John was arrested (Mk 1:14-1:14)

“After John was arrested,

Jesus came

Into Galilee,

Preaching

The gospel of God.”

 

Καὶ μετὰ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάνην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Θεοῦ

 

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.

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Jesus goes to the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21-15:21)

“Jesus left that place.

He went away

To the district

Of Tyre

And Sidon.”

 

Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.

 

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.

Joseph goes to Galilee (Mt 2:22-2:22)

“But when Joseph heard

That Archelaus

Was ruling over Judea,

In place of his father,

King Herod,

He was afraid

To go there.

After being warned

In a dream,

He went away

To the district of Galilee.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἀρχέλαος βασιλεύει τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀντὶ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ἡρῴδου ἐφοβήθη ἐκεῖ ἀπελθεῖν· χρηματισθεὶς δὲ κατ’ ὄναρ ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη τῆς Γαλιλαίας

 

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.

The tribe of Naphtali (Ezek 48:3-48:3)

“Adjoining the territory of Asher,

From the east side

To the west side,

Naphtali was

One portion.”

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.

Against Tyre (Ezek 26:1-26:2)

“In the eleventh year,

On the first day

Of the month,

The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Tyre said

Concerning Jerusalem.

‘Aha!

Broken is

The gateway

Of the people.

It has swung open

To me.

I shall be replenished,

Now that is wasted.’”

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.

 

Oracle against Tyre (Isa 23:1-23:1)

“The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail!

O ships of Tarshish!

Your fortress is destroyed.

When they came in

From Cyprus

They learned of it.”

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.