Nantlle Valley History

Nebo & Nasareth


Place Names

Where do the names Nebo and Nasareth come from? From the Bible obviously, as names for the two chapels. The first is only to be found in the Old Testament and the second only in the New Testament. But names for chapels were not chosen at random.

What is the connection between a Babilonian god, a mountain in Jordan and a city on the edge of the desert? The answer is Nabu, (meaning - highness) or in the English Bible, Nebo, celestial messenger and god of knowledge and wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar, Nebusasban, Nebuzaradan, Nabopalassar and others were named after him.

Nebo is also the name of a chain of mountains near the River Jordan, and from one of its peaks, Pisgah, Moses was permitted to see the Promised Land (Deut. ch34). According to local tradition, the chapel was named Nebo by the celebrated Rev. John Jones, Talysarn, after he preached on that text sometime between 1838 and 1842 in Capel Bach. (But the name Capel y Mynydd was in regular use up to 1859.)

But the City of Nebo, on the borders of Judea, was one of the places where the descendants of Abraham and his slave dwelt. When Abraham's wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac, Hagar and her thirteen year old son Ishmael were sent away into the wilderness. But before they reached Egypt, they were overcome by hunger and thirst. Through a miracle, a spring of fresh water appeared nearby.

According to one of the legends of the Life of Jesus (as used by Berlioz in his oratorio 'L'Enfance du Christ'), the Holy Family fled to Egypt from the wrath of Herod, but after a dangerous journey through the wilderness they found no refuge among the Egyptians or Romans, until they met a forgiving Ishmaelite who gave them a welcome worthy of his lost family.

The land where the schoolhouse (later Capel Bach Nebo) was bought for five guineas by Hugh Robert Ismael ,Glan y Gors, in 1825. He and his family were very supportive of the Methodist cause on Mynydd Llanllyfni. Who could say, as in the Bible, that the sons of Ishmael would be wild men?

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