Nazareth lay rather off the beaten track, but the road from the Lake of Galilee to Ptolemais (Acco) ran a few miles to the north, while the Way of the Sea, connecting Egypt with Damascus and places farther north, passed by not far to the south. From the high ground above Nazareth many of the famous sites in the earlier history of Israel were to be seen.

The Location of Nazareth
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

In the earlier part of his rule, Herod Antipas had his court at Sepphoris, four miles north-north-west of Nazareth. Then, about AD 22, he built a new capital city for himself on the west shore of the Lake of Galilee, and called it Tiberias, in honour of the Emperor Tiberius, who had succeeded Augustus in AD 14. From the name of this city the lake came in due course to be called the Lake of Tiberias.

Jesus is not said to have visited either Sepphoris or Tiberias. But Sepphoris was so near Nazareth that rumours of goings-on at the tetrarch’s court may have formed a background in the minds of Jesus’ hearers when they listened to those parables of his in which kings and royal courts appeared.