There is no doubt that Jesus taught in Galilee, since this was his home base. Much like Matthew, chapter 4:12, and Mark, chapter 1:14, after his temptations, Luke had Jesus return to Galilee. However, Luke had no mention of the arrest of John, since he had already mentioned that earlier in chapter 3:19-20. John had Jesus also go back to Galilee in chapter 4:3. Luke said that Jesus was filled with the power of the Spirit (ἐν τῇ δυνάμει τοῦ Πνεύματος), a favorite and unique statement by Luke. He said that Jesus returned to Galilee (Καὶ ὑπέστρεψεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς…εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν). Matthew had Jesus going to Galilee, just like his father Joseph had done years earlier. He used a citation from Isaiah to explain why Jesus was in Galilee. Galilee was about 80 miles north of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area, originally part of the Israelite tribal territories of Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Asher, the northern tribes. Mark said that Jesus went into Galilee preaching the gospel or good news about God, while the message of Matthew was about the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Luke said that a report (καὶ φήμη) about Jesus (περὶ αὐτοῦ) spread throughout or over (ἐξῆλθεν) all the surrounding countryside (καθ’ ὅλης τῆς περιχώρου), but there was no indication in Luke what the message of Jesus was. Clearly, Jesus was active in Galilee.
The beginning of the ministry of Jesus in Galilee can be found in all 4 gospel stories, Matthew, chapter 4:12, which is very close to Mark here. Luke, chapter 4:14, has no mention of the arrest of John the Baptist’s arrest, while John 4:1-3 said that there was a comparison between Jesus and John the Baptist. In all cases, it took place after the temptations of Jesus, except for John who had no mention of any temptations for Jesus. Mark said that now that John had been arrested or handed over (Καὶ μετὰ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάνην), Jesus went into Galilee (ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν), preaching the gospel or good news about God. (κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ). Jesus knew that that John the Baptist had been arrested, without any clear indication why. Although this text does not mention him by name, Herod Antipas, the son of King Herod, was in charge of Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE. He was the one who arrested John. This might have been a warning sign to Jesus to get away from the Jordan River area. However, Jesus went back to Galilee, about 80 miles north of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area. This area was originally part of the Israelite tribal territories of Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Asher. Matthew, chapter 4:14-16 used a citation from Isaiah, chapter 9:1-5, to explain why Jesus was in Galilee. Jesus was preaching about the good news or gospel of God, not as Matthew portrayed Jesus as teaching about the kingdom of heaven.
Mark, chapter 7:24, has something similar but only mentions Tyre, not Sidon. Jesus left the area (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς) around the Sea of Galilee. He went to the district of Tyre and Sidon (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος). Tyre was a Phoenician coastal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon. Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually originally in the Israelite territory of Asher. The Mediterranean ports at both Sidon and Tyre. were commercial trading partners. Tyre was a great ancient city with many merchant princes, while Sidon was also a maritime Phoenician city about 25 miles north of Tyre, mostly known for its fishing and trade. Sidon was also the name of the grandson of Noah, and thus older than Tyre. Traditionally, Isaiah, chapter 23, and the other prophets were against these two wealthy coastal towns. It is not clear why Jesus went to this coastal region, except that the Pharisees were not there.
Once again, Joseph was warned in a dream (χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ), without the explicit mention of the angel of the Lord. Joseph found out that the son of King Herod (ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου), Archelaus, (23 BCE-16 CE) was now in charge in Judea (ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας). He was afraid to go back there (ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν) to Judea, since maybe King Herod’s son would be after his child just like his father. Actually, Herod Archelaus only lasted about 10 years before the Romans took the title away from him in 6 CE. Thus, Joseph decided to withdraw to the district of Galilee (ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας), without explicitly being told to do so. Galilee was a rocky terrain region in northern Israel. Originally, it was part of the tribal regions of Naphtali, Dan, and Asher, but later it was part of the northern kingdom of Israel, with a Phoenician presence and influence. In the Roman times, Galilee was clearly separate from Judea. Many of the events in the life of Jesus would take place there, even though Herod Antipas, the other son of King Herod, ruled Galilee from 4 BCE-39 CE.
Once again, there is very little description of the territory of Naphtali, just that it is east and west of Asher. In Joshua, chapter 19, they had a huge territory along the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee, east of Asher.
The time for this oracle to Ezekiel, the son of man, was the 11th year of King Zedekiah, which would have been 587 BCE. The Greek translation has a mention of a month that would put it into 586 BCE. Tyre was a Phoenician costal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon, well known for its maritime trade. Actually, it would have been part of the old Israelite territory of Asher. Here, the people of Tyre seemed to have laughed at Jerusalem when the gates of that city fell. Instead of being an ally of Jerusalem, they turned against them. They took advantage of the bad situation in Jerusalem. Isaiah, also, had a long diatribe against both Tyre and Sidon in chapter 23.
Tyre was a Phoenician costal island city that still exists in southern Lebanon. Known for its maritime trade and purple dye, it was actually in the Israelite territory of Asher. The ships of Tarshish are mentioned 24 times in the biblical books, most notably when speaking about the wealth of King Solomon, in 1 Kings, chapter 10. Tarnish must have been someplace where there was a lot of metal, such as silver, probably some distance away, since speculation continues as to its exact location. The fortress or the houses of Tyre would be destroyed. Apparently these Phoenician sailors from Tyre were coming back from the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, when they learned about this destruction.
“This book tells the story of Tobit son of Tobiel, son of Hananiel, son of Aduel, son of Gabael, of the descendants of Asiel, of the tribe of Naphtali. In the days of King Shalmaneser of the Assyrians, he was taken into captivity. Tobit was taken from the town of Thisbe. This town was south of Kedesh, in Naphtali, in Upper Galilee, above Asher, toward the west, north of Phogor.”
This book is about Tobit. It is not in the Hebrew Bible, but is in the Greek Septuagint. Thus it is here, since I am following the structure in the Bible of Jerusalem. Who is Tobit? He was from Naphtali in the north region of Galilee. This was east of Asher near Manasseh at Kedesh. This is the only mention of any of Tobit’s ancestors, Tobiel, Hananiel, Aduel, and Gabael. There is one mention of Asiel in 1 Chronicles, chapter 4. There is no other mention of Thisbe or Phogor in biblical literature. King Shalmaneser V probably ruled Assyria from 727-722 BCE at the time of King Hoshea of Israel, the last king of Israel before the captivity. This would put this in the 8th century BCE at the time of the Assyrian captivity. It probably was his successor, King Sargon (710-705 BCE) who completed the captivity. The other Babylonian kings mentioned in the biblical literature were King Tiglath Pileser III (729-727 BCE) and Sennacherib (689-681 BCE). Nevertheless, the context is the northern Israel captivity by Assyria. Tobit must have been important to be deported in captivity, because they left the poor people behind.
“So the couriers went from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun. However, they laughed at them. They scorned them. They mocked them. Only a few men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of Yahweh. Many people came together in Jerusalem to keep the festival of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great assembly. They set to work. They removed the altars that were in Jerusalem. All the altars for offering incense they took away and threw them into the Kidron valley.”
King Hezekiah had hoped that the fall of Samaria might contribute to the unification of Yahweh worship. However, most of the northern tribes scorned the messengers. Only a few from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun came to Jerusalem. However, the land of Judah responded more favorably. There was a great assembly in Jerusalem for the feast of the unleavened bread. They tore down all the altars of the high places of worship that were not to Yahweh. Once again, they brought them to the junk heap that was in the Kidron valley.