Matthew 4:13
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelled in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
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(13) Leaving Nazareth.—The form of the name in the older MSS. is Nazara. St. Matthew records the bare fact. St. Luke (Luke 4:16-30) connects it with His rejection by the men of this very place, where He had been brought up, and their attempt upon His life. St. John (John 2:12) states a fact which implies (1) that Capernaum had not been before the home of the mother of our Lord and of His brethren, and (2) that there were ties of some kind drawing them thither for a temporary visit. The reasons for the choice of that city lie, some of them, on the surface.

(1.) The exact site of Capernaum has long been one of the vexed questions of the topography of Palestine, but the researches of the Palestine Exploration Society have identified it with the modern village of Tell-Hûm, where their excavations have disinterred the remains of an ancient building of the Roman period, which is supposed to have been the synagogue of the city; possibly, therefore, the very synagogue, built by the believing centurion (Luke 7:5), in which our Lord worshipped and taught (John 6:59). Its position on the shore of the lake, as a town with a garrison and a custom-house, made it the natural centre of the fishing-trade of the Lake of Galilee. As such, it fell in with the habits of the four first-called disciples, who, though two of them were of Bethsaida, were already partly domiciled there. (2.) It was within an easy day’s journey of Nazareth, and so admitted either of another visit thither, as if to see whether those who dwelt there were more capable of faith than they had shown themselves at first (Matthew 13:54), or, as in Matthew 12:46-50, of visits from His mother, and His brethren, when they were anxious to restrain Him from teaching that seemed to them perilous. (3.) Even the presence of the “publicans and sinners”—the latter term including Gentiles, the class of those who had flocked to the preaching of John, and were to be found in the half-Romanised city, and were not to be found in the more secluded villages—may have been one of the elements which led to the decisive choice. (4.) Lastly, St. John’s narrative supplies another link. The healing of the son of one of the Tetrarch’s officers at Capernaum (John 4:46-54) had secured there a certain degree of protection and of influence.

The chronology of John 5:1 is uncertain (see Notes there), but at some time before, or shortly after, this migration to Capernaum, we must place the visit to Jerusalem, and the miracle at Bethesda, which St. John there records.

Matthew 4:13. Leaving Nazareth — Namely, when they had rejected his word, and even attempted to kill him, as is described Luke 4:29 : he came and dwelt in Capernaum, upon the sea-coast — “Capernaum is nowhere mentioned in the Old Testament, either by its own name or by any other. Probably it was one of those towns which the Jews built after their return from Babylon. Its exact situation has not, as yet, been determined with certainty by geographers: only, from its being on the confines of the two tribes, Reland and others conjecture that it stood somewhere on the north- west shore of the lake of Gennesareth. According to Josephus, Bell., 3:18, the length of this lake was one hundred furlongs, or twelve miles and a half, and its breadth forty furlongs, or five miles. Pliny says it was sixteen miles long, and six broad. Anciently, the lake of Gennesareth was called the sea of Chinneroth, Numbers 34:11; but in later times, it was named the sea of Galilee, because that country formed part of its shore, and the sea of Tiberias: from the city Tiberias, lying on the south-west coast thereof. Its bottom is gravel, which gives its waters both a good colour and taste. The river Jordan runs through the middle of it, and stocks it with a variety of excellent fish. In the countries round this lake, our Lord spent a great part of the two former years of his public life; and though he afterward enlarged the compass of his journeys, yet they always enjoyed a considerable share of his blessed company and divine instructions.” — Macknight.4:12-17 It is just with God to take the gospel and the means of grace, from those that slight them and thrust them away. Christ will not stay long where he is not welcome. Those who are without Christ, are in the dark. They were sitting in this condition, a contented posture; they chose it rather than light; they were willingly ignorant. When the gospel comes, light comes; when it comes to any place, when it comes to any soul, it makes day there. Light discovers and directs; so does the gospel. The doctrine of repentance is right gospel doctrine. Not only the austere John Baptist, but the gracious Jesus, preached repentance. There is still the same reason to do so. The kingdom of heaven was not reckoned to be fully come, till the pouring out of the Holy Spirit after Christ's ascension.Leaving Nazareth - Because his townsmen cast him out, and rejected him. See Luke 4:14-30.

Came and dwelt in Capernaum - This was a city on the northwest corner of the Sea of Tiberias. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but is repeatedly referred to in the Gospels. Though it was once a city of renown, and the metropolis of all Galilee, the site it occupied is now uncertain. When Mr. Fisk, an American missionary, traveled in Syria in 1823, he found 20 or 30 uninhabited Arab huts occupying what are supposed to be the ruins of the once-celebrated city of Capernaum.

