Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | September 5, 2012

21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat

The Sea of Galilee Boat, nicknamed The Jesus Boat

Our virtual hike through Galilee has reached one of the most famous bodies of water in the whole world, the Sea of Galilee in northeastern Israel.

Much of Jesus’ ministry was focused around the Sea of Galilee with His home base at Capernaum (Matthew 4:13) on the northern shore. Many of His disciples were fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.

The boat in the picture is the remains of a Galilean fishing boat from the time of Jesus. It is 27 feet long by 7.5 feet wide.

The boat is on display in the Yigal Allon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee north of Tiberias. The museum is a little over a mile detour off of both the Jesus Trail and the Gospel Trail. The museum commemorates Israeli general and prime minister Yigal Allon (1918-1980). Allon joined Kibbutz Ginosar in 1937 and is buried in its cemetery.

This boat is the only extant Galilean fishing boat from the first century. Such boats were very important in Jesus’ life and ministry around the Sea of Galilee; they are mentioned 50 times in the Gospels. He and His disciples used these boats for both fishing and transportation. Previously these boats were only known from the Bible, Roman references, and mosaics.

The boat was discovered by two fisherman, Moshe and Yuval Lufan, in 1986 near Kibbutz Ginosar. A several-year drought had lowered the level of the Sea of Galilee and exposed the outline of the boat buried in mud. It took 12 days and nights under constant guard to excavate the boat. It was then submerged in a chemical bath for preservation purposes for 7 years before being displayed. The interment in mud had prevented bacterial decomposition of the wood. Click Galilee Boat Excavation to read about the archaeological excavation process.

Construction
The boat is made out of 10 different types of wood, but cedar planks and an oak frame predominate. The planks are joined by pegged mortise and tenon joints and by nails.

The boat could be sailed and rowed. It had a mast and four staggered rowers. It was flat-bottomed with a very shallow draft allowing a close approach to shore. It’s reminiscent of Simon Peter’s boat lying close to the shore from which Jesus taught in order to avoid the press of the crowd (Luke 5:1-3).

There are also references in the Gospels to the disciples both sailing (Luke 8:22-26) and rowing (Mark 6:47-48; John 6:16-21) their boats, which matches the dual function of this boat.

The boat had room for 15 men, so it could easily accommodate Jesus and His 12 disciples with room for Jesus to sleep in the stern (Mark 4:36-41).

Dating the Boat
The boat’s construction matches that of Mediterranean boats of 100 BC to 200 AD. Radiocarbon dating analysis ranged from 100 BC to 70 AD. Hull construction, nails in the boat, and pottery dating of a lamp and cooking pot found with the boat give a date range of 50 BC to 50 AD.

It is thought the boat was used for many decades, maybe even a century, because of its many repairs.

Thus it is very likely the boat was used during the lifetime of Jesus. He and His disciples may even have seen it or used it. There is no evidence, however, directly linking the boat to Jesus. Nevertheless, it has been nicknamed The Jesus Boat.

Soli Deo Gloria.

The Hike the Bible series is currently covering points of interest along two hiking trails through Galilee, the 40-mile Jesus Trail and the 39-mile Gospel Trail. These two trails re-create possible routes Jesus likely traversed during His sojourns in Galilee.

This is the twenty-first installment in the Hike the Bible series reviewing major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail (with video)
2. Hike the Bible – Gospel Trail (with video)
3. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail
4. Hike the Bible – Nazareth
5. Hike the Bible – Zippori
6. Hike the Bible – Mash’had
7. Hike the Bible – Cana (with video)
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
10. Hike the Bible – Horns of Hattin
11. Hike the Bible – Sermon on the Mount
12. Hike the Bible – Arbel Cliffs
13. Hike the Bible – Magdala (with video)
14. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene
15. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene, Lady or Tramp?
16. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene & the Resurrection
17. Hike the Bible – Sea of Galilee
18. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee
19. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 2
20. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 3

Read the sequel:
22. Hike the Bible – Capernaum

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday September 5, 2012 A.D.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

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