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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Bethsaida (bĕth'sâ'i-dah), home, of fishing. A city of Galilee, near Capernaum. John 12:21; Matthew 11:21. Some writers urge that there were two Bethsaidas, since the desert place where the 5000 were fed belonged to "the city called Bethsaida," Luke 9:10, while after the miracle the disciples were to go before him unto the other side to Bethsaida, Mark 6:45, which it is said could not refer to the same town. If there were two towns of this name, the first one was in Galilee on the west side of the lake, and 2. Bethsaida Julias, in Gaulanitis, on the eastern bank of the Jordan, near its entrance into the lake. Others think it unlikely that two cities in such close neighborhood should have borne the same name. Hence Dr. W. M. Thomson supposes that there was but one Bethsaida, which was built on both sides of the Jordan, and places the site at Abu-Zany, where the Jordan empties into the Lake of Galilee. The Sinaitic manuscript omits "belonging to a city called Bethsaida" in Luke 9:1-62; Luke 10:1-42; hence, Wilson agrees that there is no necessity for two Bethsaidas. The eastern city was beautified by Philip the tetrarch, and called Bethsaida Julias (in honor of a daughter of the emperor Augustus), perhaps to distinguish it from the western Bethsaida, in Galilee.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Bethsaida'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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