Scythopolis. Beth-Shean, the Beginning of Galilee.
The bonds of Galilee were, "on the south, Samaris and Scythopolis, unto the flood of Jordan."

Scythopolis is the same with Beth-shean, of which is no seldom mention in the Holy Scriptures, Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27; 1 Samuel 31:10. "Bethsaine (saith Josephus), called by the Greeks Scythopolis." It was distant but a little way from Jordan, seated in the entrance to a great valley: for so the same author writes, "Having passed Jordan, they came to a great plain, where lies before you the city Bethsane," &c.

"Before-time it was called Nysa (Pliny being our author), by Father Bacchus, his nurse being there buried."

It was a part of the land of Israel, when it was first subdued; but scarcely, when it was subdued the second time; as R. Solomon speaks not amiss. Hence it passed into a Greek denomination, and was inhabited by Gentiles. Among whom nevertheless not a few Jews dwelt, who also had sometime their schools there, and their doctors. "The men of Beth-shean asked R. Immi, What if a man take away stones from one synagogue, and build another synagogue with them? He answered, It is not lawful." And mention is made "of something done in Beth-shean by the doctors about the wine of the heathen."

"Resh Lachish saith, If Paradise be in the land of Israel, Beth-shean is the gate of it: if it be in Arabia, Beth-geram is the gate of it: if among the rivers, Damascus." The Gloss is, "The fruits of Beth-shean were the sweetest of all in the land of Israel." "Fine linen garments were made in Beth-shean."

chapter 59 galilee
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