Nain

NAIN (nā'ĭn, Gr. Nain). Modern Nein, a village of Galilee. Though unwalled, it had gates, near which Jesus raised a widow’s son from death (Luke.7.11-Luke.7.17). The situation is beautiful, on the NW slope of the Hill of Moreh, known as Little Hermon. Eastward are ancient rock-hewn tombs. The view is wide, across the plains NW to Mount Carmel; north to the hills behind Nazareth, six miles (ten km.) away; and NE past Mount Tabor to the snowy heights of Mount Hermon. To the south is Mount Gilboa.


b

NAIN nān. During His great Galilean ministry following the healing of the Rom. centurion’s slave in Capernaum, Jesus journeyed about twenty-five m. S to a city called Nain (Luke 7:11-17). As he approached the city, he met the funeral procession of a widow’s son, apparently a well-known person, since the procession consisted of a large crowd from the city. Touched by the desolate state of the widow, Jesus miraculously restored the young man to life to the astonishment and gratitude of the whole city and neighboring territory. Luke is the only evangelist to report this episode. This is one of some thirteen places where Luke uses the name Lord (ὁ κύριος, v. 13) for Jesus (a designation, apart from the vocative) found only once in Matthew (21:3) and Mark (11:3).

About ten miles S and slightly E of Nazareth near Kefar Yeledim and Mahne Yisreael is the modern village of Nain, identified with the NT city. The present village is a Moslem settlement. It lies at the foot of Jebel ed Dahi on the northern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon. A small chapel erected by the Franciscans in 1880, supposedly upon the foundations of an ancient sanctuary, marks the site of one of the most touching scenes in the life of Jesus—the raising of the widow’s son.

Josephus mentions a village called Nain (Wars IV. ix. 4, 5), which a revolutionary named Simon fortified in an attempt to usurp the command of the Jews shortly after the death of Galba in a.d. 69. This, however, is located in Idumea, S of Masada, and obviously is not the village referred to in Luke 7:11.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

This town is mentioned in Scripture only in connection with the visit of Jesus and the miracle of raising the widow’s son from the dead (Lu 7:11). The name persists to this day, and in the form of Nein clings to a small village on the northwestern slope of Jebel ed-Duchy ("nodetitle"), the mountain which, since the Middle Ages, has been known as Little Hermon. The modern name of the mountain is derived from Neby Duchy whose wely crowns the height above the village. There are many ancient remains, proving that the place was once of considerable size. It was never enclosed by a wall, as some have thought from the mention of "the gate." This was probably the opening between the houses by which the road entered the town. Tristram thought he had found traces of an ancient city wall, but this proved to be incorrect. The ancient town perhaps stood somewhat higher on the hill than the present village. In the rocks to the East are many tombs of antiquity. The site commands a beautiful and extensive view across the plain to Carmel, over the Nazareth hills, and away past Tabor to where the white peak of Hermon glistens in the sun. To the South are the heights of Gilboa and the uplands of Samaria. The village, once prosperous, has fallen on evil days. It is said that the villagers received such good prices for simsum that they cultivated it on a large scale. A sudden drop in the price brought them to ruin, from which, after many years, they have not yet fully recovered.