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The Maronite Cliff

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An Angry Mob Tried to Throw Jesus Off This Cliff

Location - Nazareth

Map Coordinates - 32.703994, 35.294964

Merged Gospels story - 33


The ancient village of Nazareth was built near a ridge of cliffs. In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we read of a time when Jesus was preaching at the Synagogue in Nazareth, and that He infuriated the Nazarenes so much that they marched Him out of the synagogue, to the brow of a hill, in order to throw Him off and kill him.


In Luke 4:29 we read, “And standing up, they put him out of the city”, meaning that they left the city.

“…and they brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, to cast Him down headlong.” It doesn’t say that the city was built on the brow of the hill.  It says that the city was built on the hill, and that there was a brow (of a cliff) on this hill.


But where is that hill? Most thinking people would accept the fact that the traditional site for this event, which is Mount Precipice, is an hour-long walk to the south, and is much too far away from the original village of Nazareth to be considered a candidate. And no irate crowd with homicide on their minds would have the patience to march Jesus for an hour in order to kill Him. Mount Precipice was definitely not the hill on which Nazareth was built. Far from it.


It has been therefore assumed that modern urban development inside the city in the area of the synagogue has all but erased any geographic features resembling a cliff. However, this assumption is not true. The cliff that we read about has actually been identified, so far as we can tell.


Travelers to the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries report seeing sheer cliffs next to the Synagogue Church in Nazareth. One likely sheer cliff, in particular, is behind the Maronite church, a cliff that used to be about 60 feet high. But because of centuries of accumulated rubbish and dense development, today this cliff is now about 40 sloping feet in height. What’s more, its location is only about 500 feet from the Synagogue Church. And since it is the closest cliff to the traditional site of the synagogue, it is most likely the location for the cliff mentioned in Luke 4:29.

In fact, there are two photographs taken of this cliff in the late 19th century, and both of them clearly show this cliff hovering over a sheer drop – a height of about 60 feet.  This was, more than likely, the cliff over which an angry mob tried to throw Jesus. 

The cliff is in the very center of this picture.


The cliff behind the Maronite Church.

The cliff is difficult to find, since you have to wind your way around homes and shops, through streets and alleys. To locate it is to find a parking lot behind several apartments. In the first century, none of these structures would have been here. And when you find this parking lot, you will see that someone has recently built a concrete retaining wall to protect drivers from going over the cliff.  Back in the first century, the walk up here from the first-century synagogue would have taken only a few minutes – certainly an acceptable distance for an angry mob.


Here I am standing on the edge of the cliff.

Looking out over this cliff, you get a first-hand view of what Jesus saw when He stood here around 2000 years ago.  Because Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and because He spent about 27 years here, including a considerable amount of time in the synagogue, He would have been very familiar with this cliff, and the potential danger that it posed.


Luke 4:30 says, “But coming through the middle of them, He went away.” Just like when He was an infant in Bethlehem, this was neither the time, nor the manner in which Jesus was to die.

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