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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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beth´a -ni ( Βηθανία , Bēthanı́a ):

(1) A village, 15 furlongs from Jerusalem (John 11:18 ), on the road to Jericho, at the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1 ; Luke 19:29 ), where lived "Simon the leper" (Mark 14:3 ) and Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11:18 f). This village may justifiably be called the Judean home of Jesus, as He appears to have preferred to lodge there rather than in Jerusalem itself ( Matthew 21:17 ; Mark 11:11 ). Here occurred the incident of the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11) and the feast at the house of Simon (Matthew 26:1-13 ; Mark 14:3-9 ; Luke 7:36-50 ; John 1:2 :1-8). The Ascension as recorded in Luke 24:50-51 is Thus described: "He led them out until they were over against Bethany: and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven."

Bethany is today el ‛Azarēyeh ("the place of Lazarus" - the L being displaced to form the article). It is a miserably untidy and tumble-down village facing East on the Southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, upon the carriage road to Jericho. A fair number of fig, almond and olive trees surround the houses. The traditional tomb of Lazarus is shown and there are some remains of medieval buildings, besides rock-cut tombs of much earlier date (PEF , III, 27, Sheet XVII ).

(2) "Bethany beyond the Jordan" (John 1:28 ; the King James Version Bethabara ; Βηθαβαρά , Bēthabará , a reading against the majority of the manuscripts, supported by Origen on geographical grounds): No such place is known. Grove suggested that the place intended is BETH-NIMRAH (which see), the modern Tell nimrı̂n , a singularly suitable place, but hard to fit in with John 1:28 ; compare John 2:1 . The traditional site is the ford East of Jericho.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Bethany'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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