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Jesus of Nazareth

—A Landmarks of Faith Seminar—

Jesus of Nazareth Seminar

Feeding Trough and Workman’s Chisel: Jesus’ Early Life and Trade
Booklet  See notes below.
Portions of this lecture are also available as videos with photos of Israel:
Lecture #3a Video: The Five Regions of the Land of Israel (Hosted by YouTube)
Lecture #3b Video: A Tour of Israel in the Time of Jesus (Hosted by YouTube)
Lecture #3c Video: Bethlehem in the Time of Jesus (Hosted by YouTube)

Lecture #3a:

Or click here for more listening options at Internet Archive.

Jesus of Nazareth Lecture #3b ⮞
⮜ Jesus of Nazareth Lecture #2b


Lecture #3a Notes


There are five major regions: (1) the Coastal Plain, (2) the Shephelah (Low Hills or Lowlands), (3) the Hill Country, (4) the Rift Canyon (Aravah), and (5) the Eastern Highlands.

Physical Geography of Israel
Rain Shadow: An area of little rainfall behind certain mountain ranges, as in the Judean Desert

Rift Valley: A deep trough or canyon (known technically as a graben) created by the downthrusting of land between parallel fault lines. The Rift Valley in Israel is part of the Great Rift Valley that runs from Syria in the north to Mozambique in the south. In Israel, the base of the Rift Valley is mostly below sea level. This includes the Dead Sea at about 400 m (1,300 ft) below sea level and the Sea of Galilee at about 210 m (690 ft) below sea level.

All of this is in a small area: the north-south length of the map (below) is 120 miles (190 km). The width at the top of the map (east-west) is 43 miles (70 km). The width at the bottom of the map (east-west) is 90 miles (140 km).

The Land of Israel in the Time of Jesus
Psalms of Ascent: Psalms traditionally sung by the Jewish people as they ascended to Jerusalem for the annual feasts (Psalms 120-134).

Luke 2:41: His parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover

Luke 2:48: Son, why have you treated us this way?

Samaritans: In a continual state of low-level conflict with the Jews.

John 4:6: It was about the sixth hour (our 12:00 noon)

John 4:40: And he stayed there two days

Caesarea by the Sea (also known as Caesarea Maritima): The political capital of Judea and Samaria in the time of Jesus.

Way of the Sea: The most important trade route in Israel going from Egypt in the south to Damascus in the north.

Decapolis: A group of Greek-style cities with Greek-style government. Many of the residents, who spoke the Greek language, were descendants of immigrants from Greece and Macedonia. The Decapolis cities included Pella, Scythopolis, Gadara, Hippus, Gerasa, and Philadelphia.

Gaulanitis: Ancient name for the area of the Golan Heights.

Mt. Hermon: The largest mountain in Israel: 9,200 ft (2,800 m) above sea level. Snow-covered for several months each year. Caesarea Philippi sits at its base facing an area of high, rocky cliffs.

Matt. 16:18: You are Petros [a little rock, a stone], and upon this petra [this rocky cliff] I will build my church.

Phoenicia: The territory referred to in the Bible as Tyre and Sidon. These two Greek-style cities were two of several Gentile cities running along the Mediterranean coastline near Jewish areas.


Caravansery: A Middle Eastern inn with open rooms around a central court.

Luke 2:7: She wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the guest chamber [kataluma].

Luke 10:34: But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey...bandaged up his wounds...and brought him to an inn [pandokeion]

Discovery: The homes in Jewish villages in the time of Jesus were multi-family compounds built around a central courtyard.

Insula: A multi-family compound with a central courtyard and an outer perimeter wall.

Discovery: Dozens of stone feeding troughs (mangers) from the time of the Bible.

Copyright © 1999-2002, 2008, 2012, 2020 by Jeffrey J. Harrison.
Many of the Scripture verses quoted have been translated or modified by the author to bring out details of the original Greek or Hebrew text. Otherwise: Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, ©Copyright the Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.
Unattributed photos are by the author. All rights reserved.