Glimpses of Israel - Chorazin

by Joseph Hunting

Two thousand years ago Galilee was an area that was despised by the more orthodox of Judaea. This was probably due to the fact that "Galilee of the Gentiles" had been populated by Phoenicians, Syrians and Greeks. Even so, great heroes and heroines of the Bible had their origins in Galilee; among them were Deborah, Barak, Jonah and Elisha.

Among the many synagogues that once dotted the Galilean country-side were those at Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin. Today, apart from ruins of synagogues at Capernaum and Chorazin nothing remains of these three towns.

The New Testament throws light on the fate of these cities. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people," (Matthew 4:23).

The tragedy for Bethsaida and Chorazin was that these towns turned a deaf ear to His words in spite of the miracles done in their midst. And the very stones of their ruins bear testimony to His warning: "Woe unto you Chorazin! Woe unto you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement than for you". (Luke 10:13-14).

Is it merely a coincidence that, whereas Chorazin and Bethsaida are non-existent today, other towns of Biblical vintage in Galilee are very much in evidence?