-sa'ida (6 Occurrences)

Chorazin (2 Occurrences)

Korazin (2 Occurrences)

Woe (102 Occurrences)

Repented (49 Occurrences)

Magadan (1 Occurrence)

Miracles (65 Occurrences)

Mighty (514 Occurrences)

Performed (110 Occurrences)

Bethesda (1 Occurrence)

Ashes (44 Occurrences)

Ago (61 Occurrences)

Sackcloth (47 Occurrences)

Andrew (12 Occurrences)

Philip (37 Occurrences)

Works (379 Occurrences)

Sidon (35 Occurrences)

Occurred (23 Occurrences)

John (154 Occurrences)

Leaving (80 Occurrences)


Withdrew (55 Occurrences)

Wo (92 Occurrences)

Implored (13 Occurrences)

Fish (66 Occurrences)

Reformed (5 Occurrences)

Retreat (10 Occurrences)

Related (45 Occurrences)

Reported (104 Occurrences)

Ere (14 Occurrences)

Entreated (56 Occurrences)

Deserted (54 Occurrences)

Dismissed (22 Occurrences)

Declared (261 Occurrences)

Dismiss (15 Occurrences)

Privately (29 Occurrences)

Belonging (90 Occurrences)

Behind (188 Occurrences)

Beth-saida (6 Occurrences)

Beseech (85 Occurrences)

Begged (71 Occurrences)

Besought (57 Occurrences)

Beth-re'hob (1 Occurrence)

Chora'zin (1 Occurrence)

Compelled (22 Occurrences)

Constrained (14 Occurrences)

Aside (416 Occurrences)

Ahead (98 Occurrences)

Alas (62 Occurrences)

Afterwards (143 Occurrences)

Simon (75 Occurrences)

Sends (94 Occurrences)

Quiet (167 Occurrences)

Board (47 Occurrences)

Returned (328 Occurrences)

Apart (228 Occurrences)

Tyre (59 Occurrences)

Desired (144 Occurrences)

Touch (82 Occurrences)


Blind (91 Occurrences)

Boat (52 Occurrences)

Caesarea (20 Occurrences)

Ship (122 Occurrences)

Wish (141 Occurrences)

Return (499 Occurrences)

Till (774 Occurrences)

Whatever (411 Occurrences)

Straightway (96 Occurrences)

Crowd (166 Occurrences)

Immediately (141 Occurrences)

Enter (372 Occurrences)

Straight (196 Occurrences)

Asking (111 Occurrences)

Bring (1372 Occurrences)

Themselves (911 Occurrences)

Taking (445 Occurrences)

Naphtali (51 Occurrences)

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