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I was reading the following today and was wondering, does anyone know which sea they are referring to? And if the fact they are three or four miles out, but when Jesus got onto the boat they were immediately at the shore, would be something that should stick out because of distance, or would three or four miles be at about the other side? 

 

John 6:16-21 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[a] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

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unfortunately, I don't think we know where they started from, because it says at the beginning of Chapter 6 that "Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee."  - - however, the chapter before that, he was in Jerusalem, so we don't know where he started from, but in looking at a map, it looks like Capernaum is at the northern end of the lake, so if they came from the far side... that's a really long way. - A quick look says the lake is 13 miles long (north and south) and 8 miles wide (east to west) 

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Posted (edited)

As Jared mentioned, they were on the Sea of Galilee which is actually a lake, and one of the few places in the Biblical world where there's actually a lot of fresh water. You have awakened the Biblical trivia/history nerd in me, which I hope you won't mind, since you were looking for background info.

 

Culture shapes the way we think, and that shapes language, which is why lakes like the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea instead get called seas. The world in which these people lived is very dry and often pretty hot. Many "rivers" run dry in the summer season, and the observant Bible reader might notice the occasional mention of a wadi, which can actually be very deep ravines or valleys, that are dry most of the year, and flooded full when the rains come.

 

There aren't a lot of opportunities to refer to a large body of water, so they didn't need a wide range of words to distinguish between them. The Hebrew word yam can mean lake, pond, ocean, or sea, or even the large bronze basin of water that sat in the tabernacle and the temple. The single word might best be translated "whole big heap of water," in a land where water was normally found in smaller amounts.

 

Anyway, no one in the Bible is confusing lakes with seas; they're just using their own way of thinking and naming things, and the Bible translators use whichever English equivalents seem most convenient for the moment. After all, "Sea of Galilee" has this wonderfully poetic sound to it, doesn't it?

Edited by Wes B
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34 minutes ago, Wes B said:

The single word might best be translated "whole big heap of water,"

 

You know Wes, that is unintentionally funny!

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40 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

You know Wes, that is unintentionally funny!

 

Thank you... though it might not actually be unintentional...

 

At the very least, i tend to go for interesting phrasing that sometimes ventures into quirkiness. See, in my writing, I tend to encourage enthusiasm for everything Biblical. Some of the background stuff can seem dry or irrelevant, 'till the reader sees how it can enhance their Bible reading, and perhaps hopefully even increase it.

 

So I'll go for entertaining wording, to help support the narrative between the payoffs that come from new understanding. Hopefully, it's working...

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Oh. Forgot. It's about 13 miles by 33 miles. When Jesus got in the boat, He was the reason they were instantly taken to their destination. All kinds of life lessons in those verses. ;)

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28 minutes ago, Wes B said:

At the very least, i tend to go for interesting phrasing that sometimes ventures into quirkiness. See, in my writing, I tend to encourage enthusiasm for everything Biblical.

 

That's interesting, Wes.  Your phrasing backs you up on that, and I agree that you encourage me to think Biblically.

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 The Sea of Galilee also known as the  Lake Tiberias, Kinneret or Kinnereth. It is a freshwater lake in Israel. 

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Posted (edited)

There are only 2 seas in ancient Israel, and I'm pretty sure the Dead Sea didn't have any fish at that point.

 

But the salinity of the Dead Sea?   There's so much salt in it that you and I could almost walk on water.  :)

 

Edit: Of course, there is always the Mediterranean sea.

Edited by Jeff Potts
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On 6/5/2020 at 7:36 AM, Wes B said:

As Jared mentioned, they were on the Sea of Galilee which is actually a lake, and one of the few places in the Biblical world where there's actually a lot of fresh water. You have awakened the Biblical trivia/history nerd in me, which I hope you won't mind, since you were looking for background info.

 

Culture shapes the way we think, and that shapes language, which is why lakes like the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea instead get called seas. The world in which these people lived is very dry and often pretty hot. Many "rivers" run dry in the summer season, and the observant Bible reader might notice the occasional mention of a wadi, which can actually be very deep ravines or valleys, that are dry most of the year, and flooded full when the rains come.

 

There aren't a lot of opportunities to refer to a large body of water, so they didn't need a wide range of words to distinguish between them. The Hebrew word yam can mean lake, pond, ocean, or sea, or even the large bronze basin of water that sat in the tabernacle and the temple. The single word might best be translated "whole big heap of water," in a land where water was normally found in smaller amounts.

 

Anyway, no one in the Bible is confusing lakes with seas; they're just using their own way of thinking and naming things, and the Bible translators use whichever English equivalents seem most convenient for the moment. After all, "Sea of Galilee" has this wonderfully poetic sound to it, doesn't it?

 

English actually has a large number of subtly different words for bodies of water and flowing water because England is extremely wet and has a lot of different types of aquatic environments.

 

Try looking up synonyms of "brook" sometime just to get some fun ones. And, those are all just things smaller than a river.

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Defining bodies of water is like sorting potatoes into small, medium, and large. The small and large are fairly easy, but is this one in my hand a large small one or a medium? Is that one a small large one or a medium?

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