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Sea of Galilee: Boats and ports

Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times.
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Slide 1

The Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret as it is called in Hebrew, is not a sea, but a large freshwater lake shaped like a harp. Its main source of freshwater is the River Jordan which flows through it from north to south. – Slide 1

Slide 2

Lake Galilee is about 13 miles ((21km) long, and 8.1 miles (13km) wide. – Slide 2

Slide 3

The lake has a total area of 64.4 square miles (166.7 km2) and a maximum depth of 141ft (43m). – Slide 3

Slide 4

Its circumference is approximately 33 miles  (53km). – Slide 4

Slide 5

It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth at 686ft (209 m) below sea level. – Slide 5

Slide 6

The hills around Galilee, especially on the east side where they reach 2000ft (610m) high, are a source of cool, dry descending air. Over the sea there is warm moist warm ascending air. This large difference in height between surrounding land and the sea can cause large temperature and pressure changes.  Strong winds can funnel through the hills to descend on the Sea of Galilee causing sudden storms. – Slide 6

Slide 7

Jesus and His disciples were caught in such an unexpected violent storm when crossing to the other side of the Galilee. Even the experienced fishermen on board were afraid for their lives. – Slide 7

Slide 8

Jesus commanded the storm to stop and it did, showing His power over the wind and waves. – Slide 8

Slide 9

This map shows the harbours around Galilee in the time of Jesus. They were plotted by a fisherman, Mendel Nun, between 1989-1991 when there was a severe drought and the water levels fell. – Slide 9

Slide 10

One of the most important locations for fishermen was the town known as Magdala in Aramaic or Taricheae in Greek. The name Taricheae comes from the Greek verb ‘to preserve by artificial means.’ Here fish were processed for selling and preserved using salt brought up from the Dead Sea region. Magdala was where Mary Magdalene lived. – Slide 10

Slide 11

Josephus was able to gather 230 boats on Galilee in the first century, so there must have been more than this in operation. – Slide 11

Slide 12

The Bible talks about two brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, who worked together in a fishing partnership with brothers James and John, the sons of Zebedee. – Slide 12

Slide 13

Many conclude that seven of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen - Andrew, Simon Peter, James, John, Thomas, Philip and Nathaniel. – Slide 13

Slide 14

In 1978, when the waters receded in a drought, an ancient fishing boat dated from the time of Jesus was found on the north-west shore by two local fishermen, Moshe and Yuval Lufan. The boat has been dated to 40 BC (plus or minus 80 years) based on radio-carbon dating and 50 BC to AD 50 based on finds of pottery and nails in the boat. – Slide 14

Slide 15

The remains are exhibited in the Yigal Allon museum in Kibbutz Ginosar. The boat was 27 feet (8.27 m) long, 7.5 feet (2.3 m) wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet (1.3 m). – Slide 15

Slide 16

This model of the boat shows you what it would have looked like. The boat was constructed primarily of cedar planks joined together by pegged mortice and tennon joints. It has a shallow draft with a flat bottom, allowing it to get very close to the shore. – Slide 16

Slide 17

The boat could have been sailed or rowed. It would have used a single square sail affixed amidships. Based on the vessel's size, it probably would have had a basic crew of five to four rowers and a helmsman. The boat would have been steered by means of two steering oars. – Slide 17

Slide 18

The Galilean boat had a stern deck for the storage of large fishing nets. Beneath its planks, such a deck provided a somewhat secluded area where tired fishermen could rest. Jesus may have taken advantage of such a feature when during a storm ‘He was in the stern, sleeping upon a pillow.’ It has been suggested that the ‘pillow’ could have been a sandbag kept on board as ballast. – Slide 18

Slide 19

A life-sized reconstruction of the boat can be found at Kibbutz Ginosar. – Slide 19

Slide 20

Boats such as this played a large role in Jesus' life and ministry, and are mentioned 50 times in the Gospels. – Slide 20

Slide 21

Jesus was once surrounded by a large crowd on the shore of Galilee. – Slide 21

Slide 22

He asked His disciples to push their boat away from the shore so He could use it as a ‘platform’ to teach the crowd. – Slide 22

Slide 23

Boats were anchored with large stones. Here are some ancient anchors found in Caesarea Maritime in Israel. – Slide 23

Slide 24

Anchors in Galilee were made from the local black basalt rock. Here are two such anchors in a museum garden in Galilee. – Slide 24

Slide 25

Fishing often took place at night and the Bible records that some of the disciples had fished all night without catching anything. – Slide 25

Slide 26

Slide 26
PowerPoint
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in PowerPoint 4:3 standard ratio4:3 ratio
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in PowerPoint 16:9 widescreen ratio16:9 widescreen
Adobe PDF
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in PDF 4:3 standard ratio4:3 ratio
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in PDF 16:9 widescreen ratio16:9 widescreen
Apple Keynote
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in Keynote 4:3 standard ratio4:3 ratio
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in Keynote 16:9 widescreen ratio16:9 widescreen
JPEGs
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in JPEG 4:3 standard ratio4:3 ratio
Useful background information on the Sea of Galilee and its boats and ports in Bible times. (Bible overview) in JPEG 16:9 widescreen ratio16:9 widescreen
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