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Yeshua in Context » Background to Gospels, Geography » Capernaum


Little Capernaum, literally Kfar Nahum, Village of Nahum (the 7th century BCE prophet who wrote of Assyria’s downfall) sits on the north shore of the lake of Galilee.

For tourists in Israel, Capernaum is a major stop. For many Bible readers, Capernaum is little known. This humble fishing village was the headquarters for Yeshua’s work, his home during much of his career (Matt 4:13). Yet Capernaum gets little notice compared to Nazareth and Bethlehem.

Other towns mentioned in the life of Yeshua are very close to Capernaum. Bethsaida, for example, is only 2.5 miles to the east, also located on the north shore of the lake.

Capernaum was the home of Peter, Andrew, and family (Mark 1:29, though they apparently had lived also in Bethsaida, John 1:44). Visitors to Capernaum today can see a house which may in fact be the home of Peter’s family. Capernaum had a customs booth (a tax collection station). Quite possibly Jairus the synagogue ruler was in Capernaum also (Mark 5:21). Visitors today can see a limestone, white synagogue from the fourth century with basalt foundations. The basalt foundations are likely from the synagogue that existed on the site previously, probably the synagogue of Jairus which Yeshua attended often (see Luke 4:16 about Yeshua’s Sabbath customs).

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