So called from the province of Galilee, which bordered on the western side. (Matthew 4:18) It was also called the "Sea of Tiberias," from the celebrated city of that name. (John 6:1) At its northwestern angle was a beautiful and fertile plain called "Gennesaret," and from that it derived the name of "Lake of Gennesaret." (Luke 5:1) It was called in the Old Testament "the Sea of Chinnereth" or "Cinneroth," (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 12:3) from a town of that name which stood on or near its shore. (Joshua 19:35) Its modern name is Bahr Tubariyeh. Most of our Lord's public life was spent in the environs of this sea. The surrounding region was then the most densely peopled in all Palestine. no less than nine very populous cities stood on the very shores of the lake. The Sea of Galilee is of an oval long and six broad. It is 60 miles northeast of Jerusalem and 27 east of the Mediterranean Sea, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The river Jordan enters it at its northern end and passes out at its southern end. In fact the bed of the lake is just a lower section of the Great Jordan valley. Its more remarkable feature is its deep depression, being no less than 700 feet below the level of the ocean. The scenery is bleak and monotonous, being surrounded by a high and almost unbroken wall of hills, on account of which it is exposed to frequent sudden and violent storms. The great depression makes the climate of the shores almost tropical. This is very sensibly felt by the traveller in going down from the plains of Galilee. In summer the heat is intense, and even in early spring the air has something of an Egyptian balminess. The water of the lake is sweet, cool and transparent; and as the beach is everywhere pebbly is has a beautiful sparkling look. It abounds in fish now as in ancient times. There were large fisheries on the lake, and much commerce was carried on upon it.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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