People in Galilee often lived in family housing complexes known as insulae (singular: insula). Although not everyone lived this way, many people (particularly extended families) combined living units around an open courtyard.
This living arrangement allowed extended families to live, work, and interact with each other on a daily basis. The family’s values were preserved as young people learned from the stories of older family members. As sons married, they built additional rooms on the family insula and brought their bride to live with their extended family.
Jesus and his disciples may have lived in such a family compound in Capernaum (Matt. 12:46-13:1; Mark 2:1-2; 7:17). And Jesus drew on insula imagery to give a picture of heaven (God’s housing complex) in John 14:2.
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