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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Bethany

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("house of dates".) Bethabara, though dates have long disappeared from the locality, and only olives and figs remain (whence Olivet and Bethphage are named). (See BETHABARA.) Bethany is not mentioned until the New Testament time, which agrees with the Chaldee hinee being the word used for "dates" in the composition of the name, Beth-any. Associated with the closing days of the Lord Jesus, the home of the family whom He loved, Mary, Martha. and Lazarus where He raised Lazarus froth the dead; from whence He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem; His nightly abode each of the six nights preceding His betrayal; where at the house of Simon the leper He was anointed by Mary (Mark 14:3); and where, most of all, we are introduced to the home circle of His private life. In John 11:1 His arrival at Bethany is recorded, namely, in the evening.

The sending of the two disciples for the colt was evidently on the following morning, to allow time for the many events of the day of His triumphal entry and visiting the temple, after which it was "eventide" (Mark 11:11), which coincides with John's (John 12:12) direct assertion, "the next day"; at the eventide of the day of triumphal entry He "went out unto Bethany with the twelve," His second day of lodging there. On the morrow, in coming from Bethany, He cursed the figtree (Mark 11:12-13), cast out the money-changers from the temple, and at "even" "went out of the city" (Mark 11:19), lodging at Bethany for the third time, according to Mark.

"In the morning" they proceeded by the same route as before (as appears from their seeing the dried up fig tree), and therefore from Bethany to Jerusalem (Mark 11:27; Mark 12:41) and the temple, where He spoke parables and answered cavils, and then "went out of the temple" (Mark 13:1), to return again to Bethany, as appears from His speaking with Peter, James, Jehu, and Andrew privately "upon the mount of Olives" (Mark 13:3), on the S.E. slope of which Bethany lies, 15 stadia or less than two miles from Jerusalem (John 11:18), the fourth day, according to Mark, who adds, "after two days was the feast of the Passover" (Mark 14:1). Thus Mark completes the six days, coinciding (with that absence of design which establishes truth) exactly with John, "Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany" (John 12:1.)

Though John does not directly say that Jesus went in the evenings to Bethany, yet he incidentally implies it, for he says, "they made Him a supper" at Bethany, i.e. an evening meal (John 12:2). The anointing by Mary, introduced by Mark, after mention of the chief priests' plot "two days" before the Passover, is not in chronological order, for it was six days before the Passover (John 12), but stands here parenthetically, to account for Judas' spite against Jesus. Judas "promised and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude " (Luke 22:6); Matthew (Matthew 26:5) similarly represents the chief priests, in compassing His death, as saying," Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people." Jesus therefore in the day could clear the temple of the money-changers, but at night He was exposed to stratagem; so the very first night that He did not retire to Bethany, but remained in Jerusalem, He was seized.

It is striking how God's ordering brought about the offering of the true Paschal Lamb on the feast day, though the opposite was intended by the Jewish rulers. From the vicinity of Bethany, on the wooded slopes beyond the ridge of Olivet, He ascended to heaven, still seen to the moment of His being parted from His disciples, and carried up from their "steadfast gaze," blessing them with uplifted hands (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-12). Bethany was "at" the mount of Olives (Mark 11:1; Luke 19:1-29), near the usual road from Jericho to Jerusalem (Mark 10:46; Mark 11:1), close to Bethphage ("the house of figs"), frequently named with it.

Now el-Azariyeh, named so from Lazarus; on the E. of the mount of Olives, a mile beyond the summit, near the point at which the road to Jericho makes a sudden descent toward the Jordan valley; a hollow, wooded with olives, almonds, pomegranates, oaks, and carobs; lying below a secondary ridge which shuts out the view of the summit of Olivet. The village is a miserable one, of some 20 families of thriftless inhabitants. The house and tomb of Lazarus, and the house of Simon the leper, exhibited here, are of very doubtful genuineness.


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Bethany'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/b/bethany.html. 1949.

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