The Sages of the South and the Sages of Galilee differed in their attitude towards the role of the Biblical text in law making. The Sages of the South engaged heavily in midrash ha-mikra, expounding of the Scriptures while the Sages of Galilee did not put much emphasis on this art.
The Babylonian School of Sura established by Rav who descended from the Land of Israel to Babylonia exhibits this trend. In dozens of places in the Babylonian Talmud Rav is cited inquiring the Biblical source for a law (pg 2). The same holds true of Rav’s students from Sura and continues through out the generations. We find an enormous amount of derashoth from the later Amoraim of Sura.
A look back at Rav’s history reveals that he is following in the path of his predecessors. Rabbi Hiyya, Rav’s teacher as well as Hizkiya, Rabbi Hiyya’s are recorded in the Talmudim and other Rabbinic sources as expounding verses.
Sages of Darom excelled at the method of expounding the Scriptures. Rabbi Jonathan of Beth Guvrin, Rabbi Hisda, Bar Kappara and Rabbi Hosha’ya just as an example make use of derashoth in abundance. Rabbi Eliezer of the Galilein school who was a student of Rabbi Hosha’aya apparently wished to popularize the use of midrash mikra. Rabbi Zera in the Babylonian Talmud (Pesachim 6a): “Any teaching that does not have a beth av is not a teaching”. Similarly, “More numerous are the things expounded from the written than the things expounded orally” (Y Hagigah 5).
Rabbi Abahu like his teacher also aspired to teach spread midrash mikra. The contemporaries of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Abahu turn to them with inquiries regarding asmakhtoth.