The exact site of this ancient city has been a question of much interest, and is not supposed to be as yet fully settled; perhaps it is not possible that it should be. Dr. Robinson (Biblical Researches, iii. pp. 283, 284, 288-295) supposes that the site of the ancient city is a place now called Khan Minyeh. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. pp. 542-547) supposes that it was at a place now called Tell Hum. This place is a short distance north of Khan Minyeh, or the site supposed by Dr. Robinson to be Capernaum. It is at the northwest corner of the Sea of Tiberias.

In this place and its neighborhood Jesus spent no small part of the three years of his public ministry. It is hence called his own city, Matthew 9:1. Here he healed the nobleman's son John 4:47; Peter's wife's mother Matthew 8:14; the centurion's servant Matthew 8:5-13; and the ruler's daughter Matthew 9:23-25.

Upon the sea coast - The Sea of Tiberias.

In the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim - These were two tribes of the children of Israel which were located in this part of the land of Canaan, and constituted in the time of Christ a part of Galilee. Compare Genesis 49:13; Joshua 19:10, Joshua 19:32. The word "borders" here means boundaries. Jesus came and lived in the boundaries or regions of Zabulon and Naphthali.

13. And leaving Nazareth—The prevalent opinion is that this refers to a first visit to Nazareth after His baptism, whose details are given by Luke (Lu 4:16, &c.); a second visit being that detailed by our Evangelist (Mt 13:54-58), and by Mark (Mr 6:1-6). But to us there seem all but insuperable difficulties in the supposition of two visits to Nazareth after His baptism; and on the grounds stated in Lu 4:16, &c., we think that the one only visit to Nazareth is that recorded by Matthew (Mt 13:53-58), Mark (Mr 6:1-6), and Luke (Lu 4:14-30). But how, in that case, are we to take the word "leaving Nazareth" here? We answer, just as the same word is used in Ac 21:3, "Now when we had sighted Cyprus, and left it on the left, we sailed into Syria,"—that is, without entering Cyprus at all, but merely "sighting" it, as the nautical phrase is, they steered southeast of it, leaving it on the northwest. So here, what we understand the Evangelist to say is, that Jesus, on His return to Galilee, did not, as might have been expected, make Nazareth the place of His stated residence, but, "leaving [or passing by] Nazareth,"

he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast—maritime Capernaum, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee; but the precise spot is unknown. (See on [1220]Mt 11:23). Our Lord seems to have chosen it for several reasons. Four or five of the Twelve lived there; it had a considerable and mixed population, securing some freedom from that intense bigotry which even to this day characterizes all places where Jews in large numbers dwell nearly alone; it was centrical, so that not only on the approach of the annual festivals did large numbers pass through it or near it, but on any occasion multitudes could easily be collected about it; and for crossing and recrossing the lake, which our Lord had so often occasion to do, no place could be more convenient. But one other high reason for the choice of Capernaum remains to be mentioned, the only one specified by our Evangelist.

in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim—the one lying to the west of the Sea of Galilee, the other to the north of it; but the precise boundaries cannot now be traced out.

By this (as was said before) it should seem that our Lord first went into the Nether Galilee, where Nazareth was, which after a time he left, and went to Capernaum; which Capernaum was a city near the sea, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali, whose lots in the land of Canaan were contiguous, and by the seaside, as appeareth by Joshua 19:1-51. And leaving Nazareth,.... Where he was educated, and had lived many years together; and where he preached first to the good liking of the people, who

wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth: though afterwards they were so much displeased with him, that they thrust him out of their city; and intended to have destroyed him, by casting him down headlong from the brow of an hill; and which seems to be the reason of his leaving this city; see Luke 4:16

he came and dwelt in Capernaum a city of Galilee. Luke 4:31

which is upon the sea-coast by the sea of Tiberias, or Genesareth

in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: it bordered on both these tribes; it signifies "the village of consolation" (t); and so it was, whilst the consolation of Israel dwelt there. The Jews speak very evilly of it: no doubt because it was the dwelling place of Christ; and because there might be some in it who believed in him: they represent the inhabitants of it as very great sinners, heretics, and dealers in magic art. Chanina, the brother's son of R. Joshua, they say (u), went to Capernaum, and the heretics did something to him; according to the gloss, they bewitched him: and elsewhere (w) explaining the words in Ecclesiastes 7:26

Who so pleaseth God,....; this, they say, is Chananiah, the brother's son of R. Joshua; and "the sinner"; these are the "children", or inhabitants of Capernaum. Thus they show their spite against the very place in which Christ dwelt.

