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Γαλιλαία, from the Hebrew galil, “a circle” or “circuit”). A celebrated country of Palestine, forming the northern division. Iosephus (Bell. Iud. iii. 3) divides it into Upper and Lower, and he states that the limits of Galilee were, on the south, Samaris and Scythopolis to the flood of Jordan. It contained four tribes— Issachar, Zebulon, Naphthali, and Asher—a part also of Dan, and part of Peraea, or the country beyond Jordan. Upper Galilee was mountainous, and was called Galilee of the Gentiles from the heathen nations established there who were enabled, by the mountainous nature of the country, to maintain themselves against all invaders. Strabo enumerates among its inhabitants, Egyptians, Arabians, and Phœnicians. Lower Galilee, which contained the tribes of Zebulon and Asher, was adjacent to the Sea of Tiberias or Lake of Gennesareth. Galilee, according to Iosephus, was very populous, contained 204 cities and towns, and paid 200 talents in tribute. Its principal city was Caesarea Philippi. The inhabitants of Galilaea were very industrious, and, being bold and intrepid soldiers, they bravely resisted the nations around them. The Jews of Iudaea regarded them with much contempt. Their language was a corrupt and unpolished dialect of Syriac, with a mixture of other languages. It was probably this corrupt dialect that led to the detection of Peter as one of Christ's disciples (Mark, xiv. 70). The Saviour was called a Galilean (Matt. xxvi. 69), because he was brought up at Nazareth, a city of Galilaea; and as his apostles were mostly, if not all, natives of this province, they also are called Galileans and “men of Galilee” (Acts, i. 11). See Merrill, Galilee in the Time of Christ (2d ed. 1885).

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