Joshua 19:35 lists Hammat, Rakkat and Chinneret as fortified cities in the tribal area of Naphtali. It is thought that Tiberias, built in approximately 20 A.D. by Herod Antipas, stands on the ruins of ancient Rakkat. Antipas, son of Herod the Great, is the Herod who executed John the Baptist and was described as “that fox” by Jesus. He apparently continued the family custom of currying favor with the Romans since he named his new city in honor of Emperor Tiberius. It was a Hellenistic city, avoided by observant Jews in the time of Jesus and his followers. Peter lived just a few miles away but probably never visited the place in view of his comment in Acts 10:28. Ironically, Tiberias became the center of Jewish learning after the destruction of Jerusalem. Sometime before the year 220 A.D. the Jewish scholars of Tiberias wrote the Mishna, the collection of civil and ritual laws, under the direction of Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi. The Jerusalem or Palestinian Talmud was completed here around the year 400 A.D. (A century later the Babylonian Talmud was completed in the academies of Mesopotamia and it overshadowed the shorter Palestinian Talmud.) The use of vowel points and punctuated Hebrew script also originated here.

The modern city is a bit north of the hot springs which have made the city a health spa in ancient and recent times. The hot springs, mentioned by historians such as Pliny and Josephus, are probably at the site of biblical Hammat. Recent archaeology has discovered a beautiful mosaic floor depicting the Ark of the Covenant between two menorahs. It is thought to be from a synagogue of the 4th century A.D.



What happend in this place