(t) Vid. Benjamin Tudelens. Itinerar. p. 37. & L'Empereur, not. in ib. & Hieron. in Mar. i. 21. & Origen. Comment. in Matt. p. 317. vol. 1. Ed. Huet. (u) Midrash Koheleth. fol. 63. 1.((w) Ib. fol. 77. 1.

And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in {d} Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:

(d) Which was a town a great deal more famous than Nazareth was.

Matthew 4:13-14. Καφαρναούμ] so, with Lachmann, Tischendorf, we must write כְּפַר נַחוּם, vicus Nachumi, not χωρίον παρακλήσεως (Origen), or villa pulcherrima (Jerome). It was a prosperous manufacturing town on the north-west shore of the Lake of Tiberias. Not mentioned in the Old Test.; in Josephus, Vit. lxxii., κώμη Κεφαρνώμη. It has now disappeared, and not even can its site be determined with certainty (Tell Hûm? so also Wilson’s Lands of the Bible, II. p. 137 ff., and Furer in Schenkel’s Bibellex. III. p. 494 f., likewise Ritter, Ewald, and several others; Robinson,[393] III. p. 543 ff., and Later Researches, p. 457 ff.; Saulcy, II. p. 491 ff.; Ritter, Erdk. XV. 1, p. 338 ff.). The designation of the situation by τ. παραθαλ. and ἘΝ ὉΡΊΟΙς etc. (where the boundaries of both tribes touch each other), is given with reference to the following prophecy, for which even the position of these boundaries was not a matter of indifference (in answer to Hengstenberg, Christol. II. p. 93), as, in consequence of it, the settlement in Capernaum had reference to the districts of both the tribes.

καταλιπ. τ. Ναζαρ] why, Matthew does not say, but see Luke 4:16 ff. Misconceived in Nazareth, Jesus preferred as a place of settlement the more populous, and, through intercourse with strangers, the more liberally-minded Capernaum, Considering His migratory life and work, neither Matthew 8:5 f. nor Matthew 8:20 can be regarded as not agreeing with the statement in our passage (in answer to Hilgenfeld).

[393] According to Robinson, it is the present Khân Minieh, farther south than Tell Hûm; so also Sepp, Keim.Matthew 4:13. Ναζαρέτ. Jesus naturally went to Nazareth first, but He did not tarry there.—κατῴκησεν εἰς Καπερναοὺμ, He went to settle (as in Matthew 2:23) in Capernaum. This migration to Capernaum is not formally noted in the other Gospels, but Capernaum appears in all the synoptists as the main centre of Christ’s Galilean ministry.—τὴν παραθαλασσίαν, etc.: sufficiently defined by these words, “on the sea (of Galilee), on the confines of Zebulun and Naphthali”. Well known then, now of doubtful situation, being no longer in existence. Tel Hûm and Khan Minyeh compete for the honour of the site. The evangelist describes the position not to satisfy the curiosity of geographers, but to pave the way for another prophetic reference.13. leaving Nazareth] partly because of the unbelief of the Nazarenes, partly (we may infer) in order to be in a frontier town from which He might easily pass from the jurisdiction of Antipas.

Capernaum] or Capharnaum, a town on the N. W. shore of the Sea of Galilee. The exact site is keenly disputed. It was, perhaps, at Khan Minyeh (see map), not quite on the Sea, but on the plain of Gennesaret, at a short distance from the sea. It was the scene of a considerable traffic, and had a large Gentile element in its population.

Others identify Capernaum with the modern Tell Hûm, at the N. end of the Lake in the plain of the Jordan. The name Tell Hûm nearly


called the Lake of Gennesareth (Luke 5:1), the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1; John 21:1).

Bethsaida Julias, rebuilt by Herod Philip, the tetrareh, and called Julias after Julia, daughter of Augustus. See note, ch. Matthew 4:19.

Kerazeh, identified by Capt. Wilson with Chorazin. Ch. Matthew 11:21.

Highland or The Mountain, the probable scene of the Sermon on the Mount and of the appearance of Jesus Christ, ch. Matthew 28:16.

Tell Hûm, the site of Capernaum, according to Thomson (Land and Book), Capt. Wilson, Dean Stanley latterly, and others.

Et Tabigah, by some thought to be the Bethsaida (“House of Fish”), mentioned as being the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44); see chs. Matthew 8:14 and Matthew 11:21. Near Et Tabigah is a large fountain, probably “the fountain of Capharnaum” “mentioned by Josephus, B. J. iii. 10. 8, from which water was conveyed by an aqueduct to the plain of Gennesareth. Traces of this aqueduct and of an octagonal reservoir are distinctly visible. See Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 349.

Khan Minyeh, the site of Capernaum according to Dean Stanley in S. and P. (in Preface to Rec. of Jerusalem the Dean inclines to the Tell Hûm site), Dr Robinson, Mr Macgregor (Rob Roy), and others.

El Ghuweir or The Land of Gennesareth, a fertile plain 2½ miles in length, about 1 mile in breadth; ch. Matthew 14:34.

Mejdel, the Magdala of ch. Matthew 15:39.

Tiberias. Not mentioned in this Gospel. But possibly Herod Antipas was holding his Court here when John Baptist was put to death at Machærus; ch. Matthew 14:6 foll. It was built by Herod Antipas and named Tiberias in honour of the Emperor. See note, ch. Matthew 14:13-21, and cp. John 6:1; John 6:23.

K’hersa, identified with Gergesa. Gerasa (not the well-known Gerasa N. of the Jabbok; see Smith, Bib. Dic. sub voc.) is probably another form of the same name. See ch. Matthew 8:23.

Gadara, the capital of “the country of the Gadarenes,” to which district Gergesa belonged.

A and B, disputed sites for the miracle of feeding 5000; ch. Matthew 14:13-21.

corresponds with Kefr na Hum, thought by some to have been the ancient form of Capernaum. The most interesting point in the identification is that among the ruins at Tell Hûm are remains of a Synagogue, in which some of the Saviour’s “mighty works” may have been wrought. See map.

Whatever the truth may be in this question it is certain that in passing from Nazareth to Capernaum Jesus left a retired mountain home for a busy and populous neighbourhood, “the manufacturing district of Palestine.”Matthew 4:13. Ναζαρέτ, Nazareth) where He had hitherto resided.—παραθαλασσίαν, which is upon the sea-coast) See Matthew 4:15; Matthew 4:18. A place much frequented.Verse 13. - And leaving Nazareth. Finally as a place of residence. The form Ναζαρά occurs only here and Luke 4:16, which in itself well suits the opinion that Luke 4:16-30 is only a fuller account of this sojourn at Nazareth (cf. Weiss, ' Matthaus-Evang.'). He came and dwelt; i.e. made his home in (cf. Matthew 2:23). Not as having a house of his own there, so that he could take shelter in it as of right (cf. Matthew 8:20, "The foxes have holes," etc.); but probably settling his mother there, and being himself generally admitted to some one's house (perhaps Peter's, cf. Matthew 8:14, 16) when he came to the town. In Capernaum. Most probably the modern Tell-hum, upon the north-western shore, two miles from where the Jordan enters the lake. On the interesting relic of the synagogue, presumably that built by the centurion (Luke 7:5), vide especially Bishop Westcott on John 6:59. The identification with Tell-Hum can, however, hardly be considered as absolutely settled. "Some of the narratives of pilgrims of the sixth and seventh centuries appear to place Capernaum here. Jewish authors mention a place called Karat Tankhum, or Nakhum; and as the Arabic Tell ("hill") might easily be substituted for the word Kaphar ("village"), and Nakhum corrupted to Hum, Capernaum and Tell-Hum may be identical. On the other hand, Sepp supposes that the name of the Minim (Jewish Christians), who are known to have been numerous at Capernaum down to the time of Constantine, has been preserved in the Khan Minyeh" (Socin's ' Baedeker,' p. 373). Which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. The details are mentioned to show the accordance with the following prophecy. Neubauer ('Geogr. du Talm.,' p. 222, edit. 1868) points out that, according to Joshua 19:33, 34, and the notices in the Talmud, the whole western side of the lake was in Naphtali, and that hence Capernaum could not, strictly speaking, be "in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim." He himself explains the discrepancy by saying that St. Matthew imitates the Haggadistic methods in accommodating the geography to the text he quotes. But it is clear that the expression is satisfied by the fact that Zebulun was really near Capernaum, and that numbers of those who frequented the town must have come from Zebulun. The position of Capernaum thus formed quite a sufficient reason for quoting the prophecy in Isaiah. Our evangelist, who (ch. 2.) had noticed the coining of distant heathen to worship Messiah, though he was persecuted by the then ruler of the nation, found it very significant that his public activity should begin at a distance from the home of the hierarchy, and in a district which had been the first to suffer from heathen attacks in the past, and had at the present moment a population in which there was a great mixture of the heathen element (cf. Weiss, 'Matthiaus-Evang.').
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